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US: Jan DeLyser to chair PMA

On October 25 produce industry veteran Jan DeLyser officially assumed the role of Produce Marketing Association (PMA) chair, as the association kicked off Fresh Summit 2012 with a theme of “Say Hello to the Future”.

DeLyser begins her PMA chairmanship nearly a quarter century after she first volunteered for PMA as a member of the education committee in 1988. At the time she was working at the Fresh Produce and Floral Council. Now vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission (CAC), DeLyser also served on PMA’s Retail Board from October 2001 to October 2004, and has served on the PMA Board from 2008 to the present. She is in the second of a three-year term, and has served on the Governance Committee, chaired the Brand Identity Committee and actively supports membership recruitment.

“Jan DeLyser has an ability to instantly put others at ease in any situation. Part of that is her down-to-earth Midwest upbringing; part is her genuine interest in helping people be the best they can be. It’s that desire to inspire that makes her such a wonderful person and a natural born leader,” said Bryan Silbermann, PMA president “Jan is a consummate consensus builder and communicator trusted by our directors to let all points of view be heard. She’s shown repeatedly in her patient and nurturing facilitation that she puts the wisdom of the group before the rightness of her personal opinion.”

Key focus areas for Jan and PMA during her term are expected to include: revisiting PMA’s landmark 2008 Strategic Plan and championing the increasingly global face of PMA. Jan has experience in these areas, particularly having been a key contributor to trans-border cooperation within the avocado industry. Silbermann said he also expects Jan to be a “wonderful role model” for the expansion of PMA’s women’s leadership programs, especially the new Women’s Fresh Perspectives Leadership Conference debuting in April together with the world-renowned Simmons School of Management. As the second female chair of PMA (the first was another Jan – Janet Erickson) Jan will be perfectly placed to show young women the opportunities for industry leadership and career growth. Silbermann believes that is particularly important to those looking to enter the industry as well as women already in it.

“People are our industry’s greatest asset and Jan places such an emphasis on growing talent at every level. Expect her to focus a lot of attention on developing leadership at all levels,” said Silbermann.

In her opening comments for the Fresh Summit Sunday General Session, DeLyser gave a heartfelt acknowledgement of the support of her family, thanked the industry for allowing her to serve as PMA “chair- man-woman-person” and pledged to continue her long-time commitment to growing fresh produce consumption.

“To say hello to the future, the produce industry needs to focus on connection, collaboration, and communication,” said DeLyser. “I want to thank my predecessor Rich Dachman for doing such a great job, and send a special thank you to CAC for championing the produce industry by encouraging volunteerism and supporting my service to PMA.”

CAC promotes volunteerism by its staff members as a way to foster industry growth, networking and professional development. Additional CAC staff members have served or are serving on PMA committees, including the Fresh Summit planning committee, as well as regional produce organizations. CAC staff also volunteer for civic and charitable organizations such as City of Hope.

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