How We Grow

2020 May/June How We Grow

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ALMOND COMMUNITY ABC Program Produces Lifelong Leaders In 2014, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled, "From Purpose to Impact," in which authors Nick Craig and Scott A. Snook explain the steps people can take to identify their purpose and develop an "impact plan" to help them put that purpose into action. 1 To Craig and Snook, as well as multiple executives they spoke with, this "purpose to impact" journey is "the single most important developmental task you can undertake as a leader," regardless of your position or ranking, and deeply affects both people's professional and personal lives. This concept of shaping future leaders by helping them refine their purpose and exposing them to outlets where they can grow their passions – and ultimately make an impact – plays heavily into the mission of the Almond Board of California's (ABC) Almond Leadership Program. The Almond Leadership Program is a year-long experience during which participants are stretched both personally and professionally, refining their skills to better serve as future leaders to the California almond industry. Each class completes specialized training in a wide variety of topic areas, many of which are tied to ABC activities in marketing, trade stewardship, research, food safety and more. Participants are also paired with volunteer mentors who share their personal knowledge and experience, leading to greater awareness of industry opportunities. Another key element of the program is service. Upon graduation, Leadership participants are called to lead in distinct two ways: in service to the California almond industry and to their local communities. "Many people think the Almond Leadership Program is an intense 12-month commitment, and while that's true, it's so much more," said Jenny Nicolau, ABC's senior manager of Industry Relations and Communications. "Since the inception of the program in 2009, the vision has been to 'cultivate and inspire passionate leaders for years to come.' The real testament of a participant's learning comes after the program concludes – that's when the rubber meets the road. Graduates who get involved in industry and community events are the real leaders, and the ones who will shape our industry for generations to come." Micah Zeff of Montpelier Nut Co. is one example among others of what this "rubber meets the road" concept looks like. Zeff, who graduated from the first Leadership class in 2009, now sits on ABC's Board of Directors and serves as a mentor to the Leadership program. He said the Leadership program sparked his desire to get involved and give back to the California almond industry "The Leadership program provided me insight into various Almond Board committees and programs and allowed me to acquaint myself with many industry members up and down the state," Zeff said. "I would highly encourage anyone starting out in our industry to apply for the Almond Leadership Program." Graduating into greater service Katie Staack-Dorsett, facility manager for Grizzly Nut LLC, participated in the Leadership program in 2017. She said the program opened her eyes to everything the Almond Board does on behalf of the almond community and the possibilities that exist for involvement in industry leadership positions. "When I was thinking about applying for the program, my dad and I were having a lot of conversations about the need for our family and Grizzly Nut, as a whole, to be more involved with the industry," Staack- Dorsett said. "Our goal was to be more involved not just to represent Grizzly Nut, but to represent and educate all of our Fifth-generation grower Daniel Bays (right) is Vice Chair of ABC's Strategic Ag Innovation Committee, which aims to be the "strategic forward thinker" for the almond industry. "Through the Leadership program, I learned about what the Almond Board does on our behalf and how we as growers and handlers can contribute to the Board's efforts in order to continue the success of this industry." — Daniel Bays 1 Micah Zeff 17

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