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Mentors in the Making

Megan Zweig, President, DMA Solutions

For centuries, our ancestors used the stars as guides. Whether it was looking to the gleaming beacon of the North Star to steer their journeys or using constellations to determine the seasons and keep track of history through larger-than-life stories, these orbs of light have helped define the success of humanity.

Therefore, it only makes sense that the mystical stars twinkling above were what fated Megan Zweig’s entry into the produce industry, mapping out her career to the present day. At least, that’s how she tells it.

“My start in the industry was pure chance,” she says. “I worked for a tech marketing and public relations agency in Dallas, Texas, and my co-worker introduced me to Dan’l Mackey Almy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DMA Solutions. That’s when things suddenly clicked. I had lived in California before, and my family had always grown produce. When Dan’l offered me a job marketing for companies that supplied fruits and vegetables, I knew I had found my place in the work world.”

From that auspicious moment on, Megan knew that the stars had aligned for her. At 30 years old, she learned how important it is to do what you’re passionate about, and that if you embark on your journey with this goal, success will follow. Because of this valuable lesson, Megan sees Dan’l as one of her strongest mentors and leaders.

“Dan’l has believed in me since day one. She has always given me permission to screw up and learn from those lessons as DMA Solutions grew over the years,” Megan explains. “She understands that I’m motivated by the freedom to think and act on my instincts and has always had my back.”

"When Dan’l offered me a job marketing for companies that supplied fruits and vegetables, I knew I had found my place in the work world.”

Megan Zweig, President, DMA Solutions

Recently, Megan came full circle in her relationship with Dan’l: She was entrusted with the role of President of DMA Solutions.

“I see it as a great symbol of earned trust and respect that she chose to pass the baton to me,” adds Megan. “That is almost more important than the role itself. The confidence and the regard that I’ve earned from Dan’l is a gift!”

In her new role, and after more than 15 years of working alongside renowned produce companies, the ebb and flow of shopper trends, marketing methods, and innovation continue to drive her love of fruits and vegetables.

“Over my tenure in the industry, consumers’ perspectives about fresh food have changed so much, and I think a lot of that has to do with social media and online marketing,” Megan relays. “From my perspective as a marketer, we’ve gained critical shopper insights that made us confident about our approach to building loyalty for fresh produce brands. As a result, brands, varietals, and fresh food have gained popularity and interest, and this momentum is what fuels me.”

Helping Megan maneuver the evolving fresh produce marketing space was her close friend, confidant, and mentor, Nichole Towell, Senior Director of Marketing and Packaging Procurement for Duda Farm Fresh Foods. Like Ursa Major, Nichole has helped Megan navigate the produce world, showing her behind the scenes of product production and development.

“Nichole was one of my first mentors in the fresh produce industry and taught me about farming and family farming,” Megan states. “She has always helped me see reality from the grower’s lens, and her teachings have served me tremendously in my growth over the years. Lucky for me, Nichole is also one of my great friends in life!”

“From my perspective as a marketer, we’ve gained critical shopper insights that made us confident about our approach to building loyalty for fresh produce brands. As a result, brands, varietals, and fresh food have gained popularity and interest, and this momentum is what fuels me.”

Plucking more motivation from vibrant women in produce, Megan looked to Jackie Caplan Wiggins and Karen Caplan as sisterly guides, resembling the Pleiades, informing the dynamics of her industry relationships while serving as inspirations for career balance.

“They showed me what business leadership looked like with a right-hand woman by their side. I always learn by observing how they arrive at decisions together or even debate one another healthily,” Megan describes. “I’ve admired their ability to juggle motherhood and running a business. They never apologize for it, because the business provides for their family and has created a legacy and pathway for other women to follow.”

With Megan’s legacy in the industry already playing out, forming its constellation in the sky above the produce industry, she has a few words of wisdom for those starting their path, all derived from her cosmic adventure.

“Trust yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Nobody expects you to be perfect, so aim for excellence instead,” she imparts. “Be yourself and have fun. As long as you put in the effort with a healthy attitude and perspective, the world is your oyster.”

Someday, I have a feeling that Megan’s constellation, twinkling brightly, will be one that future industry members search the sky for to guide their career journey.The Snack Endstop


The Mentors

Here is what they have to say about Megan...


Dan’l Mackey Almy,

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, DMA Solutions

“Megan is a jewel of a human, leader, and friend. After knowing and working with her for over 15 years, I can confidently say that she is not only one of the best marketing minds in our industry, she is also a well-respected leader with integrity, open-mindedness, grit, and compassion. She works tirelessly to serve this industry, our clients, and our team, as well as people beyond the workplace as a mother, wife, daughter, and friend.”

 

Nichole Towell,

Senior Director of Marketing and Packaging Procurement, Duda Farm Fresh Foods

“Working alongside Megan during her tenure in the produce industry has been so rewarding. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude are not only infectious for everyone around her but also make her an absolute pleasure to work with. Megan is a lifelong learner and continuously seeks betterment opportunities for herself and her team. It’s an honor and a privilege to have been a part of Megan’s growth and professional journey, and I look forward to watching her continue on her leadership path. She is truly an inspirational human being and overall an amazing example for other professionals—I’m proud to say the mentorship has been mutual.”

 

Karen Caplan,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Frieda’s

“What I love about Megan is her passion and enthusiasm for produce, balanced with her serious nature. She’s not afraid to tell you what you need to hear, and does it with gentle kindness. She often tells me that seeing how my sister and business partner, Jackie, and my daughter, Alex Jackson (Director of Sales) work through business issues and disagreements has been a great role model for her relationship with Dan’l.”

 

Jackie Caplan Wiggins,

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Frieda’s

“I first met Megan almost 10 years ago when she joined DMA Solutions, and there were several things that immediately stood out. First and foremost, although her background wasn’t in fresh produce, she had a keen understanding of what made our industry tick. During our first meeting, she was super engaged and clearly had a flair for marketing fresh fruits and vegetables.

I have always been impressed by how dedicated Megan is to her clients and to the industry as a whole. She is wicked smart and has an amazing spirit, both of which have clearly led to her success as a leader. When she applied for the United Fresh Leadership program, I had no hesitation writing her a letter of recommendation. Later, it came as no surprise when she was accepted into this exclusive program, and, most recently, when she was promoted to President of DMA Solutions.

I feel incredibly lucky to know Megan both as an industry colleague and a friend. One only has to check out her Instagram posts to see that she is a dedicated, loving partner to her husband Aaron, and an adoring mother to their son Cooper. Congratulations, Megan, on your most recent promotion and continued success. You rock!”