2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Christine Jackson

Senior Manager, Marketing and Product Development
WP Rawl
Pelion, SC

Age: 39
Hometown: Lexington, SC
Hobbies: Spending time with family, Fitness, Reading
Family/Community: Married, 3 daughters, Military spouse
Motto in life: Work hard, enjoy life, take care of family, but also invest time in yourself.

With more than 21 years of experience in the industry, Jackson is a dedicated and driven produce professional whose contributions to the industry help provide millions of leafy greens to consumers each year. As senior manager of marketing and product development at WP Rawl, Jackson oversees all marketing and communications efforts, and leads efforts on research and development for new products. In addition, Jackson is the youngest member of WP Rawl’s Leadership Team. As a member of this team, she helps develop and lead companywide initiatives.

Jackson has held multiple positions at WP Rawl. She graduated in 2011 from the University of South Carolina with a double major, marketing and management, while working full time for the company. In 2016, she was tasked with starting a department to grow the company’s in-house marketing efforts. Jackson’s attitude and determination has contributed to multiple product launches and internal/external marketing campaigns. She currently serves as a member of the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Committee for the International Fresh Produce Association and participated in the United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program in 2021.

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

I never thought I would end up in the produce industry. Fresh out of high school and looking for a “real” full-time job, a family member was working for the operations manager at WP Rawl. This family member was moving to a different department, so the operations manager interviewed me and the rest is history. I was lucky enough to work in multiple departments and really fell in love with the produce industry and the people of the industry, but more importantly, the WP Rawl family.

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

I am very passionate about taking care of our team members and giving back. I had the privilege of leading a culture-building initiative for the past six years. The initiative allowed us to meet in-person with all departments and team members to lead hands-on activities that aligned with our mission, vision and values as a company. My favorite activity was putting together vegetable and fruit gift bags for young children.

Q: What are some ways we can increase produce consumption at the point of sale?

I think innovation is key. New product offerings for retail and foodservice can help drive consumption.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?

Did you hear about the kale boom in the early 2000s? I lived it. During that time, I was working in packaging procurement and it seemed like an instant overnight change. Many years ago, we grew kale for garnish on the buffet for a large restaurant chain. Now, it is one of the top products we grow, process and deliver on the East Coast and into the Midwest.

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

I would say to soak up every ounce of knowledge you can from mentors. Dig in and get your hands dirty. You gain respect from your peers by putting in the time, effort and hard work. Don’t be afraid of failure — that is how we learn. Make friends and contacts in the produce industry; it is an industry where you can ask questions, ask for advice and learn from others, not to mention form lifelong friendships.