Brighter Bites Names Melissa Ackerman as New Board Member; Lisa Helfman Comments
HOUSTON, TX - Welcoming a new member to the team is always an exciting milestone—one that Brighter Bites has recently celebrated with the appointment of Melissa Ackerman to its Board of Directors. As she joins the team, Ackerman will work to develop the organization’s alliances with produce companies to fortify its mission of providing fresh produce and nutrition education to students and families in the communities it serves.
“The evolution of food into mission-based programs that drives food equity and builds viable food ecosystems for all Americans is the heart of my life’s work,” said Ackerman. “I’m excited to bring that passion and experience coupled with Brighter Bites’ impact in schools and communities to continue shaping food and nutrition security.”
As Ackerman takes on this role, she will also help guide the organization as it expands beyond the eight cities in which it currently operates, according to a press release.
As of now, Ackerman serves as President of the Produce Alliance (PA), a national produce company that specializes in consulting and purchasing produce from field to fork. She first joined PA in 2012, holding the title of Associate General Counsel, Vice President of Sales, and Executive Vice President of Sales before being appointed to her current role.
As a key player in PA’s growth and scale, as well as its extending impact within the industry, Ackerman most recently developed the PA Foundation, a philanthropic arm designed to be a first-line responder to emergent humanitarian situations. Prior to that, she played a vital role in the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Farmers to Families Food Boxes” program, through which PA delivered over 100 million pounds of food in 9 million boxes to Americans during 2020 and 2021.
“Melissa Ackerman’s experience at PA, and with the ‘Farmers to Families Food Boxes’ program, syncs directly with Brighter Bites’ mission to create communities of health through fresh food,” said Lisa Helfman, Founder and Board Chair. “We are thrilled to have her insight as we build stronger relationships within the produce community and expand into more cities around the country.”
In addition to her executive role, Ackerman also holds a position on the International Fresh Produce Association’s Board of Directors as the Chair for Food Service, in addition to serving on the Advisory Boards of Freight Farms; The Center for Food Integrity’s Racial Justice, Inclusion, and Diversity Initiative; and YPO Chicago Chapter.
Congratulations to Melissa Ackerman on her new role on the Board of Directors! For more leadership appointments from across the produce industry, keep an eye out for ANUK.