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The United Fresh Produce Association has made several staff promotions aimed to create strong team alignment for enhanced member services.
Victoria Backer was promoted to EVP, with a mandate to lead the association in all aspects of organizational development, management and operations. Backer will have several key areas of responsibility, including staff and organizational development and volunteer leadership development. She will also lead the new United Fresh Start Foundation and its mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
In supporting the new United Foundation, Andrew Marshall was promoted to director, foundation programs & partnerships. Marshall has been effective in building United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative and its school foodservice programs, and will now lead these efforts for the new foundation.
Lorelei DiSogra will continue her collaboration with Backer and Marshall as United’s nutrition policy leader in the public health and policy community. In addition, United Fresh VP Jeff Oberman will add to his current portfolio in trade relations, working with Backer in fundraising to help grow the foundation and member involvement.
Miriam Wolk has also been named to the role of VP of member services, adding direct program responsibility to her membership recruitment and retention portfolio. She will drive member engagement in United’s core programs such as the Produce Industry Leadership Program, Cornell Produce Executive Development Program, USDA Inspection Training, Retail Managers and Foodservice awards, convention education programs and more.
John Toner has also been named to lead United’s multi-disciplinary staff team that works on the United Fresh convention as VP of convention and industry collaboration. As United’s partnerships with the Food Marketing Institute, the International Floral Exposition and potential future new partners expand, Toner will coordinate collaborative efforts to better serve United Fresh members.
“Congratulations to these team leaders on their increasing responsibilities to deliver the highest possible value to our members,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president/CEO. “These new assignments will further enable United’s talented staff to enhance and expand their service to the association in many key areas as they work to foster innovation and growth for our members.”
In related news, Ray Gilmer, United's VP of issues management and communications, is departing the association at the end of this month to lead a Maryland college's public relations department. Gilmer, who joined United Fresh in 2009, joins Rockville, Md.-based Montgomery College as its VP of communications beginning in November.