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California Represented in First-Ever National Blueberry Industry Leadership Program

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) announced the first cohort of fellows accepted into its Blueberry Industry Leadership Program. The program, launched in March, is designed to elevate up-and-coming leaders in the blueberry industry by providing in-depth training, industry education and connection to other ag leaders for passionate blueberry professionals across the supply chain.

“We’re thrilled to welcome this group of leaders as our inaugural class of fellows,” said Amanda Griffin, USHBC’s vice president of engagement and education. “These ag professionals will guide the blueberry industry into a bright future, and we can’t wait to be a part of their journey by helping to add to their knowledge, experience and level of connection.”

Selected as inaugural fellows in the program are:
 Christina Butler, Director of NW and NJ Business Units, MBG Marketing
 Gonzalo de Elizalde, Blueberry Product Leadership Sr. Director, Driscoll’s
 Ernesto Diaz, Director of Operations, Berry Brothers
 Anna Jesse, Vice President, Forest Hills Farms Inc.
 Karan Kohli, Account Manager, Mastronardi Produce
 Scott Mainord, SE Regional Sales Manager, WECO
 Luke McCreesh, N.A. Blueberry Operations Manager, California Giant Berry Farms 
 Jennifer Pulcipher, Director of Food Safety & Compliance, North Bay Produce Inc.
 Darren Sinn, Northwest Business Manager, Berry Fresh LLC
 Micah Weiss, Sales and Grower Support, Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc.

The Blueberry Industry Leadership Program is the first of its kind in the blueberry industry and will help fellows grow their leadership skill set, learn from decades-long industry leaders and develop their network of connections. Professional development within the industry is a priority as members of the blueberry industry work together to make blueberries the No. 1 berry in sales volume and premium value. Fellows in the new program will lead the industry into its next period of growth.

The fellows will begin their training this summer and continue through next year, taking an interactive approach to leadership development through hands-on training, immersive learning experiences, engagement with key industry players and exposure to the many components of the produce supply chain.

Fellows will participate both virtually and in person, traveling four times over the course of the curriculum through August 2023, with a graduation ceremony taking place at the 2023 USHBC fall meetings.

The second group of fellows to enter the program will be selected in the fall of 2023.

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