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September MVP Highlights: Michele McNeece

September MVP Highlights: Michele McNeece

Trying to pin down the charm of Michele McNeece is an impossible task, but it’s one I’ll take to gladly. A blend of candor and competitive spirit, the National Director of Business Development for Ippolito International has been in the produce game for nearly four decades—and she’s garnered a drive I consider synonymous with the industry itself. Clocking 14 and a half years with Ippolito, Michele shares with me her takeaways from working in the sales department and the advice she’d pass on to the next generation. A fair warning: The next generation has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Michele McNeece

National Director of Business Development, Ippolito International

Time at Ippolito International: 14½ Years

What Your Role Is Really Like

“Col-lab-o-ra-tor (noun) - a person who works jointly on projects, building business, and relationships.”

How Sales Becomes A Life Lesson

“I have always been fiercely competitive by nature—just ask my sister, Lisa! I love to challenge myself in both my personal and professional life, which means never taking no for an answer. It may not always end the way you hoped it would, but you never know unless you give it 100 percent. Sales has provided me the opportunity to travel to many destinations, create relationships, and build the passion that is necessary to grow and improve oneself.”

A Mentor Mentored: Those Who Have Shaped Michele

My Mother,

A single parent who raised four children on her own. She instilled the independence and drive in me and my siblings to succeed in life and fulfill our dreams.

Charlie Watts, Retired Owner, Cream of the Crop,

He believed in me and gave me my first job in the produce industry.

Dave Adrian, Retired Owner, Coastline; Founder, Sunsation,

He gave me my first Sales job. He was an exceptional role model. I watched and learned and was truly inspired.

Butch Corda, Retired General Manager, Growers Express and Ippolito,

Such a wealth of knowledge. He provided me with so much insight at the field level and much, much more!

Surprise Us

“I have a big love for animals. I currently have three English Labradors; Oliver, Charlie, and Emie; a 3 lb Yorkie, Piper, who is The Boss; and two cats that I rescued, Milo and Sixie, named of course because she has six toes! I am in the process of training Emie as an emotional support dog so that I can take her around to hospitals and senior living facilities. The unconditional love and companionship that animals provide have taught me the importance of patience, compassion, and commitment to both myself and others.”


“Don’t allow technology to take over the necessary communication to customers. Building relationships is imperative in this industry and life in general. In other words, pick up the forking phone!”