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Jackie Bohmer, marketing director for the Mexican Hass Avocados Importers Association, likes everything about her job.
“It’s produce! How can it not be fun?” Bohmer said, while rattling off a list of things that make it great, including produce (again), avocados, good people and excellent board members.
Bohmer said it’s fun to see the board members work together on a goal.
“When everybody is on board to move the same direction, it’s like the river flows,” she said. “It’s almost like surfing, and everyone is with you.”
In 2008, Bohmer became the association’s first marketing director. She’s helped define its marketing strategy while overseeing advertising, media and public relations, retail communications and the association’s online presence.
She’s proud that the association’s Avocados from Mexico budget, which comes from an assessment, has grown in five years from about $8 million to more than $23 million.
Bohmer said this year’s projected avocado volume from Mexico is 980 million pounds, a big increase from 2008’s 515 million pounds.
“It still has a huge potential to grow a lot more,” Bohmer said. “The momentum is there, it’s just keeping it up.”
The association’s marketing focus is not solely on moving bigger volumes of avocados, Bohmer said. It’s also intended to increase consumers’ awareness of the fruit and their desire to buy it. MHAIA aims high to do that.
“If projections are 800 million pounds, we have to pretend it’s a billion pounds,” Bohmer said.
She hopes that consumers will be left wanting more. She said consumers’ intent to purchase avocados is keeping pace with increasing volumes of Mexican imports.
Before Bohmer, MHAIA relied on one agency for its marketing, promotions and public relations, but the strategies were too “standardized,” said Ron Campbell, executive director.
“Jackie diversified our approach to the market by bringing in specific organizations for the specific components of our marketing and promotion strategy,” Campbell said.
“Her leadership skills unified and coordinated the team to redirect our programs and reinvent our brand.”
When asked to describe her leadership style, Bohmer said she wasn’t sure she could put a label on it.
“I don’t know that I have a leadership style or that there’s a formula, but once everybody agrees, I usually shepherd people along,” Bohmer said.
She guides others and oversees progress, but she’s also a hardworking group member.
“I do roll up my sleeves and delve into everything that MHAIA is doing,” she said.
Before joining the association, Bohmer worked as trade communications manager for Del Monte Fresh Produce for almost five years.
Before that, she worked in public relations and advertising, and served as president of her own agency, Bohmer Clarke Communications.
As president of Bohmer Clarke, she worked with major corporate clients, including The Coca-Cola Co. and Quaker Oats Co.
Bohmer studied international business and economics at Incarnate Word College, San Antonio.
Bohmer’s years of experience in public relations and marketing with fresh produce and other products gave her a fresh perspective on MHAIA’s future, Campbell said.
Bohmer said her own mantra could help others interested in a marketing career: do good things, and good things will follow.
“Read everything, be meticulous, do the best you can, and good things will follow,” she said.
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