Nov 1, 2022
AFE Creates New Young Professional Advisor Position

As a part of the American Floral Endowment’s (AFE) continued focus on the next generation of floral industry members, a special advisory position has been established for AFE’s Board of Trustees. The AFE Young Professionals Council Advisor to the Board is a special position that will engage and interact with the AFE Board of Trustees and staff to represent the industry’s young professionals and share their perspectives.

This new advisor will participate in AFE Committee and board meetings, sharelogo the perspective of the next generation, and influence how AFE engages with young professionals. It is a unique volunteer opportunity facilitating direct connection between longtime industry leaders and up-and-coming members.

Each advisor will come from AFE’s Young Professionals Council (YPC). Established in 2015, the YPC is a free-to-join group that offers leadership and networking opportunities for young industry professionals. YPC members participate in online and in-person meetings, webinars, and other opportunities to share ideas, collaborate with influential industry members, and help promote careers in the floral industry.

This advisory position will be another one of those opportunities. Granting benefits to both AFE and the advisor themselves, the new shared perspectives will increase the diversity of thought in board meetings and ensure that the current challenges and needs of young professionals are communicated.

Melinda Knuth, Ph.D., is AFE’s first advisor to the board. Knuth is an assistant professor and researcher at North Carolina State University. In 2016, Knuth joined the YPC as one of the first members. She has been involved with AFE through receiving research funding and as a webinar presenter.

Knuth specializes in innovative management and marketing strategies to investigate consumer attitudes and behaviors for horticulture crops — both edible and ornamental. With funding from the Floral Marketing Fund, she conducted an innovative eye-tracking study and, most recently, a study on houseplant purchasing.

“I’m excited to represent and share the current priorities and needs of young professionals in the green industry. Through my time in this position, I hope to support AFE’s strategic goals, especially with regards to engaging the next generation,” states Knuth.

The Young Professionals Council advisor will serve a two-year term and will Chair the YPC Task Force to collect and share feedback with the board as well as to implement AFE’s priorities with the help of the council.

“We are excited to bring Melinda’s fresh perspective into our Board meetings and to continue to strengthen connections with the next generation,” stated Debi Chedester, AFE’s executive director.

For more information on the Young Professionals Council and opportunities to get involved, click here.

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