Kathy Means

This entry is part 46 of 77 in the series

Kathy MeansKathy Means

Produce Marketing Association
VP of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Years with company: 24 years 

Education degrees and professional/volunteer organization:

  • Masters in Nonprofit Management: Regis University
  • BS in Journalism: University of Kansas
  • BA in Liberal Arts (French): University of Kansas
  • Partnership for Food Safety Education: Board of Directors
  • Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops: Steering Committee and Coordinating Council member
  • Prior volunteer leadership roles: St. Anne’s Episcopal Church Vestry, Produce for Better Health Foundation Board, Associated Community Talent Board, American Society of Association Executives Communications Committee.

Mentors ad how have they assisted you in your career: My partner, Rachel Mandes: She embodies the concept: Doing the right thing, however hard it may be, is still the right thing to do.

My dad, Bill Means: From an early age he would say: Are you going to be a leader or a follower? And, as a top IBM salesman, he taught me to sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Bob Carey, former PMA president: Bob was a master at working with others, building consensus, and getting things done. His motto “you can accomplish a lot if you don’t care who gets the credit” became one of mine. An easy-going guy, he also helped me understand that most problems aren’t as bad as they seem at first.

What are you most proud in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date? I’m proud to have served an industry for more than 30 years that enriches people’s lives with good taste and good health. And I’m proud to have discovered I have an adaptive spirit – able to roll with the punches and explore new opportunities as they arise.

Most challenging part of your job: I am passionate about what I do, and that causes me to project a lot of drive, which can be off-putting. Taming my energy to be more effective is something I work on continually.

Advice for upcoming younger executives: Discern your priorities and your passions, and be true to yourself.

Hobbies: Entertaining (with produce, of course!), genealogy, reading, walking, photography.