Industry Magazine Get JACK'D Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 28

KIWIFRUIT

Who Doesn ’ t Like A Kiwifruit ?

JACK DALY INTERVIEWING KAREN CAPLAN
EACH issue , I plan on interviewing a high-performance CEO with the intent of “ Modeling the Masters .” Meet my long-time client and friend Karen Caplan , CEO and President of Frieda ’ s Specialty Produce based in southern California . The company is a true trailblazer , started by Karen ’ s mom , Frieda Rapoport Caplan , in 1962 when she was the first woman owner of a wholesale produce company in the United States .
While Frieda ’ s can lay claim to many noteworthy breakthroughs with over 200 new fruits and veggies introduced to America , it was their introduction of the kiwifruit which was the first new fruit introduced in America since the banana . Frieda ’ s has gone on since then to be the first company ( besides Chiquita for bananas and Sunkist for oranges ) in the produce area with a brand , which they launched in 1972 . Quite an act to follow — and that ’ s where Karen comes in , taking over as CEO / President in 1986 . 1 . My First Question Had To Do With The Transitioning Of The CEO Role From Mom To Daughter .
Karen remembers that time as going pretty smoothly . With her degree in Agriculture Economics and Business Management , and having worked in the business since she was a young girl , Karen felt ready as the daughter to take over . Mom Frieda was a natural promoter but
not fond of the day-to-day operations , and she recognized that “ times change ” and the company would benefit from a new and different leader . As such , the expectation of mother and daughter was that things would be changing in the company , and that was a good thing . Mom Frieda decided , after announcing that Karen was President , to take her first ever two-week vacation . Thinking back to 1986 ( pre-internet / precell-phones ), Karen found herself in the CEO seat and Frieda unavailable . Ready or not , the transition was on ! 2 . This Is Truly A Family Business , Currently With Three Generations Hard At It .
I was curious as to how it was working with several family members involved in the business and Karen being in the role of CEO .
HAVING WORKED PERSONALLY WITH KAREN OVER THE YEARS , I CAN ATTEST TO HER BEING DEMANDING AND A CEO WITH HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF HERSELF AND ALL AROUND HER .
While Karen agreed that it can be challenging at times , she had some advice on keeping peace in the business and family : ( a ) when on the job , treat family as “ employees ” and not “ family ;” and b ) have a policy of next-generation family members not reporting to a family member . 3 . I Also Wondered About Any “ Surprises ” When Karen Took The Helm . Here Are Three : a ) Mom Frieda , having grown up in the Great Depression , would consciously save and reuse paper clips and mindfully use both sides of paper . It wasn ’ t until day one in the seat of the CEO that Karen “ got it ” ( now “ my ” paper clips ). Karen called this Pride of Ownership and now took on the challenge of getting all employees to think similarly . The key here is always be mindful , talk regularly about it , act on it , walk the talk , and tell stories as examples for all to learn and follow . b ) The title of “ President ” has real power . Karen was viewed and treated differently immediately by others , both inside and outside the company . She observed that she hadn ’ t changed , but the title dictated a change which was a total surprise and not something Karen anticipated . c ) Karen also quickly realized she needed new skills and someone to hold her accountable , above and beyond herself . As a lifelong learner , acquiring new skills was natural and something she viewed as both necessary and fun . And here she is , 30 years later and still at it . We estimated she invests about two full days per month on structured outside learning , she has been
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KIWIFRUIT Who Doesn’t Like A Kiwifruit? JACK DALY INTERVIEWING KAREN CAPLAN EACH issue, I plan on interviewing a high-performance CEO with the intent of “Modeling the Masters.” Meet my long-time client and friend Karen Caplan, CEO and President of Frieda’s Specialty Produce based in southern California. The company is a true trailblazer, started by Karen’s mom, Frieda Rapoport Caplan, in 1962 when she was the first woman owner of a wholesale produce company in the United States. While Frieda’s can lay claim to many noteworthy breakthroughs with over 200 new fruits and veggies introduced to America, it was their introduction of the kiwifruit which was the first new fruit introduced in America since the banana. Frieda’s has gone on since then to be the first company (besides Chiquita for bananas and Sunkist for oranges) in the produce area with a brand, which they launched in 1972. Quite an act to follow—and that’s where Karen comes in, taking over as CEO/ President in 1986. 1. My First Question Had To Do With The Transitioning Of The CEO Role From Mom To Daughter. Karen remembers that time as going pretty smoothly. With her degree in Agriculture Economics and Business Management, and having worked in the business since she was a young girl, Karen felt ready as the daughter to take over. Mom Frieda was a natural promoter but not fond of the day-to-day operations, and she recognized that “times change” and the company would benefit from a new and different leader. As such, the expectation of mother and daughter was that things would be changing in the company, and that was a good thing. Mom Frieda decided, after announcing that Karen was President, to take her first ever two-week vacation. Thinking back to 1986 (pre-internet/pre- cell-phones), Karen found herself in the CEO seat and Frieda unavailable. Ready or not, the transition was on! 2. This Is Truly A Family Business, Currently With Three Generations Hard At It. I was curious as to how it was working with several family members involved in the business and Karen being in the role of CEO. HAVING WORKED PERSONALLY WITH KAREN OVER THE YEARS, I CAN ATTEST TO HER BEING DEMANDING AND A CEO WITH HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF HERSELF AND ALL AROUND HER. While Karen agreed that it can be challenging at times, she had some advice on keeping peace in the business and family: (a) when on the job, treat family as “employees” and not “family;” and b) have a 28 policy of next-generation family members not reporting to a family member. 3. I Also Wondered About Any “Surprises” When Karen Took The Helm. Here Are Three: a) Mom Frieda, having grown up in the Great Depression, would consciously save and reuse paper clips and mindfully use both sides of paper. It wasn’t until day one in the seat of the CEO that Karen “got it” (now “my” paper clips). Karen called this Pride of Ownership and now took on the challenge of getting all employees to think similarly. The key here is always be mindful, talk regularly about it, act on it, walk the talk, and tell stories as examples for all to learn and follow. b) The title of “President” has real power. Karen was viewed and treated differently immediately by others, both inside and outside the com 丁M͕ٕѡ)͡eЁЁѡѥѱхѕ)ݡ݅́ѽхɥ͔)ͽѡ-ɕѥѕ)-ɕͼեɕ镐͡)܁ͭ́ͽѼ)չхٔ役͕)́ɹȰեɥ܁ͭ)݅́Ʌͽѡ͡٥ݕ)Ѡͅ䁅ոɔ̰͡)啅́ѕȁѥЁи]ѥѕ͡)ٕ́Ёݼձ́ȁѠ)Սɕͥɹ́͡