( Photo courtesy Mission Produce; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

Denise Junqueiro brings a eye for next steps to her role as director of marketing for Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce

Whether she’s considering her personal development, the development of her team, or the development of the company’s merchandising programs for customers, Junqueiro constantly looks for ways to improve and then creates plans for progress in those areas.

Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, has known Junqueiro for about 15 years and recalled a time earlier in Junqueiro’s career when she was working with DeLyser and others on a grant for California agriculture.

“She just really, really impressed me then as someone who was very thoughtful, really strategic and very planning-oriented,” DeLyser said. “Organized to the hilt.”

DeLyser noted that, at Mission, Junqueiro has established a strong relationship between her marketing team and the sales team.

“She has a strong department at Mission that she has helped build, and she works very, very well with the sales team on marketing, and that’s really important,” DeLyser said. 

“If you’re out going one direction but the people who are responsible for managing the inventory are going another, it’s not a healthy situation, and Denise is very good about cooperating with the broader (group) that she’s working with so that there’s a focused approach to how they’re going to market and what they’re doing.”

Upon arriving at Mission, Junqueiro made synergy a priority within her own team as well. She implemented weekly team meetings designed to identify opportunities for members of the marketing department to share assets and ideas, amplifying the reach of each person’s efforts.

Junqueiro has also encouraged coaching for her team members and has invested in her own development in that way also.

“I want the best for everyone, and I feel like I have a sense of responsibility as their boss to help them develop and grow into what they want to be based not only on their potential but their skill sets and what they’re bringing to the table, so I take that very seriously, and I really try to encourage them,” Junqueiro said. 

“I also try to support them in being the best that they can be to support the company and also the industry.”

Along with strengthening the company’s marketing department and internal communication, Junqueiro has also helped develop Mission’s data-driven avocado intelligence program, which has inspired the creation of numerous merchandising programs, including Ready, based on levels of ripeness; Minis, based on size; and Emeralds in the Rough, based on appearance. 

She is also involved in the broader industry. Junqueiro is part of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit committee and the marketing committee for the California Avocado Commission. A member of Class 42 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Junqueiro also supports the efforts of that foundation where she can. 

“She gives back to the industry, and this industry provides all of us with so much opportunity, and yet she takes the time to acknowledge and give back,” DeLyser said. 

“She has so much to give and she makes time to give, and now as a young mother, it’s been fun to see her balance all that goes into being the mother of a young child, and she’s balancing all of it very, very well.”