Kyla Oberman alludes to juggling when she describes what she enjoys about her work as a produce marketer.
Keeping all the different balls in the air might feel a little precarious, but Oberman is invigorated by the constant whir of activity.
“My friends who are not in marketing or not in the produce industry are always baffled when I explain to them if I’m having fun with a project and there’s a million balls in the air,” said Oberman, the marketing director for Salinas, Calif.-based Tanimura & Antle.
When a company has a new product launching at a large tradeshow, for example, projects leading up to it can include everything from logo, packaging and messaging development to presentations for the sales staff to booth creation and advertising and media relations.
To drive progress in all of those areas and please both internal and external stakeholders along the way is a welcome challenge for Oberman.
“That’s so exciting to me,” she said. “It’s thrilling.”
Oberman worked at Salinas-based Naturipe for seven years before joining Tanimura & Antle. During her tenure at Naturipe, the company launched its snacks line and added avocados to its product offering, both major marketing undertakings.
Oberman got her start in the industry with Soquel, Calif.-based agency McDill Associates, and its founder has been a mentor during her career.
“She’s just really tenacious,” Missy McDill said. “The industry is so ever-changing and so flexible that you really have to be willing to switch directions on a dime, and she didn’t get frazzled or frustrated. She would just hang in there, and she took instructions and criticisms and challenges with great stamina and strength.”
As a leader, Oberman values teamwork, including making sure all members feel empowered to contribute.
“I don’t hold cards close to my vest,” Oberman said. “If we’re working on a project as a team and I’m leading that team, I want them to know as much as I do and give them opportunity to seek out even more information and bring it back to us, regardless of who the leader is.”
Oberman has gotten involved in the broader produce industry through service on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council promotions committee and is a member of the Produce Marketing Association foodservice committee.