Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has tapped Anouk Sijmonsma as the association’s regional vice president for Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. The Oxford-educated Sijmonsma will apply the knowledge and expertise she gained in the international market and business development, journalism, strategic counselling and management to help PMA’s members in these regions to grow their fresh produce and floral businesses, and in turn grow the increasing global fresh produce and floral industry.
Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Sijmonsma will work with PMA headquarters and in-country staff along with volunteer leaders in those regions to meet local members’ needs by connecting them, informing and educating them about new opportunities, and delivering industry-specific business solutions. She replaces and reports to Richard Owen, who was recently promoted to vice president of global membership and engagement. Sijmonsma will start with PMA on 1 August.
“Fresh fruits, vegetables and the floral industry sustain not only our members’ business lives, but are also vital to supporting the world’s growing population. For me, that is a powerful calling,” said Sijmonsma. “I am looking forward to working with our members and the broader industry to create business opportunities that make a real impact.”
“Anouk’s wealth of knowledge and extensive connections in these regions can help us more deeply connect the global produce and floral communities, and deliver on our vision to grow a healthier world. Having witnessed Anouk’s leadership and global insights in action the past few years, I am very excited to welcome her to our staff family,” said PMA CEO, Cathy Burns.
Sijmonsma rounds out a network of PMA membership and engagement professionals around the world that include Nancy Tucker, regional vice president for Mexico, Central and South America, and regional vice presidents Steve Lutz and Joe Watson in the United States and Canada. Sijmonsma will oversee PMA’s in-country staff in South Africa and China, and coordinate PMA’s day-to-day relationship with its affiliate, PMA Australia-New Zealand, led by CEO Darren Keating.
“PMA is truly globalising with the network connections specifically strengthening in Asia and Europe through Anouk. This is going to mean a lot to PMA in Southern Africa. We look forward to working closely with Anouk,” says Lindie Stroebel, general manager of PMA, Southern Africa.
Sijmonsma joins PMA from FreshPlaza, the most extensively-read global, daily online newsletter for the fresh produce and horticulture industries. FreshPlaza publishes in six different languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and Mandarin. The platform has over 115 000 subscribers globally. As managing editor at the company, Sijmonsma successfully launched the Mandarin-language FreshPlaza China, overseeing a team of ten staff and freelance reporters, as well as related advertising sales and social media. The daily FreshPlaza China newsletter currently boosts over 9 000 subscribers, with over 10 000 people following the platform on Chinese social media.
Prior to FreshPlaza, Sijmonsma worked in sales and market development at KX Food, a subsidiary of the Chinese vegetable producing and exporting conglomerate, Anqiu Ming Feng Co. She founded the European market for KX Food, growing sales and building the company’s brand presence across Europe. Sijmonsma also provided European-centric strategic counsel to the company’s founder.
She started her professional career in London as an associate at I.E.K. Consulting, an international strategy consulting firm.
Sijmonsma earned a Bachelor of Science degree in law and political science from Utrecht University in The Netherlands, and a Master of Science degree in international relations and modern Chinese studies from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Natives of The Netherlands speak English, Dutch, Mandarin, French and Italian. She has lived and traveled extensively in several countries, including South Africa, a priority market for PMA. –Press release