Becky Roberts | Director, Floral and New Initiatives at Produce Marketing Association
What has initially triggered your interest in the world of flowers?
Besides the beauty, visual appeal, the heavenly scents, flowers just make me happy ?
How long have you been professionally engaged in the flower industry?
For more than 15 years, I have worked with the PMA team to grow our floral community, develop and deliver value to our floral members, and collaborate with members and other organizations to address the issues and challenges facing the floral industry.
What are some significant milestones in your career? Can you briefly describe some of your most special or most appreciated projects?
Of course, one of my significant milestones was becoming Director of Floral at PMA! PMA has helped grow the value we provide by holding two annual floral-specific events – Fresh Connections: Floral Miami in May and Fresh Connections: Floral Anaheim in June. In addition, we created a floral destination area on the Fresh Summit expo floor known as the Floral Marketplace. We also showcase first-time exhibitors within the Marketplace. I’m also proud of PMA’s collaboration with data aggregators to develop Point-of-Sale floral data for our industry. Such data can help us make informed business decisions to grow consumer demand, strengthen our bottom lines, and help spread the joy of fresh flowers and potted plants to consumers.
What are some common challenges that women face in this industry? And what kind of challenges have you encountered personally? How did you go about overcoming them?
For my generation of women, it was all about the challenge of balancing your life between work and home. How to be all things to all people (i.e. wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, employee) and to develop your personal understanding of what it will take to fulfill you as person. Everyone is different, and we must understand it will take different roles at different times to ensure you are meeting your personal needs. For me, it was being willing to try different things at different times, being open to a multitude of opportunities, and just go for it!! Through PMA’s Center for Growing Talent Women’s Fresh Perspective Conference, today’s women have the opportunity to experience the power of networking among women professionals activities provides encouragement, support, personal and professional growth to women in the industry.
What’s your best word of advice to young women starting out in this industry?
You must have a passion for the floral industry! Working in our industry is not easy, and you will need the passion to help keep you motivated and enjoying your work.
What do you love most about your work?
This is an easy question for me. As much as I love all our floral products, it is the PEOPLE in the industry that make my work so enjoyable. I have met so many wonderful, interesting, fun individuals over the past 15 years.
What’s your special flower (if there is a special one)? What flowers do you love most?
I have many special or favorite flowers because of the happy, joyful memories they elicit. For example, my wedding bouquet included gardenias, so each time I see or smell gardenias it generates a happy memory for me. Whenever I see potted poinsettia, I think of my many joyful Christmases.
Apart from flowers, what else are you passionate about?
I love to learn about historical, famous individuals and understand what made them noteworthy or influential and why that still resonates. Are they truly much different from the average person? What made them famous? I’m fascinated by the personal stories and learning about the experiences, circumstances and personalities of historical figures.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
The global floral industry includes many smart, passionate, driven people. Our products bring beauty, joy, a sense of well-being and respite to people and their surroundings. I’m confident that working collaboratively we’ll continue to innovate and grow as an industry, and consumers will buy and enjoy more flowers.
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