Feb 27, 2023
Viva Fresh returns reception, networking events

During the March 30-April 1 Viva Fresh convention and expo, the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) plans to return two popular events.

TIPA’s In Bloom Women’s Committee announces it plans to host its Challenge Accepted! The March 31 afternoon session, sponsored by Pure Flavor, will feature four female produce professionals as panelists in the first-of-its-kind game show atmosphere, according to a news release.

Challenge Accepted will feature audience participation through Jeopardy-style questions. Attendees are invited to join this atmosphere and see what happens live as industry women serve as panelists and will answer questions about obstacles they have faced throughout their careers as well as the strategies they’ve found helpful in building their networks, expanding their resources and amplifying their voices.

“After last year’s Speak Easy: Real Women, Real Talk, we thought long and hard on how we could try to top its success,” Michelle Cortez, In Bloom committee chairwoman and sales director at Babia, said in the release. “We wanted to add a component where the audience was able to get in on the fun and we think Challenge Accepted will do just that.”

In designing the event, the committee knew it wanted to allow the audience to help direct the conversation, April Flowers, In Bloom committee vice chairwoman and marketing director at Lone Star Citrus, said in the release. “This event really is so much more than a typical panel,” she said in the release. “It’s a genuine conversation and an opportunity for women in our industry to acknowledge and connect over the topics that most affect us.”

In Bloom was conceived at the 2019 Viva Fresh and was built to be an organization to empower and advance women in produce through sharing opportunities, networking, mentorship, advocacy, and professional development while also offering a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other. Its vision is to develop a community of female leaders who are advocates for fresh produce consumption, committed to helping one another, and prepared to lead our industry through opportunities and challenges in a dynamic Texas and international produce landscape.

Tom Thompson

After tackling the important topics industry women face each day, the event will pivot into a happy hour networking event as a lead into YTIPA’s networking hour as well as the opening reception.

In 2021, TIPA created the YTIPA networking group which is specifically for members under the age of 35 and focuses on building connections, networking and providing education to the newest generation of fresh produce industry professionals.

On March 31, YTIPA will host its second annual networking reception. Guest speaker Tom Thompson, chief revenue officer at Revol Greens, plans to share industry insights that will help attendees accelerate their career paths in fresh produce. His broad experience across a wide scope of industry organizations and experiences including his current role in the greenhouse/vertical ag industry will provide a diverse range of ideas and information from which to learn.

“YTIPA aims to welcome newcomers into the produce industry with open arms,” Kristen Davis, food safety coordinator at Tex Mex Sales and YTIPA chair, said in the release.

Learn more about Viva Fresh at vivafreshexpo.com/.


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