International Fresh Produce Association's Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference Wraps Up; Cathy Burns, Christina Ward, and More Comment
ORLANDO, FL - What sold-out event was packed with female leaders in the produce industry? The Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference (WFPC), of course! Put on by the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), the WFPC took place April 16–18 in Orlando, Florida, creating unique opportunities to network and share ideas.
“This conference is an annual favorite of mine,” said Cathy Burns, Chief Executive Officer of IFPA. “The program focused on how female leaders in produce and floral can enhance their impact in the workplace, whether it’s developing their own brand, dealing with conflict through collaboration, leveraging their voice for good, or becoming an advocate for issues they believe in. The session on multigenerational workplaces was very enlightening as businesses across our community—even IFPA—contend with changing talent dynamics. I can’t wait until the next Women’s Fresh Perspectives gathering at our Foodservice Conference in Monterey this July.”
The numbers are in, and it was announced that the sold-out WFPC was met with 216 women attendees. The event kicked off with an Opening General Session led by Vicki Myoda, Predictive Index Expert, who discussed maximizing Predictive Insight results. Afterward, attendees headed into the first of many networking moments before starting a full day of programming and development.
On day two, Mimi Brown, CEO of Amp Up Success, led the Monday Opening Session: Own Your S.W.A.G.: Elevate Your Personal Brand so Others Take Notice. Later, attendees participated in two of three concurrent sessions on building an empowering professional network, negotiating from a position of power, and an executive track session led by experts from Korn Ferry.
A general session on mentoring took place over lunch before attendees jumped into the second set of concurrent sessions on investing and financial literacy, teamwork and going from conflict to collaboration, and a special session on becoming an advocate for what matters hosted by IFPA’s Vice President of Nutrition & Health, Mollie Van Lieu.
Closing the education sessions for the day, IFPA’s Cathy Burns joined Angela Fraser of California Avocado Commission, Laura Himes of Walmart and the IFPA Board of Directors, and Lori Taylor of The Produce Moms. The final day included even more sessions, with a closing session from British skier Chemmy Alcott.
For the mentoring program that took place at the show, there were over 82 mentor pairings; of those women participating, 39 opted to be both a mentor and a mentee.
Let’s hear what some WFPC attendees have to say…
Christina Ward, Senior Director of Global Marketing, Sunkist Growers
“Since day one, Sunkist Growers has been a proud supporter of WFPC, sponsoring the event and investing in female leaders in produce and ag. The sold-out conference was packed with real-life stories, powerful anecdotes, and engaging sessions. It has been a meaningful couple of days with the incredible women in our industry. Everyone brought different backgrounds and experiences and many great conversations. With learning, there is growth. The IFPA crew did a fabulous job bringing this to life.”
Lori Taylor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Produce Moms®
“This was my first year attending WFPC. As a conference exclusively for women in the fresh produce and floral industries, it is a powerful and unique setting. Empowered women empower is more than a conference theme: It is the truth. This conference provides us women with a safe place to discuss and overcome workplace inequities, discrimination, sexual harassment, and more. We all have the power to achieve our dreams, and WFPC is a great catalyst for female achievement.”
Melanie Schroedter, Assistant Category Director, Wonderful Citrus
“Women have been breaking barriers in the produce and floral industries for many years, so to see so many women here learning how to own their positions and achievements and then taking that strength back to break barriers in their workplace is inspirational.”
Cheers to another successful event in the books!