PMA asserts its commitment to diversity and inclusion with new task force

pmapma In a letter to the Produce Marketing Association Board of Directors, Chair Joe Don Zetzsche has announced the creation of a task force to advise PMA and Center for Growing Talent on its commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the produce and floral communities.  This letter comes at a time when the country is facing civil unrest due to systemic racism, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other geopolitical challenges.  As a global association, PMA recognizes the importance of creating a diverse and inclusive community to ensure the industry can attract and develop diverse talent with a broad array of background and perspectives, ideas, and skillsets.

PMA released a statement on systemic racism several weeks ago in which it promised to listen, study, and propose a plan of action that aligns with its mission and vision to help the industry prosper to grow a healthier world. Over the past few weeks, PMA has engaged in several conversations with experts including a conversation between PMA CFO Dr. Yvonne Bull and Audra Bohannon, senior client partner at Korn Ferry, about how unconscious bias impacts workplace culture and how companies can act to create a culture of inclusion. 

This is in addition to the Virtual Town Hall held on July 15, featuring Johnny Taylor Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Society for Human Resource Management, Rachel Cheeks-Givan, global director of diversity and inclusion for Pfizer, and James Harris, director of diversity and inclusion at H-E-B.  The conversation was moderated by Center for Growing Talent Executive Director Doug Bohr and provided insight into the benefits of creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace and how a diverse and inclusive workforce can improve business performance.

“As we seek to bring the produce and floral communities together to grow a healthier world, we must acknowledge the barriers our societal systems and unwritten beliefs have created and work to dismantle them,” said Zetzsche. “Creating access and inclusion to people of all backgrounds and identities will make our industry stronger as we continue to welcome opportunities to increase our diversity of thought, ideas, and leadership.”

In his letter, Zetzsche identified the first steps PMA will take in light of this commitment to dismantle industry barriers. Understanding that change requires industry leadership, PMA and Center for Growing Talent will launch a volunteer diversity and inclusion task force to be led by Doug Bohr, executive director of CGT, and chaired by Zetzsche.

“As the world has been forced to confront the impacts and scale of the global pandemic, many other inequities have been exposed,” said PMA CEO, Cathy Burns. “We will continue to listen, reflect and learn, but as we promised, when we respond it will be with action. I’m proud of the steps we’re taking to make our industry more diverse and inclusive, and I am especially grateful for Joe Don’s leadership in these efforts.”

PMA and CGT will provide additional details to these long-term commitments as they become available. 


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