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While globalization opens a world of opportunity to today's produce sector, added complexities and demands also leave companies and their brand reputations open to greater risks. Naturally, these challenges fall to top executives for clarification. Business leaders in the produce industry who attend the 2012 Produce Marketing Association's Foundation for Industry Talent Leadership Symposium will gain expert counsel on these complex matters from Todd Buchholz, a business, economics and geopolitics authority, and Clyde Fessler, an accomplished marketing strategist formerly with Harley-Davidson. Mr. Buchholz and Mr. Fessler will kick off the first day of discussions at this educational leadership event, which will be held Jan. 18-20 in Dallas at Omni Dallas Park West.

Past attendees identify the exceptional speaker lineup and retreat-like setting of this annual Foundation event, conducted in partnership with Cornell University, as contributing factors that enhance relevance and interaction to drive success for the organizations they represent.

"I would highly suggest attending the Leadership Symposium to any produce executive," Kristen Reid, senior recruiter at MIXTEC Group and 2011 PMA Foundation Leadership Symposium attendee, said in a press release. "The symposium gives you a chance to challenge the way you think in an environment that energizes you to utilize new ideas once you get back to the office."

Mr. Buchholz's career runs from the White House to Wall Street, and the Associated Press has said he "lights up economics with a wickedly sparkling wit." He will be working with symposium attendees to help them understand the importance of global interaction and how it can be used to position their companies for success. Mr. Buchholz also will explore the flip side of the coin, demonstrating how companies that fail to consider globalization take excessive risks and sometimes fail. Attending executives will better understand where their businesses fit in, how to cope with an increasingly complex regulatory environment and how to minimize risk.

Mr. Fessler opens Thursday afternoon's discussion by encouraging attendees to view their products as more than just commodities and to make branding a component of their companies' strategic direction -- a tactic Mr. Fessler successfully orchestrated firsthand. From 1977 to 2002, he served as director of marketing services, general sales manager, vice president of general merchandising and vice president of business development for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., and he played a key role in developing its strategic direction. He will help symposium attendees understand how their brands should embody the needs of the consumer, their corporate culture and their people in order to achieve longevity and sustainability. He also will walk through the early warning signs of failed innovation and address how to mitigate risks associated with failed business models.

"The PMA Foundation Leadership Symposium was two of the most professionally enriching days of my life," said Jeff Correa, the Pear Bureau Northwest's international marketing director, after attending the 2011 symposium. "Between the speakers' ideas that were generated and the connections that were made, I now have the tools to adapt these key learnings to practical business application."

To maintain the intimate, collegial environment, registration for the two-and-a-half-day Leadership Symposium is limited to 75 senior executives who represent the top three or four decision makers in a business. In addition to Mr. Buchholz, Mr. Fessler and other high-level speakers, the symposium includes networking and relationship-building opportunities through dinners, receptions and small-group discussions led by facilitators. Visit the 2012 PMA Foundation for Industry Talent Leadership Symposium web site for more information, and apply by Dec. 30 for your opportunity to attend.