Earlier this week I was invited to speak to a group of about 20 female attorneys from a leading global law firm. My topic: Resilience. (The other two speakers covered mentoring and negotiating.)

At first I was a bit perplexed as to why I was asked to speak on this topic, but after thinking about it, I realized that I actually am a bit of an expert of the subject. Here is why I say that: Just read my blog posts each week—I often talk about obstacles and challenges I have faced, and how I work my way through them. I think that is resilience.

When I started my remarks to the group, I started by saying, “You might think my success in life is due to me being lucky during my life.” I gave a little background on me and my company. You know the story—mom started our company 60 years ago. She introduced the kiwifruit to American consumers. I took over at age 30. I’m now living with the love of my life and am living happily ever after.

Then I spent the next 15 minutes recounting a few of the business happenings and personal challenges I have faced in my “lucky life.”

In 1993, while I was away on a business trip, we had an ammonia leak in our refrigerated warehouse and lost our entire inventory of produce (over $1 million). Fortunately, we were able to evacuate the building promptly so no one was injured, and our insurance policy covered our loss 100%. However, during the two days we were recovering and replacing our inventory, our competitor called one of our biggest clients and told them we went out of business! We lost that client’s business permanently. Lucky?

A few years later, one of our largest clients did a dramatic pivot in their purchasing patterns (without warning) and we lost about 35% of our business volume overnight. We lost millions of dollars over the next couple of years as I attempted to “right size” our business. Lucky?

And then in my personal life, I shared that I have been married and divorced three times. Lucky?

It was a difficult journey, but I finally concluded that it was better I not ever marry again and live the rest of my life as a single woman. Of course, about two-and-a-half years ago, I had our annual dinner with my longtime business friend (who was also single after his wife of 47 years passed away). Our annual “catch up” dinner ended with a (surprise) kiss and we have been together ever since, living our lives together, as if we are married (but we are not).

Those three stories are just a few of my experiences I chose to share. And I then divulged to the group how I got through it all:

“Focus on that which you have control over.”

Instead of having a pity-party for myself each and every time I had a monumentally difficult situation, I would review the following thoughts in my head:

  1. Do I want to be liked or do I want to be respected?It took me a while to understand and accept that being respected was most important. I could not win a popularity contest and be a successful business owner.
  2. How I do anything is how I do everything. My business coach pointed out some bad habits I had developed. Because I am willing to honestly be introspective, I realized that my bad habits in my business life were the same bad habits I had developed in my personal life. It took a lot of courage to admit this, but once I did, I found myself repeating this to both myself and to others as a reminder. How I do any ANYTHING is how I do EVERYTHING.
  3. I ask myself in difficult situations: What is the worst that can happen? Literally, I go to the worst place in my head. For example, when my partner Jack was diagnosed with melanoma cancer 18 months ago, I went to the worst place. And the worst place was: Jack would die tomorrow. I would be alone. Where would I live? Of course, Jack is alive and well and thriving, but thinking about the “worst” place forced me to realize how ridiculous my fears were. And going to the extreme really can be a wake-up call that the reality will likely be significantly more positive.

So, as I finished up my presentation, I asked for questions or comments. One of the more senior leaders present said this, “We are so lucky to have Karen talk with us today. She is living proof that the smile you see on a successful business person’s face does not mean everything is perfect. It shows you that we all have challenges that we work through every day. And we get through them. Even if at the moment they seem daunting and impossible, we get through them.

Yes, Karen showed us how to focus on that which we have control over. She showed us the face of resilience.”

So, the next time you are facing a difficult situation, whether at work or at home, consider these thoughts:

Be resilient!


Los Alamitos, CA (September 2021) –  Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes are back in season, and it’s the ideal time to showcase these colorful tubers. Frieda’s makes it easy with eye-catching, stand-alone shippers that help consumers realize they can easily add color and flair to their holiday meal.

Research shows that rich-hued purple vegetables are in demand, and pie is hotter than ever. A recent survey reveals that half of consumers plan to serve sweet potato pie this Thanksgiving, and more than one-third of consumers specifically said that they plan to make Stokes Purple® sweet potato pie with maple whipped cream. Surprisingly, men showed a bias for this versus women, and the purple pie over-indexes in popularity with consumers ages 18-44. 1


Why, you might ask? It might have something to do with the mixed sentiment of the holidays this year.  Consumers want to celebrate but are still cautious to do so, so they’re looking for small ways to dial up the mood this Thanksgiving. In fact, 20% of consumers agreed that Thanksgiving would feel more festive if the food were more colorful (and this was as high as 25% amongst those with children). Additionally, 64% of consumers agreed that they wanted to make a beautiful dessert that adds color to the table, especially amongst consumers ages 25-34. 1


What better way to add display space for Stokes Purple sweet potatoes than an exclusive shipper, available only from Frieda’s? The eye-catching display showcases a camera phone-friendly ingredient list and QR code for the full recipe.


“Shopper interest in Stokes just keeps going up. Previously thought to be a specialty potato, our research shows that all demographics are buying Stokes year-round, and Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to gain trial in all stores,” says Alex Berkley, Frieda’s director of sales.  “Our tastebud-tantalizing signage will leave your shoppers craving our signature Stokes Purple® sweet potato pie.


Organic and conventional Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes are available now through May in 15-lb. and 40-lb. cartons. Every potato is labeled to reduce front-end checker error. An organic 12/3-lb. bag option is also available.


Call your Frieda’s account manager today for help in planning your ads now and pre-booking supply.


1 C+R 1,000 person study, August 2021

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit, to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

In my office, I noticed a giant stack of newspapers and magazines piling up on my assistant’s desk. Turns out, we receive more than 10 paper copies of each industry newspaper, plus at least two or three copies of each magazine.

So I grabbed a stack of the 10 duplicate newspapers and walked around the office asking, “Do you want a copy of this newspaper?” The vast majority of everyone said “no thanks”, as they get a daily electronic version via email.  Since my co-workers are on their computers all day long, plus many of them work remotely from their home offices, they have gotten used to reading the headlines on their computer and only clicking through on the super interesting stories for more info. I did find a few people who were interested in the physical paper, but honestly, they were the other baby boomers in my office (we have a great mix of team members in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s).

So here I was with eight copies of the industry paper and thinking, “what a waste of natural resources.” What was even weirder about this situation was that I remember cancelling all our subscriptions to these physical copies when I realized times had changed and many people found it easier just to read on online. It seems as if the publisher of these industry papers continued to send them out, probably as a way to keep their circulation numbers high.

So, this mini-experiment made me think—how many other opportunities are there to make the choice: Paper or electronic?

Airplane tickets/Boarding passes — I love getting my boarding passes on my smartphone, via the airline app. No need to print the boarding pass ahead of time or stand in line when I get to the airport to print a ticket.

Reading books on a Kindle — Many people swear by the Kindle—only one small screen to carry instead of those large, heavy, paper books.

Music — Most of us use a device for our music—but back in the day, we had to purchase cassette tapes or CDs in order to listen to our favorite music. Now, thanks to our smartphones plus wireless speakers, we can get our music anytime, any place.

Coupons — Remember clipping coupons? Now, almost all coupons can be downloaded digitally and you have them handy on your smartphone and your smart wallet.

To-do lists —  I admit, I still like to make paper lists for food shopping or my things to do, but many people use the “notes” app on their phone to make those lists, or they use the list function on Amazon or Out of Milk.

Movies — Don’t get me started on the revolution in this business. First you could only see movies by going to a physical movie theater. Then, do you remember purchasing movie DVDs? After that you could rent them at Blockbuster; then Netflix started mailing them to your home. Now, we have Apple TV, Hulu, Amazon+, etc. You can get any movie, any place. And with your smartphone or tablet, you can even watch them while on an airplane.

Magazines — Okay, I’m a little old fashioned here. We get subscriptions to at least 10 monthly magazines at our home. And, yes they do pile up sometimes … but they do get read. It’s kind of fun thumbing through the magazines, ripping out pages of stories I want to share or save.  I am aware that every one of these magazines also has my email address and drops a teaser headliner email too frequently into my inbox. But I can hit that delete button pretty easily.

Thank-you notes — I still hand write thank you notes—to the tune of 290 handwritten notes so far this year. Yes, that’s more than one a day! Sure, I could send a text or an email … but in the last two weeks I’ve gotten three separate emails from recipients of my handwritten thank-you notes with essentially the same comment: “I know this seems ridiculous to send you a thank-you note for the thank-you note. But thank you! You really made me feel special. And I rarely, if ever, get a paper note anymore.”

I could go on and on with examples of how my world has shifted from being paper-based to electronic. Most of these changes are for the better, but some are a definite adjustment.

Since the pendulum has swung very far to the “electronic everything,” this means you can really stand out if you do something on paper. I predict printed company brochures, magazines, and personalized stationery are making a comeback.

So, stand out!


With all my running and walking activities of late (I completed my fourth half marathon on last Saturday), I am having a bit of discomfort with my feet and my knees. So, I thought it would be best to see a podiatrist.

It’s so amazing how the universe works—as within a day or two after I mentioned this out loud, a longtime friend of mine sent me an email and randomly mentioned she was having foot issues and found a great podiatrist near where I live!

So, I immediately called the doctor’s office to set up an appointment. When the receptionist answered, the first thing I said was, “Who’s this?” That always catches people by surprise, but I have found it is important to refer to someone by name. The office manager’s name is Jan, and I thanked her for all her help in setting up my appointment for the following week.

I have a practice of always setting up any number I call for service or a business in my contacts. That’s because I’ve learned over the years that I will usually have to call them back again, and this saves me from having Post-its all around my work area, or having to remember their name, or having to look them up via Google. I also add the “label” for what kind of service they are in their Outlook contact. For example, in this case I wrote the word “podiatrist” in the contact, so if I need to call the person back, I am not having to remember the doctor’s actual name—I can just do a search in contacts for “podiatrist.” It has saved me tons of time searching for my plumber, my electrician, and even the cable company.

After I had set up the appointment, within a few days my work schedule went crazy and I suddenly had a work conflict with the doctor’s appointment.

So when I called the office to change my appointment, I said, “Hi, is this Jan?” I could tell the office manager was quite startled that I knew her by name. That’s because in addition to saving the doctor’s information in my contacts, I added the name of the person who answered the phone. I do that all the time—I add people’s spouses names, kids’ gender and ages, secretary’s name, etc. I learned long ago that the most important word to any person is their own name and recalling something about them personally always creates an instant connection.

Jan easily gave me a new appointment time. I could tell she was especially nice on the phone, as I made her feel important by using her name.

Have you ever done something similar to this?  Perhaps asked a server at a restaurant their name when you are seated and then thanked them by name during your meal? Did they seem a little bit more attentive to you?

So, I hope the next time you make a new connection, that you will immediately add their name, email, number, etc. to your phone/email contacts. Believe me, it may take a little bit of extra time up front, but you will thank me later when you need to reconnect with someone.

Best practice 101.


Yesterday I was on a business trip with a coworker. Because our offices are here in California and so much of the produce we sell grows here, it is easy to drive (or in our case, fly) to visit a few growers in a single day.

As we were driving back to the airport, I thanked my coworker for driving (it was about 250 miles round trip). He said, “No problem!”

I kind of gulped when he said that. Whenever I hear the words “no problem,” I am reminded of an important lesson I learned a few years ago.

A friend of mine pointed out that when we say the words “no problem,” we are actually projecting two negative words: “no” and “problem.” However, when we say “no problem,” it usually is because someone has thanked us for doing something, and instead of saying “you’re welcome,” we want to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal, so we say “no problem.”

It reminds me of learning basic French. The word for thank you in French is “merci.” To respond to “merci,” you are taught to say the casual response of “de rien” (which literally translated means “for nothing”).

So, I offered an alternative answer to my coworker. I suggested that next time someone thanks him for something, how about saying “my pleasure.” He smiled at me and agreed to try it and see how it felt.

We pulled up to a gas station on our journey home and he got out to put gas in the car. I said, “Thanks for filling up the car with gas!” He paused, stuck his head back in the car, and said with a smile, “my pleasure.”

He agreed that it felt so much better.

And, it actually made ME feel better.

So, next time someone says “thank you,” resist the temptation to say “no problem.”  Consider saying, “It was my pleasure!”


Los Alamitos, CA (August 2021) – The new school year is here but with mask mandates, mask bans, and unpredictability around when vaccines will be available for kids under 12,  the only thing certain about this school year is uncertainty. But no matter how the year evolves, one constant involves inspiring your shoppers to make healthy, fun and delicious lunches for their kids.

“With a kindergartner and third-grader at home, we know all about back-to-school. It’s the perfect time to press the reset button on healthy lunches and encourage even your pickiest eaters to try something new,” says Cindy Sherman, mother of two and Frieda’s director of marketing & innovation.

Merchandising new favorites next to old standbys is a great way to shake up the daily routine with fruits that have familiar flavor profiles. Try merchandising Rambas™ rambutans next to grapes, highlighting their grape-like interior. An added bonus? The fun, rambunctious exterior of Rambas™ rambutans will make kids the talk of the lunch table and might even make “playing with their food” acceptable. Remind parents that rambutan packs an abundant amount of Vitamin C, perfect for those looking to boost their immunity.

As another option, create displays with Honey Dragons® dragon fruit next to pineapple, making this yellow-skinned dragon fruit an instant fan favorite for shoppers who are looking for a hint of sweet, honey-like juiciness. Or, cross merchandise dragon fruit with other tropical staples like kiwi and jackfruit. Round out the display with Frieda’s handy recipe card for the lunchbox-worthy Jackfruit, Dragon fruit & Kiwi Salad.

Want to promote an easy way to add an extra serving of veggies? Watermelon radish can bring a pop of color and crunch to kid-friendly lunches. Or, “In our house, Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato Power Bites are an easy lunchbox recipe must-have,” Sherman says. “It’s so delicious, the kids don’t even realize we’ve snuck in another serving of vegetables!”

Looking for more ideas to make your produce department the ultimate lunch-making destination? Call your Frieda’s account manager today for more product ideas and in-store marketing support that will keep your shoppers inspired all school-year long.


About Frieda’s Inc.


Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit, to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

Los Alamitos, CA (July 2021) – The famous, flavorful, limited-edition Hatch Chile pepper season has started earlier than predicted. Mother Nature herself is known to be a Hatch “Chile Head” and we are attributing the early start of the season to her.

Frieda’s works with certified, authentic growers located in Hatch, New Mexico—yes, there is a certification! Frieda’s received the first few shipments last week, with supply anticipated to pick up after the middle of July. The season is expected to continue through the end of September.

“We can’t wait to get our new Hatch Chile pouches into the hands of consumers,” says Cindy Sherman, Director of Marketing, Innovation & Insights. “When we set out to redesign the pouch, we wanted it to feel friendly and inviting to bring more “Hatchlings” (shoppers new to Hatch Chiles) into the fold.”

The limited-time availability of this special zesty pepper plays into the phenomenon of FOMO— fear of missing out. Research by Eventbrite suggests that when faced with an exclusive item being consumed by their peers, over 60% of millennials will experience FOMO and head to stores to purchase an item. And remember, an entire community of Chile Heads waits all year to buy fresh Hatch Chiles so they can roast them and freeze them for year-round use.

Frieda’s offers Hatch Chiles in a branded 25-pound case, which can be used for side-stack displays, and in 1- and 2-pound retail pouches in mild, medium, and hot heat levels.

Frieda’s works closely with its grower partners to ensure excellent quality and strong supply until the end of the season. Call your Frieda’s account manager today to receive samples and learn how to make a Hatch splash in your store this year!


About Frieda’s Inc.


Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit, to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.


Do you have survey fatigue? You know what I mean—you make a large purchase (a car), buy something online (clothing) or call an airline or credit card company to dispute a charge, and within minutes you receive a survey via email. A few years ago those surveys were few and far between, they now seem to fill up our email in-boxes.

Many of my friends and family members tell me they don’t waste their time completing the surveys—partially because it takes time, and partially because they don’t think it makes a difference.

I’ve always been a firm believer that there is a human at the end of a survey and that if I have important or meaningful feedback to share, then I make the time to respond.

So that’s what happened to me a couple of weeks ago, after I attended a golf club fitting hosted by TaylorMade Golf at my local golf course. The club sent out the announcement, and I reserved the 30-minute time slot online. The timing was perfect for me, as there are two specific clubs that I was looking to purchase.

When I arrived at the golf club and walked up to the pop-up tent to test the clubs, I was greeted by two twentysomethings: a man and a woman. The woman was fairly personable, but all the guy did was look at his electronic tablet when I walked up and the first thing out of his mouth was, “I have another appointment at 11:00 a.m., so we need to hurry up.”

I looked at my watch and said, “Well, that means I still have 11 minutes to try out the clubs and make my choice!” The guy was annoyed (full disclosure—my partner Jack was there at 10:30 a.m. for his fitting and we shared the time slot, so I was within the time slot).

I tested a couple of styles of clubs, but obviously felt quite rushed and hastily made my decision to purchase. Afterward, I kept thinking that next time I would rather go to a golf store where I would not be so rushed, versus the convenience of a fitting at the golf course where I play.

Then came an email survey the next day. I was ready for it! I immediately completed it, explaining how it was not a great experience for me. What happened next was a huge surprise.

Within a few days, I received a personal email from another local TaylorMade representative who acknowledged my fitting experience and “wanted to make sure every fitting feels personal and you leave with a sense of satisfaction in your experience.” He offered to do a refitting at another local course.

Wow—I was impressed! I let him know that unfortunately my schedule would not allow me the time to have another fitting, but thanked him for reaching out. And then, the real kicker.

I received another email from him this morning. “Hey Karen—I am more than happy to drop off some golf balls and hats for the inconvenience. Please send me your address so I can deliver the swag. I also looked over your order, and it looks like the wedges you ordered are fairly backordered. I can switch them out for you for a similar shaft, and they will ship in September. Let me know if you would like me to make the change.”

Double wow! This customer experiential expert turned my awful incident and complaint into an experience that made me feel special and happy again! How did that happen so quickly?

First, he acknowledged my feedback in a timely fashion. He then let me know my personal satisfaction was important to him and the company and suggested some options to me.

He didn’t take “no” for an answer (as I really did give him a brush off with my first response). He gently responded with another option or two with kindness and authenticity and was not defensive, plus the offer of swag.

So, next time you have feedback to give, remember that there may be a human at the other end of the survey.

Or, if you are the company representative where a customer has had a less-than-stellar experience, responding quickly and authentically and offering some kind of replacement may make a difference. It’s important NOT to make excuses or defend your organization. Acknowledge the error flat out. That authentic humility goes a long way in this day and age.

So now, when you get a survey via email, perhaps you will take the time to give your feedback.

And of course, I cannot wait to get my new golf clubs. Crossing my fingers that I will be 100% satisfied. Or else, I’ll be contacting my new best friend Mike at TaylorMade.