Sylvia R. Tawse is co-founder and Chief Fresh Officer of FIG, the nation’s only PR, Digital & Branding agency specializing in the natural and organic products industry since 1995, headquartered in Boulder, CO. Sylvia has been leading true (never spin) storytelling campaigns for 30+ years in the marketing and educating of food and agriculture, from managing national product launch and issues campaigns to overseeing communications strategy during numerous industry crises. In 2020 and 2021, she served as Director of Communications for global CBD leader Charlotte’s Web Inc. Prior to forming FIG, she served as the Consumer Affairs & Public Relations director for Alfalfa’s Markets. She was honored in 2017 by Naturally Boulder receiving its “Industry Leader / Community Champion of The Year” award. Sylvia has first-hand knowledge of the organic industry from the ground up: she and her husband owned and operated Pastures of Plenty, a 35-acre certified organic farm, which has been featured in Eating Well, Sunset and Better Homes & Gardens and on The Food Network. She loves to help ‘better for you’ companies and Good Food Movement nonprofits and trade associations at all stages of their development to grow and thrive with integrity.
What area(s) of focus would you most like to address with your mentees?
That depends on their actual, most acute needs. I believe I can help entrepreneurs find distinctions in how they position their brand story, connect to their brand heroes in a compelling way, and rise above the competition in a noisy and ever-changing marketplace. I served as a branding coach for 3 years for Rabo Bank’s FoodBytes’ entrepreneur pitch slams and was able to work with a broad spectrum of entrepreneurs, from CPG F&B brands to agri- and nutrition-tech innovators. I began every coaching session with deep listening before offering all my “wisdom.” Beginning with the end, I made sure I understood where each entrepreneur thought they wanted to land with their new business proposition. I am also eager to work from experience with farmers and creative service companies.
How do you plan to structure your monthly meetings?
I would use the first session for in-depth information gathering and a get-to-know-you session. I would provide homework in the form of a questionnaire to be reviewed in second session. Depending on the mentee’s identified needs, challenges, SWOT reality, I would then have subsequent sessions be shaped accordingly. If outside experts seem needed, I would bring them in for a portion of the mentoring session. I also have exercises I have used for 8 years for peeling back the layers of average approach to a place of competitive and compelling distinction.
Finally, who would be an ideal mentee for you in this program, given your areas of expertise and experience?
Deadpan honest creatives who admit where they really need help and also where they really don’t. Caring about the food and our fragile planet confers extra points.