Cindy Jewell, incoming 2018-19 chairwoman for United Fresh Produce Association ( United Fresh Produce Association )

The incoming chairwoman’s background could really shake things up on the board of the United Fresh Produce Association.

Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing for Watsonville-based California Giant Berry Farms, earned her United Fresh board experience in marketing and merchandising and has spent most of her career in marketing.

“The past few chairmen have been from operations, and with Cindy in marketing, that could be a good difference,” said Susan Reimer-Sifford, outgoing United Fresh chairwoman and vice president and general manager for CC Kitchens at Castellini Group of Cos., Cincinnati.

Both women thought it was the first time a major association’s board leadership passed from one female to another, but downplayed its significance.

“It’s cool for a female chairwoman to follow, but it’s becoming so normal in leadership,” Jewell said.

I’d like to engage young people in the association with so many of our education programs.

Jewell is also being honored at the United Fresh Women in Produce reception June 26 during the association’s annual expo in Chicago.

Reimer-Sifford said as more women succeed in the produce industry, it’s natural for them to earn leadership positions and join boards. She said the United Fresh board is about 25% women.

As for Jewell’s goals as chairwoman, she said she’d really like to check off some of the items that have been on United’s to-do list for years, such as farm bill or trade or labor, but so much of that is out of the industry’s control.

“I’d like to engage young people in the association with so many of our education programs,” she said.

United Fresh has enough education opportunities it should build a curriculum for industry growth, Jewell said.