University of La Verne

Do College Students Need More Life Skills?

It all started on the golf course. Early last year, I attended the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. As I was wandering around the clubhouse, I ran into Mark Brian Smith, the filmmaker who produced and directed “Fear No Fruit,” the documentary about my mom and our family business. He had with him a longtime personal friend Simon, a banker. As per usual, we shook hands and exchanged business cards. So I guess I was a little surprised when six months later I received an email from Simon, who had changed banks, inviting me to be the keynote speaker at a CEO summit. As it turns out, his new bank, Union Bank, is a sponsor of the CEO Summit at the Continue Reading

When Is It OK to Play With Your Food?

If there’s one time when it’s OK to play with your food, it has to be at a produce industry luncheon, of course! I guess I should give you a little background. Each April, in honor of our company’s anniversary month, we sponsor the Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s bimonthly luncheon. FPFC is our local produce industry group, and my mother, Frieda, was a founding member back in 1963. In 1991 I became the first female chairman. Remember, the produce industry was heavily male-dominated, so even in the early 90s, having … Continue reading

Why Earth Day?

The first time we celebrated Earth Day was in 1990. Our company was located in downtown Los Angeles, and in the back of our 44,000-square-foot concrete tilt-up building was a small plot of land, backed up to an abandoned rail spur. I had a crazy idea: let’s plant some of the exotic fruits and vegetables that we sell and make a garden! We found some like-minded people, such as TreePeople founder Andy Lipkis and some of his fruit-loving friends, and they helped us plant Frieda’s Exotic Fruit Garden. We had … Continue reading

What’s So Special About Hemp Seed?

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “hemp,” I think about something you smoke that’s illegal in most states. And in fact, if you look up “hemp” on Wikipedia, you will find this: “Hemp is a commonly used term for high growing varieties of the Cannabis plant and its products, which include fiber, oil, and seed. Hemp is refined into products such as hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel. “Other variants of the herb Cannabis sativa are widely used … Continue reading

Your Mission Isn’t Just About You

A few weeks ago, when I was on my short commute to the office, a commercial on the radio came on for Walgreens. The gist of the radio spot was along the lines of “Be sure to stop by your local Walgreens for snacks. We have soda pop, candy bars, and chips!” And the spot ended with Walgreen’s slogan. “At the corner of happy and healthy.”     As you know, I don’t usually publicly call out specific companies in my blog, but there are some important lessons here for … Continue reading