The Organic Produce Network Celebrates the Team's Newest Members: Cate Aldrete and Kelli Runge
- by Jordan Okumura
MONTEREY, CA - The Organic Produce Network (OPN) has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception just over three years ago. Founded in response to double-digit growth in one of the fastest-growing retail food categories in the U.S., the company has pulled together a best-in-class team cultivated by Founders Matt Seeley and Tonya Antle. The organization now sits as an organic resource for many, offering a strong rallying cry within the industry. To bolster its value and capabilities, OPN welcomed two team members over the last year, Cate Aldrete and Kelli Runge as Tradeshow/Marketing Managers.
In Cate’s role with OPN, her primary objective is to help produce a pair of premium events specific to the organic fresh produce industry: the Organic Produce Summit (OPS) and the Organic Grower Summit (OGS). Cate’s goal is to be a resource for those involved with organic fresh produce. Every day in Cate's role looks different, and that's one of her favorite things about the job. Planning for the tradeshows is cyclical and the team is busy year-round. Excitement peaks in the three to four months leading up to the event.
Even though the recent cancelation of OPS was only just announced, you can believe that strategic planning for the remainder of 2020 and the kick-off of 2021 is already amassing on the OPN team's place.
Cate is responsible for day-to-day operations for each event, interacting with sponsors, attendees, exhibitors, and prospects, partnering with vendors, engaging with speakers, and assisting with the strategic planning of both OPS and OGS. And last but not least, she has already been primed for her role with industry blood pumping in her veins as the daughter of Matt and Marilyn Seeley.
As OPS and OGS grow, Kelli is continuously looking for new ways to elevate the experience for all attendees in her role, while increasing the exposure for each event’s sponsors and exhibitors. Kelly is continually researching advancements in technology, marketing, and communication strategies, and tradeshow management in helping to produce trades shows that provide education and outstanding networking opportunities.
On top of this host of responsibilities for both industry up-and-comers, Kelli and Cate are responsible for publishing the weekly editions of OPN Connect, an e-newsletter that connects the organic fresh produce community through information, education and live events.
“We are so fortunate to have a pair of young, talented and highly motivated people like Kelli and Cate on the OPN team. They are similar in so many ways, and their skillsets reflect the way business is continually evolving in our industry,” Matt shares with me, adding that they are both very outgoing, detailed-oriented, and true ambassadors in OPN’s mission of connecting various aspects of the organic produce industry. “As a pair of young mothers, they are truly passionate about organics and how organics are changing the world for the better. Their energy and enthusiasm are contagious. In the short time they have been with OPN, they have really helped us up our game on many levels.”
Before joining the OPN team, Cate spent several years in Silicon Valley, California, and worked at Facebook for five years, driving recruitment and client management for engineering teams. Cate was born and raised in Salinas, California, and graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2012.
Kelli is a native of Monterey, California, and graduated from Sonoma State University in 2011. She moved back to Monterey in 2015 with her husband Scott and started a small business, which she sold at the end of 2018. She is the proud new mom to Archie, who came as an early Christmas gift in December 2019.
A huge congrats to Cate and Kelli on their evolving positions at OPN, and to OPN for making the organic game great!