Products like Cherimoyas and Jicama may be unfamiliar to the average person, but Karen Caplan grew up eating and selling them. As the first-born daughter of entrepreneur Frieda Caplan, founder of Frieda’s® Inc., Karen began working with produce at the age of ten. In 1986, at age thirty, Karen was promoted to President of the nation’s leading marketer and distributor of specialty produce. She is currently President and CEO.
Since her presidency, Caplan’s vision and leadership have propelled Frieda’s, Inc. to the forefront of the produce industry. By establishing a unique corporate structure and developing a dynamic team, she has created a strong foundation for the company’s continued success.
Some of her innovations have included developing a Consumer and Public Relations program within the Marketing department, encouraging the flow of product information. As a result of this, Frieda’s is now considered the most authoritative and dependable source of information on specialty produce in the world.
Caplan has also been pioneering and highly involved in the industry and the community. She has served on the Boards of these industry organizations: Fresh Produce and Floral Council, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Produce Marketing Association, and the City of Hope Food Industry Circle. Karen was also past president of NAWBO-Los Angeles (National Association of Women Business Owners) and an active member of the Committee of 200, The International Women's Forum, NAWBO, IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals and WCR (Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.)
In the business community, she has been honored with many awards, including "Business Woman of the Year" for the National Association of Women Business Owners, Entrepreneur of the Year by the Roundtable for Women in Food Service, and was named the 1996 Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women in Business Advocate for the Western United States. In 1991, the Boy Scouts of America honored her with their "Good Scout" award.
Karen earned her BS degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management from the University of California at Davis. Caplan, a native of California, lives in Seal Beach, California with her two daughters, Alexandra (11) and Sophia (6).