Prior to entering the produce industry, Eleisha Ensign, executive director at TexaSweet Citrus Marketing, Mission, Texas, worked her way through college in the legal field and wanted to become an attorney.
“After working in personal injury law, I quickly changed my mind and realized that marketing was a creative and exciting field that would enable me to work in many different areas,” said Ensign.
Ensign’s first experience in the marketing and produce industries occurred when she graduated from college in 2003 and began working for TexaSweet six months later as a marketing coordinator.
Dennis Holbrook, president of South Tex Organics, Mission, Texas, has known Ensign since her start in the industry. “She’s a very dedicated employee and she is loyal to the citrus industry,” said Holbrook. “She’s a great leader, she communicates well, and she is a warm and personable individual,” Holbrook said.
Ensign recently celebrated her tenth year at TexaSweet and can still remember when she interviewed with the board of directors for her current position. Ensign can remember being thrilled that they believed she could handle the responsibility but was thinking, “Do they realize that I’m only 25 years old?”
Since then, Ensign has experienced challenges and rewards. One of the highlights of her career has been learning about the history of the produce industry from second and third generation farmers. “I love the longstanding history of family-owned businesses and the camaraderie of the people that have worked in this industry their entire careers,” said Ensign. “I enjoy witnessing multigenerational family businesses taking on the ever-changing challenges that come with working in this industry.”
The fact that the industry is always changing inevitably presents challenges. “When I first began planning national marketing and promotional campaigns, bloggers and Facebook weren’t part of the picture,” said Ensign. “I never dreamed of checking my email on my phone, much less interacting with brands and companies online.” Ensign confronts the challenge of gaining and maintaining a place in the consumer’s mind when they are being inundated by many different forms of marketing.
With change comes challenge and Ensign’s most recent challenge has been the task of quickly creating a program from scratch that will inform people about citrus greening disease that has been found in the Rio Grande Valley. “This disease is spreading and has the potential to greatly affect the industry,” said Ensign. “The company has redirected our resources to focus on outreach to the public and we are working to do the most that we can in a short amount of time.”
Ensign knows she wants to stay in this industry where she’s always learning, being presented with challenges and for her, it doesn’t get better than being excited about her job every day when she goes to work.
“I know that Eleisha can be successful in any of her pursuits,” Holbrook said. “She has opportunity to continue to grow in the industry and the only limitations she has are the limitations that she puts on herself.”