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Hass Avocado Board makes BOLD moves

As the booming $7 billion avocado industry in the U.S. is continually navigating opportunities as well as challenges that impact its future, emerging leaders are stepping forward and investing their passion and time for the betterment of the whole industry through the Hass Avocado Board’s Board Leadership Development (BOLD) program. With one inaugural class graduated and the second class of 12 seated and soon to finish the curriculum in March 2023, the fresh avocado industry follows closely the growing promise tied to participants and their path forward to board participation and beyond.

The year-long BOLD program engages top industry experts to teach business skills through custom modules at the University of California, Davis and in partnership with the Agricultural Trade Education Council.  Highlights include diverse, in-person speakers from the avocado grower associations, HAB executive team and the USDA sharing firsthand knowledge of key industry resources, priorities and procedures. The consolidation of essential information and recommendations is a core benefit as it would otherwise take years to gather these valuable insights. Graduates are well-rounded and better problem-solvers thanks to a more sophisticated understanding of the complex needs that have shaped the past and continue to challenge the future of the avocado industry in the U.S.

“BOLD’s strategic approach to prepare future leaders has quickly earned the respect and support of all major avocado grower associations doing business in the U.S.,” said John McGuigan, director of industry affairs for the Hass Avocado Board. “We are pleased HAB has been able to bring the industry together to prioritize identifying, motivating and equipping the next generation of leaders. BOLD brings out the best in all of us.”

The members of BOLD Class 2 are:

  • Casey Evans Beltran, producer/importer, La Bonanza Avocados
  • Maureen Cottingham, producer, Camlam Farms Inc.
  • Caitlin Cunha, producer/importer, Del Rey Avocado
  • Hillary DeCarl, producer/importer, Del Rey Avocado
  • Elizabeth Flores, producer/importer, Mission Produce
  • Gwen Jackimek, producer/importer, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc.
  • Osvaldo Magaña, producer, Limoneira Co.
  • Carlos Ignacio Valerio Medel, producer, Fruitval S.A. de C.V.
  • Jeff Onstot, producer/importer, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA
  • Jose Daniel Pardo, producer/importer, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA
  • John Patrick, producer/importer, Eco Farms
  • LeighAnne Thomsen, importer, Calavo Growers

In March 2023, BOLD Class 2 graduates will be board-ready potential candidates for the Hass Avocado Board, California Avocado Commission, Mexican Hass Avocado Importer Association, Peruvian Avocado Commission, Colombia Avocado Board and Chilean Avocado Importers Association. The immersion provided by BOLD will help them better meet business goals for their companies which in turn strengthens the industry and creates jobs and benefits for surrounding communities.

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