2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Christina B. Ward

Age: 37

Director of Global Brand Marketing
Sunkist Growers
Valencia, CA

Hobbies: Going to the beach, playing vinyl, trying new restaurants
Personal/Community: Married, 1 son
Motto in life: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Ward brings nearly 17 years of marketing and communications experience to the citrus cooperative. She started her career on the agency side, working on major lifestyle and foodservice brands, and later went in-house championing the transformation of communications programs and marketing strategies. As the head of global brand, she leads Sunkist’s integrated marketing and communications efforts, including public relations, advertising, consumer response, and social and digital content. She oversees all brand marketing strategies domestically and in Sunkist export markets, which included an event in Vietnam to mark the reentry of U.S. oranges in the market. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, she has taken her responsibilities to new levels, communicating regularly with employees, growers, packinghouses and customers as things change daily. She launched the Share What’s Real platform to encourage consumers to share real talk, real food and real experiences on social media using Sunkist citrus.

Ward is a California native and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from California State University of Long Beach. She has been essential in the donation of Sunkist citrus to hospitals, schools, and food banks. Another fundamental part of her job is delivering critical communications to the Sunkist community, including employees, growers, packinghouses, customers, and consumers. As a community leader, Ward served on the advisory board for UpaDowna and the Kids on Bikes board. She currently serves on the Produce for Better Health Board of Trustees and the 2020 Demand Creation Committee for the Produce Marketing Association.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
I was born in California and I grew up with an appreciation for ag. My produce career began at Sunkist, a brand I enjoyed as a kid. Sunkist is synonymous with happiness. I was attracted to the idea of being a part of delivering this happiness to people worldwide.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Things don’t grow overnight; neither do people. Be patient.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
Ask questions and learn as much as you can, even outside of your specialty. There’s never a dull moment in produce, so take it in. Take it all in.

Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
It’s important to engage the end-user. Consumers need to know how fun and easy it is to bring produce into their day-to-day, and part of that is to stay top of mind. I think the industry is moving in the right direction. Together, we just need get louder and maintain relevance in this fast-paced world.

Q: What would you like consumers to know about the industry?
Produce doesn’t grow itself.

Q: Which social media platform for business do you use the most and why?
Instagram because it’s a great platform for storytelling with pictures and videos. Also, I like how consumers get inspired by posts on Instagram by showing creative ways to use citrus. It’s rewarding when they share their pictures of how they brought Sunkist into their lives.