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Network is a critical component to business; connecting to people, building relationships, and finding ways that we can mutually benefit each other. It is why our trade shows, networking events, and meetings with customers are important to our team. It’s all about rekindling connection, face to face conversations that bring insight, and even kicking back and relaxing with industry friends.

None of this is a new idea, we have always worked to build our people networks, however, one part of networking that we should keep in mind is adding in the new. There are many conversations on the value of diversity in leadership, and one thing diversity does is bring outside perspectives that feed creativity and that creativity leads to innovative solutions. In fact our founder and managing partner says that, “New ideas are the lifeblood of a business.” It is no wonder that our team welcomes diversity, which comes in the shape of new people in the industry, a new generation taking up the reigns, and new connections and people from around the globe. Let’s take a look!

New to Industry

As businesses in produce add to their teams, some may and may not be from foodservice or produce. Industry experience is valuable, but talent coming from outside of the industry is helpful as well. It can bring new ideas, processes, and skills to the different components of a business from sales, marketing, and operations. Also, this welcome isn’t exclusive to our own teams, but to new people on other teams that we work with. Guiding newcomers on produce but remaining open to their unique experiences can merge into new ideas and approaches that benefit everyone.

New Generation

Another thing taking place in most industries is a generational shift. The baby boomer generation is retiring, Gen Xers have made their transition into leadership roles, and we are starting to see more millennials and a few Gen Z stepping into leadership. Each of these generations has a unique set of ideas and ideals that they bring to our teams and industry. A welcoming attitude to these rising generations will help with the communication gap that frequently happens. We do this by teaching them the industry all the while remaining open-minded to their ideas and ideals.

New Global Connections

Last, there is much value to be found in partnerships beyond our borders. Our industry is well acquainted with relationships with growers in Mexico and Central America with the produce import business. However, our interactions with other teams and our own team members from other countries brings valuable insight from different cultures and world views. This can lead to balance in our own thinking and approaches. Additionally, it provides an expansive perspective to our work as supply chains have and continue to be global. It is these world-wide exchanges that bring variety, security, and robustness to our own food supplies.

Welcome the New

Sometimes we are hesitant to welcome in new when it doesn’t fit within what we know and are familiar, however, new is not a replacement for the old! There’s an old saying that reminds us of this– “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” As we continuously build and maintain our existing network, we welcome in those who are new to the industry, our new generations, and our global connections. Over time all the silver that we collect by inviting the new into our networks will over time turn into gold.