Jewel Hunt, IDDBA
Jewel Hunt, chair of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA)

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Reflecting on her career, Jewel Hunt, chair of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) provided mentoring that set the tone for the Dairy-Deli-Bake 2017 exhibition by selecting the theme of leadership and inspirational teamwork to open the annual event and trade show, which is being held June 4-6 in Anaheim.

Reflecting on her career since she started as a bakery sales clerk in Idaho, the group vice-president, bakery, for Albertsons Companies challenged the audience to provide inspiration, motivation and new experiences to encourage a team — whether it’s inherited or built from scratch — to take a department to a whole new level.

“Think about it,” Ms. Hunt asked. “Are you giving or helping others reach their talents and full potential? When you can work and create an environment where team members know you believe in them, anything is possible.”

Inspirational teamwork also involves establishing a clear structure that will encourage collaboration that eventually leads to world-class innovation.

“Make sure you’re clear on team rules,” she pointed out. “Arrive on time, don’t interrupt and give everyone a turn to speak. Rules help you avoid a dysfunctional team, like members who withhold information or pressure others to agree or sometimes don’t take responsibility.”

Moreover, goal-setting must be realistic.

“There is little motivation in setting modest goals, but at the same time, don’t set goals so high that your team loses interest or gets disheartened,” Ms. Hunt said.

She said creating a balanced team where diversity in knowledge, views and perspectives based on age, gender and race will avoid “group think” and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

Inspirational teamwork isn’t always easy, she added. In some cases, effective team leaders might experience a little pushback from others in a company.

“If your objective is truly visionary, you will sometimes face skeptics who feel threatened by the goals,” Ms. Hunt said.

She encouraged the audience to avoid naysayers and focus on developing break-through ideas that will change the face of the marketplace.

“If you find team members that will step up, they’ll step out of the box and they’ll really create those inspiring solutions as well as create inspiring new products and customer services,” Ms. Hunt noted.