“It’s an important discipline for an organization not only to develop a plan but revisit it over time,” DeLyser said.
“The 2008 planning process resulted in a change to our governance structure at PMA, which really opened the doors for so many opportunities for members. We were able to broaden the scope of leadership in various committees and activities.”
“On this next plan, collaboration is the key. We’ll continue to work with Western Growers. We’ve got solid relationships with FMI, NRA, Alliance for Food & Farming and the Center for Produce Safety. We’ll build on PMA’s public affairs outreach. The focus is on delivering member value.”
Following Erickson’s footsteps
DeLyser is the second woman to chair PMA. The first was Janet Erickson, executive vice president of purchasing and quality assurance for Lake Forest, Calif.-based Del Taco Inc., in 2005-06.
“It doesn’t feel like a milestone,” DeLyser said. “It just feels like how it should be.”
Getting women into leadership roles — at any level — is an ongoing PMA objective.
“PMA is expanding their program this next year with opportunities for women in our industry,” Dachman said. “We have not only our Foundation for Industry Talent but just finished our second year with the Emerging Leaders program. It’s brought a lot of mid-management into the fold with an understanding of how they’re going to progress.”
“PMA has done a great job of being inclusive and creating some pathways for women to grow,” DeLyser said.
DeLyser began her own career as a territory manager with The Packer. She joined the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council as public relations director in 1979, and later became executive vice president.
In 1993, she became the Los Angeles-based Western merchandiser and director of marketing for Coachella, Calif.-based Sun World International Inc., before moving to a sales position at Los Angeles-based Westlake Distributors Inc., selling avocados, grapes and kiwifruit.
She’s been with the California Avocado Commission since 1998 when she started as director of marketing, a new position at the time.