20th Annual Deli Changemakers Award Winner: Roseanne Crave

Sales and Marketing Manager
Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese LLC
Waterloo, WI

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and how it has shaped you?

I was 3 years old when we broke ground for our cheese factory, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese. I have fond memories as a little girl “helping” with customer tours, manning the trade show booth, and working in the plant with our employees. I have grown up with the business and have built lifelong relationships with key industry members and friends. I also grew up in 4-H and around dairy cows. When I was younger, a “play date” with friends was going over to the farm and walking and washing our show calves. Throughout my childhood, agriculture and the dairy industry have certainly influenced my current professional career.

Q. What were some of the pivotal moments in your early life that led you to where you are today?

When I was a high school student, I was determined to go into science education and graduate college to work as a science teacher at the middle school level. I always enjoyed science and educating students about things like agriculture and earth studies. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I decided coming back into the family business was what I wanted to do. I never felt any pressure from family or industry members to do so, it was my choice! It was then that I decided to transfer to UW Madison and enter the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where I studied life sciences communication and environmental studies. Through my course work and the positive influence of my professors, I further developed my love for agriculture, all while being able to continue to educate people on the science behind agriculture through communication and marketing.

Q. How has your career evolved over the years?

By being part of a successful family business, I have built my knowledge in many departments. Being flexible and a quick learner has allowed me to better introduce myself to the business and the industry as a young adult. It has been through the respected connections within the industry that I owe a lot of thanks to for my continuous growth, including my parents George and Debbie, my cousin Beth, Klondike Cheese and other industry organizations like DFW and CDR. Our industry offers transparent communication and support that it is almost impossible not to better your own personal growth through having long-lasting relationships. Everyone wants to see each other succeed.

Q. What is the best advice you ever received and why?

It may sound cliché, but not being afraid to ask for help. Odds are you aren’t the only person with a question, and you can’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it. This has helped me improve communication throughout my team at work and within my personal life.

Q. How do you balance your work and personal life?

For someone from a family business, it can be challenging to separate your personal life from your professional life. This is something I am continuing to work on. But for me, I make sure to be a part of different organizations and sports teams like volleyball that have no correlation to work. This is my time to just enjoy and clear my head. Although, sometimes I do end up bringing a cheese platter!

Q. What deli retail trends have impacted the industry most over the last year?

I think that the most impacted movement this year has been the growth of snack pack/grab-and-go items. We are all consumers in one way or another, and I know I have been a participant in purchasing these items. These individualized, easy snacks are popular for one thing, convenience, and who doesn’t love convenience? Consumers don’t always calculate the price point for these items, but since it is easy, they don’t mind!

Q. What book, movie, or event has impacted you personally or professionally?

When I was 16, I attended my first Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. This was my first time attending such a pronounced international event. It was very eye-opening to see a world beyond Wisconsin cheese, all while visualizing the important role we played. This was my first time comprehending how a trade show works, how important networking and relationships are, and a firsthand look at product competition. Through exposure to customer and distributor relations, product showcasing and media, I was able to prime myself for my future.

Q. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy traveling, cooking and playing volleyball. Like many cheese people, when I travel, you can guarantee that either a grocery store or a cheese shop will be on the agenda at least once!


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