2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Mackenzie Wortham

Age: 31
Account Director
DMA Solutions, Inc.
Dallas, TX

Wortham joined DMA Solutions in 2011 and since has been instrumental in the launch of some of the most comprehensive and visually-compelling websites, blogs, and marketing promotions on behalf of DMA’s clients. Now as an account director, she leads the overall marketing strategy and planning for DMA’s clients in an effort to help them realize their marketing and business goals. She is also one of three members of the executive team at DMA Solutions. In this role, she is responsible for development of the business, its culture and its people. She is a 2018 graduate from the Center for Growing Talent PMA Emerging Leaders Program and currently serves on the PMA Fresh Summit Planning Committee. Prior to joining DMA, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of North Texas. She started as a public relations coordinator for a local political talk show in Dallas before beginning her journey in produce.

Hobbies: Traveling, Wine tasting, Fitness bootcamp, Running, Concerts with husband

Personal/Community: Married

Motto in life: “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” – Maya Angelou

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
I quickly fell in love with the produce industry after my first couple of months at DMA Solutions. While I did not study agriculture or come from an agriculture background, I wanted a career that would be more than just a marketing job, and DMA attracted me quickly with the culture and opportunities provided. What I found with the fresh produce industry was exactly that – it’s more than just a job.

Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?
It’s exciting to see the produce industry continue to focus on innovation and identifying new products with solutions to meet people’s needs. At the same time, as an industry I believe we sometimes struggle to embrace the realities of what creating successful brands consumers seek out by name would entail. If we want to move the dial on not just increasing consumption, but increasing demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, we should embrace opportunities to move away from “commodity thinking” and consider ways to behave as brands – brands that are able to establish personal connections with their audiences that keep them coming back for more.

Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
Shoppers are increasingly seeking transparency and a direct connection to the brands they are most loyal to. With digital marketing where it is today, the stage has been set for produce companies to take control of their own stories and share them with consumers directly, meeting them where they are to inspire increased consumption and demand for the products they grow.

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about the produce industry by the public at large?
I believe the general public has a lot of misconceptions about how fresh food is grown and brought to the marketplace – from GMOs to pesticides to food waste, many people are being exposed to misleading information. It can be difficult to distinguish between a reliable or biased source. Even some seemingly reliable news outlets can mislead their readers because they often aren’t seeking input from our industry as a source before they publish content. I think one of the biggest examples of this is the Dirty Dozen report published each year by the Environmental Working Group. News outlets share this information each year, but they aren’t interviewing fresh produce growers to add their two cents to this story. There is an opportunity for us to speak up and be a part of this narrative.