Women currently represent only 15 percent of senior management roles in all industries, despite studies consistently demonstrating how more women in leadership measurably fuel a company’s success. To help produce businesses leverage this competitive advantage, PMA Foundation for Industry Talent will debut the Women’s Fresh Perspectives (WFP) Conference April 21-23 at the FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. USA. Offered in partnership with Simmons School of Management, a widely recognized authority on women’s leadership and management, this new conference has been customized to develop women’s leadership potential throughout the global produce industry and will make its mark as the only industry-specific development program for women.
“Today, the produce industry recognizes women should and do have a seat at the table in management and in leadership positions; however, there’s still a lot more room to grow,” said Tonya Antle, Tanimura & Antle principal and WFP steering committee chair. “This new PMA Foundation program is comprehensive, thoughtful and exciting. No matter what stage of your career path or level in company management or leadership, we all can continue to learn and grow.”
WFP Conference welcomes industry newcomers and veterans alike. The program will provide competency-based leadership training backed by research and a PMA-member needs assessment of leadership development for women in produce. Consultant Julie Krivanek, president of Krivanek Consulting, facilitated the process, which included industry research, input from attendees of the WFP leadership breakfast at Fresh Summit and networking reception at Foodservice Conference, review of existing programs inside and outside the fresh produce industry, and research on how women influence business success.
“Ninety-two percent of all food purchase decisions are made by a woman,” said Krivanek. “The smart organizations are creating strategies to understand how to connect with this consumer. The really smart ones have this consumer viewpoint woven into the fabric of their business at the decision-maker level. If we look inside the board rooms and management teams of the companies in our industry, we would find an almost complete lack of women. That means decisions made to increase consumption, connect to the consumer, and attract people to our stellar products are being made without the voice of those most influential.”
Whether responsible for talent management at your company or taking charge of your produce career, you can cultivate the potential of women in produce and improve your company’s value through the WFP Conference. Participants will hone cross-functional skills, and network and learn from peers and business leaders. Speakers familiar with produce industry issues will help attendees learn how to:
- Achieve business results through strategic thinking skills
- Amplify leadership strengths to motivate and inspire
- Negotiate and communicate effectively to reach goals
- Gain insights and actionable tools to enhance their personal brand
- Lead high performing teams
- Manage work-life balance
“I know this conference will help me bring even more value to my company,” said LeighAnne Thomsen, Mission Produce marketing representative and WFP steering committee member. “I’m a more motivated employee each time I return from a WFP planning session or steering committee conference call, and look forward to returning to work in April after an even more focused and intensive experience at the conference.”
WFP Conference is backed by the expertise of Simmons School of Management, a leading provider of business education programs designed to inspire, enrich and empower women. Simmons School has repeatedly ranked No. 1 nationally in the category of “Greatest Opportunity for Women” by The Princeton Review guidebook, The Best 296 Business Schools.
“Women today are the most underutilized natural resource we have,” said Antle. “They bring a fresh perspective, a new and different way of thinking and leadership talents that should be recognized and celebrated.”
The Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference is part of the PMA Foundation “career continuum,” which offers students and industry members a spectrum of programs and networking events to support every stage of a produce career. Men interested in honing skills related to effectively managing women and/or who believe in the benefits of diversity throughout an organization — especially in leadership positions — are also invited to attend.