We have been able to observe a lot of produce people and, for the most part, they work extremely hard. They are passionate about their products and they do, for the most part, a pretty incredible job of bringing the fruit of the earth to the people of the world.
Yet we have consistently found that the people who come to know the greatest success are those who are willing to invest the time to gain knowledge and experience outside of the parameters of whatever they happen to be doing. Even networking, when done right, is not just about finding people to do business with today; it is about building up a network to do business with tomorrow.
That plays out in unexpected ways. Now that there is a New York Produce Show and Conference, we need to get speakers and other dignitaries to attend, and it is hard work. But it is much easier because we have a “Golden Rolodex” that was built up throughout the years, because long before the event was a gleam in anyone’s eye, we were off going to trade shows, going to conferences, exchanging business cards, taking notes, reaching out in every possible way.
We have a friend whose long established family business has not been going well, and he personally, although he has aspirations to become CEO of the business, has little experience outside a very particular silo in which he works.
We are trying to encourage him to come to The New York Produce Show and Conference. We pointed out to him that he has little international experience in a world that is going global, so we said he should come to The Global Trade Symposium. We told him to look over the program as you can do here:
Then we pointed out that though his company sells plenty that winds up in foodservice, neither he nor anyone else at his company actually knows very much about that either. He has rarely met a chef, doesn’t read culinary magazines, etc. So we suggested he attend the “IDEATION FRESH” Foodservice Forum and pointed him in the direction of that program, which you can read here:
Then we pointed out that there is a main program filled with speakers from Cornell, Rutgers, St. Joseph’s, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware and the University Degli Studi Di Scienze Gastronomiche in Italy. We pointed out that this is all cutting-edge research that would position him ahead of his competitors.
Plus there are networking events, a chance to interact in a giant trade show, tours, chef demos and so much more.
It is not certain whether our friend will come. He has the usual excuses: “It is going to be a crazy week,” and “One of my co-workers is on vacation,” and various other stuff. Yet we consider it in many ways a test. For if our friend doesn’t break out of his silo, he will never be the businessperson he could have become, and the family business will never be the business it could have been.
We consider these losses of business and human potential to be terrible, despairing losses.
Putting together a trade show and conference is a funny business; you do all this work and then wonder who will actually show up.
Well, many thousands have made plans, reserved hotels and will certainly be there, but we thought we would write this piece for the thousands more who could be there — who SHOULD be there, but who allow themselves to get caught in the mud, to keep spinning their wheels. Life presents opportunities, and the challenge is to allow oneself to rise to meet those opportunities.
And The New York Produce Show and Conference is most definitely one of those opportunities.
We have a little video that was shot last year that gives voice to people who wanted to explain why they found value in their trip to The New York Produce Show and Conference. We haven’t run it mostly because one of the speakers was a little too kind to the Pundit, and we were embarrassed to get so much praise in what is decidedly a team effort with the Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine.
Still, if we can motivate just a few people to get up off their chair, break through the bonds of same-old, same-old that define their work, if we can get just a few people to come closer to realizing their potential because they came and attended The New York Produce Show and Conference, then we will have achieved a great deal.
So here, in their own words, are what a few people had to say about their visit to The New York Produce Show and Conference.
If you are ready to seize the moment and be the best you can be, you can register for the event right here.