Connect 2 potential staves for the STARS to the southern exposure


Mentoring young professionals and emerging leaders helps ensure the success and sustainability of the fruit and vegetable industry.

It is also a passion for Wendy McManus, leadership coach at Connect 2 Potential.

So when the STARS lined up, McManus pledged to support the Southeast Produce Council’s Top Southeast Agricultural Recruit Scholarship (STARS) program for the second year in a row.

The activities of the STARS program revolve around UPCE South exposure conference from April 6 to 8 in Orlando, Fa.

Students are welcome to attend the event as guests. There they have the opportunity to network with members of the industry and potentially obtain internships or permanent positions in the fruit and vegetable industry.

Working closely with UPCE STARS Committee Co-Chair Raina Nelson, McManus has developed a two-part initiative to help selected students maximize their opportunities in this industry. After hearing excellent feedback from students in 2020, the duo decided to join forces again in 2021.

“Our STARS mission is to recruit top students and to effectively provide internship and job opportunities to infuse talent into the fruit and vegetable industry,” said Nelson. “The Connect 2 Potential initiative enriches the STARS program and adds additional value for our STARS scholars. Wendy supports students so they can excel at Southern Exposure and beyond. We are delighted to bring together the STARS and the potential Connect 2 in 2021. ”

Prior to attending Southern Exposure, students had access to Connect 2 Potential’s Authentic Networking for STARS online mini-course. Through a few short video segments, the course teaches the basics of networking and conversation, including listening skills, asking good questions, and preparing an in-depth pitch. Armed with this knowledge, the students will converge on the event in Orlando.

After Southern Exposure, McManus will invite each of the students to complete a DiSC profile and register for an individual debriefing with her. This highly validated assessment tool is a great way for students to better understand their own communication style. The debriefing with McManus brings clarity to their strengths and superpowers and provides visibility into how others likely view them. At the end of the debriefing, McManus helps each student commit to a developmental goal and make a plan for how to keep that commitment alive.

“It is an honor to help these very engaged students prepare for Southern Exposure and then share a valuable self-knowledge tool with them afterwards,” said McManus. “I truly appreciate the opportunity offered by UPCE to do this rewarding work and make an impact for both students and industry. “

Connect 2 Potential offers a public version of the Authentic Networking mini-course on

Contact McManus to schedule a meeting during Southern Exposure to explore how Connect 2 Potential can support your team or individual leaders.

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