Do you remember the first time you came across the Dole sticker on a banana or other piece of fruit? The memory isn’t a strong one for most – it’s a minimal detail that is expected and unnoticed at the same time. The blue, red and yellow logo has found a natural place in the surfaces of many fruits and if you think about it a little further, visions of plantations and fields come to mind. Among all this imagery, the business side of Dole becomes a little difficult to imagine, yet it exists. Dole is not just a banana company, but a Fortune 500 company and ITEP supporter.
Thirty MATCH students from Banning High School traveled to Dole Food Headquarters in Westlake Village (CA) to experience the best of Dole, as a food company and professional entity. The students along with MATCH lead teacher, Janet Furuya, learned that careers at Dole are anything but dull.
“It’s great to show our students different career options and present to them what the corporate world can offer. A lot of these students think they can only work in restaurants, so we wanted to show them there are so many more opportunities available if they work hard and pursue their passion,” stated Janet.
Students met Diana Jansson-Hamilton, Director of Global Trade Compliance and the company’s CFO, Keith Mitchell. The speakers introduced MATCH to the brand story behind Dole, the fresh fruit supply chain and the many job opportunities available – from shipping bananas to writing about them in social media.
Of course, the trip to Dole was not complete without a visit to the company’s own test kitchen. MATCH students tasted the newest company product, Dole Fruit Smoothie Shakers, and had the opportunity to create their own signature Dole juice blends. Product quality tests that check for density, color and taste also took place – a tough job, but MATCH students stepped in with ease to complete the task. Donna Skidmore, Director of Consumer Affairs and Vasso Panag, Laboratory Manager of Dole Packaged Foods were instrumental in making this portion of the trip interesting and interactive – we thank you!
Dole professionals in Human Resources, Industrial Relations, Marketing and Social Media also addressed the students. Michael Contreras, Digital Marketing Manager, outlined the company’s social media strategy in an impressive presentation. The company uses various social platforms to connect with consumers and build a “Dole community.” Bananas and fruit as a whole were seen in a completely different light. In the end, there was plenty of swag, inspiration and bananas to share. Thank you, Dole.
To read more about MATCH and their visit to Dole, check out our latest newsletter. Sign-up to receive one today and learn about ITEP happenings and the many students that make our communities proud. For more photos on our visit to Dole, check out our Facebook page.
The ITEP team would like to send a warm and special thanks to Diana and Griselda Rapp for coordinating a once-in-a-lifetime Dole experience for our hard-working MATCH students.