Produce Marketing Association's Cathy Burns Discusses the Upcoming Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, NM - We are creative, inspiring, powerful, and so, so much more. Who are we? Women. The women of the industry continue to carve out new paths for fresh produce, and their voices will be celebrated and honored at the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) upcoming Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference (WFPC). As the all female editorial team at ANUK ramps up for the event, I had the chance to connect with PMA Chief Executive Officer Cathy Burns.
“The conference has helped raise the profile of women in produce and floral as strategic thought leaders, which is reflected in more female representation when it comes to volunteer leadership at industry organizations,” Cathy told me. “I’ve seen women have breakthroughs during and after this conference and go on to make incredible contributions to their companies and the broader industry.”
The WFPC is an exclusive forum where female professionals in produce and floral from all levels come together to experience targeted and immersive programming to help them grow professionally and personally. After the tumultuous year and a half we’ve all lived through, Cathy relayed that the challenges we overcome contribute to who we are.
“The theme of this year’s conference is ‘I am’ as a continuation of the previous theme ‘I will,’” she explained. “Our planning horizon has been shortened in the past year, and how we do our work has changed. Everyone’s ‘I am’ story is different, and as an industry, we are moving forward because many have asserted themselves and stepped up to face the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.”
Cathy and I had the chance to touch base in person at PMA Foodservice 2021 last month, and we both agreed that the energy was palpable. Following that highly anticipated in-person show, Cathy added that attendees of the WFPC will bring a similar zest for industry collaboration.
“It’s one thing to connect via Zoom, but there’s so much more to be gained from being together in the same room,” she said to me. “We have a great lineup of sessions on topics that are very relevant given the past 18 months: managing change, leveraging strengths, and diversity and inclusion, just to name a few.”
In addition to this being the first in-person WFPC in two years, it is also the first time attendees will be joined by the inaugural Frieda Rapoport Caplan scholarship recipient, thanks to the generosity of her daughters Karen and Jackie.
“I still miss Frieda, as I think many in the industry do, and I am excited to see her legacy of developing and empowering future female leaders carry forward through this program,” Cathy concluded.
Cheers to the women of fresh produce and to this incredibly important event!