Yolanda Owens Discusses Strategies as New Director of Marketing and Community Initiatives for DNO Produce
COLUMBUS, OH - Learning the art and language of produce is a challenge in the best of times. So it is an understatement to say I was impressed at the comfort level exuded by Yolanda Owens, who is settling into her role as DNO’s new Director of Marketing and Community Initiatives—a role she began at the end of March.
“It was an interesting start,” Yolanda agrees, having made the jump from community food involvement. “Especially at the beginning of shelter-in orders, to get introduced to the industry as an entirely different state of business was also being introduced, was quite an experience.”
Yet navigating a new industry while it is in a state of change is building the strongest of foundations for DNO’s newest leader, who has been making a home of her role by bridging any gap between the company and community partners during a time when information is crucial.
“I’m glad to be able to do this, as a professional and as a parent,” Yolanda shares. “We have been refocusing some of our energy on the value-added sector, as well as fresh programs, DoD Fresh and FFVP, that we have with schools, and both sides are reevaluating what that looks like. So, we have been working hard on ensuring resources for vendors around all foods, how to integrate them, and the conversations that need to be had around food to increase safe consumption.”
She explains that this atmosphere, while challenging, is a wonderful learning opportunity for all involved, especially around food.
“Because DNO knows the business so well, we know how to meet a very select need,” Yolanda says. “This is a great team that has been a huge help in my hitting the ground running. I’m very excited about all that we have going on. COVID-19 has positioned us in a unique space to serve schools in a different way, and it has been gratifying for me to navigate this position.”
With a number of programs and plans already being put in motion, Yolanda is quickly finding ways to draw from her experience in nutrition education programs and food banks to ensure that DNO is ready to be the strongest partner possible as back-to-school gets going.
As we continue to follow emerging industry members forging their own pathways in produce, AndNowUKnow will keep you up to date with the latest.