FPAA highlights women in leadership

NOGALES, AZ – The 50th version of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas convention focused on leadership and career development, especially for women.

From Produce Marketing Association CEO Cathy Burns to celebrity chef Pati Jinich to Pillar of the FPAA Award winner Rosie Cornelius of MAS Melons & Grapes, women told their stories of hard work and perseverance and advised others how to make wise decisions.

“Leadership and career development were the focus,” says Lance Jungmeyer, president of the FPAA.

FPAA’s annual conference Nov. 1-3 was the 50th annual meeting as an association, and Jungmeyer said his high expectations were exceeded. He said more than 800 people registered for the event, which was about 25% higher than a typical annual meeting.

Next year’s event will also be a milestone, Jungmeyer says, as the association celebrates its 75th year, with its annual meeting scheduled for Nov. 7-9.

Burns promoted the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices, which is an effort from the board of PMA and United Fresh. She says it’s an opportunity for produce companies to get credit for many good things they’re already doing.

Jinich told attendees their fruits and vegetables are critical to making good Mexican cuisine.

Cornelius was honored at a banquet Nov. 2 for her being a local industry pioneer but also for her mentoring so many other Nogales leaders and her community contributions.

“You’re all my family,” she says. “You’re all my pillars.”

All three were joined by Sabrina Hallman, CEO of Sierra Seed Co., Tucson, for a women’s leadership program Nov.2.

Photo: Pillar of the FPAA Award winner Rosie Cornelius of MAS Melons, received the trophy from chairman Scott Vandervoet of Vandervoet & Associates (left) and FPAA president Lance Jungmeyer.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services Inc.