My colleague Tom Karst, national editor at The Packer, had the honor of giving some remarks about Lorelei DiSogra at the Reception Honoring Women in Produce at United Fresh in Chicago on June 14.
For those of you fortunate enough to have worked Tom, you'll know he might have been a little nervous but his candor, his soft-spoken and thoughtful remarks really resonated.
Tom talked about the decades he's worked with Lorelei, from Dole to the National Cancer Institute and to United Fresh, where she officially retired at the end of May.
Tom found DiSogra mentioned in more than 200 articles in The Packer's digital archives, and there are surely more that pre-date our digital library.
I quote from that first story:
“This is a big, intensive effort,’’ Lorelei DiSogra said March 10, on the heels of talks with dozens of television stations and a day before heading to Denver to introduce the program to retailers.
"Director of nutrition and health for Dole, headquartered in Westlake Village, she has orchestrated much of the campaign since joining the company in July 1991.”
Lorelei never stopped dreaming big. Fast forward, 10 years later, in 2002, I wrote a column about her amazing commitment to the 5 a Day program at the National Cancer Institute. I called her a leader who was out to change the world.
Those prophetic words about salad bars are telling. DiSogra was an indispensable architect for increasing fresh produce consumption through salad bars. The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools has delivered thousands of salad bars to schools, and Lorelei has played a big part.
DiSogra told The Packer when she joined United Fresh in 2005, “This is a perfect career move, to be able to continue to work on some of the top issues that are really going to increase kids’ fruit and vegetable consumption.”
She has lived up to that ambition in spades. While she has not made everyone happy — the frozen food folks, among others, may be glad to see her retire — she has followed the science and the science has helped United Fresh win gains for fresh produce in nutrition programs.
I've worked Lorelei over the past 12 years of my Packer and Produce Retailer tenure. Her enthusiasm and relentless -- delightfully relentless -- drive to see her programs get the attention they need to succeed is what always stuck out to me.
She never lets you off the hook. When the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools program was first ramping up, she'd come find me at a trade show to make sure I'm covering her sessions. When the Double Up Food Bucks program was piloting at retail in Michigan, she was instrumental in making sure I got the access I needed to write a fantastic story about the program.
Thanks, Lorelei, for your dedication. I'm sure we'll be seeing you around.