Episode 38: The Evolution and Future of Association Events

For more than two decades, John Toner, V has helped bring the produce industry together as vice president, convention and industry collaboration at the United Fresh Produce Association. He gets his daily thrills from helping craft the perfect opening night reception, finding a great product for an independent grower-shipper with a problem and securing a big sponsorship. He is obsessed with creating the perfect environment for his members to make new friends, gather good advice and see the best new products the industry has to offer. In fact, at the end of each year’s convention, instead of feeling tired and worn out like any reasonable association professional, he feels energized and ready to tackle the next year’s convention. He is known for his love of scotch, his snazzy bowties and the huge smile always on his face.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How John views the evolution and the definition of an “event” during a pandemic.
  • The work, history, and impact of the United Fresh Produce Association on its members and everyone’s lives.
  • The impact of COVID-19 as well as some of the positive outcomes his association members have experienced in the past seven months.
  • The similarities of membership associations and events.
  • The successes and challenges from their virtual event United Fresh Live!
  • How he and his team approach the sales process.
  • The future of tradeshows and the business environment.

Additional Resources: