2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Britney Hawkins

Senior Trade Marketing Manager
Nature Fresh Farms
Kingsville, Ontario, Canada

Age: 28
Hometown: Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
Hobbies: Hiking, Running, Travel, Reading
Family/Community: Special Olympics, 2SLGBTQIA+ support.
Motto in life: Life is long, it would be pretty boring if we had to stay the same versions of ourselves the whole time. Embrace the change, get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Hawkins started at Mastronardi Produce in 2017 as a category management intern and returned for a second internship in 2018 before starting with the company full-time in 2019. As a category associate, she was responsible for promotional planning and summarizing market data. As she progressed in this role, she was promoted to manager of sales planning in August 2020. In this role, she was responsible for leading the rollout of a new SaaS system. In March 2021, she was promoted to senior manager of sales planning. In August 2023, she moved to Montreal to work with Gaetan Bono Fruits et Legumes as the senior sales planning and marketing analytics manager.

In May 2024, she transitioned to Nature Fresh Farms (NFF) as the senior trade marketing manager. She is now developing the trade marketing team at NFF by crafting and implementing a trade marketing strategy, planning and executing campaigns and managing analytics reporting. She has participated in the Emerging Leaders Program through the IFPA and multiple IFPA Women Fresh Perspectives Conferences.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?

I grew up in Windsor-Essex County in Ontario, Canada, where you could find the tomato capital of North America just 30 minutes up the road. My passion for healthy eating, sustainability, and my drive to innovate drew me to this industry, along with the proximity to big players in greenhouse-grown produce.

Q: What would you like consumers to know about the industry?

Growing is the heart of what we all do. I think many of us forget about the hard work that goes into growing and harvesting produce for our meals.

Q: What is the one thing in your business that you are most passionate about?

Healthy eating is the beginning of a healthy and happy life. Working with retailers to provide opportunities to grow the greenhouse category means giving more people access to fresh, flavorful and healthy foods. My passion is providing retailers and consumers access to flavorful and sustainable healthy food options.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?

My advice is to dive in, ask questions, and follow your passions. Taking an interest in what you are doing will drive you to be successful. And the people of produce are always more than willing to help propel you forward!

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?

The beauty of the produce industry is that it is constantly changing. A change that I am particularly excited about is the development and increased use of technology.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?

I wish I understood the value of relationships and what trust can do to drive growth in a business. I started my career with an analytical mindset. Had I understood that loyalty and relationships are the drivers of long-term growth, I would have worked harder to forge relationships and connect with people before I connected with numbers. With these relationships, I would have been able to learn more quickly and more effectively the intricacies of the produce industry.