Naturipe Farms' Jill Overdorf Shares Value and Benefits of the Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference
- by Jordan Okumura
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, NM - What I love about the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference (WFPC) is that its rare, engaging, and dynamic qualities are truly a reflection of its members and attendees. From its founding members to today’s up-and-comers, the WFPC is exactly what the name implies, bringing a fresh depth and perspective to today’s women and, by design, the entire industry.
Jill Overdorf, Director of Business Development for Naturipe Farms - Foodservice, is one of those individuals who is both a mirror and collaborative creator of these values we speak of. She joins me to share her story and why the conference is an essential component in fresh produce’s success.
“Before there was even a conference, I was fortunate to be a part of the task force that developed the Women’s Fresh Perspective’s portfolio and we met first in Monterey, California, during the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foodservice Conference and later that fall in a basement meeting room of the Marriott at LAX,” Jill begins. “We were ten women who represented two from each generation—20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. After we crafted, debated, and agreed on the priorities that would define a women’s gathering, the WFP conference was brought into existence.”
While Jill is looking forward to this year’s WFPC September 12–14 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, Jill has the lifelong gift of having attended the very first conference in Arizona. The group was treated to an opening keynote from human behavior expert and CPAE Hall of Fame motivational keynote speaker, Colette Carlson, and stories of being a pioneer in the industry from Frieda Rapoport Caplan, in addition to development seminars and incredible networking.
“From the very beginning, the WFPC experience has cemented my respect for the opportunities to build a supportive community and lift others. My vision for the women across the breadth of this industry has evolved into one of support, collaboration, and solidarity,” Jill reflects. “I was a rower in college and learned the value of working towards a common goal with collective energy; WFP provides the same unification in a professional environment with celebrations of success and moments of reflection and support.”
Currently, Jill has three direct mentees that have evolved out of attending these conferences and a number of other relationships that provide reciprocal guidance and resources.
When I ask Jill what she is looking forward to the most as the event approaches next month, she tells me with enthusiasm that she is incredibly excited to see people in the flesh.
“After eighteen months of Zoom calls, emails, and phone calls, it will be a delight to see colleagues and friends in person. I am also looking forward to being challenged mentally and learning something new. I always leave WFPC with a new way, or at least a renewed way, to approach my career and my life,” Jill tells me. “This particular conference is focusing on personal and professional development and these are skills that benefit everyone no matter where they may be in their lives. There have been long and passionate conversations asking WHY women need their own conference—generally started by my male friends. And, that’s just it: They rarely have experienced being an outsider, or one who is the newbie, or feeling like there is no one else like them in the room.”
WFP creates a curated, professional environment to develop and hone skills that may be new or foreign.
“By providing a professional, yet informal space, trust and relationships are built that may not occur in a sales meeting or a customer visit,” Jill says. “This conference often builds the foundation for successful sales visits and lifelong relationships in the future. Sowing the seeds for confidence, intelligent listening, and problem-solving, events like WFP lay the cornerstones of success for the next generations of engaged and dynamic business people and women in the produce industry.”
With the event just weeks away, we hope that Jill’s word will hit home for you as much as they do me. Have a great conference, Jill, and to all those who are investing in their own potential and greatness!