The Southeast Produce Council announced the last day of June the addition of a leadership program for women in produce. The program, called Southern Roots, is designed to make meaningful connections among women working in the produce industry through events, education and mentoring. By sharing values, contributions and experiences, participants will have an opportunity to improve leadership skills individually and collectively — and will then positively affect organizational effectiveness at all levels.
"While women's leadership and mentoring programs are available through other produce industry organizations, we felt that many were lacking in regards to their ability to address issues unique to a particular business environment and lacked a relevant mentoring program for young women entering the industry," David Sherrod, the council's assistant executive director, said in a June 30 press release. "Additionally, we felt a program of this nature would increase Southeast Produce Council members' benefits and potentially attract new members to the organization."
SPC Treasurer Teri Miller of Delhaize America has been named chairwoman of the new Southern Roots program. "As the percentage of women in the produce industry has increased over the last 10 years, many are left to try and navigate their careers in the produce industry with little or no direct example from women in their individual organizations," she said in the release. "Because of this and our own unique experiences as women in the produce industry, we felt that it was our responsibility to share these with each other in an effort to cultivate and enrich leadership and create an environment of exchange. We chose Southern Roots as the program name because we felt it was reflective of our membership and because of the deep roots in the produce industry that many of us have or have developed."
The council will officially launch Southern Roots at its fall conference, scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris, GA, and plans a comprehensive program at its Southern Exposure conference and trade show, scheduled for Feb. 26-28, 2015, at the Caribe Royale Conference Center & Hotel in Orlando, FL.