IFPA Produce Executive Program returns for its 22nd year this May 

The IFPA Produce Executive Program, developed by Streamwise Learning’s Institute of Food and Grocery Management, has been a space for fresh produce executives to hone their skills and collaborate with industry heavyweights since 2002 

Ben Hoodless new IFPA A-NZ managing director

IFPA managing director Australia-New Zealand Ben Hoodless

The event brings together current and next-generation leaders and high-profile influencers from across the supply chain of the fruit, vegetable, flower, nut, and nursery industries for six days of intensive learning and returns in 2024. This year’s programme will be held at Waurn Ponds Estate, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria on May 19-24 and present under theme: “Using fresh ideas to accelerate careers”. 

IFPA managing director Australia-New Zealand Ben Hoodless said the programme explored global industry trends and innovation and was an opportunity for business insiders, executives, and experts to share knowledge.  

“It’s a unique combination of personal and professional development put together with a passion for relevant and experiential learning including talks with industry leaders and experts,” Hoodless said. 

Keynote speeches will be delivered by faculty members including emeritus professor of food marketing, David Hughes; Minds at Work partner, Lisa Smith; Business Olympian Consulting director, Gavin Freeman and Corporate Fitness Service facilitator, Lex Dwyer. These speeches will be accompanied by presentations from some of the leading figures in Australian horticulture. 

Samson’s Fruit and Vegetable Supply group general manager, Mark Garratt received a Hort Innovation scholarship to attend the 2023 event. He said the experience of hearing respected industry achievers describe their journey and outline their keys to success, was second to none. 

“I was engaged from the second I was there. There were so many key areas addressed and a broad range of knowledge from high-calibre speakers conveyed. I took 58 pages of notes and have reflected on my notes ever since. It taught me to look at every part of my business daily and see what learnings I can apply to help grow and become a more effective leader,” he said. 

Costa national sales and marketing manager – avocado and bananas, Matthew Hives said the 2023 programme was an eye-opening experience. 

 “Being around like-minded people in similar roles from the same industry presented opportunities to collaborate. A key takeaway was, when coming up with new ideas, to go beyond the given framework – to start with the unattainable and go from there,” Hives said.  

“We’ve always attended the programme and we always will. Anyone considering it should take the leap and put themselves in the same room as the industry’s key people.”  

Hort Innovation is offering six scholarships to the 2024 programme for vegetable levy paying businesses. The scholarships cover the full registration fee. Applications close on 15 March.