Mr. Stuart Gilfenbain
President & CEO
Eclipse Berry Farms, LLC
Stuart Gilfenbain is the marketing director of Eclipse Berry Farms, LLC - a farming, marketing and distributing company where he has been following in the footsteps of his father, one of the company’s partners, selling fresh fruits and vegetables for the past 28 years.
Mr. Gilfenbain graduated from Claremont Men’s College in 1975 with a double major in economics and psychology. Researching for his senior thesis on "Amino Acid Fortification of Cereals as the Answer to the World Food Problem" with biologist Dr. Sadava and a professor in economics, he continued to follow his passion for finding a solution to the world’s food problem, leading him to Iowa State University graduate school in Agricultural Economics, where the World Food Conference was held in 1976/1977. After a year as a teaching assistant and graduate student at Iowa State University, a heavily math concentrated program, he headed to Santa Clara University graduate school in Agribusiness and to Santa Clara law school where he received his MBA in Agribusiness and a Juris Doctorate (JD) from the law school, passing the California bar in 1980.
What inspired Mr. Gilfenbain to get involved with the Berger Institute? He first heard about Berger through Suzanne Segal, a Berger Advisory Board member since 2006, and was interested in joining the board because “1) I loved my Claremont experience and wanted to be more connected to the school 2) I went to graduate school for six years and saw working mothers and fathers make it through business school and law school while bringing up families and working and 3) I have hired hundreds of people over the past 20 plus years in Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Europe, North America and have a lot of experience with working parents and the issues they face in the balancing of life's various issues.”
Balancing work, family and personal time is the key to Stuart’s success. As a self-proclaimed workaholic who loves the art of the deal, he feels blessed to love both his job and his family. As a working father, Stuart relates to the mission of the Berger Institute in believing that as one works to balance work with family, it is critical that one also takes care of themselves. This, he explains, allows for a refreshed view of the world, your family, and the issues that are ever so changing. “One cannot do the balancing properly without being balanced yourself."
In addition to working full time for Eclipse Berry Farm, Stuart’s interests include coaching, yoga, golf, reading and most importantly being home with his family. As an AYSO soccer coach, Pop Warner football coach, and basketball coach for 17 years including over 34 teams Stuart confesses one of his favorite things in life is to coach, and that if he could do all over again-- he would be a coach. “One of the greatest feelings of accomplishment is when I see a kid I coached when they were 9 or 10 playing college sports. This has happened a few times and it makes you feel good to know that just maybe you were the one that helped that kid take his game to a higher level.”
Where else can we find Mr. Gilfenbain around Claremont McKenna College? As a Mentor for the Mentoring Café, Mr. Gilfenbain generously comes out to Claremont and takes graduating seniors out to dinner to discuss their future. He believes that one of the biggest challenges today is helping youth determine what their passions are in the work world. With unemployment and the economy challenged like it has been the past few years, he stresses that it is increasingly more important that undergraduates get help analyzing what to do next in the world beyond CMC.
Mr. Gilfenbain currently lives in Santa Monica Canyon with his wife, Marianne, four children aged 20, 18, 14 and 12, three dogs and a turtle. An admirable contributor to the CMC community, dedicated husband and father, we are fortunate to welcome him as a new member of the Berger Institute Advisory Board.