2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Natalie Ramirez

Age: 34
Retail Sales Manager
Watsonville, CA

Ramirez is known to be incredibly passionate about her work and dedicated to continuing to develop her skills as a leader. With Driscoll’s for nearly 13 years, she has taken on a variety of roles that helped her shape her knowledge and experience as she has moved up. She has been the go-to person for the retail department because of this experience and her willingness to help others. Most recently, she was involved in helping develop a mentorship program for the sales and marketing departments within Driscoll’s. Ramirez started off at Driscoll’s in 2007 as a national loading windows coordinator; the department was a pilot program at the time set up to transition away from first-come-first-serve at the company’s distribution centers. The goal was to create an appointment-based system for loading. After the program was trialed and successfully converted all its distribution sites to appointments, Ramirez moved onto sales as a retail sales coordinator. She assisted with various national and regional retail accounts. She then became a sales representative handling national accounts with a concentration on the East Coast.

After several years, she moved into sales demand management as a blueberry demand manager before becoming retail sales manager. In her current role, Ramirez executes against customer specific demand targets utilized from annual demand plan that follow customer prioritization and strategy through partnership with category development, demand management and marketing. She is responsible for daily and weekly alignment, supporting berry business plan objectives and strategies. She serves as a communication liaison between retail representatives and demand management to represent market conditions, and builds and maintains successful relationships both internally and externally through collaboration of enterprise strategy and goals. She is a contributing subject matter expert to enterprise project initiatives and goals through new system implementations and process improvement efficiencies.

Hobbies: Yoga, Cycling, Travel, Spending time with family

Personal/Community: Married, 2 children

Motto in life: “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
It’s a bit cliché however I had multiple reasons why I was attracted to the produce industry. My grandparents both were growers and/or harvesters and I had multiple family members who worked at Driscoll’s while I was growing up. My father Albert Quintero recently celebrated his 40th anniversary with Driscoll’s and when I was four years old we moved to Mexico while he was in the QA department before he transitioned into sales. Seeing the passion my family and father had for Driscoll’s, I knew this would be the company I wanted to work for from a really young age.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
The accomplishment I am most proud of in my career is finding what I truly love to do. I have had the opportunity to work within different departments at this company and have had the ability also to be a member of our regional philanthropy and sustainability teams while doing what I love.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?
I had the opportunity to learn from multiple seasoned produce veterans who always told me early on it was best to just pick up the phone when I needed something versus waiting for an email to come through. If it was urgent and it could be handled through the phone do so and it gives you the opportunity to pick up on valuable market intel and knowledge while building your network through a quick conversation. It must have been one of the best things for me while I was growing within sales, I was able to get things done quickly and efficiently.