United Fresh Names 12 to Coveted Leadership Program

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United Fresh Names 12 to Coveted Leadership Program


The United Fresh Foundation has chosen 12 members for admission into its 2012-2013 Produce Industry Leadership Program. Presented through the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence and sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, the exclusive program was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 180 program participants.

Members of the 18th Produce Industry Leadership Program class include:

Catherine Baggott, Earthbound Farms
Helena Beckett, Tanimura & Antle
Jamie Brannen, Gerrald's Vidalia Sweet Onions
Natalie Erlendson, Sun World International, LLC
Zak Laffite, Paramount Citrus
Cristie Mather, Pear Bureau Northwest
Jerald Morgenthal, Castellini Company, LLC
Cory Oliver, H-E-B
Kristen Reid, MIXTEC Group
Sophia Sarafidou, Greenfood S.A.
Roman Smith, Freshway Foods
Dean Taylor, Mastronardi Produce, LTD

Beginning this June, the members of Leadership Class 18 will participate in a number of educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development, business relationships, government and public affairs, and media and public communications.

The class also will take part in customized field and facility tours, train with expert educators and meet with key industry leaders and innovators. The program begins with a trip to Central California, followed by tours of Washington, D.C. and Wilmington, Del., Southern Florida, and finally the 2013 United Fresh convention in San Diego.

“The advisory committee was challenged to narrow the field to just 12 participants and considered a wide range of factors to ensure a well-balanced class,” explained Produce Industry Leadership Program advisory committee chairman and board member Emily Fragoso of Status Gro. “We are confident in the abilities of the 12 industry members selected for this year’s class and are proud of the investment they are making in themselves to develop into the influential future leaders who will lead our industry forward.”

Candidates for the program must submit an application including two essays detailing their interest in the program and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. All applications are reviewed by the leadership advisory committee, which is comprised of United Fresh Board members and program alumni and which is responsible for assessing each candidate based on their experience and expertise, as well as developing a class that is balanced and representative of the industry.

an affiliate of the United Fresh Produce Association, United Fresh Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that offers specialized programs to meet members’ needs in educational training, leadership development, food safety outreach and industry research. Foundation programs are designed to promote knowledge, leadership and growth in the produce industry.