Center for Growing Talent will honor industry legend Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan

Industry Announcements
Center for Growing Talent will honor industry legend Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan


Newark, Del. – Center for Growing Talent (CGT) will honor industry veteran, Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, as the winner of the 2019 Women’s Catalyst Award. The award will be presented during the sold-out Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast on Saturday, October 19th in Anaheim, California during the Fresh Summit Convention & Expo and will be presented by last year’s winner, Dawn Gray of Dawn Gray Global Consulting.

Gray was the first ever recipient of the Women’s Catalyst award and was presented with the award during the 2018 Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast event.

This year’s winner, Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, is one of the most recognized names in the industry today. In 1962, Rapoport Caplan founded Frieda’s Specialty Produce becoming the first woman to own and operate a produce company on the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market.

The company is known for inspiring new trends by introducing more than 200 exotic fruits and vegetables to American consumers since its founding.  In addition to transforming the produce landscape in America, Frieda’s Specialty Produce is a third generation, female-owned family business operating in a traditionally male dominated industry. Rapoport Caplan’s leadership, mentorship and willingness to support the development of others in the industry was the focus of the nominations for this award.

“Frieda Caplan is a very special, one of a kind, inspirational leader as well as mentor to so very many of us who have followed her in the produce and floral industries - both male and female,” said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing at the California Avocado Commission and moderator for the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast this year.

“I have always felt fortunate that Frieda was kind enough to “adopt” me when I moved to California with The Packer newspaper in the late 70’s and that she has stayed with me as a valued mentor every day since. She is one of the most intelligent people I know and continues to have the innate ability to get to the crux of a matter with ease while providing invaluable perspective.”

The Women’s Catalyst Award recognizes an outstanding individual in the produce and floral industries who cultivate women’s potential by mentoring and fostering a path for leadership, development and participation. Nominations are accepted for any individual, man or woman, who has demonstrated the ability to engage and inspire talented women who make a positive impact on the industry.

This is often accomplished through effective mentoring,  coaching and using one’s influence to lift others and contribute to the development of talent in our industry. Rapoport Caplan’s influence on the industry is well-known, but this award will also spotlight the impressive influence she has had on individuals in the industry as well. 

"Frieda has served as an inspiration and role model to many in the fresh produce industry," said PMA CEO Cathy Burns.

"During my first California member tour after joining PMA, she welcomed me with open arms. I fondly remember a dinner we shared with other female leaders in our industry and the many insights and laughs we had that evening. For me, the opportunity to build not only a relationship, but also a friendship, over the years is something I treasure.

"Her willingness to mentor others as they sit under her learning tree is one of the many reasons Frieda is being honored by the Center for Growing Talent with this award. A much-deserved congratulations to you, my friend."

Additional individual awards will be presented at Fresh Summit, including the surprise announcement of the Floral Marketer of the Year at the Floral Beach Bash Reception scheduled Friday, Oct. 18 from 5:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Room 204ABC.

The Jay Pack Cultivating our Future Award will be announced at the CGT Contributor Reception on Wednesday, October 16.  Rich Dachman, CEO at Brighter Bites and former longtime Vice President of Produce at Sysco, will receive the 2019 Robert L. Carey Leadership Award. Vic Smith, CEO of JV Smith Companies, will receive the 2019 Bryan E. Silbermann Collaboration Award. Both of these awards will be presented at the State of the Industry Forum for the Future event on Thursday, October 17, 2019.


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