April Flowers Discusses the New Texas International Produce Association's In Bloom Organization
MISSION, TX - In Bloom is committed to providing experiences that are as varied and unique as its members are. This is the hope and vision behind the Texas International Produce Association’s (TIPA) new regional organization for women. As April Flowers, Chairwoman for In Bloom as well as the Marketing Manager for Lone Star Citrus Growers, tells me, the vision for this new group runs deep, including the desire to develop a community of female leaders who are advocates for fresh produce consumption and a voice for the opportunities and challenges within the dynamic Texas and international produce landscapes.
“The goal is to address all the needs of today’s women in produce. In Bloom is open to all women who work for TIPA member businesses, and we hope that every job position and age group will be represented. We have so much to learn from one another, so it is our hope that our membership will be surprisingly diverse," April shares with me. “We plan to provide experiences ranging from happy hours and workshops to field lessons. For example, we kicked off with a happy hour, but our second event was a prep-to-network event this past week.”
For the upcoming Viva Fresh brunch on Thursday, April 30, 2020 during the expo extravaganza, In Bloom will welcome all women who are registered for Viva Fresh, regardless of TIPA membership.
When I asked why a network and organization like In Bloom is so close to her heart, April shares her personal experience with me upon stepping into our industry.
“When I entered the produce industry as a second career, I knew plenty of people in the field, but I wasn't connected to many other women or regional marketing professionals. I genuinely wanted to expand my network, particularly among women in our produce region, but it was difficult to do without structured support,” she says. “It turns out that I wasn't the only one feeling this way. In fact, at least seven other women had reached out to TIPA staff members requesting women's networking opportunities.”
While In Bloom responds to a resounding need in our industry, it is also a personal passion project for April.
“I love the women I am serving with and I walk away inspired every time we work together. We are all so very different, and yet we have the same big goal: connecting and supporting women,” April reflects.
The impact that In Bloom has and will have, starts with everything from providing women with a workshop to address building bios and getting headshots to In Bloom’s plans for the amazing networking brunch planned for Viva Fresh where the commitee will highlight a few incredible women from the Texas/International produce region.
“The event I'm most excited about is a leadership symposium that is in its nascent stages. Each event we plan should receive a resounding ‘yes’ when we ask ourselves, ‘Does this event improve our members' abilities to do their jobs well?’" April tells me.
Every person, demographic, and goal needs a positive and supportive space in which to grow their values, beliefs, and vision. For the women of TIPA, In Bloom with help them cultivate their power from the inside out.