Jennifer Fancher, director of marketing at Growers Express-Green Giant Fresh, Salinas, Calif., isn’t afraid of a challenge. In fact, it’s one of her favorite parts about the produce industry.
“The industry is fast-paced and challenging but that makes it fun and exhilarating,” said Fancher. “If there’s a challenge, I want to roll up my sleeves and figure it out.”
Fancher made the jump into the fresh produce industry at Nielsen Perishables Group, West Dundee, Ill. “I thought it was a perfect fit for me because it was so interesting and dynamic,” said Fancher. “Perishables Group was a great place to start my career in the industry.”
In her current position, Fancher handles category management and marketing for both Growers Express and Green Giant Fresh, which comes with a long list of responsibilities.
On the Growers Express side, Fancher is heavily integrated in all aspects of product development and she stays involved in the process until the product has been carried through to the end. This includes developing and marketing the product, designing the packaging, and working with sales teams and food safety.
On the Green Giant Fresh side, Fancher focuses on packaging design, marketing materials, websites, mobile sites, and she also supports the sales teams of 13 companies. She analyzes product sales and category trends and works on the Box Tops for Education program and the 13 companies are brand partners that sell under the Green Giant Fresh brand.
Fancher travels often, works with legal and accounting, and maintains steady communication with retailers.
“This is my dream job,” Fancher said. “My mom is an artist and my dad is an attorney so I am right-brained and left-brained and I love that I can be artistic and analytical at work.”
Fancher enjoys working with people and admits that her leadership philosophy is always changing because it’s based on the needs of the company and of her team.
“I’ve learned that you have to be flexible, keep a level head and you have to be willing to adapt and go with the flow,” Fancher said. “You have to have the willingness to try things and the desire to keep moving forward and grow as an individual.”
And she is not afraid of trying a new approach and failing.
“If something doesn’t work, it won’t be the end of the world,” she said. “If we tried something and it didn’t work, we’ll learn something from it, move on and try something else next time.” Fancher said that it’s important to know when it’s time to re-direct and go in a different direction.
“Jennifer has enough experience to know when something is going to work,” said Jamie Strachan, chief executive officer of Growers Express-Green Giant Fresh. “The combination of being intuitive and intelligent gets her to the right answer quickly.”
Fancher loves her job and is excited and motivated to continue developing her skills and expanding her knowledge base in order to further her career.
“I love what I do, I love the company that I work for, and I love the people that I work with,” Fancher said. “At this point, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Strachan doesn’t see Fancher slowing down anytime soon.
“Jennifer has the skills to run a large division or company someday,” he said. “She’s a pleasure to work with and I feel lucky to have her work as part of this organization.”