Borja’s Leadership Boosted Philadelphia’s Fruit trade - Western Fumigation
← Go Back

Borja’s Leadership Boosted Philadelphia’s Fruit trade

Courtesy of World Trade Association of Philladelphia

“Following in Miriam’s footsteps, I’ve heard much of the same comment from everyone we meet: ‘You have giant shoes to fill!’ And they are, of course, correct,” Christina Lista says of her new role at Western Fumigation. As of Jan. 1, 2024, Lista is assuming the responsibilities of Miriam Borja-Fisher, who is fully retiring as senior business development manager of Western Fumigation. Borja slowly moved out of the role after completing some final objectives. Lista continues, “It is hard to fully encapsulate how Miriam has positively impacted this industry and the Delaware River port complex. From her active roles in local trade associations, like the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, the World Trade Association, and the Maritime Exchange, to leading annual trips to Chile, to championing the effort to bring an alternative to methyl bromide, it is evident that Miriam has dedicated herself to the success of this port community.

Miriam Borja-Fisher

“She’s navigated Western Fumigation and port partners through many crises during her 22-year tenure. The accolades like Woman of the Year, Friend of Chile, and soon Lifetime Achievement Awards don’t even begin to touch the impact she has made but do reflect her superb professionalism and work ethic. “Miriam is trustworthy, honest, and extremely nimble, and we’ve been fortunate to have her on the Greater Philadelphia region’s team. She has paved the way for women leadership throughout this male-dominated industry and I, along with many, many others, am so grateful for her.”

Borja joined Western Fumigation in April 2002. Of course, the September 11 terror attacks were still shaking the international community. Borja traveled to Chile to brief fruit exporters on the U.S. FDA’s Bioterrorism Act and help the trade regroup in the new times of world trade. She invited Ronald Bown, former president of the Chilean Exporters Association, to come to Philadelphia to meet with these critical entities to assure clear communication and assure ongoing smooth fruit trade.

Borja recalls being intently working with Chilean exports to reinforce Western’s premier position of leading initiatives in the trade. “That’s how I wound up just being so focused on the Chilean trade and developing the excellent relationships with everyone down there.” Borja has been a very important link

Borja has been a very important link between Chile and Philadelphia’s importers, logistic partners and port stakeholders, as well as many Federal and state agencies. She was a member of Ship Philly First before that group merged with the World Trade Association.

Within the Port of Philadelphia, Borja says the industry leaders have “a can-do attitude. It is a very efficient network of people. When you put your minds to do something, you find a way to do it. You collaborate with each other. Collectively we all work together to make things happen.”

She foresees “lots more room for this trade to grow. I think everyone is trying to expand the warehouse capacity.”

Borja closes, “My goal has always been to be an advocate for this industry. We can’t pull rabbits out of hats all the time, but certainly we can try to help, and figure out solutions for the industry. I think that is the legacy that we’d like to leave behind. We want to do the right thing. We want to advocate for our customers. We want to do the best job we can. You know, we never cut corners.”

Borja has moved to Florida. She is a new grandmother and will be working to help her daughter with not only a baby, but the real estate business. Borja’s consultant business – which has involved Western for the last three and a half years – remains in place. Do not be surprised if she remains at hand for within global fruit trade!