Kim St. George, director of marketing and innovation at Mann Packing Co., Salinas, Calif., became known as a produce industry up-and-comer almost a decade ago and she hasn’t slowed down since.
She has been on the United Fresh Produce marketing and merchandising council (2013-present); the Produce Marketing Association’s exhibitor advisory committee (2010-13), where she served as vice chairwoman and chairwoman; and on the PMA Fresh Summit committee (2011-present).In her position at Mann Packing, St. George’s primary job responsibilities include driving new product development through innovative product ideas in segments like cut vegetables, package design, customer and consumer marketing programs and company marketing and packaging projects.
“There is never one day that is identical to the previous day,” St. George said. “I love the variety and challenges that we encounter every day and that is what I love about marketing at Mann Packing.”
On any given day, St. George can be working with all departments within the company to help launch a new product or collaborating with agricultural operations. St. George is also involved in purchasing, package design and production.
“Marketing is the pulse of the company and it encompasses so many elements,” St. George said. “Bringing all those elements together to create a complete program or package is extremely rewarding.”
“You couldn’t describe a better person to lead a group or a marketing effort,” said Bruce Knobeloch, senior vice president of business development at Azzule Systems, Santa Maria, Calif. “She communicates well, follows through on projects and knows how to interact with and lead a team in an organized manner.”
St. George believes that the most effective leadership style is leading by example and stresses the importance of respect and professionalism in everything that the company touches.
“I believe in building and cultivating a cohesive team within our marketing department where we all work towards a common goal,” she said.
Looking back at her career, St. George has been challenged in many ways. One challenging experience was her first exposure to a recall in 2006, while working at River Ranch Fresh Foods, Salinas, Calif.
“Coordinating between all internal departments, regulatory agencies, media and messaging to consumers, customers and employees within a very tight timeframe in a high stress environment was challenging,” said St. George. Taking the lead of the team during the spinach E. coli outbreak was a challenging experience that tested her skills as a leader.
Looking toward the future, St. George wants to continue to make significant contributions to Mann Packing and the produce industry, while mentoring the next generation of young produce professionals.
“The sky is the limit for Kim St. George and her future will be bright, Knobeloch said. “Her unique set of skills will allow her to succeed at anything that she applies herself to.”