The Hass Avocado Industry Board Leadership Development Program Wraps Up the First Year of Developing Emerging Leaders in the Industry

Diverse Group of Rising Stars Makes Up The Inaugural Bold Class

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – This year, in an effort to address both the extraordinary opportunities and the extraordinary challenges the industry faces, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB), with industry participation, launched BOLD: The Hass Avocado Industry Board Leadership Development Program. Helping the industry face an increasingly complex marketplace with sophisticated problem-solvers, BOLD is designed to develop emerging leaders who are both motivated and equipped to meet those opportunities and challenges.

The 12-member inaugural class of the BOLD program includes both importers and producers, representing all corners of the Hass avocado industry. Class members backgrounds include future leaders from many of our most prominent importers and marketing companies as well as many participating in our program in order to gain knowledge and insights to further their family avocado businesses. BOLD Class 1 participants reflect the industry’s diverse range of emerging leaders.

Mentored by industry veterans, BOLD participants took part in courses on the essential knowledge, skills, and relationships necessary for motivated individuals to develop themselves into industry leaders. Course content was developed and taught by relevant professionals, ranging from industry veterans to top academic professionals in food and agriculture at the University of California-Davis.

“This is the first program of its kind for the avocado industry and we’ve received enthusiastic and unanimous support from our stakeholders,” said Emiliano Escobedo, HAB Executive Director. “We’ve been pleased to see a diversity of class participants that are Hass avocado producers and importers and we are very proud of all that the inaugural BOLD class has accomplished so far.” 

BOLD is intended to bring out the best in both participants and boards, ultimately resulting in an ever-growing group of credible and stead-fast advocates for the industry. The program offers individuals who want to make a difference in the industry they love with a productive pathway to do so. BOLD also provides industry boards with a continuous infusion of well-rounded professional perspectives to help them stay ahead of market opportunities and to address industry challenges. 

Backed by HAB, the only independent avocado organization that equips the entire industry for success, and financially supported by industry associations, BOLD focuses on nurturing the potential of the individual for the benefit of the entire industry.   

The 12-member inaugural 2021 class of the BOLD program includes:

  • Brock Becker – Importer
  • Sean Bettles – Producer
  • Gerardo Huerta – Importer
  • Connor Huser – Importer
  • Rachael Laenen – Producer
  • Juan Monsalve – Importer
  • Jaime Rivas – Producer
  • Monica Robles – Importer
  • Peter Romero – Producer
  • David Ruiz, Jr. – Producer 
  • Erika Vega – Importer 
  • Ricardo Vega, Jr. – Producer 

For more information about the BOLD program, visit:

To learn more about HAB and its mission to help make avocados America’s most popular fruit, visit:


About the Hass Avocado Board

The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) exists to help make avocados America’s most popular fruit.  HAB is the only avocado organization that equips the entire global industry for success by collecting, focusing and distributing investments to maintain and expand demand for avocados in the United States. HAB provides the industry with consolidated supply and market data, conducts nutrition research, educates health professionals, and brings people together from all corners of the industry to collectively work towards growth that benefits everyone. The organization also collects and reallocates funds to California and importer associations to benefit specific countries of origin in promoting their avocado brands to customers and consumers across the United States.