High Performance Management Conference

September 14-17, 2015
Chicago, Illinois USA

This one-of-a-kind, professional development program will help companies optimize the impact of their mid-level managers who turn strategy into action plans and lead their teams.

Participants will learn from a unique combination of expert-led educational sessions, small group exercises and simulations that focus on topics such as

  • macro trends,
  • food safety and technology,
  • business acumen,
  • team leadership and more.


Optimizing the Impact of Mid-level Leaders.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mid-level managers numbered 10.8 million in the U.S. in 2012. In a recent Wall Street Journal special three-part series, experts say that mid-level managers are an essential layer in any company, turning top-line strategy into day-to-day action.

There is no denying the critical role that mid-level managers play in the success of fresh produce and floral companies today. PMA Foundation High Performance Management Conference is specifically designed to optimize the impact of their midlevel managers throughout the supply chain – both those who are likely to be “pros-in-place” and those who could ascend to a more responsible level in their company or in the industry in general.

This conference balances lecture-style teaching with simulation-centric learning to maximize knowledge transfer, skill building, and application of learning. The simulations, developed especially for the produce industry, will use the content, discussion, reflection, and feedback to stimulate thinking and allow participants to practice the skill or knowledge application in a risk-free environment. Content has been developed to include both industry issues and leadership training for a thorough educational experience.

Attendees will benefit from an intense two and half days of learning, networking and hands-on exercises to test their skills, expand their thinking and push them to tackle business challenges from a more strategic point of view.

If you are a mid-level manager who wants to position yourself for greater stability and proficiency in your career or a senior leader who understands the importance of developing the leadership skills of your team, don’t miss this opportunity!

Who Should Attend

Who Should Attend?

Management Conference Pyramid

Attendees for this conference represent managers, directors or any other mid-level positions that regularly requires the individual to manage, respond, and translate strategy into action. These individuals should be seeking to fast-track their career progression.

Typical job responsibilities for individuals who fit the High Performance Management Conference attendee profile include:

  • Currently serve in a mid-level management role whether over people or projects
  • Oversee a function/department or are an individual contributor
  • Likely have more than +/-10 years industry experience
  • Executes strategy on a daily basis
  • Has budget responsibilities for a department, projects or a team

If you are responsible for translating your company’s strategy into business results or would like to invest in your mid-level management’s professional development, this conference is a must attend program.

Need to Justify Your Attendance?

Click Here to Learn How

2014 Schedule

2014 Conference Schedule


8:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pre-Conference: Finance for Produce Professionals
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Keynote: The Macro Picture
3:15 PM – 4:30 PM High Performing Leader Framework and Tools
4:45 PM – 5:30 PM Introduction to High Performing Manager Simulation


8:00 AM – 9:15 AM Keynote: Customer Insights
9:15 AM – 10:15 AM Introduction to Business Acumen
10:30 AM – 11:45 AM High Performing Manager Simulation Workshop I
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Food Safety
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Crisis Management
3:45 PM – 5:15 PM High Performing Manager Simulation Workshop II


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Horizontal Leadership
9:15 AM – 10:30 AM Breakout 1A: Project Management
Breakout 1B: Presentation Skills
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM Breakout 2A: Coaching and Feedback
Breakout 2B: Change Leadership
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM High Performing Manager Simulation Workshop – Part III
2:45 PM – 3:15 PM Conference Summary and Assignments


Register Today!

PMA Foundation seeks managers, directors or any other mid-level positions that regularly requires the individual to manage, respond, and translate strategy into action. These individuals should be seeking to fast-track their career progression.

Online Registration

2015 Conference Fees (US$) September 14-17, 2015
EARLY RATE On or Before July 31st, 2015 REGULAR RATE After July 31st, 2015
(Requiring a Hotel Stay)
Single: $3,650 $3,550 $7,300 $4,015 $3,915 $8,030
Multiple: $3,400 $3,300 $6,800 $3,740 $3,640 $7,480
(Not Requiring a Hotel Stay)
Single: $3,450 $3,350 $6,900 $3,795 $3,695 $7,590
Multiple: $3,200 $3,100 $6,400 $3,520 $3,420 $7,040

*PMA Member Loyalty Reward for Past Attendees (must have attended High Performance Management Conference in either 2013 or 2014)


Participants are responsible for their airfare to and from the conference, transportation to and from the hotel, and their remaining meals.

Hyatt Regency Schaumburg
1800 East Golf Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: +1 (847) 605-1234
Web: http://schaumburg.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

For questions about the conference please contact us at hpmc@pmafoundation.com or call +1 (302) 738-7100.

2014 Speakers

Meet the 2014 Conference Speakers.

Robert Brodo


Robert Brodo

Rob Brodo is the Executive Vice President and co-founder of Advantexe Learning Solutions, an award-winning global consulting firm that specializes in simulation-centric talent development engagements in the areas of business acumen, business leadership, and strategic business selling. Rob is considered a subject matter expert in the fields of business acumen, strategic selling, and computer-based business simulations, and is a highly respected and sought after facilitator and consultant. His career has combined entrepreneurial, corporate, and community achievements.

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Adele Cehrs


Adele Cehrs

Adele Cehrs is the CEO of Epic PR Group – a public relations firm located in Alexandria, VA. Her firm has helped high-profile organizations like The American Board of Optometry, The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, Lockheed Martin, Georgetown Cupcake and the Convention Industry Council gain and maintain positive media attention.

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Jan DeLyser

Jan DeLyser

Jan M. DeLyser is Vice President of Marketing for the California Avocado Commission. She is responsible for the overall leadership, management and organization of the Commission’s marketing functions.

Ms. DeLyser joined the Commission in 1998 as Merchandising Director for the Southwest region and in 2000 was promoted to Vice President of Merchandising responsible for CAC’s merchandising programs nationally. Ms. DeLyser was promoted to Vice President of Marketing in 2003, increasing her management responsibilities to include consumer advertising, merchandising, public relations, nutrition, foodservice and online/social media marketing.

Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. DeLyser spent 22 years in various facets of the produce industry including trade publications, trade association management, marketing for an international agricultural company and sales for a produce distributor.

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George Latella


George Latella

George recently celebrated his 22th anniversary of teaching Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University. He has taught undergraduate, graduate, and Executive MBA in Food Marketing, and has received three teaching excellence awards.

He also brings 20+ years of Sales/Marketing executive experience with Tastykake into the classroom. Key positions included: Director of Key Accounts, Director of National Sales/New Business Development, Director of Customer Relations/E-Commerce, & Director of Marketing.

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Rob McCord


Rob McCord

A respected business leader, entrepreneur, and analyst, Rob McCord brought decades of experience to his current role as the elected state treasurer of Pennsylvania.

Treasurer McCord earned his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and he earned his undergraduate degree (with high honors) in history and economics from Harvard University.

Early in his career, McCord worked in a variety of staff leadership positions on Capitol Hill. His top position there was as CEO of the Congressional Institute for the Future, a bipartisan think-tank. In that role, McCord developed an expertise in assessing and summarizing competing forecasts, and he provided advice and guidance to a broad variety of leaders about the long-term policy implications of emerging demographic, technological, and economic trends.

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Andy Neillie


Andy Neillie

Speaking, training and leading teams have characterized the past 20 years of my career. I currently work as a corporate trainer, coach, consultant and keynote speaker for Richardson, the preeminent sales and sales management training and consulting firm. I travel weekly to present workshops on sales and leadership topics for numerous Fortune 500 firms. By combining my background in management and sales with strong speaking and training abilities, I am able to motivate clients and audiences to take
actions that benefit them and their organizations.

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Bob Whitaker


Bob Whitaker

Bob Whitaker received his Ph.D. in Biology from SUNY Binghamton in 1982. Upon graduation, Bob joined DNA Plant Technology Corporation serving as both vice president for vegetable research and development and vice president of product development. In 1998, Bob joined NewStar as vice president of product development and quality where he developed corporate global food safety programs, spearheaded product development, and had operational responsibility for two value-added processing plants. In April 2008, Bob became the chief science & technology officer of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), overseeing food safety and technology efforts from field to fork.

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2014 Participant Testimonials

In their words, the 2014 High Performance Management Conference attendees said:

“This conference was outstanding, providing me skills that can be used immediately. I enjoyed that what I learned helps my job, me professionally and me personally.”

Angela Fraser, California Avocado Commission

“A fantastic networking opportunity and learning experience. Exceeded my expectations!”

Justin M. Heinrch, Holt Logistics

“This was my first PMA Foundation program and I must say it was a great learning experience. I enjoyed the speakers and learned a lot that I can take back right away and apply.”

Justin Raffoul, Lakeside Produce

“Collaborating and networking with, and learning alongside my peers from across all facets of our industry is an experience that has had and will continue to have a very positive impact on my career, my colleagues and my company.”

Brock Nemeck, DMA Solutions


View 2015 Sponsorships Opportunities for this Conference.

View 2015 Sponsorship Opportunities

Thank You 2014 Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Official Media Sponsor

The Produce News