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PMA, CGTbyPMA volunteers giving back to produce and floral industries

Volunteers are a core component of any trade association or nonprofit organization, and the Produce Marketing Association and the Center for Growing Talent by PMA aren't exceptions. Each year, more than 400 volunteers donate their time, talent and voice to advance the global fresh produce and floral industries. While April 23-29 marks National Volunteer Week in the United States and Canada, PMA and CGTbyPMA take this occasion to thank their volunteers around the world and across the supply chain.

If it takes only one person to spark change and make a meaningful difference, consider the impact of hundreds of volunteers leaving a lasting mark on PMA, CGTbyPMA and the produce and floral industries overall.

Led by PMA board Chair John Oxford of L&M Cos. and CGTbyPMA board Chair Leonard Batti of Taylor Farms Inc., nine other officers and 29 chairs and vice chairs, the current group of more than 400 volunteers comprises 12 committees, seven advisory groups and task forces, four country councils, two boards of directors, one floral council and every segment of the produce and floral supply chains.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the collaboration we have with all of the produce and floral professionals from across the supply chain who give back to PMA with their time and thought leadership,” Cathy Burns, PMA chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Our volunteers provide unique insights and perspectives to shape PMA programs, positions and strategies that deliver year-round value to members. Together with our volunteers, we are a stronger organization, which makes PMA truly an association by the members for the members.”

“As a charitable organization, the Center for Growing Talent by PMA wouldn’t be able to develop and deliver innovative talent solutions for our industry without the help of our volunteers,” Margi Prueitt, CGTbyPMA executive director and PMA senior vice president, said in the release. “These volunteers help us raise money for the Career Pathways programs we conduct to bring young, talented employees to the industry and help us ensure a path for the next generation of leaders. They also set examples of leadership and community building for their employees and for the young professionals they meet through our programs.”

By working together, PMA and CGTbyPMA volunteers spotlight the fresh produce and floral industries’ fortitude to meet challenges and accomplish shared goals.

In addition to building a stronger more vibrant produce and floral community, PMA volunteer leaders have helped grow PMA’s membership and member engagement around the world; shift Fresh Summit to Thursday through Saturday, with expo on Friday and Saturday, to meet industry demand; support PMA efforts to communicate crucial information surrounding the Food Safety Modernization Act; add buyer roundtables to Fresh Connections floral events, enabling suppliers to connect face-to-face with more floral buyers; and author new articles on hot industry topics posted to www.pma.com.  

CGTbyPMA volunteer leaders have helped develop a compelling program for the fifth annual Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference, which completely sold out three weeks before the event; by serving as Career Ambassadors for over 130 students through Career Pathways programs; build a new mentoring initiative that connects individuals committed to sharing their skills with others in the industry wanting to reach new goals — a program with over 150 already enrolled; expand leadership development programs in South Africa, including the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast and a new education event intended to cultivate women’s leadership potential in the country; and raise over $600,000 in 2016 from more than 600 individuals and corporate partners alone to invest in programs that attract, develop and retain the most talented workforce possible for the produce and floral industries.

Volunteering with PMA or CGTbyPMA is a great way to give back to the industry. By sharing skills and expertise, PMA members personally benefit by developing lasting relationships with colleagues across the supply chain, raising their company's profile, and ultimately driving an individual company’s success.

Applications for 2017 volunteer opportunities with PMA and the CGTbyPMA are being accepted now through May 26. Members can visit www.pma.com/members/volunteer for more information and to apply.