Nancy Pickersgill Discusses the Industry and WFPC
- by Maggie Mead
KINGSVILLE, CANADA - Fun fact, I haven’t been in this industry long—just a few months, to be exact, but I am already excited by the support and collaboration that seems to be a building block of the industry. Among them, I admire the efforts to create a conference to address the unique issues that women face not only in this industry, but in everyday life.
The Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference (WFPC) honors women, and we at ANUK, in turn, would like to honor some of the women who make this such a special industry. I spoke with Nancy Pickersgill, Manager, Events for SUNSET®, who clued me in to the unique qualities of the industry, her time at SUNSET, and the importance of putting the spotlight on women.
Nancy has been in the produce industry for ten years, and has spent all ten of those years at SUNSET, learning from the best in the biz and honing her skills.
“Working for Mastronardi Produce for over ten years has been a fun and challenging experience,” Nancy told me. “Being part of a winning marketing team that our leader, Paul Mastronardi, believes in and promotes with new innovations and ideas is amazing to be around—he truly pushes boundaries. The best feeling I know is after months of hard work leading up to the industry’s largest produce show, when we’ve launched several new products, met with countless industry professionals, been awake for days, and held a party that people will talk about forever. I couldn’t be more proud to be in such a fantastic industry working for an amazing company.”
And as much as Nancy enjoys working for SUNSET, I think the leaders at SUNSET enjoy her being there even more. Dean Taylor, Director of Sales and Commodity Planning for SUNSET, commented on what a valued team-member Nancy is.
“I first met Nancy almost a decade ago,” Dean said. “SUNSET was growing very rapidly but our team was much smaller than it is today. As such, we all had to work well outside our defined roles. This is something that is still true ten years later. Nancy is one of the most trusted people in our company, and for good reason. In addition to being incredibly intelligent and resourceful, she’s probably the most level-headed person I know. I trust her counsel and count her amongst a small group of people that have had a positive impact on my career.”
In the produce industry (and frankly all industries), all people should be equal, and Nancy informed me that the presence of women in the produce industry has been increasing even in the time that she’s been with SUNSET. With consumer desires and palates expanding, the industry needs a diverse system of people to contribute ideas and drive innovation.
“I think it’s most important to put a spotlight on women in produce to show young women the number of opportunities available in this industry and help recruit them so that we can continue to keep our industry fresh and innovative while supporting the fierce, talented women of the future,” Nancy said.
Also mentioned was the importance of this kind of diversity at SUNSET, adding that the company has numerous talented women in its ranks—women who will drive innovation and growth now and in the future. For these women, the WFPC offers a chance to network with other talented and driven women to inspire and support each other, and create a healthy environment for all.
"Nancy and I both get into work early each day and we often spend a few minutes running through each other’s challenges and offering one another advice," Dean continued. "While I’ve enjoyed watching Nancy grow over the years, there’s one thing that has never changed—if Nancy is leading an event or a project, you can rest assured it will be executed with excellence and beyond your expectations. I’m incredibly lucky to work beside her every day and she’s part of SUNSET’s success story.”
As a produce newbie, it was inspiring to hear what Nancy had to say about her industry, as she waxed poetic about its unique qualities and exciting trajectory.
“I love that this industry is fast-paced and innovative. We constantly have multiple projects happening at the same time and it’s fast and furious. We are always creating new products, new packaging, and new ideas,” concluded Nancy.
For more exclusive interviews like this one to help you gear up for WFPC, keep reading AndNowUKnow.