2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Amber Gray

Age: 33
Digital Marketing Manager
Produce for Kids
Orlando, FL

As the digital marketing manager at Produce for Kids, Gray oversees all digital marketing efforts for the company, including social media, website, content development, recipe photography and email marketing. Since beginning with Produce for Kids in 2010, she has organically grown the Produce for Kids social media following from inception to a community of more 300,000 passionate parents and families.

After seeing high demand within the industry for more digital opportunities, Gray conceptualized the Power Your Lunchbox campaign in 2014. Now in its seventh year, the digital campaign has donated more than 1.4 million meals to families in need through Feeding America and has garnered 1.3 billion impressions to date. In 2019, the campaign received the Best International Initiative for Marketing Fresh Produce to Children award from The London Produce Show and Conference.

Gray volunteers her time on the Arnold Palmer Hospital Committee of the Southeast Produce Council, as social chair for the Agricultural Communicators of Florida, on the hospitality team at her church and has spent five years on the board of directors for the American Marketing Association of Orlando.

Hobbies: Cooking, Reading, Traveling, Food Photography

Personal/Community: Married, one daughter

Motto in life: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
You don’t have to know it all. I always felt like I needed to have all the answers and I was nervous that someone would ask a question I didn’t have the answer to. We all have areas where we know everything and some where we rely on those around us to fill in the gaps. My team at Produce for Kids leans on me for all things digital, and when a question comes up on the retail side, I know I can lean on members of our team with retail backgrounds.

Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of in your career?
Launching the Produce for Kids Power Your Lunchbox campaign. When I came onboard with Produce for Kids in 2010, our in-store programs were well established, although we were constantly tweaking and improving. With Power Your Lunchbox, we had an idea for a digital promotion and came up with the program rather quickly. When we put it out there, we weren’t sure how it would be received, but the response during the past seven years has been amazing.

Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?
I would love to see the industry fully embrace all aspects of the digital age. As the produce industry, we’re providing the healthiest, most nutritious food on the planet and we have a story to tell. We should use social media to show consumers our brand, explain why they should reach for an apple over French fries at the drive-thru and support the industry as a whole. With virtual and augmented reality technology, we can take consumers to the field, so they can see where their food comes from. Through video, consumers can discover new recipes or ways of prepping produce. Technology in stores at point of purchase can inspire a consumer to pick up a new fruit or veggie by showing them how to use it.

Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew the produce industry was the best choice for you?
About a year into my career with Produce for Kids, I was attending a networking event in Orlando. When I told someone what I did, they responded with “How amazing! You must love your job. I know I would if that was my job. I do marketing for a group of lawyers and it can be pretty boring.” It made me realize that no matter how bad the day seems or how much I have on my to-do list, I have a job that I can feel good about and that I have such a passion for.