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CGT award renamed for industry legend Frieda Rapoport Caplan

The Center for Growing Talent has announced that the Women’s Catalyst Award given to recognize an individual who has made a significant impact supporting women in the industry will be renamed to honor the late Frieda Rapoport Caplan. The announcement was made during a live broadcast with CGT Executive Director Doug Bohr and Frieda’s Specialty Produce CEO Karen Caplan, Vice President & COO Jackie Caplan Wiggins and Alex Jackson Berkley, director of sales.

The award is given each year at the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Leadership Breakfast which takes place during Fresh Summit. Last October, Frieda Rapoport Caplan accepted the award in recognition of her own work mentoring and elevating women in the industry.  She spoke to a sold-out breakfast crowd who hung on her every word as she addressed the importance of civic participation for young people, and more. Caplan passed at the age of 96 early in 2020.

“No matter who I speak to in the industry, everyone seems to have a Frieda story,” said Bohr.  “Her impact is immeasurable. When the Caplan family and I started discussing the opportunity to honor Frieda’s legacy by renaming this award, it seemed fitting that we would be recognizing her by recognizing other industry leaders each year for embodying the work and values that she was known for.”

This year’s winner has yet to be announced, but this individual will be presented with the award during the Women’s Fresh Perspectives General Session taking place on October 15 during Fresh Summit’s virtual event.  Each year, the winner is presented with the award from last year’s winner. Frieda’s daughter and CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce, Karen Caplan, will be recognizing the 2020 winner.

“Last year, when we found out that Mom was receiving the award, we didn’t know if she were going to be able to accept in person since she had just broken her leg a few months prior,” said Karen Caplan.  “It actually became an incredibly motivating goal for Mom! As she said, “I never saw obstacles.”  Now, to see that her legacy will be remembered and recalled every year touches our family deeply.”

The award was first celebrated in 2018 as a part of the WFP Leadership Breakfast, the culminating event of the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Portfolio.  This year, as the pandemic has meant that the WFP events have gone virtual, has focused especially on the importance of connecting, networking, and mentorship across the industry.  Alex Jackson Berkley reflected on her grandmother’s role as a mentor.

“In true Frieda fashion, she would never say she mentored anyone or that she made mentorship specifically important,” said Jackson Berkley. “It was so natural for her to lift others up around her, to be encouraging and to be a truthteller in your personal and professional life. It was definitely important for her to make others feel uplifted, confident, hopeful, important and relevant.”

Jackie Caplan Wiggins also spoke openly about her mother’s legacy and the importance of remembering and celebrating her impact through the renaming of the award.

“Our mom was a truly extraordinary human being,” said Caplan Wiggins. “I can honestly say there will never be anyone in the world like her. Fortunately, because of her impact, she will live on in all of us and we will take what she has taught and share it for generations to come.”

Following the award presentation will be the Women’s Fresh Perspectives General Session, “Taking a Seat at the Table.”  The session will go beyond the gender lens and address work-life balance, mental well-being, networking and the importance of diversity in today’s new world. The session will be moderated by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. the president and CEO of The Society for Human Resource Management and will include speakers Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence and Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Giant Eagle & Market District.  

The session will be open to all registered attendees for Fresh Summit, those who are interested in attending can register here. Fresh Summit 2020 is a virtual event with Marketplace previews happening now.  The official schedule will run Oct. 13-15 with access to the platform and its content available through early November. 

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