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

The Unexpected Question about Cannabis

I was surprised by the last question asked from the audience when I participated as a panelist at the THRIVE AgTech conference earlier this month: “What do you think is the future of cannabis in California agriculture?” I was even more surprised when the moderator turned to me and said, “Karen, why don’t you take that question, as I would consider cannabis a specialty crop, wouldn’t you?” I smiled and jokingly said we could sell it in 1-ounce packages, like our other specialty items. But seriously, I then mentioned my presentation … Continue reading

Tom Brady…Need I Say More?

Anyone who knows me is probably shocked to see me writing about Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. It’s no secret that I don’t pay much attention to sports—but I love attending live sporting events. I haven’t been to a football game in a while, but I am well aware of the Super Bowl, which now seems better known for the commercials that show during the game than for the actual game. I did spend the afternoon at my daughter’s watching the game, but that’s not what I wanted … Continue reading

A CEO ‘Getting Naked’

I was invited to be a panelist at the THRIVE AgTech Innovation Forum held last week in Menlo Park, California. After lunch, the program focused on what the consumer wants from the fresh produce industry and what insights that may provide for the technology business. My fellow panelists included Gareth Keane of Qualcomm Ventures, Hank Giclas of Western Growers Association (a group of growers in California and Arizona) and Michael Teel, CEO of Sacramento-based retailer, Raley’s. I was excited to meet Michael, as I had been following his career for many years. … Continue reading

What’s Up with Charcoal?

When I see or hear the word “charcoal,” I immediately think of those black briquettes that are used for grilling (if you don’t have a gas grill). At one time, the only way to grill or barbecue was to buy charcoal briquettes, splash some lighter fluid on them, and light a match. Your food might taste a bit like kerosene, but, who cared? Now here we are in 2017, and charcoal is one of the top food trends for this year. And no, it’s not the same as the barbecue … Continue reading