Welcome First Leadership Program Cohort, NYC Event Kicks Off NBM, Women in Blueberries Webinar Series, Help Tell the Blueberry Industry’s Story


Topics in this issue of Behind the Blue:

USHBC Welcomes First Blueberry Industry Leadership Program Cohort

Today, USHBC announced the first cohort of fellows accepted into our Blueberry Industry Leadership Program. The program, launched in March, is designed to elevate up-and-coming leaders in the blueberry industry by providing in-depth training, industry education and connection to other ag leaders for passionate blueberry professionals across the supply chain.

Selected as inaugural fellows in the program are:
Christina Butler, Director of NW and NJ Business Units, MBG Marketing
Gonzalo de Elizalde, Blueberry Product Leadership Sr. Director, Driscoll’s
Ernesto Diaz, Director of Operations, Berry Brothers
Anna Jesse, Vice President, Forest Hills Farms Inc.
Karan Kohli, Account Manager, Mastronardi Produce
Scott Mainord, SE Regional Sales Manager, WECO
Luke McCreesh, N.A. Blueberry Operations Manager, California Giant Berry Farms
Jennifer Pulcipher, Director of Food Safety & Compliance, North Bay Produce Inc.
Darren Sinn, Northwest Business Manager, Berry Fresh LLC
Micah Weiss, Sales and Grower Support, Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc.

The Blueberry Industry Leadership Program is the first of its kind in the blueberry industry and will help fellows grow their leadership skill set, learn from decades-long industry leaders and develop their network of connections. Professional development within the industry is a priority as members of the blueberry industry work together to make blueberries the No. 1 berry in sales volume and premium value. Fellows in the new program will lead the industry into its next period of growth.

The fellows will begin their training this summer and continue through next year, taking an interactive approach to leadership development through hands-on training, immersive learning experiences, engagement with key industry players and exposure to the many components of the produce supply chain.

Fellows will participate both virtually and in person, traveling four times over the course of the curriculum through August 2023, with a graduation ceremony taking place at the 2023 USHBC fall meetings. The second group of fellows to enter the program will be selected in the fall of 2023.

To kick off National Blueberry Month and announce the Grab A Boost, Give A Boost Challenge with No Kid Hungry, USHBC is hosting a media event in New York City on June 28. Our team will create a blueberry garden oasis in the heart of New York at Gallow Green in The McKittrick Hotel, best known for its interactive theater experience at the base of the Chelsea Highline. We’ll host a grower showcase farm stand, design a series of immersive visuals at the theater to showcase our influencers, and build an installation that supports our partnership with No Kid Hungry.

Plus, fitness expert Joey Thurman will conduct demonstrations and speak about the benefits of blueberries when it comes to living an active lifestyle. Wellness and nutrition expert Mascha Davis will conduct yoga and meditation demonstrations, as well as talks on intuitive eating. As registered dietitian, Davis will also speak to the many health and lifestyle benefits of blueberries. Both experts will help shape and drive media coverage and stories about blueberries following the event.

A final send off at the end of the evening will officially kick off National Blueberry Month and our 31-Day Challenge with No Kid Hungry, and introduce our celebrity spokesperson. A photographer will document the event, capturing guests interacting with blueberry-related experiences. A post-event sizzle reel will be created for sharing with the industry, on social media and more.

Register for the Women in Blueberries Webinar Series

For women in agriculture, creating a supportive network can be one of the most important factors for career success. Fortunately, in the blueberry industry, we’re surrounded by women who are making an impact! Register for the first session of our new webinar series, Women in Blueberries: The Power of Supportive Women’s Networks, on July 13 from 2-3:30 p.m. ET/11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PT.

This webinar will examine the power of bringing women along on your career journey, and how to be more mindful in supporting women who inspire you. During the webinar, you’ll also interact with the other participants in breakout sessions curated by USHBC. Be part of the solution by joining the discussion!

This opportunity is limited to 100 participants so register today!

Help Tell the Blueberry Industry’s Story

Ahead of National Blueberry Month, we want to share the story of the blueberry industry with consumers through you — our growers and stakeholders. Please record a short video simply talking about what you love about blueberries or being a blueberry grower. The deadline to submit a video is June 10!

Remember, this is for the consumer audience, so pretend you’re having a conversation with a neighbor or stranger.

  1. Briefly introduce yourself: Hi, I’m (name) from (company) in (location).
  2. Answer one of the following questions (do not repeat the question, just say your answer):
    What is a fun fact about blueberries that many don’t know?
    What is your favorite way to enjoy blueberries?
    What is your favorite blueberry recipe?
    Do you prefer sweet or savory with your blueberries? Tell us why.
    What is your secret flavor/ingredient (other than lemon) for pairing with blueberries?
    What is your favorite memory of blueberries?
    What do you appreciate most about being a blueberry grower?

3 Steps to Capture the Best Video:
Feel free to film on your phone, holding the phone horizontally is best.
Keep it short. Videos should not exceed 20 seconds. Be mindful of any background noise in your surrounding area and make sure your face is well lit.
Film in the ideal environment to help tell your story, such as out in the field or a notable location in your facility.

Upload your video HERE. Please submit your video by June 10.