Influencing the Business, Janna Howley Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry
Influencing the Business, Janna Howley
Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry
Have you ever attended a Maryland wine festival? Have you ever read an article about legislative changes in the beer industry? Have you ever sought information about starting your own vineyard? If you answered yes to any of these questions, more than likely you interacted with Grow and Fortify. Grow and Fortify is the back office, advocates and event managers for Maryland’s agricultural producers, startups, operators and growers. They represent and support several non-profit organizations, like the Maryland Wine Association. In plain English, Grow and Fortify help craft beverage business owners thrive so that businesses can focus on producing great beer, wine, and spirits we love to enjoy. Janna Howley is the Chief Operating Officer, COO, for Grow and Fortify. She is the business behind the business.
Janna and I first met years ago when she worked for the University of Maryland Extension. I was in search of agri-tourism resources. Agri-tourism was relatively new back then. It was novel. Not a lot of people understood it or knew anything about it. Janna recognized the potential and value of bringing people to Maryland’s farms like Maryland’s vineyards. Vineyards are working farms. People sometimes forgot that fact. During her time with the Extension program, Janna positively influenced the public’s perception that farming is exciting and fun.
Fast forward to today, Janna influences on a larger scale. Her, along with the team connect agricultural producers to organizations and resources which assist operators and growers develop their businesses. This is not just a job for Janna. She speaks with enthusiasm about the services her organization provides. It is infectious. Partially, we talked about the seminars they host for potential, dreamy-eyed growers. The support available to startups is inspiring. Within minutes of our conversations, I wanted to go out and buy a tractor, vines, and start growing grapes. But seriously, the support Grow and Fortify offers has had a positive impact on the wine industry and, may attribute to some of the growth in the industry.
Our chat with Janna took place in her kitchen. It felt like I was catching up with a good girlfriend. Thanks for making me feel so comfortable, especially since I had production issues and annoyed with myself. I have to apologize for the video quality. You’ll notice Janna, and I go in and out of frame. My usual camera did not have sufficient memory. So, I used my camera phone as a backup. A very friendly Target salesperson later told me I did not insert the correct memory card. Ughhh… Thank you, Janna, for being a good sport and putting me at ease. You are awesome! Please enjoy our discussion.
Stay tuned for more videos in March. We love to hear from you. Who do you know who is making an impact in Maryland’s wine industry?
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