Tell me about yourself : 

My Name is Leticia Baca.  I am an expert in supply chain management and sustainability. I earned a Master’s Degree in SCM from FIU where I graduated top of my class. My career began 20 years ago in the financial services industry, but I took my business acumen to the food industry, where I became President of Lakewood Organic. A few of my expertise include identifying bottlenecks, strategizing optimization, increasing market share, sustainability, and establishing a strong company culture to promote efficiency at all levels.

How would you describe your professional career?

I have hit the restart button a few times in my career-each pivot outside of my comfort zone leading to tremendous personal and professional growth.

Can you tell us about a time where you encountered a business challenge?

The entire 2020.  The supply chain was continually tested every turn we took – logistics, procurement, compliance, and business strategies.  We learned first-hand that the key to resiliency is adaptability. You cannot beat yourself up over the events you cannot control, but you can keep the lines of communication with your supply chain open to synchronize activities inside and outside the company.

Which supporting skills do you think are most important when it comes to leadership?

  • Listen. To listen to the people at all levels of the organization, addressing their struggles
  • Build Trust. Get to know the people to build trust.
  • Promote Collaboration. Promote ideas, embrace ideas with your support and put financial resources.
  • Set Clear Expectation. Jobs Description, Coaching Sessions, and regular exchange of candid feedback are critical.
  • Accountability. Be transparent about the conflict resolution protocols ahead of time.
  • Provide Continuing Education and Re-trainings-everyone deserves another opportunity to make it right.
  • Reward engagement not loyalty.
  • Lead with integrity, honor, transparency, and servitude.

What steps do you take to make sure that projects are completed on time, on budget, and to the proper standard?

  • Set clear expectations during kick off meeting (including standards to follow). Under promise and over deliver.
  • Agree on communication channels, update of frequency, and formats/forms,
  • Set reminders on calendar to follow up a few days before each upcoming deadline to offer help, resources, or request deadline extension(s).
  • Schedule weekly cross-departmental meetings to ensure the team is synchronized and review budget.
  • Recognize and reward groups offering cost containment.
  • Keep an open mind to adapt to different circumstances you will need to face.

What are you passionate about?

Sustainability. We need to heal the planet for generations to come.

Culture Championship. People are the most important assets in any organization.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

A leading consultant in the organic industry helping small and mid-size brands achieve higher market shares through operational cost improvements, sourcing strategies and sustainability.

How do you see the food industry?

Consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to show double-digit growth, providing market incentives for U.S. farmers and processors across a broad range of products. Organic products are now available in nearly 20,000 natural food stores and nearly 3 out of 4 conventional grocery stores. Organic sales account for over 4 percent of total U.S. food sales, according to recent industry statistics.  The innovation is in the industry is at an all time high, providing many opportunities for us in the industry.

The FoodEshow in 2 words : 

Substantive Connections.

Your advice to the FoodEshow Community :

Quoting my colleague, Esther Levy, compliance standards are subject to interpretations.  If your business is seeking to implement a food safety program or other process improvement initiative, please work with a consultant to ensure a practical approach away from costly prescriptive implementation that may not be suitable to your business.

 

Thank you so much for being part of the FoodEshow Community.