I was hired by Markon 11 years ago with no produce industry experience or training—just the desire to have a steady job with a solid company and to learn something new. The individual that hired me (my boss Mark Shaw) must have seen something in me that even I didn’t know was there, because I hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since. Produce has become my world and for that, I thank Markon.
I started at the bottom and over the years worked my way up to a management position—an accomplishment that gives me great pride. Then late last year I received an invitation from Markon management to apply to be one of 36 people in the industry chosen by the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Emerging Leaders Program. Humbled to say the least, I was chosen and spent the past nine months attending this incredible online and traveling “class.”
The PMA Foundation Emerging Leaders Program got started in 2011 to develop and retain the produce industry’s most valuable resource—talented people. And man, am I honored to be considered one of them! The class itself is an intense study of senior-level decisions—how and why they are made. The sessions have taught us how to develop leadership skills, build strong relationships, use critical thinking, and nurture our innate abilities. They have also led me to increase my own personal passion for produce.
My favorite part of the class was when we divided into teams and took over a simulated salad plant. We were able to act as the CEOs and senior management of a mock company while competing against three other teams. It was a great real-time experience that allowed us to see the results of our strategies and how we were able to create shareholder value.
The whole experience challenged me to think globally, financially, and inwardly and will help make me a better leader in the industry. I look forward to the last session in Anaheim, California at the end of the month during the PMA’s Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition where we will recap all we’ve learned and march in a graduation ceremony.
It’s been a truly career-changing program and I thank Markon for allowing me to attend and having the confidence in me to succeed.