As someone who grew up on a farm, it seems unlikely Audra Pura, 30, would be surprised to find herself in a career rooted in agriculture. Her first job, at age 5, was cleaning mud off of workers’ boots at her father’s farm. Still, she says she never expected this career path.
“I was surrounded by the agriculture industry, and I think those values were instilled in me at a young age, but I never thought I would get into the produce industry as a professional,” she said.
Pura spent time after college working at a lifestyle magazine in San Diego. She also worked at a public relations firm that focused on crisis management and technology. However, something just never felt right in those positions.
“I really appreciated the jobs I had, but I also realized how important it was to have passion for what you do,” she said.
When Pura started with Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif., about four years ago, she was focused on project work in areas including trade marketing and public relations. Soon her role transitioned more to product development, where Pura feels she found her niche.
“My proudest achievements are related to product innovation,” she said. “It’s been really rewarding to come up with a new concept and follow it all the way through.”
A few months ago, Pura was promoted from her role as a product development associate to product innovation manager, a transition she says has been rewarding.
Pura lists the technical side as being an aspect she particularly enjoys about her role.
“Going out in the fields, working with a supply group on variety trials, working cross-functionally with all departments to make that happen — it’s not just the marketing part that I enjoy,” she said.
She said she’s excited that her career matches some of her personal interests.
“Food is one of my passions, and I love being up on the latest trends and then following that and matching that up with what we can do next,” she said.
The belief that passion is an important part of a rewarding career is one Pura learned from her father.
“He has been a big influence on me,” she said. “He always loved what he did, and that’s something to be proud of.”
Others have noticed Pura’s passion as well.
“It’s been really exciting to see her blossom in her career but also with her personal skill set,” said retired vice president of organic sales Tonya Antle. “She has a great sense of self with a nice grip on consumer wants, needs and desires.”
“She has a passion not only for the product but also for the company,” Antle said.
Because of that enthusiasm, Pura sees herself being content in this career path for many years. She wants to continue to develop products that will match consumer needs with the company’s values.
“I want to come up with the next item that everyone will love,” Pura said.
Of course, Pura also has career goals that revolve around serving the industry and being more involved with industry committees and organizations.
“I’m definitely interested in giving back from a leadership perspective down the road,” she said.