Robert Herjavec | Forum for the Future - PMA 2019 (Anaheim, CA)
This is my very first PMA. The Produce Marketing Association is a trade organization representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. The event isn’t over yet and only just beginning, but our lunch keynote today was Robert Herjavec from ABC’s Shark Tank.
A special thank you to the sponsors of this FORUM FOR THE FUTURE session:
Robert Herjavec. You know him. You love him from Shark Tank and also Dancing With The Stars (yes, I love that show). He’s a brilliant businessman, investor and TV personality. He is the founder and CEO or Herjavec Group, which is one of North America’s fastest-growing tech companies. He’s an author (Driven, The Will to Win &You Don’t Have To Be A Shark: Creating Your Own Shark).
I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say, “One of the greatest joys for me is going to shop for groceries. I love it, I love to look at the fruit and vegetables.” He attributes it to growing up on a small farm in Yugoslavia which grew wheat and produce.
I 100% agree with him! I love going to the grocery store, taking my time in the produce section, looking at what’s in season and seeing what I can create in my kitchen. Love that he loves that!
He brought up an interesting point that I never thought about “The produce industry is faced with feeding an ever growing population,” he says. It reminds me of my degree in teaching. Teaching is the one profession that teaches all other professions. What I mean by that is that is much bigger than we can all grasp. The innovations that the food industry is creating, the farms and brands that are constantly and consistently growing and creating foods are feeding the people in this world over and over again. That is pretty powerful to me.
When asked how he views adapting to change, he talked about how in his industry, technologies come and go. Sometimes they go away forever. While technology has incredible power to enable, it also can disrupt. To adapt to change, one must stay one step ahead of it all.
Learning about why he decided to do Dancing With The Stars was so sweet. He used to watch it with his mom every Monday night. She told him that one day he should be on the show. When producer Mark Burnett called him in to audition for Shark Tank (formerly called Dragon’s Den in other countries, haha), he was asked why he wanted to do this. He replied “So I can be on Dancing With The Stars.”
He filmed more doing Dancing With The Stars than all his years on Shark Tank. They only film 11 days per year on Shark Tank. When being asked about the difference between “successful people vs others,” he said that he had this conversation with Shark Tank co-star Barbara Cochran: “It’s not that successful people don’t have bad days or bad times. It’s the amount of time people allow themselves to wallow in misery. It’s about realizing that the sun always rises the next day.”
This is something to remember. It can be said in every industry and every aspect of life. Whether creating recipes or just having something go wrong in life, I struggle with spending too much time and energy in stressing myself out. I took a lot from hearing him speak today. It’s an important reminder that the sun always rises the next day.
When asked about the most common mistake in leadership he replied one word.
Robert said, “It’s difficult to stay humble once you have some level of success. Many people tend to focus on their environment rather than the customer.” He talked about something really important with a working environment. You can’t get anywhere without a great team. Work on focusing on what people are good at and making them even better at that is more important, rather than focusing on someone’s downfalls or negative aspects.
Recently, Robert invested in Hungry Harvest, which is a farm-to-doorstep produce delivery service. They are on a mission to end food waste and hunger as every delivery rescues about 10 lbs of fruits and veggies.
Taken from Hungry Harvest’s website:
“1 in 5 fruits and veggies go to waste for the most ridiculous reasons. Too big. Too small. Don't quite look ‘right.’ We rescue this produce, curate variety boxes and deliver to your door! Every delivery helps to eliminate at least ten pounds of food from going to waste along with all the resources (water, oil, GHGs) used to grow it.”
For Robert, “Sustainability and food waste in produce is important to me.”
Taken from Robert Herjavec’s website on Hungry Harvest:
“The first thing that struck me most about Evan was his commitment to Hungry Harvest. All throughout his pitch, I couldn’t help but notice (and admire) how passionate he was about solving the food waste problem facing America. In fact, even when some of the other Sharks dropped out, I could see that he would not be deterred from his mission. It was this drive and focus that led me to make a deal with Evan. What started off as a volunteering gig in college has become a full-blown business for this young entrepreneur. I have no doubt in my mind that Evan will do great things with Hungry Harvest and I’m so happy I get to be part of the solution for two of America’s biggest problems – food waste and feeding the hungry.”
What a treat to listen to Robert speak today at PMA. I learned a lot and had a few great takeaways. Love that he cares so much about this industry, food waste and shopping for fruits and vegetables!