MONTEREY, Calif. — The men were outnumbered 10-1, but they were there.

More than 100 industry members gathered at the Produce Marketing Association’s first Fresh Perspective: Women’s Networking Event held at the association’s annual Foodservice Conference & Exposition July 25. 

In addition to playing a scavenger hunt game that helped them meet each other and enjoying a portabella sandwich and pasta buffet bar, the attendees also donated more than 70 suits and outfits to Wardrobe for Opportunity, a Bay-area organization that helps people apply for jobs.

PMA women's networking event draws crowd
                                                           Dawn Withers
Jacquie Ediger (left), with Pro Citrus Marketing, and Jennifer Peracchi Harmon with Giumarra, at the Fresh Perspective: Women's Networking Event at the Produce Marketing Association’s 2009 Foodservice Conference & Exposition in Monterey on July 25.

The event was sponsored by Freshway Foods, Sidney, Ohio.

“As a growing organization in this industry, Freshway has been looking for ways to become more involved on an industry-wide level,” said Frank Gilardi, chief executive officer. “Some colleagues suggested we look at sponsoring the Fresh Perspective even as this was a relatively new event at the conference that had a lot of interest, as well as PMA’s support.”

Gilardi said many of Freshway’s customers attended the event, and it was an excellent time to reconnect with them and develop new relationships. He said he heard many positive responses from people throughout the entire conference for making the networking event available.

PMA’s Fresh Summit trade show and conference has featured the women’s networking events the last few years, but this was the first one held at the foodservice conference.