Earthbound Farm Organic - New Organic BlendsAll your grape needs in one placeBringing organic & conventional grower partnerships to market

Mentors in the Making

Jackie Nakashian, Brand Manager, Trinity Fruit Company

Connections have the power to open doors, but your skills and passion are what send you over the threshold.

This is the case with Jackie Nakashian, Brand Manager at Trinity Fruit Company. Throughout her career, the friends she has made in the industry have helped pave the way for new opportunities, while her expertise has carried her down the path of success, culminating with her role at Trinity.

“Before working at Trinity, I was an Account Manager at a marketing agency where I paved my way as the first Agriculture Specialist due to my collection of produce clients—one of which was Trinity. After working with them for about a year, Angela [Hernandez] approached me and asked if I would like to be part of their growing marketing team. I took the offer and joined Trinity in December of 2021,” explains Jackie. “I’m lucky enough to work for a company that immediately threw me into brand development and the trade show circuit, trusting me to learn along the way and valuing my input from day one.”

With the doorway to produce open, Jackie stepped straight through it and into the industry. Angela, Director of Marketing, has continued to serve as one of her mentors since first recruiting her to the world of fresh produce.

“From the moment I joined her team, Angela has been my biggest champion. Most of the things I know about produce have come from her. She has allowed me to take ownership of so many projects and pushed me to do things I never thought I could—the true definition of a mentor,” Jackie fondly details. “Beyond produce and marketing insights, Angela has taught me to take chances, push boundaries, and be myself. I look up to Angela not only as a marketer, but as a person.”

"From the moment I joined her team, Angela has been my biggest champion. Most of the things I know about produce have come from her."

Jackie Nakashian, Brand Manager, Trinity Fruit Company

With Angela by her side, Jackie started getting her bearings in the industry by rubbing shoulders with passionate fresh advocates. This eventually led her to the Apprentice Program with the Fresh Produce & Floral Council (FPFC), where she first realized she made the right decision and found the place where she belonged.

“Through the program, I met like-minded individuals, both mentors and mentees, who really showed me what people mean when they say, ‘Produce is all about relationships.’ I was already really enjoying the work I was doing with branding. Still, I was missing the relationship aspect of the industry, especially with all the trade show and conference traveling I was doing,” Jackie relays. “Once I could connect with people, I could see how beneficial these relationships were not only for my career growth but also for my personal growth.”

Jackie also met her other inspiring mentor, Catherine Gipe-Stewart, Director of Marketing for Superfresh Growers®, during her time in the FPFC Apprentice Program.

“Cat was assigned as my mentor through the FPFC Apprentice Program last April. She and I have similar interests and just clicked. It has been beneficial to have a mentor outside of my company who can give me a fresh perspective on marketing, my career path, and the industry,” Jackie goes on. “She has so much insight to learn from, and I feel lucky to have her as a mentor.”

Through these experiences and the guidance of the leaders around her, Jackie has discovered her passion for fresh produce and has used her marketing expertise to promote the products she loves.

"My advice to up-and-comers in the industry is to join committees and programs to learn all you can about the produce industry and make relationships. Connections get you so far in this industry, and they make all the hard work and victories so much more worth it."

“I am very passionate about health and wellness, especially when it comes to nutrition, so there is no better industry to be a part of! I love that in my marketing position, I get to push fresh produce consumption at the consumer level and encourage a healthy lifestyle,” conveys Jackie. “Trinity is passionate about using every piece of fruit from the tree, so we are constantly innovating and creating new products that I not only think are delicious, but are healthy and make me feel good about pushing toward consumers.”

Although Jackie is a newer face in produce than some, it is already clear  she will one day serve as a mentor to others in the industry. She has some wisdom for everyone who is getting their start.

“My advice to up-and-comers in the industry is to join committees and programs to learn all you can about the produce industry and make relationships. Connections get you so far in this industry, and they make all the hard work and victories so much more worth it,” she imparts.

Now, Jackie stands ready to open the door for other talented individuals who will continue the legacy of fresh produce alongside her. The Snack Endstop


The Mentors

Here's what they have to say about Jackie...


Angela Hernandez,

Director of Marketing, Trinity Fruit Company

“It has been a delight to watch Jackie grow in her career, and I’m thankful to be part of it! Since joining our team, Jackie has brought a fresh perspective to the table, and has become a perfect addition to our marketing department. Along with her fresh perspectives, she brings pizzazz to our office and our trade show floors. I have seen Jackie flourish in such a short period of time and am excited to see her continue to create new relationships that will last a lifetime. Keep kicking a$$, Jackie—I am proud of you!”

 

Catherine Gipe-Stewart,

Director of Marketing, Superfresh Growers®

“Jackie Nakashian is a total rockstar. She does her homework, practices, and then executes with audacity and verve. I’ve been so impressed with her in my year mentoring her through the FPFC Apprentice Program. Through her many firsts this year, I watched her prepare and execute strongly. At a current FPFC luncheon, she was asked to represent her company by speaking on stage, yet she hadn’t attended a luncheon before. She owned the stage. She was funny, went with the flow of the event, and was able to build on previous speeches before her. She nailed it. I continue to see her excel at activities and projects.”