Peruvian Onions

Mentors in the Making

Stephanie Myles is precisely the type of person you want in your corner. Brimming with enthusiasm and warmth, she knows how to make people feel instantly at ease—a rare gift that does wonders in our relationship-fueled industry.

Tracing her journey into produce takes us through Canadian greenhouses and across categories. For 10 years, Stephanie has been charting a course of excellence—and it’s one that began in Leamington, Ontario.

“My first role in the produce industry was with Mastronardi Produce®/SUNSET® as a Marketing Assistant. Over the course of five years, I was able to ingrain myself in its marketing department and learn from a group of talented peers, eventually taking on the role of Marketing Coordinator,” she shares with me.

Early in her career at Mastronardi Produce, she met Nancy Pickersgill, now International Fresh Produce Association’s Trade Show Coordinator. Stephanie explains that Nancy’s perspective and style of mentorship helped shape her career.

“Through her guidance, I learned all aspects of putting together and being a part of a successful show or event. She highlighted project management and focused on delivering the outcome—her teachings were and continue to be lessons that still help form my successes,” Stephanie notes.

Stephanie’s next role would be at Highline Mushrooms, where she initially started as a Marketing Specialist before rising up to Marketing Manager.

“As the Marketing Manager, I was able to be a part of all aspects of the marketing business, which allowed me to identify areas that were of true passion for me,” she remarks.

Finding that source of excitement was how she came to make her latest career move to Nature Fresh Farms, where she currently works as the Marketing Events Manager.

Before she made the jump to Nature Fresh Farms, Stephanie worked closely with her second mentor, Highline’s former Vice President of Marketing and Nature Fresh’s current Vice President of Marketing and Category Development, Jane Rhyno. Jane’s positive influence and guidance are some qualities Stephanie can rely on to this day.

“As the Marketing Manager, I was able to be a part of all aspects of the marketing business, which allowed me to identify areas that were of true passion for me.”

- Stephanie Myles, Marketing Events Manager, Nature Fresh Farms

“Her passion lies in mentorship, and this is evident in the time and care she takes with all her employees to help get them to where they want to go in their careers. I was no exception. From the day Jane hired me to work with her at Highline, she has always been an avid supporter—someone whom I respect greatly—and the model of leadership I aspire to achieve,” Stephanie adds.

Throughout her entire career, one person has been her constant cheerleader: Joe Sbrocchi, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Pure Flavor®. They met when she first started working at Mastronardi Produce, and under his tutelage, Stephanie learned the hallmarks of marketing that have remained with her.

“He has always been my loudest supporter and is there to listen no matter what,” she says with a smile. “If I have a problem I need help working through, Joe is there. If I need advice or words to push me to do more to set myself up for the most success in my career, he is there. He always believed in me and saw the potential I could bring to the table.”

One of the ways in which Stephanie excels in this industry is her knack for relationships and building a solid network of supporters, innovators, and up-and-comers.

“Fresh produce is a community I am proud to be a part of. Though vast, and, at times, competitive, in the end, we are a community that stands beside one another to push toward the collective good, and that is something to be admired,” she asserts.

When I first met Stephanie at the Organic Produce Summit in 2022, I was immediately struck by this thought: She gets it. The simplicity of this sentence might be a bit misleading, but for those of us in fresh, you understand. A produce mentality cannot be taught, and for Stephanie, it’s as natural as breathing. She could be asking you about your weekend plans in one breath and then discussing a marketing strategy in the next.

With her fresh journey only getting started, I know I’ll be turning to Stephanie for her take on driving consumption across the realm of fresh, all while eagerly waiting to learn more about the Stephanie of tomorrow.The Snack Endstop

The Mentors

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

Nancy Pickersgill,

Trade Show Coordinator, International Fresh Produce Association

Mentoring someone is a wonderful journey shared between people that are passionate about what they do, eager to learn from each other, and a real natural fit. You cannot force someone to learn or to do things one way. You must teach, share, be patient, and let go. When I first worked with Steph, I didn’t understand everything about managing a team until I learned more about how individuals interpret instructions. This was a valuable insight for me, it sounds simple but treating everyone as an individual is important when building that trusting work relationship, we need to rely on each other.

To say Stephanie is flexible is an understatement. With a deep breath and a smile, she switches gears in a heartbeat without hesitation—we all know the produce industry needs people like this. She is passionate about the industry, always gaining knowledge by taking the time to know the people and products around her. People want to spend time teaching her because of her eagerness, and her non-aggressiveness gets things done. She has a creative mind and outstanding work ethic, the perfect fit for marketing in the produce industry.

Jane Rhyno,

Vice President of Marketing and Category Development, Nature Fresh Farms

When I first hired Stephanie, I could see her passion for the job and also her desire to learn more and grow in her career. Over the past five years, I’ve watched her as she continually puts her time and effort behind that. She not only is someone you can count on to step up and get things done, but she’s also developed into a really vibrant member of this industry: gaining knowledge, making connections, and is now the Chair of the Young Professionals Network (YPN) where she shares her knowledge with the new generation in produce.

Joe Sbrocchi,

Senior Vice President of Business Development, Pure Flavor®

While I appreciate the kind accolades, I really believe that Stephanie simply brought the right ingredients to the table. Those being a ‘wonderful attitude’ and a sincere, unadulterated ‘ability to learn.’ She always brought a smile to everything she did. At that point in her career, her work meant that she was the junior ‘Miss Everything’ and many so-called insignificant tasks fell to her. I grew to feel that my role relative to Stephanie was to be her sounding board when it appeared her efforts were going unrecognized, acknowledge them, empathize when the multiple tasks seemed to be getting too much, and then remind her that all those so-called menial tasks would add up to a book of knowledge that could be the foundation of a promising career. And voilà, here she is! I’m very proud of her, but mostly because she never fails to bring her purpose and passion. Now she pays it forward every single day!