It wasn’t long ago that we ran a piece entitled, Association President Needed In Southern California. They didn’t want to say the name of the association but you didn’t have to be a produce Einstein to figure it out. Now the official word is out:
CARISSA MACE NAMED AS PRESIDENT OF THE
FRESH PRODUCE & FLORAL COUNCIL
The Fresh Produce & Floral Council (FPFC) is pleased to announce that Carissa Mace has been selected as president of the organization. Her selection is the result of a six-month, nationwide search process conducted by the FPFC.
Mace has 11 years of experience working for trade associations in the produce and floral industry, most recently serving as the Director of U.S. Business Development for the Produce Marketing Association, and an additional eight years of experience in the nonprofit/association profession. She is an active member in two professional organizations — the American Society of Association Executives and the California Society of Association Executives.
“The FPFC Search Committee is proud to bring such a highly qualified candidate to the position of FPFC President. Carissa will bring solid industry experience and management expertise to the Council. We are looking forward to her leadership in the organization,” says FPFC Chairman and Chair of the Search Committee, Raul Gallegos.
Mace will assume the role of FPFC President on Monday, December 10, 2007.
Carissa was honored in 2005 as an inaugural member of Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS’ roster of 40 under Forty — a recognition of up-and-coming industry talent. Here is what we wrote at the time:
Mace came to the produce industry in a roundabout way. Her background was in fund-raising for non-profit organizations, and she happened to luck into the Food Industry’s Circle for City of Hope. Here the story begins to unfold.
Mace quickly discovered her favorite group of volunteers was the retail folks from the produce/floral side. At the time, Dick Spezzano was vice president of produce/floral for Vons and the co-chairman of the Fresh Produce and Floral Council, along with Kerry Hodges (who is now retired from Ralph’s). Committee meetings were held at 5:00 am at the Los Angeles Wholesale Market.
“I soon found out what a wholesale market was and that Los Angeles traffic is quite a breeze at four in the morning. But more importantly, what I found was a group of individuals who were dedicated, hard-working and fun,” she says, adding, “We brought in over $600,000 toward the cause of cancer research that year.”
Mace became connected with FPFC and president Linda Stine through City of Hope and was thrilled when a position handling events and membership development became available. She ran with it for five years, growing the annual trade show, expanding into the foodservice area and coordinating produce and floral tours to educate store level retail personnel.
In 2001, Mace couldn’t pass up an opportunity to join PMA, the “big gun” in the produce association world under Bryan Silbermann’s leadership, she says.
PMA had never had a business development department before; most sales were spread out among various event managers. She visits companies and attends industry functions, networking and gaining market intelligence to serve the industry better.
“The friendships I’ve developed with my mentors in the industry have been both professionally and personally rewarding,” says Mace. Among them, she calls Jan DeLyser of the California Avocado Commission, “the gold standard of what a woman in produce should be. She serves as a great inspiration for what I want to be when I grow up in the produce industry.”
It is interesting; Dick Spezzano, Kerry Hodges and other retail produce executives were looking to give to society at large through The City of Hope and they wound up getting the produce industry a new leader.
In any case, Carissa is an ideal candidate. Having worked at FPFC, she knows the organization and culture well. Having worked at PMA, she also knows how a much larger, national organization functions. This intimate knowledge opens the door for even closer collaboration between the two associations.
And Carissa surely knows how to deal with any produce diva who may come along. She cut her eye teeth working at the New York Opera after studying arts administration at the NYU’s famed Tisch School Of The Arts.
Carissa will be taking the place of Linda Stine, who will be retiring. Here is Linda’s mini-bio:
Linda Stine joined the staff of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council in March 1995 as Executive Vice President, continuing a 21-year career as a professional in management of Trade Associations and Business Councils. New to the produce industry in 1995, she became involved in committees and boards of allied industry associations attending seminars and meetings of the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Produce for Better Health Foundation, the Alliance for Food and Farming, California 5 a Day-California Department of Health, in order to build her knowledge of the industry.
Educated at Southwest Missouri University, Linda continued her education at the Institute of Organization Management, a specialized Association Management program held at Stanford University and UCLA. She is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives and has served on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Society of Association Executives.
In 1997 the title of Executive Vice President of the FPFC was changed to President. She also serves as Corporate Secretary of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council.
Linda has presided over a great portion of the growth of the FPFC, including efforts in both Northern California and Arizona. With a background in association management, she has demonstrated the importance of that skill set in an industry where the board can often provide the produce knowledge.
We wish Linda a fulfilling retirement and congratulate Carissa on her new position. May both know only success and happiness in their new endeavors.