Yaoyao Xu, marketing advisor of Westlake Produce in Downey, Calif., talks with Emily Fragoso, vice president of produce executive search firm Mixtec Group, La Crescenta, Calif., after Fragoso’s pop-up session, Preparing for What’s Next: Personal Goal Setting Strategies, at the May 9-10 West Coast Produce Expo hosted by The Packer in Palm Desert, Calif. ( Amy Sowder )

PALM DESERT, Calif. — Her advice won’t blow your mind, but you can boost your career satisfaction if you take home a few nuggets, said Emily Fragoso at the West Coast Produce Expo.

Fragoso, vice president of produce executive search firm Mixtec Group, La Crescenta, Calif., led the “Preparing for What’s Next: Personal Goal Setting Strategies,” session at the May 9-10 expo hosted by The Packer.

“Why wait for your company to tap you on your shoulder and say ‘Hey, you’re special and need to move up?’” Fragoso said.

First, you have figure out what you want, no matter how large or small the desire.

“Is it a promotion? It could be project management. It could be public speaking. It could be showing up to work on time. Work less on weekends. Be more present in meetings,” Fragoso said.

However, the cliché is true: a goal without a plan is just a wish, she said.

You have to make your goals known to leadership. It’ll help keep you accountable and push your professional brand.

Ask probing questions when you discuss your goals to find out how others achieved similar goals, gather advice and learn what resources are available. These talks can illuminate what gaps there are in your work.

“I think vulnerability will play a good role too,” Fragoso said. These talks are better than annual performance evaluations. “I don’t need someone to tell me I suck in this area … I know. What can be more helpful is ongoing dialogue.”

Evaluate your resources, such as industry trade associations, school, training and in-company offerings. 

“Where are the people you want to see, and what aligns with your goals?” Fragoso asked.

Once you have an action plan, do targeted networking, volunteer to do public speaking whenever possible and serve on boards of associations. It can benefit you more than those you’re helping, she said.

Yaoyao Xu, marketing advisor at Westlake Produce, Downey, Calif., said the session was inspiring. 

“She mentioned marketing associations, and I think I need these resources because I’m fresh out of school and new to this industry,” Xu said. “I’m glad I ran into this presentation.”

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