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Jessie Donlon
Posted by Jessie DonlonApril 23, 2019 6:05 PM

We fresh produce professionals each have our own story about how we landed here, all of them unique and typically, quite meaningful as well. When working to recruit new talent to the fresh produce industry, we would be wise to practice empathy by placing ourselves back in that spot of discovery, of learning what it is that makes us so passionate about this industry that we decided to dedicate our lives to it.

No matter where you are in your career now, think of your “greener” self, back when you first made the decision to join the fresh produce industry. What were you looking for? Was it a family dynamic? Perhaps a large industry nonetheless characterized by close relationships? A career that could have a genuine positive impact on the world around you?

 

Why I Chose Fresh Produce

Being new to the fresh produce industry myself, it is easy for me to remember and identify what aspects really drew me into this space. Growing up in the Salinas Valley, with a family already completely ingrained in fresh produce, I couldn’t help but to grow up with a love for this industry and our purpose. I knew for a long time that this was where I wanted to be, but even with my existing familiarity, it took some time for me to find my place. For people who aren’t so familiar with the industry, I think it’s even harder to see past that “haze” and understand the great appeal of this industry.

Now, how does my own personal career journey apply to other fresh produce professionals? It’s simple: despite knowing for the better part of my life that I wanted to work in fresh, and even with all my exposure to the available opportunities, I still had so many uncertainties about how to make a career in this industry. I was already sold, but I didn’t know how to make it happen in terms of where to look or what skills, interests, and background I needed to cultivate. And I am the exception rather than the rule, so it’s almost guaranteed that other prospective professionals without a similar background will too! Based on my own experience, it’s clear to me that fresh needs to be more proactive in educating prospective new talent on this industry’s vast opportunities and attractive attributes.

When I found DMA and realized that I could be a social media marketer focused on elevating fresh produce, I was over the moon. I never knew this was a possible career path for me, and I know there are plenty of people just waiting to hear that they can find their dream job in fresh produce. In my opinion, this starts with elevating the different career options in the industry in order to make them more common knowledge and finding ways to speak to students who are in the process of deciding where they want to take their careers. This is why Dan’l and her husband started the Aggies for Fresh program, to communicate directly with students and introduce them to the industry that has provided us all with so much.

 

As the DMA team packs for Viva Fresh, we are thrilled to introduce 9 Aggies who are looking for a career in fresh. We cannot wait for them to hear from each of you, especially your story and why you “chose fresh.” See you at the show!

Download bios for this year’s crop of Aggies for Fresh students

 

Headed to Viva Fresh? We'd love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter at @TheCoreBlog.

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Topics: Career Development & Leadership, Fresh Produce Industry, Miscellaneous

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