From the Desk of the CEO: April 2024

This month, a joyous occasion marked my family’s life as my wife, and I welcomed a new son.  He joins our 19-month-old daughter so that means I am writing to you as much from the changing table as I am from “the desk.” As I adjust to this exciting chapter, it’s impossible not to reflect on how these personal moments profoundly influence my professional life. 

Lessons from Parenthood: 

  • Patience and Resilience: A family’s journey is often unpredictable and can be fraught with anxiety, from late-night soothing to tense moments in a hospital. Our journey has deepened my understanding of patience and resilience. These virtues are invaluable in the professional world, where uncertainty is the only certainty. They teach us to maintain composure and perspective, especially when the stakes are high and the horizons long. 
  • Humility: Whether it’s changing diapers or managing a toddler’s meltdown, these acts of care ground us. While leadership at work may require a certain authority, every role must also embrace listening and a hands-on approach. 
  • Teamwork: I have been thinking about how fortunate I am to have married my best friend, who has been unwavering in her support for me. Major life events, such as the arrival of a child, demand that we come together, extending and graciously accepting support. In the organizational context, teamwork is not just a desirable trait; it’s an absolute necessity. A culture of teamwork within an organization is transformative. It breaks down silos, fosters succession planning, sparks innovation, and propels us toward our shared goals. 

Supportive Work Environment:  

Employers must cultivate an environment where employees can thrive both personally and professionally. Employers have long asked for flexibility from employees, often at the expense of personal lives — it’s no wonder this topic resonates deeply today. 

Studies and our own experience have shown that when employees are supported in their personal lives, they are more productive, engaged, and committed. This not only supports our value of “Producing Results” but also reinforces our “Rooted in Trust” value, as we demonstrate our faith in our team’s professionalism and dedication. This commitment directly aligns with our value of “Cultivating Global Relationships.” Just as we nurture lasting relationships across borders, we foster a workplace that supports and values every team member’s diverse needs and backgrounds. Research shows that women and people of color often face greater challenges in balancing work and life and are less likely to receive the necessary support. Parenthood is just one facet; caregiving responsibilities for parents or partners also demand attention, especially among those with limited resources. I understand all too well that not everyone may relate directly to the experiences of parenthood described here, and that’s precisely why I am reflecting more broadly on the concept of supportive work environments that cater to the diverse needs and situations of all our team members. I am fortunate to have resources to navigate these challenges and am committed to making a difference for others. 

At Food Export, we uphold these values through tangible actions. We champion parental leave, flexible scheduling, and remote work options. Our management team is empowered and expected to provide flexibility and support to their direct reports whenever possible, acknowledging the reciprocity of understanding between personal and professional lives. Moreover, we alleviate financial burdens through contributions to student loans and retirement plans, while also fostering continuous learning through educational development funding. We’re excited to welcome our first-ever Human Resources Administrator, Elina Balter, who will play a crucial role in ensuring these benefits are effectively implemented and that our ethos continues to resonate throughout our organizations. 

I am an optimist at heart, fully aware of the challenges ahead, but I believe our proactive approach equips us well to turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions as we continue to refine our work environment and policies. 

Thank you to our entire Food Export family and our broader community for your engagement and support. Your dedication inspires me every day, and I am eager to see how we continue to grow together, drawing strength from many sources. 

Brendan Wilson 

CEO/Executive Director 

Your Input Matters: If there is a topic you wish for me to discuss in this space, let me know. You can reach me at Just put Attn: Brendan Wilson in the subject line. 

Listen to Our Podcast!

Episode 101 – Food Export 101 with Brendan Wilson

Feb 14, 2024 – 27:34 MIN