International Fresh Produce Association Announces Leadership Transitions; Cathy Burns Details

International Fresh Produce Association Announces Leadership Transitions; Cathy Burns Details

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WASHINGTON, DC - For the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), the past few weeks have brought news of transition for its leadership team. Recently, the association announced that Dr. Jennifer McEntire will be stepping away from her role as Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer, effective May 5, 2023, while Deborah Zoellick will be joining as Director of Floral Programs.

Deborah Zoellick, Director of Floral Programs, International Fresh Produce Association“It’s always been said that, once you’re in the produce and floral community, it’s hard to truly say goodbye. While I’ve enjoyed the last six months of retirement, I felt floral calling my name and wanted to find an opportunity to give back,” Zoellick said. “I’ve known Becky for years and appreciate and respect the commitment IFPA (and legacy PMA) made to floral. Now I have a platform to further enhance that commitment and help grow opportunities and connections for the global floral industry.”

Zoellick previously served as a sourcing manager for Walmart and brings almost two decades of floral expertise to the organization, stated a release. She succeeds IFPA staffer Becky Roberts, who will be retiring this month.

As part of a recent leadership transition, IFPA announced that Deborah Zoellink will be joining its leadership team as Director of Floral Programs and Dr. Jennifer McEntire will be stepping away from her role as Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer

To serve its floral members, the association has prepared several programs over the next few months to provide resources to grow their businesses. These include the Floral Conference in Anaheim, a floral Virtual Town Hall featuring the experts from Pantone on March 22, and the Floral Conference in Miami coming up on May 23.

Cathy Burns, Chief Executive Officer, International Fresh Produce Association“I am beyond excited that IFPA’s floral community will have a new staff leader who matches Becky’s enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the nuances and intricacies of the cut flower and plant supply chain,” said IFPA Chief Executive Officer Cathy Burns. “Deb will provide valuable line-of-sight to the issues facing floral today and leverage an established worldwide network of connections to bring more value to our floral membership.”

As Zoellick enters her new role, Dr. McEntire is preparing to depart after serving the organization since July 2016. In her more than 20 years in the industry, she has become a highly respected leader in food safety, providing insights and guidance to member companies, regulatory partners and policymakers, and more.

Dr. Jennifer McEntire, Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer, International Fresh Produce Association“In my 20-plus years working in food safety, I can truly say that serving the fresh produce industry has been a career highlight,” said McEntire. “When I joined United Fresh, it was clear that collaborating with PMA was a priority. I’m thankful to have supported the formation of IFPA and with it, a food safety team able to serve member needs.”

Dr. McEntire will provide transitional support to IFPA while the association begins a search for her successor, a release explained.

“Jennifer has been an incredible advocate for the IFPA member community and fresh produce industry, both in collaboration with regulatory agencies so that they understand how our industry works, but also in the role of a trusted and credible resource to help members with their produce safety issues,” stated Burns. “Most recently, her voice and leadership in pushing for reform in FDA’s foods program have been a steady drumbeat that we expect will result in more effective agency partnerships, policy, and regulations.”

Best wishes to both leaders as they start down their new paths!

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International Fresh Produce Association

The International Fresh Produce Association is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire…