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Rising Leaders Program

September 12-14, 2016

The Rising Leaders Program, held annually at the United Fresh Washington Conference, has grown in 2016! With 3 additional hours of education designed for produce industry up-and-comers who want to better understand the impact of public policy and the legislative process as it pertains to their business, the program is a must attend program. Success in today’s produce industry business environment is inherently linked to an understanding and ability to navigate the rules and regulations of government. Learn how you can play a critical role in shaping public policy to build a profitable business environment for the fresh produce industry.

Participants in the Rising Leaders Program must register for the Washington Conference and participate in both Monday and Wednesday portions. There is no additional cost to attend the Program.

Register Today


As a Rising Leader you will receive and learn to:

  • Discuss critical policy issues that affect the fresh produce industry
  • Effectively communicate with members of Congress, business leaders, and industry colleagues
  • Shape the future success of your company with public policy
  • Navigate the rules and regulations of our government
  • Develop a positive professional image that defines you as a leader
  • Identify the connection between elections and the future business environment
  • Serve as an advocates for your companies and the industry as a whole

Benefit to Employer:

  • Effective professional development for staff
  • Benefit from an employee more equipped to lead
  • Your staff will have the chance to build relationships and network with peers and high-profile leaders in the industry

Need support articulating the value of your attendance to your supervisor? Download the Convince Your Boss letter.

Schedule of EventsRising Leader Program

1509280091  1509280101

Monday, September 12

11:30 amCheck in
Noon – 12:30 pmLunch and Roundtable Discussion
Tony Freytag
, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Crunch Pak, Chairman of the Board, United Fresh Produce Association
12:30 pm – 1:15 pmImprove Your Likability, Improve Your Impact

Nationally-recognized expert Bill Graham keynotes the Rising Leader Seminar with a session that will inspire and help build young professionals into a more likable and memorable communicator within your company, industry and Capitol Hill.

If you are a leader, you sell ideas. If you are a salesperson, you sell products. Whatever you do, if customers and staff don’t like or remember you, they won’t buy what you are selling. Bill Graham will give you immediately usable likeability skills and a simple process that will help listeners remember and want to work with you. Learn how each of us can improve our likability to be a leader in our daily lives and make a positive difference. 

Keynote Speaker:
Bill Graham
President, Graham Corporate Communications

1:15 pm – 2:00 pmIntroduction to Capitol Hill: Why Congress Behaves the Way It Does

Build your grassroots and advocacy knowledge on a strong foundation with an overview of the second session of the 114th Congress, its members and key players. Robert will depict the differences between the House and Senate, nuances between personal and committee staff, the work of committees that are important to the fresh produce industry and caucuses. This session will prepare you for our March on Capitol Hill, offering insights into the thinking of elected officials and tips on how to make your messages memorable.

Robert McLean
Owner, REM Association Services

2:00 pm – 2:25 pmKey Business Issues: Washington, D.C. Policy

Learn how actions taken here in DC by Congress and the Administration directly impact your business’ viability and success.  Robert will provide background and talking points on all the key issues that you will discuss with your Member of Congress during the March on Capitol Hill. Learn why you need to take an active role in public policy to help shape your business future.

Robert Guenther
, Senior Vice President, United Fresh Produce Association

2:30 pm – 3:00 pmUnited States Capitol Rising Leaders Program Photo

Rising Leaders will depart promptly at 2:30 pm and walk to the north east steps of the U.S. Capitol building for a group photo. Following we will use the entrance of the Capitol Visitors Center, located at the backside of the U.S. Capitol Building on First Avenue, SE. The U.S. Capitol is a 15-minute walk (0.6 miles) from the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Maps will be available at the United Fresh registration desk and conference app.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pmRising Leaders Capitol Tour

The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. Join us for an exciting tour of the remarkable Capitol complex, hear from historical experts and take a few moments to see where a Bill really becomes a Law!

4:30 pm – 5:30 pmNew Member and First Time Attendee Welcome Reception (Optional)
Regency A Ballroom, Ballroom Level, Hyatt Regency

Join us at this special session to welcome our newest members and first-time Washington Conference attendees. This program offers an interactive overview of the association, how to maximize your engagement at the conference, and an opportunity to network.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pmOpening Reception at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum
Kogod Courtyard, The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum

Our week begins with the Washington Conference Opening Reception – the perfect opportunity and setting to catch up with colleagues and find political inspiration in preparation for Tuesday’s March on Capitol Hill. Join industry peers in the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery where portraits of every U.S. President, as well as men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development and culture of the United States, hang in galleries open for your enjoyment. 

When you’re not exploring the galleries, convene in the Kogard Courtyard for reception fare. During this event, you also can have your own portrait made by visiting our United Fresh Portrait Booth. Your professional headshot will be sent to you following the conference.

Tuesday, September 13

8:00 am – 5:30 pmFull Day of Washington Conference Events

All Rising Leaders will participate in the main Washington Conference activities including Opening Breakfast General Session, Education Sessions, General Session Luncheon and the March on Capitol Hill. 

Wednesday, September 14

8:00 am – 10:00 amGeneral Session Breakfast
Regency Ballroom, Ballroom Level, Hyatt Regency

Keynote Speakers:
John Block, Former Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture; Donald Trump Campaign
Dan Glickman, Former Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture; Hillary Clinton Campaign 

The 2016 Presidential Election is shaping up to be an historic event for the country. Hear from both the Clinton and Trump campaigns as both parties address the critical issues facing our industry and elaboration on ways their candidates plan to tackle these issues should they be elected our 45th President this November.

An Insider’s Look at the 2014 Elections

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Frank Luntz, Political Consultant

Named one of Time magazine’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 and a Fellow at Harvard University’s prestigious Institute of Politics, Frank Luntz is an outspoken conservative author, political pollster and advisor who has helped shape debates on our nation’s most critical issues. Enjoy his entertaining, behind-the-scenes perspective on how the 2016 presidential election will impact the produce industry.

The 2016 Washington Conference will conclude with the presentation of the United Fresh Advocate of the Year Award. Each year, United Fresh recognizes an organization that has gone above and beyond in advocacy on behalf of the fresh produce industry. Join us in celebrating this year’s award winner!

10:30 am – NoonExploring Opportunities: Mobilizing the Power of Fresh

Enjoy an action packed morning with industry peers, advocacy experts and your United Fresh grassroots team, learning ways to stay engaged once you leave DC and you are back at your desk. United Fresh is proud to advocate on behalf of the fresh produce industry, but also want to empower you and your company to become actively involved in the political process and help build a strong voice for produce 365 days a year. We will share easy and exciting ways to get involved and turning this week’s knowledge and inspiration into actionable activities that will empower you as a leader in your company and our industry.

Angela Bezon Tiwari
Director, Grassroots & Political Action, United Fresh Produce Association
Brendan Comito, Chief Operations Officer, Capital City Fruit Company, Inc.
Hilary Martin Long, Director of Business Development, Frey Farms
Erin Grether Lootens, Manager, Grassroots Coalitions, United Fresh Produce Association
Brittney Matousek, epiphany productions, inc., Lead Political Fundraiser, Chairman Mike Conaway, House Agriculture Committee
Wesley Van Camp, Vice President & General Counsel, Tanimura & Antle 

Noon – 12:30 pmLunch and Roundtable Discussion
12:30 pm – 1:30 pmBeyond Partisanship: Vision of the Future

Hear from Representative Rodney Davis who is leading the charge on Capitol Hill on many of our key issues for the fresh produce industry. He is known for developing a bipartisan community of Members of Congress as a member of the No Labels Caucus, seeking innovative long-term solutions to issues facing America’s next generation. He will share with our high-potential attendees, who want to drive our industry forward, effective strategies to strengthen our produce industry’s voice both here in Washington DC and back home in your congressional district. Hear what you can do to help drive future-oriented solutions to your business.

Keynote Speaker:

Chairman Rodney Davis
U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittees on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research

1:30 pmProgram Concludes

 Schedule subject to change.

What Others Are Saying

“My staff that have attended  grew with this program, expanded their personal industry network at an accelerated pace and felt a measure of pride to be involved in such a unique experience. Each of them returned grateful and motivated to help move the industry forward.”
– Brian Kocher, Immediate Past Chairman, United Fresh Board of Directors
Chief Operating Officer, Castellini Company LLC

“I left the Rising Leaders Seminar feeling empowered to influence change in my industry.  This is a must for anyone who wants to get more involved beyond just their day-to-day roles to influence good corporate citizenship and long-term viability of our industry and of their own business.”
– Natalie Erlendson, Program Marketing Manager, Sun World International, LLC

“Attending the rising leader seminar program was not only a unique experience but also an amazing opportunity. One quote from Mark Sanborn (a keynote speaker) that will forever shape my leadership style, ‘Leadership is an invitation to greatness we extend to others.’ I  encourage all new rising leaders to attend and for those that are already in leadership roles within their organizations to send others from their companies, as it truly was a priceless experience.”
– Aaron Hunter, Sales and Procurement, Caito Foods Service, Inc.

Shape Public Policy to Build a Profitable Business Environment for the Fresh Produce Industry

For more information on the Rising Leader Program, contact Angela Tiwari, Director of Grassroots and Political Action, at 202.303.3416.