Frieda's Alex Jackson and Co-Chair of the Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference Shares Insights
SAN DIEGO, CA- The Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference is just days away and with a mission to cultivate women’s potential, sharpen business acumen, and further develop leadership potential and more, it is proving to be an event not to be missed. Women in all stages of their career have been invited to attend, from buyers and suppliers to media and writers like myself.
Previously, we published a Q&A with Co-Chair, Jill Overdorf, who shared her insights on the upcoming event. As we look to pack our bags over the coming days, I decided to inquire with Alex Jackson, Sales Account Manager, Frieda’s Specialty Produce and Co-Chair of the program, about what we can expect and why this event is truly a one-of-a-kind. See you all on April 17th!
Q: Speaking to first time attendees and fresh faces, what advice can you give them on making the most of this event? What misconceptions might they have coming in that we can address?
Alex: You will meet women with truly different backgrounds in produce and in their professional careers. You will also always meet someone who either has the same background, the same experience or inexperience in produce, the same personal development goals, or even the same kind of boss you’re trying to work better with.
Some attendees may have never been to an industry event or conference outside of their company before, so shyness isn’t rare here! Go in knowing that there are other people who may be nervous or unsure of what the experience will be like, and those are the people you connect with in the end – and keep in touch with throughout the years. I relate it to being a freshman in college… everyone is eager to meet people and make friends, so you’re not going to embarrass yourself or be different by talking to a stranger!
My other piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask questions of the women in your breakout sessions, at your table, or even the speakers. If you hear a woman make a great point or ask a question in a breakout session and you have something in common or want to ask more, go up to her and engage! One of the benefits of the three tracks is being with women you can relate to.
Q: What have you taken away from your experiences at the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference? How have you personally grown from these events?
Alex: Each year, I meet one to two women in a breakout session or at my table at a general session who I really connect with that I would have never met at a tradeshow or cocktail reception. These women always come from different professional and personal backgrounds than me, but we have something in common to relate to. These women become mentors and friends.
One of my favorite speakers, Stacy Blake-Beard, really inspired me two years ago with some thought-provoking questions about where I want to be with my career and how to own it. I am so excited she is returning this year, because I know she is going to have the same impact on all of the women attending this year’s conference.
Q: Why is an event like this so important to our industry and to women in produce?
Alex: I think the most important part of this conference is the environment it cultivates for learning and engaging. Having it exclusively be for women allows the content to be specific, so women can actually take it back with them and make the changes they want to make instead of trying to translate it into the women’s lens. Also, having it be only women in the room breaks down walls and allows all attendees to submerse themselves in the content and not be distracted by doing business, meeting customers, etc.
Q: What are some of the key issues and discussions that this year’s conference will address?
Alex: The Power of Diversity and Inclusion with Stacy Blake-Beard is one session I am very excited for. For one, I respect Stacy immensely and am excited to keep learning from her. But also, I work in an environment with people from different generations, with different personalities and backgrounds, like many of us in produce. Millennials coming into an industry with many Gen-X and Baby Boomers need to learn how to address diversity in our organizations, with diversity having many definitions.
Q: Are there any new elements to the program this year or key events not-to-be-missed?
Alex: I am very excited to be able to offer all of the women at the conference an opportunity to see the documentary made about Frieda Caplan, the founder of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. She came into this industry when it was a male-dominated one, and owned and ran a business in a category that didn’t exist in produce. Throughout the conference, we are going to be discussing diversity, achieving personal goals in your career, and managing gender perceptions. “Fear No Fruit” covers Frieda and her daughters’ real life experiences of managing through these challenges and topics. The film has received praise because of how inspiring it is to women, students as well as men in the produce industry. The women at the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference will no doubt feel inspired by this film.
The countdown is on! See you all in San Diego on the 17th!