Kathy Stephenson brings an enthusiasm for pears and pear growers to her role as the director of marketing communications for Pear Bureau Northwest.
“The thing that gets me to work every day is probably the most important thing that drives success for me, and that’s a true passion and belief in why I do my job, and it’s our growers,” Stephenson said.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity to represent them. I always have them in my heart whenever I do anything. It sounds ridiculous, but it is really the truth.
“That really helps me be successful because when I’m talking to anybody in the industry, that comes through in how I communicate,” Stephenson said, “because it really is the most important thing that I do. How wonderful to really have a job where you care about the product and you care about the people that are delivering it.”
Stephenson comes from a consumer packaged goods marketing background and joined the pear bureau about five years ago.
In her time with the organization, she has helped build its content offerings and worked on search optimization, contributing to a 56% increase in web traffic.
“That in itself means more people, when they have a question about pears, come to our website where we have an opportunity to delight them and really impact their eating experience,” Stephenson said.
“The other thing that I’m super proud of is working with our organization to, rather than say, we have these messages that we need to communicate, as an organization we are saying, ‘Our job is to make sure that consumers buy another pear,’ so we’re really focused on repurchase.
“Even though we can’t control the product, we can’t control the pricing, we can’t control the display, but when our team thinks about our job, it’s to impact repurchase,” Stephenson said. “I think has been a really great thing that we’ve worked on.”
She noted that she appreciates CEO Kevin Moffitt being open to innovative concepts and new technologies, and she continues to help evaluate the organization’s processes to identify strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.
“Kathy has good ideas and works very hard on behalf of the industry,” Moffitt said.
“She is a good negotiator and has a solid background with branding and foodservice. She is also unafraid to try new things as the consumer and retail environment evolve.
“She has worked hard to expand our social media reach and consumer engagement,” Moffitt said.
“She recently managed a pivot from print media advertising to social media advertising, which has been effective in reaching consumers with video messaging, and all for a lower cost. Kathy has made good inroads with our meal kits outreach, helping get more menu offerings with pears. She also expanded and refined our supermarket RD programs.”
In the broader industry, Stephenson has been involved with the Produce for Better Health Foundation and the Alliance for Food and Farming.
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