Newark, Del. — In observance of National Volunteer Month in the United States, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and Center for Growing Talent (CGT) give thanks to their members around the world who serve with them in more than 400 volunteer leader roles to enhance and grow the global produce and floral industries.
By sharing their time and expertise, members who volunteer with PMA and CGT not only help these groups promote the success of the global fresh produce and floral industry – they also benefit, both personally and professionally. These volunteers report that they develop lasting relationships with colleagues across the supply chain, raise their individual and company profiles, and learn from diverse peers.
Led by PMA Board of Directors Chair Jin Ju Wilder, director of marketing at LA & SF Specialty, and CGT Board of Directors Chair Leonard Batti, vice president at Taylor Farms, this group donates thousands of hours and shares their diverse talents and perspectives serving on 25 standing committees, councils, and boards as well as short-term task forces. Their efforts help PMA build an interconnected community of people, resources, and ideas that move the global industry forward, as well as support CGT’s work to attract, develop and retain top talent industrywide.
“In my time with PMA, I continue to be amazed, inspired, and humbled by the engagement from our volunteer leaders across the supply chain,” said Cathy Burns, PMA CEO. “From our Board of Directors to volunteers serving on a wide variety of committees, country councils, steering committees, and task forces, we are blessed to have access to unique insights and ideas that not only bring our global produce and floral community together, but also help move PMA closer toward fulfilling its vison of building a healthier world.”
PMA and CGT member volunteers hail from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. They cite four primary reasons for volunteering: to work together to address industry issues, support the work of PMA and CGT, network with peers, and to learn from peers and PMA/CGT staff experts.
“Center for Growing Talent volunteers set examples of personal and professional development, leadership and community building for their employees and for the young professionals they meet through our programs,” said Margi Prueitt, CGT executive director and PMA senior vice president. “They also help us raise money for our Career Pathways and Immersion Academy programs that bring young, talented university students into the industry. They provide critical direction through our Strategic Plan, give insight into best practices for our leadership development programs and support our fundraising events. Put simply, our volunteers are key drivers for CGT’s programs directed at the industry’s success.”
In addition to building a stronger, more vibrant global produce and floral community,
PMA volunteer leaders have helped:
- members to leverage emerging science and technologies to enhance food safety, address labor challenges, and improve sustainability and supply chain efficiencies;
- assist members regarding awareness, understanding, implementation and verification of the new Food Safety Modernization Act regulations, while also working with regulators to better understand our industry;
- provide resources on important topics from Listeria monocytogenes to blockchain solutions that facilitate fresh produce production and trade;
- establish innovative demand creation strategies that give members a bigger voice in global cultural conversations, such as at the recent South by South West (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, USA;
- identify transportation challenges facing the global floral industry and were the impetus for PMA to convene subject matter experts at a Town Hall to raise awareness and start dialogue among stakeholders;
- provide feedback on key trends facing the global industry and assist PMA to identify and solve industry needs and member problems, including exploring topics like trade, entry to markets, packaging trends and innovations;
- grow member engagement around the world that currently spans 34,000 member contacts from more than 2,800 member companies based in 53 countries across six continents.
CGT volunteer leaders have helped the charitable organization:
- encourage top college students to join the industry by serving as Career Ambassadors for Career Pathways programs;
- connect students outside of traditional agricultural programs—from STEM disciplines, to marketing, and business management—with career opportunities in the fresh produce and floral industry through the new Immersion Academy;
- develop women, young professionals and executives across the industry’s career continuum by offering leadership development programs, connecting mentors and mentees, and hosting networking opportunities.
Members also volunteer in ways large and small to help communities and partners grow a healthier world, from jumping in to help Brighter Bites to bag and distribute fresh produce at SXSW, to helping glean fresh produce with Philabundance’s Produce Market Rescue before Fresh Connections: Retail, to members donating tons of food and floral following major events like PMA’s Fresh Summit and Foodservice Conference & Expo.
The United States and Canada observe Volunteer Month in April and Volunteer Week April 15-21 this year. Volunteer week is observed at different times in many countries where PMA and CGT conduct business. Throughout the month, PMA and CGT will celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of changemakers.
PMA members interested in exploring volunteer opportunities to help PMA or CGT take action, create meaningful change and advance the industry are encouraged to visitwww.pma.com/members/volunteer for more information. Applications for a limited number of 2018 volunteer opportunities are being accepted now through May 26.
About Produce Marketing Association
Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit pma.com.
About the Center for Growing Talent
Center for Growing Talent was created by the produce and floral industry to grow the people across our industry. We help attract, develop and retain the talent needed to feed our industry’s growth, including educational programming and networking events. We offer a variety of industry-specific solutions across the career continuum, for university students, young professionals and women, emerging leaders, mid-level individuals and senior executives. For more information, visit centerforgrowingtalent.org.