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ThriveMore with Roger Martin: Business, Health, & Wealth

Apr 22, 2024

In this episode, Roger is thrilled to welcome Karen Kaplan. Karen shares her unique story of success in the produce industry, her family's pivotal role in popularizing the Kiwi fruit in the United States, and insights from her career journey. Karen discusses growing up in a family business founded by her mother, Dr. Frida Rappaport Kaplan, who started Frida's Specialty Produce. Against the backdrop of a male-dominated industry in the mid-20th century, her mother brought innovation and strong business acumen, famously branding the Chinese Gooseberry as the Kiwifruit, which became a significant success. Karen shares her experiences working in various roles within the company from a young age, illustrating her path to leadership as President and CEO, and eventual sale of the company.

In this chat, Karen also highlights the challenges of navigating a male-dominated field and managing the complexities of supply chain and perishability in the produce business. The conversation also touches on the broader future of food supply, the impact of global warming on agriculture, and the evolving consumer preferences towards food. Additionally, Karen speaks about her transition to executive coaching and blogging, sharing valuable advice for leaders and emphasizing the importance of self-belief and perseverance. This interview is rich with anecdotes, personal stories, and professional insights, reflecting on the importance of family legacy, adaptation to change, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

Topics Include:

  • How Karen’s Mother Popularized the Kiwi In America
  • Challenges and Successes in a Male-Dominated Industry
  • The Evolution of Supply Chain Management in Produce
  • How Agricultural Innovations are Impacting Consumers
  • The Changing Landscape of Consumer Choices in Produce 

Karen’s Book Recommendation: 

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable

Connect with Karen:





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Check Out Roger’s Book: An Insider’s Guide to Business: Secrets From an Entrepreneur’s Playbook

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Produced By: Social Chameleon