Some of us steel ourselves against the day. Others open and step into the fog or fight willingly, despite the promise of challenge or reward. This is the kind of mindset mentor-in-the-making Angela Hernandez occupies. Her contagious kindness and boundless passion generate a gravity not limited to fresh produce, but, luckily for us, influence it.
Sitting in her home in Fresno, California, Angela takes the temperature of our industry in her role as Director of Marketing for Trinity Fruit Company and as President and Co-Founder of Cultivate. From her seat on the sell-side and from the position as the visionary of a marketing agency providing a 360-degree perspective on go-to-market strategies respectively, Angela is a
powerhouse produce professional creating a destiny on her own terms. With the help of mentors whose gravity has helped shift her destiny, Angela has paved a path that others are sure to follow.
“My mom, Delia, worked in the office at Sun Valley Packing. The wonderful parents that they were—and still are—instilled in me and my siblings a drive to work for what we want,” Angela tells me, casting a line back to her roots and the foundation of her strong will and dedication. “My mom would say they’d get me what I needed, but if I wanted something, I had to learn the value of money and work for it.”
This lesson became a seed that sprouted the determination and passion that Angela is known for. So, there she was at 15 years old, working summers at the packinghouse. Angela remembers packing fruit one day and looking up at the catwalk and seeing a saleswoman walking a retailer down to show them the process.
“I thought to myself, ‘I could do her job one day,’” Angela reflects. “Little did I know at the time that words and manifestation are so powerful. That exact thought played out in my life, and I’m so thankful!”
After high school, she started out in Ag Business at Fresno State University, thinking that’s what she would get her degree in. A year into it, Angela changed her major to Special Education.
“I figured if there was something I’d need my degree in, it was teaching. I learned a lot during that time that helps me to this day, although the gravity of fresh produce drew me back to the industry. With the companies I have worked for, I’ve always operated like a sponge and took everything in, using them as stepping stones to learn more and more. I gleaned this mentality from Special Education, and it has been life-changing,” she describes.
A hop, skip, and a jump into the near-present of 2018, and Angela joined Trinity Fruit Company as Brand Manager and was promoted to Director of Marketing a year later. Here is where she met President David White—an incredible mentor, friend, and guiding light.
“David has grown to be a mentor to me since I started working for Trinity. David is very inspiring, and his mind runs non-stop, which is why I believe he has always been so successful. He had humble beginnings and, even in his successes, has retained that humility. That in itself is inspiring. David has been very supportive of my growth and his ‘chess player’ mentality taught me something essential: You always have to be three steps ahead of him because you know he already has every solution thought out. Those are always the fun challenges!”
One of the most treasured aspects of her mentorship with David is how he allowed Angela to be authentic and unintimidated by knowledge or success.
“I figured if there was something I’d need my degree in it was teaching. I learned a lot during that time that helps me to this day, although the gravity of fresh produce drew me back to the industry.”
Angela Hernandez, Director of Marketing, Trinity Fruit Company and President and Co-Founder, Cultivate
“One of the things that David said to me once was, ‘Take the high road, Hernandez, you can see better from up there.’ I’ll never forget that,” Angela shares.
Angela’s next mentor came at a very valuable fork in the road. In 2022, Angela decided to take her expertise and apply it to an industry-wide goal to change the way that fresh produce companies go to market. She founded the ag-based marketing firm Cultivate, which she runs alongside her role with Trinity Fruit. Angela brought in a four-person, all-female team of Co-Founders, including Michele Visser, Vice President of Business Development; Brianne Adams, Vice President of Operations; and Jane Olvera Majors, Vice President of Strategy.
“Jane and I clicked immediately when we realized we were born on the BEST DAY, January 6!” Angela tells me. “We met by way of business. I had hired Jane’s marketing agency to do some design work for a company I was working for at the time, and as time took its course, we became business partners in launching Cultivate. Jane has been a mentor and guiding light even before the launch, and she still holds that presence for me. Jane has built a multi-million-dollar agency, and I have always admired the tenacity our fellow Capricorns exhibit! With her profound knowledge in the marketing sector and our existing partnership, she has grown to be a mentor for me in owning and growing a business.”
With such inspiring mentors, I ask Angela how these amazing relationships inform and fuel her passion.
“I believe food is one of the greatest forms of communion, and that’s why I love it—my mentors have helped me see this in a beautiful way. It’s relational, and that’s what I believe God created us to do. The fresh produce space allows me to do that,” Angela shares.
While I came to Angela with this project in search of her mentors and lessons learned, I find myself very much mentored by her words and the legacy she is building. Her open heart and ability to step into the unknown is something I find refreshing, courageous, and unique.
I believe other mentees will too.
Here is what they have to say about Angela...
President, Trinity Fruit Company
"Angela brought a diverse level of great produce experience to Trinity Fruit when she first started with us. From the beginning, she was excited to take on new product lines and opportunities as they came up. When I first started working on a game plan for a new fresh juice line in 2019, she immediately got behind the project and helped me develop the architecture of the launch.
She has shown an eagerness to learn new things and to help update our presence in the marketplace where we needed that as well. Everyone here can tell she loves to work hard and has become a great manager of her team. As our Director of Marketing, she has a lot of different commodity lines and opportunities thrown at her, and she has never complained. We are all about follow-through and execution, and that is her wheelhouse. The company was founded by my wife Lisa and me on family values, faith, and hard work. Angela has shown the character and drive to help us be the best company we can be."
Jane Olvera Majors,
Co-Founder and Vice President of Strategy, Cultivate
"Angela is an absolute firecracker in the best sense of the word. The first thing you will notice about Angela is her boundless energy and upbeat attitude—it’s truly authentic and completely magnetic. Her love for her work and her desire for continuous growth is evident in how she approaches life and those around her. Angela is clearly focused on her personal and professional goals and is extremely driven to achieve them, but not at any cost. She also truly cares about her personal ethics and the people she loves—and will defend both no matter what.
The first time we met, we discovered we were both Capricorns and even share the same birthday! It was an instant connection point that is a running theme between us. However, I’m not sure it was by chance that this connection was created. As I’ve grown to know her more, I realize this is just Angela. She can find a genuine connection point with you the moment you meet, and then you are drawn into her energy, her ideas, and her passion for the ag marketing business."