Inspiring the Next Gen: Jazmin Albarran of Seed Your Future

Inspiring the Next Gen: Jazmin Albarran of Seed Your Future

In today's rapidly evolving world, it's more important than ever to engage and inspire the next generation of professionals in the plant and flower industry. Seed Your Future (SYF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting horticulture and expanding career opportunities in the field, is at the forefront of this mission.

During our most recent Mornings with Mayesh, I had the privilege of sitting down with Jazmin Albarran, MBA, the Executive Director of Seed Your Future, for an insightful interview about the organization's initiatives, the importance of industry participation, and how we can all work together to shape the future of the floral industry.

With over a decade of experience in change and systems management, Jazmin brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her role at SYF. Her dedication to educating and empowering the next generation of plant and flower professionals is truly inspiring. Whether you're a seasoned industry professional, a student exploring career options, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and importance of plants and flowers, this interview with Jazmin Albarran is sure to inspire and inform.

So, let's dive in and discover how we can all play a part in cultivating a bright future for the floral industry!

Below are the podcast, video replay, and the show recap:




  • First, tell us a bit more about yourself and your flower story?

  • Jazmin, can you tell us about the mission of Seed Your Future (SYF) and the work your organization does?

  • Who are the primary target audiences that SYF aims to serve and support?

  • I understand that SYF offers a variety of free resources. Could you highlight some of the most valuable ones for our audience?

  • Many of our viewers may not be familiar with Green Career Week. Can you explain what it is and when it takes place?

  • What exciting new initiatives or programs has SYF recently launched or has in the pipeline?

  • Why do you believe it's crucial for the floral industry to actively participate in reaching out to and engaging the next generation of employees?

  • How can the floral industry support SYF's efforts, and what specific types of assistance or contributions do you need from our community?



Yvonne Ashton (00:11):

Hey everyone, I'm Yvan Ashton and we have a very special guest joining us today. For an exciting Mornings with Mayish, I'm thrilled to introduce Jazmine Albarran, MBA, the executive director of Seed Your Future A-K-A SYF. With over a decade of experience in change in systems management, Jazmine brings her expertise to lead S Y's mission of promoting horticulture sectors and expanding career development opportunities with plants. Today we'll be discussing then credible work seed your future is doing to inspire and educate the next generation of plant and flower industry professionals. So important for us, Jazmine will share insights on SYF's initiatives, resources, and upcoming events like the Green Career Week and Seed to STEM program for high school science teachers. We'll also explore the importance of the floral industry's active participation in reaching the next generation of employees and how you can get involved in shaping the future of this exciting field.


So if you're passionate about plants, flowers, and the future of the horticulture industry, this episode is for you. Get ready to learn, engage, and discover opportunities with Jazmine and CG or future. Don't forget to drop your questions in the comments and we will do our best to address them during the live session. Before we get started, of course, I have a few announcements I wanted to share. Have you grabbed your tickets for our Kristen Griffith VanderYacht Centerpiece Workshop? If not, what are you waiting for? I'm going to pop up on here on the screen, the link for there. So if you want to grab your seat, go to and you can grab your Seedt because Houston, the Seedts are running out pretty quickly. San Francisco, we went live just a couple weeks ago and we're over halfway sold out, so you don't want to delay if you want to go.


And it is really such an amazing experience. I got to go to Charleston and hang out with Kristen for the day, and it was really amazing. So you guys got to check it out. Also, just wanted to do a little reminder. Don't forget to subscribe for our email at so that way we don't miss these exciting events that we host news and deals. And now let's give a warm welcome to Jazmine Albarran and get ready for an informative and engaging session. Welcome, Jazmine. Hi. Thanks for having me, Yvonne. Yeah, thanks for coming by. I'm so excited to have this conversation and just kind of share everything that you have about Seed Your Future. But before we get started, can you just introduce yourself a little bit and share your flower story and how you ended up with this position with Seed?

Jazmine Albarran (03:02):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I've been with Seed Future now three years, and no background in plants or flowers. I loved them, always liked having them in the house, but I figured you have to have some kind of a pan science PhD to work in the industry. And here I am with a bachelor's psychology and an MBA supporting the industry. So my background is in mental health and youth development. Again, had no idea this wonderful world existed the way it does and how global it is and the breadth and the death of it and the complexity. It was networking, right? The first executive director of Seizure future was retiring and she reached out to me and asked if I would consider applying, and I said, listen, I kill my aloe. How can I work in the plant industry? And she said, don't worry, you won't be working with plans.


You're talking about careers. See, your future is connecting with parents, teachers, students about the industry because not many people are aware of what it looks like and what those careers are. And because I believe flowers and plans impact our mental, physical, and multifunctional health, that it was still very in line with the work that I do. And if you love what you do, that impacts your self-esteem, your confidence, your relationships. So helping people find their plant passion, their plant career connected and realizing that they can be very professionally fulfilled in this industry has been a motivator to get in front of as many people as possible so they can learn about all the wonderful careers that are in this industry.

Yvonne Ashton (04:45):

Awesome. So exciting. And before you start talking about Seed your Future, I know it's a obviously a more organized program. Everything's structured and I know you have a lot of resources, but I just wanted to say I did career day at my little one's elementary school. They're all fourth graders. I spoke to five different classes. Obviously I talked about marketing, but I did take part of my little short time. I had 15 minutes with each class and did talk about different careers. And so I just feel like even if that's something that you can do once a year, the kids freaking loved it. The teachers loved it. They're like, oh my God, if I retire as a teacher, this is what I want to do.


There's so many different things in our industry that you can do, even if you aren't a green thumb or even if you don't have artistic ability. There's all these other different career paths in our industry and people just don't realize and understand, and the little people definitely don't realize and understand, but they all love flowers. So they were so excited. Of course, I brought Mish swag to get some questions out of them, and my daughter Lilia, her class, I stayed for a lot longer. I different class last and they probably asked me, I'm not kidding, probably like over 30 questions and I had to stop because we, they had other schoolwork to do and really great questions like about the cold chain and about design, and it was really cool to do. I did it for my oldest too, so I just wanted to share that experience

Jazmine Albarran (06:29):

Before. No, thank you. Thank you for sharing that

Yvonne Ashton (06:32):

Simple thing that you can do. It takes half of your day once a year and it really makes an impact on people for

Jazmine Albarran (06:40):

Sure. Absolutely, and like you said, most people, they know flowers, they know plants, but they don't know those careers. So anytime anyone can connect with those local schools around them, those are potential employees, but also customers, right? If they know your brand, if they know who you are, if they feel a personal connection to you, they're more likely to buy from you. So connecting with them, it's a win-win.

Yvonne Ashton (07:03):

Yeah, for sure. So Jazmine, tell us about the mission of Seed Your Future and again, aka SYF and the work your organization does.

Jazmine Albarran (07:15):

Absolutely. So Seed Your Future was created back in 2014, so this is our 10th year anniversary to help. Congratulations promote. Thank you. All of the careers within the horticulture floral industry, and it's not just the careers working directly with the plants and flowers, but it's also the marketing, the accounting, the HR graphic design. People don't realize what this industry looks like. When people hear horticulture, they think of gardening in their backyard, they think of the person cutting their grass, they think of the farmer and overalls from the 1950s and don't realize all of the things that they can do. So Seed Your Future was put together by several horticulture professors that realized not enough students were coming into those higher education degrees that were then going to be needed to make sure that there were all the things within the industry. And so they said, we can either keep talking about this or do something.


And so through a lot of reSeedrch, they created Seed Your future and the resources that we have, our resources start for middle school students all the way up through career. We like to say because we have things for middle school, high school, college students, but then also especially during the pandemic, we had a lot of adults, thirties, forties, fifties, say, I love plans, but I can't go back and get a master's or a bachelor's at this point. How can I come into the industry without a formal degree? And I told them industry is hiring for passion, for love, for the commitment, the willingness to learn and do the hard work, and we get them connected with local industry businesses to then build their network and hopefully get them into the industry. So we have a variety of resources to help industry one connect with those local school schools in their backyard.


But then again, we are also reaching out to teachers and students and parents because a lot of people have a negative perception of our industry. They feel that it's not professional compared to other industries that we're just playing with plants or playing with flowers that you can't make money and there's no professional growth. So we tailor messaging to those groups. We've heard a lot of people say, my parents talked me out of it, my school counselor or my college advisor because they were not familiar with the industry, they steered me in a direction to go somewhere else. So we're helping everyone learn about really how complex, diverse and global the industry is so that they can come and find these different jobs.

Yvonne Ashton (09:56):

Awesome. Awesome. So you already answered my question about your primary target audience and that you're serving and supporting. I think that's amazing and didn't know that you guys started from middle school age group, which I think that is amazing too. Again, I think it's just so important to reach these kids while they're kids and while they're still curious and have more of an open mind. So I think

Jazmine Albarran (10:23):

Absolutely. And elementary, sometimes it might be a little too young, but those fourth, fifth graders, you can definitely start having conversations about careers and just making them aware in middle school is when it just starts to click a little bit more like, oh, I got to have a job one day in high school. It can be a little too late because by then they already know what college you're going to go to or what fields they're really interested in. So middle school is the prime age to start with making them aware of here is the floral industry, this is ornamental who this is, whatever, different sector so that they understand the differences and all those careers that go with it.

Yvonne Ashton (11:03):

Yeah, that's amazing. So you mentioned that you have a variety of free resources. Can you highlight some of those that you think have the most value for our

Jazmine Albarran (11:13):

Audience? Yeah, absolutely. Yes. And if I can share my screen, I'll show everybody where they are.

Yvonne Ashton (11:18):

Awesome. Let's do it.

Jazmine Albarran (11:19):

Thank you. So this is our landing page, and as you can see, here are the different tags that people can tag themselves in. We tailor messaging to educators that middle school through higher education students, similar parents, and then industry, which would be like may staff that want to connect with students. So if you go to resources, students, all of these are really great career information to share with those local school schools. So let's start. We have 140 career profiles that are highlighting different careers within the industry. They're an alphabetical order. You can scroll down. So let's pull up one and all the profiles are set up the same. So there's the title, an image, a description of the career. We say, do you need a certification versus a PhD? We link to an active where to study map, and I'll show you that one in a minute.


We provide salary information so someone would have an idea of how much they could make in the career. We link out to professional organizations someone in this industry should stay connected to for their own professional development. They all have a video that shows the career so that students would have an idea of what they would do in the career. And then we link out to our list of job boards. We heard from a lot of college students that said, I don't know where to go to find jobs in the industry. So we put all of those job boards together in one place so that students can easily find those careers. So lots of great information. Again, all of these profiles are set up the same way. We list industry scholarships. We know that higher education is not free or cheap, so if any of your listeners have scholarships available, we'd love to get them listed on the website.


We list them by the area of study and then also by the organization that's providing the scholarship with internships. If anyone within industry has an internship, they would love to get it on our website. We listed by the area of study who's providing the internship. And this one, we break it out by state because we know some students want to stay local while some want to be able to travel. And here is the where to study map I mentioned earlier that's attached in the profile. So it's a Google map. You can zoom in, zoom out. All of the sprouts are plant science programs. So it could be floral, it could be agribusiness, it could be ornamental port. Again, just another way to have all of this reSeedrch in one place so that students can find the industry a lot faster. So when you click on a sprout, you can open a box that will give you the name of the school, the address, what degrees they have, and then when you click on more information, it takes the student, parent or teacher to the landing page of that program cutting back the amount of reSeedrch that they have to do to find our industry.


I am going to pop over to our Bloom! initiative. That is something that started specifically for middle school students, but we have teachers share that they use these curriculum as well. But the really fun part is this quiz. So when industry goes and talks to students, if you can have them do the quiz at the beginning of your presentation, that's just a fun way to engage with them. And here we'll take you really quick so you can see what it looks like. So inside or outside, we'll say outside. What would you rather, let's say think, how would you get there? Let's say skateboard. What are you watching? Let's say sci-fi, and then choose one paint rush. So depending how the student takes the quiz, it's going to give them a persona and then several careers they might be interested in.

Yvonne Ashton (15:16):

I love that. I love gamifying things like that.

Jazmine Albarran (15:19):

Amazing, right? It's easy, it's fun, it's colorful, and again, you get a short list because that list of 140 sometimes can be overwhelming for someone. So here you get your small list, but all of these link back to the longer list. And then really quickly I'll share, we have a YouTube channel with the variety of videos. These are experiment based with plants, so a fun way to have teachers bring plants into the classroom and then segue that into, and did you know these are the different careers you can have in the industry? There are a few of these videos that talk about the power of plans on our mental health in fashion and sports. And then at the bottom we have some horticulture STEM career videos. So this one is talking about automation and horticulture. The word stem resonates with teachers and students and parents, but they don't necessarily think about flowers and plants, and we all know how much is here.


So we got to make sure that they understand and realize that we have tons of other resources that on the website we have a section for blogs. Again, pulling in articles industry about people that are doing the work that we're needing to highlight those careers. So anyone can reach out to me to learn more about those resources and how they might be able to use them to connect with local students in their backyard. So they got to do is email me and I'm happy to walk them through some of those resources and talk about how they might be able to use them.

Yvonne Ashton (16:50):

Brilliant. I love it. My next question for you, Jazmine, is all about Green Career Week. So many of our viewers may not be familiar with Green Career Week. Can you explain what it is and when it takes place?

Jazmine Albarran (17:10):

Absolutely. So since I've been at Seed Your Future, I had a lot of industry say, we know we should be connecting with students, but it feels so overwhelming. What do I talk to them about? I don't have any relationships with teachers. So we created a toolkit that gives step-by-step guidance on how to make those things happen. And the idea is that you're going to do one of three things. One is set up field trips. That is our biggest thing. Bring students to your site so they can see what it means to work there. If for whatever reason you can't bring students to, you go into a classroom like did and do a presentation, but a very employer focused like, this is who we are as a company. These are the positions that we have. These are the internships that we offer. This is how you apply.


Again, just making those students aware of, yes, this is where you come to buy flowers or this is where flowers come from outside of the country, et cetera, but this is who we are as an employer in your background. And then the third part is putting all those interactions on social media. Our students are on TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, so we have to take industry and put it in front of them as well. So by posting videos and pictures of your interactions using the hashtag Green Career week, that will grow our digital library of companies positions and then passion. This next generation of young people, they want to be a part of problem solving. They want to be a problem of impacting the planet, and this industry does that, but they don't know. So if they can see how much people love what they do, I think that will also encourage them to consider the floral and port industry as careers.


So we hosted twice a year, once in the spring, once in the fall. The fall dates are September 30th through October 4th, and it's just pick a day. And I tell people all the time, if the teachers aren't able or you are not able to do it the week of, do it the week before, do it the week after, do it the month before. We don't care. We really just want to prompt industry to start building those relationships with those local schools around them. And we are also going to be hosting four virtual q and As. So if anyone like your listeners that have not familiar with C feature, have never participated, aren't sure what green career work looks like, they can join the Q&A hear from some past participants from Green Career Week, share how they planned their event, what they did, and answer questions. So we're having one June, one in July, August and September. Wednesday an hour people can drop by for it. And so we'll be publicizing those registration dates starting this week.

Yvonne Ashton (20:08):

Awesome, awesome. That's so great to know. And I talked a little bit with you before, would love for us to kind get involved. And again, after I did the career day with my little, it just reminded me it's very satisfying to do those types of things and just help little people be really excited and inquisitive and have a better understanding about their world. So

Jazmine Albarran (20:35):

It's really cool now that 20, 30, 50 students that didn't realize they could work in this industry that now they know. And that's the thing people just don't know they can work here.

Yvonne Ashton (20:49):

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. So what exciting new initiatives or programs has SYF recently launched or has in the pipeline?

Jazmine Albarran (21:00):

So one thing that we're super excited about that actually happened last week is our new Seed to STEM program. So we know teachers are that frontline. They're the ones that know what student likes flowers or plants or outdoors or nature, but if they don't know we exist as an industry, as employers, how can they teach their students about it? So we brought together a high school science teacher from across the country and gave them kind of like a green career week. We took them to different horticulture spaces every morning so they could see, okay, this is what it means to work in a greenhouse. They got to go to Kennecott Brothers in Indianapolis in Indy, and they got to do a floral arrangement. And those floor arrangements were then used for our 10 year anniversary dinner that night. And it meant the world to them.


And they got a little sense of what it means to work in this industry, how those flowers really impact someone's mood. And so those teachers, they went to different places in the morning and then every teacher is going to create a lesson that is going to connect a science module to a horticulture career, which is going to be amazing. Just one more tool that teachers will have to make it easier to talk about us in the classroom. A lot of them said, I have to teach curriculum the way the school lays it out or the way the district lays it out so they can't go on Google and just grab a worksheet and put it in the classroom. First of all, they all have to be for science teachers connected to the next Generation Science standards in order to be able to talk about it. And it has to be connected to that curriculum somehow. So these lessons will do that. They will be easy, ready to plug and play for any teacher across the country to use to highlight all of that STEM and science that is within our industry, connecting to a career, and then also the C future resources. So hopefully by November we will have all of those lessons on our website, free for download for anyone in the states. And I like to say anyone around the world will have access to those as well.

Yvonne Ashton (23:10):

That's amazing. I love that. I love it. And how many science teachers came and we had

Jazmine Albarran (23:21):

25 high school teachers,

Yvonne Ashton (23:24):

And did that cover half the states or did some come from different areas?

Jazmine Albarran (23:29):

So we had California, Pennsylvania and Florida. Most of the applicants came from there. So we had 153 applicants for the minimal spots that we had and the ones the 25 teachers covered, 13 states. So we were able to still get a little bit of diversity in there. Next year it's going to be in Chicago, so in January we'll open up those applications, but we're doing it different next year. Instead of it being science teachers, it's going to be English teachers, math teachers, because we need writers, we need communication. And so if they are familiar and can sell those kind of careers in the industry, I think it would be really also beneficial. So we're going to change it up a bit for next year and see how it goes. And then again, take to different spots in the morning and then help them with those lessons.

Yvonne Ashton (24:26):

I love that. I love that. I did that with, again, my career day. I would ask people, okay, who in here really loves math? And then they would raise their little hands and I'm like, okay, you would love X, Y, and Z. Who loves, loves to write and read and who loves art class. And so I try to relate it back to what they're doing in school. So it was cool. It was fun. Okay. So obviously you guys have all of these programs, initiatives and resources, but you guys can't do it alone. So why do you believe it's crucial for the floral industry to actively participate in reaching out to and engaging the next generation of employees?

Jazmine Albarran (25:12):

Everyone that I talk to is saying I need people to help, whether it's just Seedsonal when the peak of sales or year round. Well, if we don't tell students, if we don't tell our communities who we are as an industry, as companies, as businesses, they're not going to come to us. Like I mentioned, most teachers don't know our industry as employers and parents have negative perceptions of the industry, not all of them, but some of them. And so we have to take the step together to reach out those students by participating in Green Career Week, by connected with Teacher Future, we have several committees that you can help join and work through A lot of the things that we're wanting to do. We want to create webinars about industry for students. We want to continue to be that bridge between here's all the need the industry has, the careers we need to fill with those future employees that can eventually fill those careers. But C Future is a small nonprofit and we need all the help that we can get to reach. Imagine if we had 10, 20, 50 floral businesses in every state, reach out to one school, how many students we would reach out to, and if you can do a college one year high school and next year, I think we would reach so many more students and make them aware of this wonderful industry.

Yvonne Ashton (26:46):

Yeah, absolutely. How important do you think internships are? I know earlier you mentioned that you have a listing of those by state. How important do you think that is? And then a piggyback question to that is, I know sometimes having a internship program can be hard for people just because you have to train someone, usually they have no idea what they're doing and you're training them knowing that they're going to leave. So most likely if they're younger, that type of thing, they'll probably leave. What is your advice for that?

Jazmine Albarran (27:29):

One. Yes, I think internships are valuable for two for the business because you could be training your future employee, even if it's not now, maybe five years down the road, they will come back because they know you, they're familiar with your business and they're building a relationship with you. For the student perspective is, I've talked to so many people, even within industry that don't realize all the things that they can do. I've talked to folks that said I was here 10 years before I realized I could do the job I have now. And so the more exploring that college students can do within industry to learn, okay, this company does it this way, that company is an expert in X, Y, and Z, the more likely they are to be able to find what they really, really truly want to do. So absolutely, I think they are very valuable for the student and the business.


And Seed Your Future is actually going to be starting some reSeedrch. We are going to have four surveys, survey to current students, students that have graduated college departments and then industry. We want to understand from all of those parties what an internship would mean and how to provide resources to get more businesses to start internships. Because again, that's creating your internal pipeline of future employees. And while you might not keep them all, if you keep one or two, that will be a big benefit to it. And I think even if you don't hire them, right, it's still building the brand of your business. And those students have peers and now those students can recommend if they know another, a friend that's looking for a job and you have openings, well now they can refer to your company. So I don't think it's a miss opportunity in hosting those. I do know it's a heavy lift if you don't have one, you've never done it before. And between AFE has tons of resources. We're hoping to add to some of those so that it is easier for industry to figure out how to make that work for them and what does it look like? Maybe just might be one part-time and you start there and then figure out how to build it out. But absolutely, it's worth having interns.

Yvonne Ashton (29:48):

Very good. And just for you guys that are listening, if you don't know what a FE stands for, it's American Floral Endowment. Our CEO has also been super involved with a AFE over the years, so very good. Okay. So my last question for you, Jazmine, is how can the floral industry support SYF's efforts and what specific types of assistance or contributions do you need from our community?

Jazmine Albarran (30:16):

Absolutely. So like I mentioned, we have several committees that I'd love to have more floor representation on to have your voice and your connections at the table. And then when it comes to contributions, we are a nonprofit. We're always in need of financial donations of any size. The Seed to STEM, the teacher program was $125,000, which is absolutely worth it for what we were going to be getting out of to help industry talk about our careers. But that's a big chunk of money for one program. And so anyway, any amount that can be provided to us to help us do the work, maintaining the website, all of those resources, creating new and different exciting ways to get students to think about the industry, it all takes dollars. So we appreciate and need any and all donations.

Yvonne Ashton (31:15):

Very, very good. So if someone wanted to get involved and whether it's committee or donations, that type of thing, how do they do that?

Jazmine Albarran (31:22):

So if they want to volunteer, they can email me directly at So that's my email. Just let me know you're interested in volunteering. I'll set up a Zoom meeting with them, learn a little bit about their passion, what are their interest in, and then we can talk about a committee that might be a good fit. And then as far as donating, they can send checks to the future address or they can go to the donate button on the website and donate there as well.

Yvonne Ashton (31:53):

Okay. So here's the email. I'll put that up on the screen here. That's email so you can reach out to her directly. And then I wanted to copy and paste it out of my inbox so that way I didn't type it wrong. And then I shared the link for Lemme find this specific page. That way I can post that up on the thing on the screen for you guys donate. And it's taking a second because I'm live and here we are sharing that in the comments as well, and then showing link on the screen. Perfect. Yeah, of course. And then also earlier again, I posted the website, I posted the Instagram so you guys can follow them and support them on Instagram. Make sure that, again, it's, it's always good to get a reminder of what people are up to. I know you guys are going to hopefully watch this or listen to the replay at a certain point.


And I know everyone is so, so busy with running their businesses and just making sure that you can sustain yourself. But it's always great to give back and if you can find the time and the resources, I think this is a wonderful way to do so. I just wanted to thank you, Jazmine, for everything that you're doing and everything that Seed Your Future is doing. Such an amazing organization and I'm so glad to have learned all the things that you shared today. And just wanted to see if you had any closing thoughts that you wanted to share.

Jazmine Albarran (33:38):

Nope. Just wanted to thank you, Yvonne, for taking the time to highlight, see Your Future and the work that we're doing. Right. We need everyone's support to reach that next generation of employees so that they realize we are here as an industry. We have all of these wonderful jobs. We just got to get in front of 'em.

Yvonne Ashton (33:57):

Yeah, perfect. Alright guys, thank you so much. Thank you, Jazmine. And that's a wrap on today's show Mornings with Ish. Mark, your calendars for next week, Wednesday, June 19th. I'm going to have Thalia and Madison from Flowers for Dreams as my next guests. So you don't want to miss that. I will see you soon and again, thanks everyone for watching. Bye bye.


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