Harvesting Excellence: The Role of Governance in HAB’s Journey to Avocado Prominence

HAB’s vision is for fresh Hass avocados to be America’s most popular and desired fruit by 2025 and for the average annual increase in the value of the fruit consumed on a per person basis in the U.S. to be 6%. As a strategically minded organization, HAB constantly aligns its actions, attitudes, and means with this vision. Renowned for managing substantial resources, our yearly budget of $75 million supports our actions. This funding is generated from a 2.5-cent per pound assessment on both domestic and imported avocados. Yet, there’s an often-overlooked resource—our board and committee members’ volunteered time, a valuable human resource that, if mismanaged, carries significant opportunity costs.

Consider the figures from 2022: The Hass Avocado Board and its committees dedicated 734 hours across 34 meetings for discussions and action on strategic priorities. Countless additional hours went into preparation, travel, and other related costs not included in these calculations. That is why ensuring that our volunteers’ time is maximized for the greatest organizational impact and their satisfaction relies on our strong foundation and commitment to governance excellence is a priority.

Good governance is the compass that steers the Hass Avocado Board towards its true north, ensuring that every action aligns with its mission, and every decision is a testament to its dedication to growing demand for avocados and strengthening our industry. Since 2014, HAB’s corporate governance committee has developed, implemented and evaluated plans, guidelines and ongoing recommendations to the board with the purpose of making board membership more attractive, enhancing the effectiveness of the board and ensuring board adherence to governance best practices.

Since 2015, the board has conducted self-assessments every two years, gauging its performance as a governing body using an evaluation tool from BoardSource, a respected nonprofit board leadership resource. This evaluation analyzes the board’s people (e.g. composition, structure, meetings), culture, work (e.g. mission, vision, strategy, oversight, public image), and overall impact. Results enable board members to promptly address issues and set priorities, reinforcing HAB’s status as an organization where volunteers come together to support HAB’s mission and vision with a strong commitment to governance excellence.

Our governance focus has yielded several accomplishments over the years, such as:

  • Leading in financial oversight and transparency in communications
  • Defining clear governance roles and responsibilities for board members
  • Conducting orientation meetings and fostering mentorships for new members
  • Establishing pathways to leadership for those seeking officer roles
  • Formulating succession plans, including emergency leadership transitions for the Executive Director
  • Conducting annual board chair leadership assessments
  • Undertaking BoardSource self-assessments
  • Operating an Executive Compensation Committee
  • Developing and launching the BOLD program

Next time you run into a board or committee member, make sure to thank them for their service and commitment to supporting HAB’s mission and vision.

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2021-2025: Ensuring the Hass Avocado Industry’s Success

May 31, 2021

Learn more in this brief 30-minute webinar where you will hear directly from HAB Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo. He will discuss HAB’s mission and vision that will lead the industry from 2021 to 2025, along with the strategic priorities that will result in valuable insights and resources for your business.