Top Women in Grocery

The 2019 Top Women in Grocery, Presented by Progressive Grocer: Senior-Level Executives

6/10/2019

READ ALL ABOUT THE 2019 HONOREES

Progressive Grocer recognizes 393 extraordinary women this year who join the ranks of the Top Women in Grocery. These women strengthen the retail food industry at many levels, within both the retailer and supplier communities.

Top Women in Grocery is a community that has continued to grow since 2007, with the best and brightest women in the industry.

Honorees are recognized in one of three categories: Executive-Level, Rising Stars and Store Managers. Below you find an incredible group of 81 Executive-Level women.

Claudia Saenz Amlie

Claudia Saenz Amlie
Chief Human Resources Officer, Acosta

  • Amlie revised Acosta’s benefits offerings to reduce the hours required for full-time employment, increasing benefits eligibility for 2,000 employees, and added parental leave benefits.
  • She spearheaded the launch of new payroll and timekeeping systems to provide greater transparency, launched programs tied to diversity and respectful workplace training, and launched a comprehensive engagement survey, allowing managers to engage in specific action planning for their teams.
  • Amlie is involved with the Episcopal School of Jacksonville and serves as secretary and trustee for the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, among other community activities.
Teri Amthor

Teri Amthor
VP, Southeast, Acosta

  • Amthor and her team exceeded the 2018 goals of two of Acosta’s clients, including a leading poultry producer; her team achieved 113.6 percent of that client’s goal and grew the other client’s sales at a major retailer by 3.2 percent.
  • She has been awarded numerous National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association Golden Penguin awards for her execution of Frozen Food Month and June Dairy Month promotions, and has been named Broker of the Year by several of her Acosta clients.
  • A four-time recipient of Acosta’s prestigious Chairman’s Award, Amthor is an active board member of the North Florida Frozen & Refrigerated Association and has served on the Tyson Foods broker advisory board.
Claudia Keyes

Claudia Keyes
VP, Operational Innovations, Acosta

  • Keyes led the creation of a new way of working for the core grocery business, including the standardization of planning and selling processes, a new hub structure, and a resource allocation model; this led to a differentiated value proposition, financial tracking of spend to budget, an associate-leadership development plan, and visibility across the organization.
  • She also worked with Acosta’s IT team to provide automation and enable technology to increase capacity within the company’s grocery hubs.
  • Keyes received recognition in the nonprofit and community arena for her efforts in creating and driving diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Tina Kubala

Tina Kubala
VP, Diversified Channels, Acosta

  • A solution-oriented leader who’s highly successful in developing relationships internally and externally, Kubala worked end to end with top CPG clients to develop and deploy winning strategies.
  • She has played a large role in the success of the channel over the past two years, including hybrid business-model productivity, effective in-store merchandising strategies, and 15 straight quarters of share growth in 13 categories.
  • An active member of the Network of Executive Women, Kubala won an Acosta Gold Chairman’s Award in 2018 as part of a company program that spotlights employees who exemplify excellence.
Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor
Chief Customer Officer, Acosta

  • Taylor spearheaded the re-engineering and transformation of Acosta’s service model for headquarters sales in its grocery channel, and she moved the company from a geography-based to a channel-based structure, which improved alignment of resources and maximized client investment.
  • She made key changes to Acosta’s personnel structure, reduced bureaucracy and optimized service delivery by moving from a player-coach model to a “leaders lead” model; she also instituted online training for leaders and associates.
  • Taylor was one of 32 global leaders from 13 nations to be named a fellow for the International Women’s Forum.
Lee Esmond

Lee Esmond
VP, Acosta/Mosaic

  • Esmond and Acosta’s Mosiac team created synergetic solutions at retail grounded in engagement, working to provide shoppers with a one-to-one personalized sense of service and product.
  • Through a holiday mobile tour with a popular beverage brand, her team showed shoppers at a major retailer how they could have a barista-like experience at home via the exploration and sampling of limited-time-offer products; the well-executed events were a major win for the beverage brand.
  • Esmond challenged her team to be as productive as possible: Her business unit successfully executed more than 8,000 events in 2018 through retail and experiential activations. 
Tiffany Salmon

Tiffany Salmon
SVP, Pet Division, Acosta/The Pet Firm

  • Salmon headed a mandated full-data implementation and integration within the teams; the promotion of data-driven discussions and decisions with vendors and retailers allowed the breaking down of barriers for a more defined collaboration.
  • She was promoted to SVP over The Pet Firm division, keeping the team engaged with company initiatives and achieving exceptional performance.
  • By executing joint business-planning sessions with vendors and retailers, Salmon and her team developed and delivered impactful programs, advancing partners’ positioning at key retailers; some of these brands saw category growth of up to 30 percent.

 

Andrea Young

Andrea Young
President, Advantage Marketing Partners/Customer Experience Group

  • Young led reinventions of some of her company’s largest legacy retail businesses to drive significant evolutions in business strategy and operations.
  • She spearheaded the evolution of omnichannel experience with the launch of box sampling and online grocery sampling while securing new programs with major retailers, bringing to market the first national sampling strategy that allows brands to easily participate locally, regionally or nationally.
  • Under Young’s direction, Advantage launched the Target Virtual Beauty Concierge program, scaling the concept by allowing shoppers to engage experts while shopping in-store and online.
Jody Mitchell

Jody Mitchell
VP, Business Development, Advantage Solutions

  • Mitchell was instrumental in delivering on multiple strategies for Walmart, including produce, private brands and a Fresh Takes initiative leveraging augmented reality, as well as embedded strategic planning managers who help with replenishment needs for events and coordinate strategy with merchants.
  • Her department drove 50 percent year-over-year growth in revenue, which equals one-third of the total business. 
  • Beyond being a huge revenue driver for her organization, Mitchell, a cornerstone of the Advantage culture who always leads by example, was consistently sought out by peers and employees for mentoring and overall career advice.
Lori Stillman

Lori Stillman
EVP, Analytics Insights and Intelligence, Advantage Solutions

  • Stillman was the key leader and workstream owner in the Advantage-Daymon merger for category management and the reporting and insights support teams; her work yielded a more robust team that leveraged the best from both organizations while netting millions of dollars in operational efficiencies.
  • Her team’s performance in 2018 measured at 14 percent above the prior year’s results, all while managing integration effort and bucking trends of market-slowing growth.
  • Stillman led the rollout of Advantage’s Reporting Service Bureau, bringing improved consistency in work product and enhanced client support, among other positive outcomes.
Beth Cozza

Beth Cozza
VP, Operations, Advantage Solutions/Marketing

  • Cozza led the design, development and deployment of a suite of online dashboards that automated the visualization of 26 disparate business reports and implemented three direct data feeds from Advantage to Walmart, to drive better decision-making and improve transparency of data.
  • She implemented a robust data-cleansing strategy for the Advantage retailtainment business unit to ensure accurate, consistent, valid, complete and uniform data. 
  • Cozza established three ongoing third-party audit programs for food safety regulatory compliance, adult-beverage serving and safety compliance, and quality of the shopper experience. 
Julie Swift

Julie Swift
VP, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint

  • Swift strategically developed and tactically led a test project for a major manufacturer with a direct salesforce, a groundbreaking launch for Waypoint.
  • She partnered to develop a platform that assesses the combined effectiveness of an individual client’s contracted business across all contracts, geographies, segments, distributors and individual operator penetration. 
  • As part of the seven-member Culture Champion Team at Waypoint, Swift’s primary responsibility within the team was to launch Waypoint’s vision, mission and values for nearly 1,000 team members, implementing these items across 50 states and 40-plus offices.
Marissa Crab

Marissa Crab
VP, Corporate Procurement, General Merchandise/Health and Beauty Care, Albertsons Cos.

  • Crab reorganized her support structure to align with the national sales managers and GM/HBC leadership team; this new structure, along with her metric-focused approach, took the departments’ partnership to a new level.
  • She led several major supply-chain projects for Albertsons, including the source of supply moves across six divisions, and 1,596 individual-store source-of-supply changes across the projects, with outstanding results.
  • Passionate about helping others on their development journey, Crab mentored several high-potential leaders of tomorrow within and outside of the supply-chain organization.
Elena Dietrich

Elena Dietrich
VP, Litigation and Employment Law, Albertsons Cos.

  • Dietrich received final court approval of four class-action settlements and reached settlement agreements in another two cases, achieving significant cost savings for the company.
  • She worked closely with the SVP of diversity and inclusion to develop talking points for all retail employees and on follow-up online anti-bias training, designed to prevent incidents of racial profiling and reinforce the company’s commitment to diversity. 
  • Dietrich collaborated in the development of Courtesy, Dignity and the Law II training, which sought to inform managers about the company’s obligations to prevent and remedy incidents of harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. 
Ramiya Iyer

Ramiya Iyer
GVP, Consumer Applications, Albertsons Cos.

  • Iyer built strong, enduring relationships with business partners and motivated her teams to higher aspirations and excellence in performance.
  • She led the total redesign and implementation of all digital properties, creating a multiyear road map based on how to engage customers in “shopping the way they want”; as a result, customer engagement increased by double digits.
  • Iyer is implementing enhancements to a target road map that seeks to eliminate friction in the checkout process, with such changes as an expedited credit card EMV process; additionally, the company is piloting digital receipts, and mobile point-of-sale and lane-busting technologies.
Jennifer Jesser

Jennifer Jesser
VP, Finance and Analytics, Own Brands, Albertsons Cos.

  • Jesser spent countless hours working with a cross-functional team to implement a software solution aimed at improving internal business processes spanning multiple company functions.
  • She led the project team through design, development and testing of the new software to maintain regulatory compliance with menu labeling, and is currently working to map historical data and sunset the pre-existing system.
  • Jesser’s leadership in implementing product lifecycle management was pivotal in integrating multiple company functions into a collective business process, creating multiple efficiencies and cost savings.
Suzanne Long

Suzanne Long
GVP, Business Process Improvement, Albertsons Cos.

  • Long organized and managed the four-year schedule to convert 11 operating divisions, 12 distribution centers and 951 stores; she assembled track leads across the multiple areas of responsibility and partnered with IT to organize within the same tracks to build the required synergies.
  • She demonstrated the ability not only to lead this large group through challenging and complex work efforts, but also to guide conversations in highly intricate and unique business scenarios that required special focus.
  • Long’s top-notch leadership skills helped team members tackle often formidable work efforts while keeping long-term collective goals foremost in mind.
Amanda Martinez 

Amanda Martinez 
GVP, Corporate Procurement, Albertsons Cos.

  • Martinez’s team supported the procurement system conversion across five distribution centers and the change of control, including the standing up of procurement teams, in one after another.
  • She led supply chain efforts for a strategic technology project that aims tol transform the way that the company forecasts demand and replenishment. 
  • Martinez currently chairs the company’s Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network (WIIN) resource group, helping employees on Albertsons’ other campuses launch their own WIIN groups, and serves as the company’s national ambassador to the Network of Executive Women.
Rucha Nanavati

Rucha Nanavati
GVP, Product and Supply Chain Applications, Albertsons Cos.

  • An extraordinary leader who excels at partnering with the business and other IT leaders and consistently achieves excellent results, Nanavati developed strong teams and established consistently strong relationships with a range of vendor partners.
  • She led a team of 250 professionals to drive the supply chain, merchandising and retail systems conversions to integrate Albertsons and Safeway.
  • Nanavati headed the implementation of fully automated robotics warehouse automation, and is currently leading the modernization of legacy mainframe systems through re-platforming or re-engineering.
Valerie Wilson

Valerie Wilson
VP, Merchandising Services, Albertsons Cos.

  • A consummate leader who helped her teams navigate the complex nature of business structure in her areas, Wilson continually provided direction to her team to help them achieve success.
  • She continued to lead the co-development of a “best in industry” suite of space-planning tools, with rollout already completed for one solution.
  • Wilson went above and beyond with her teams to make sure they knew that the difficult nature of their roles was recognized, and helped to keep their morale high by showing her appreciation in many ways, including an annual holiday potluck event providing her with the opportunity to thank associates for their contributions.
Cindy Garnett

Cindy Garnett
VP, Human Resources and Labor Relations, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s and Star Market

  • Under Garnett’s direction, Shaw’s and Star Market launched the We Care program to support fellow employees experiencing financial hardship, and local communities in times of emergency or natural disaster. 
  • Having begun at Shaw’s and Star Market as a bagger 35-plus years ago, Garnett demonstrated her longstanding dedication to helping other women advance in the food industry through the launch of a new mentoring program.
  • With Garnett overseeing the communication process, the company rolled out diversity and inclusion e-training across the Shaw’s and Star Market division.
Abby Prior

Abby Prior
VP of Marketing, BrightFarms

  • When BrightFarms recently undertook a search for a VP of sales, Prior stepped up to serve dual roles, leading both the marketing and sales units.
  • She led the development and commercialization of BrightFarms’ innovative line of produce, including four new varieties of leafy greens, and its expansion into a new market, as well as growing the company’s customer base through new grocery retail partners Dierbergs, Food Lion, Jungle Jim’s, Misfits Market and Tops Markets.
  • As a direct result of Prior’s stellar sales and marketing efforts, BrightFarms was able to increase its unit sales by more than 23 percent in 2018.
Rosemary Jones

Rosemary Jones
EVP-Chief People Officer/Legal, Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC)

  • Jones led a team to create an employee-funded emergency-assistance program that raised more than $450,000 in its first year, with similar monies pledged for 2019.
  • Under her direction, the BGC partner app revolutionized employee communication capabilities and engagement, and she headed a revision of the benefits program that expanded offerings for partners while saving about $4.5 million in annual benefit expenses.
  • Jones received BGC’s 2018 Louise Brookshire Spirit Award for outstanding leadership; the award hadn’t been bestowed since 2013 and was reintroduced specifically to honor her.
Angela Creech

Angela Creech
VP of Distribution Operations, C&S Wholesale Grocers

  • Now VP of operations, Creech, as director of operations, played a leading role in the optimization of C&S’ network to support the reorganization of its primary Southeast customer, and in the launch of cost-reduction initiatives to improve the customer’s profitability.
  • She was project lead on a top talent development initiative, chosen because of her proven ability to identify and develop leaders.
  • A founding member of the C&S Diversity and Inclusion Council, Creech embarked on helping to shape a culture of diversity and to build a strategy leveraging that culture as a competitive advantage, and will make critical contributions to the company’s organizational health. 
Denise Garcia 

Denise Garcia 
VP-Country Manager, Club Demonstration Services (CDS) Canada

  • Garcia won the request for proposal that expanded the CDS demo platform for warehouse club operators in Canada, and led the logistics to launch the international sampling program that now spans 99 warehouses. 
  • She was instrumental in building the company culture by launching a campaign, Changing our DNA, which focused on driving operational excellence; this cultural transformation transitioned more than 4,200 associates, with 27,000-plus hours dedicated to training and development.
  • Garcia’s team has doubled in size, executed multiple grand openings and increased event volume by 10 percent. 
Dana Barba

Dana Barba
Assistant VP, Shopper Marketing, The Coca-Cola Co.

  • Barba’s team rolled out Olympics-focused shopper programs with various retail and manufacturer partners, leading to double-digit increases in revenue, purchase amount and trip conversion.
  • Her team also led best-in-the-country results for the national Diet Coke new flavors launch, and developed a highly successful program focused on the untapped opportunities regarding beverage consumption for the at-home media occasion.
  • A speaker at various industry events, Barba is an active member of the Network of Executive Women and Women’s LINC, and serves on the marketing advisory board for the YMCA of Greater New York.
Hillary Garland

Hillary Garland
Group Director, Category Strategic Advisory-West Region, The Coca-Cola Co.

  • Together with sales, Garland secured a growth initiative commitment to re-engineer Coca-Cola’s partnership with Save Mart, based on category/shopper insights, saving millions of dollars and leading to higher growth for both companies.
  • Her team took on the energy drink category captaincy at Target, which led to changes in how the retailer was merchandising the section, increasing distribution of Monster SKUs by 8 percent and improving space.
  • Garland rolled out deep-discounter Aldi’s first-ever front end cooler test, a branded solution of private label and Coke products in test markets, with early results outpacing projections.
Lori Kassabian

Lori Kassabian
Group Director, Customer Decision Support, The Coca-Cola Co.

  • Kassabian implemented a fully integrated revenue growth management and finance team in a large-store pilot, recruiting strong talent and operating without open positions on the Publix team for several months, while ensuring that the pilot could be scaled across other teams. 
  • She strengthened partnerships with the National Retail Sales East SVP and leadership team through collaboration and leading financial stewardship through routine performance reviews. 
  • Kassabian spearheaded the Coca-Cola Northern New England bottling partner transition of accounts with both the revenue growth management and finance processes.
Katherine Fuller

Katherine Fuller
VP/General Manager, Crossmark

  • Fuller overdelivered on her revenue target by $13.5 million and assisted in additional new business wins totaling $19.4 million; her development of client plans and implementation of a weekly revenue tracker for her team aided revenue performance.
  • She was asked to take on additional responsibilities, helping with the back-end client operations for the drug team and working closely with the operations leader on field initiatives. 
  • As a way to further her professional development, Fuller created a plan to gain headquarters knowledge that included meeting with internal subject-matter experts on the headquarters side to learn their strategy, process and terminology.
Aimee Becker

Aimee Becker
SVP-Daymon Strategic Advisory, Daymon

  • Becker created the retail transformation team that developed a proprietary methodology to track private-brand performance and stay current on activity across the retail landscape.
  • She delivered $1 million in savings to the organization and $1.5 million in incremental revenue, and completed a request for proposal on all outsourced design contracts that led to a 10 percent improvement in cost.
  • Becker led her team in delivering a cross-functional project including brand/category strategy, logo creation and design for three category brands; the creation of a PLM technology platform; and implementation of three new analytic tools to drive faster insights. 
Nicole Peranick

Nicole Peranick
Senior Director-Retail Transformation, Daymon

  • Peranick founded and built the retail transformation group following Daymon’s merger with Advantage Solutions; since the group’s inception, she and her team have enhanced the Daymon value proposition regarding innovation.
  • She led the creation and authorship of two private-brand intelligence reports, revealing insights that have driven higher levels of engagement with clients, as well as new media exposure to enhance external visibility.
  • Peranick spearheaded the relaunch of Daymon’s Global TrendWheel forecasting tool, which defines the evolution of consumer behavior affecting the future of retail, and is being leveraged to help retailers and suppliers optimize their business strategies.
Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks
President and CEO, Earth Friendly Products

  • Vlahakis-Hanks led her company to increase its diversion of manufacturing waste from landfills from 95 percent in 2017 to 97 percent in 2018.
  • She continued to push the boundaries of green chemistry innovation as a leading advocate for the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice program, overseeing the development of several new green- chemistry formulations under the program, including ECOSBreeze, an odor-elimination technology derived from plant-based ingredients.
  • Vlahakis-Hanks instituted a composting program at her California facility, which resulted in the avoidance of 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Andrea Chase

Andrea Chase
VP-Catgory Management, Fareway Stores Inc.

  • After selecting and onboarding two service providers, Chase executed category reviews and developed planograms in various departments, which led to item assortment and placement adjustments driving 15.89 percent natural/organic sales growth over last year, among other positive results.
  • Collaborating directly with buyers and retail departments, she instituted a new-item communication process, greatly improving on an antiquated method of sharing critical details regarding new product offerings.
  • Chase worked directly with Fareway’s IT team to update and enhance its internal retail sales-reporting software, and organized training sessions for software users.
Linda Johnson

Linda Johnson
SVP, Human Resources, Food Lion

  • Johnson’s primary focus in 2018 was to oversee staffing for remodeled Roanoke and Norfolk, Va., stores; her strategies resulted in year-over-year hiring increases of 47 percent (Roanoke) and 54 percent (Norfolk).
  • Her talent management strategy achieved a retention rate of 85 percent-plus for director level and above while increasing diversity in the category.
  • Under Johnson’s direction, her team recognized associates at certain milestones in their careers, such as 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service; the company celebrated almost 300 employees for their dedicated service to the organization by holding a luncheon in their honor, hosted by Food Lion’s president.
Deborah Sabo

Deborah Sabo
SVP, Marketing, Food Lion

  • With oversight of a multimillion-dollar marketing budget, six directors and more than 50 associates, Sabo steered Shop & Earn, Food Lion’s new shopper rewards program, in its first year to save MVP loyalty card customers more than $22 million on top of their usual MVP savings.
  • She directed the company’s new Food Lion to Go grocery delivery program, among other responsibilities. 
  • Responsible for the company’s philanthropic platform, Food Lion Feeds, which builds an emotional connection with customers, Sabo supervised the donation of 70 million-plus meals through the grocer’s Feeding America-affiliated food bank partners.
Nicole Parker

Nicole Parker
VP, Business Development, FoodStory Brands

  • Parker was instrumental in changing the company’s business model from a focus on mass and club retailers to regional and national grocer expansion.
  • Under her leadership, FoodStory Brands’ top two brands experienced significant growth; she played a key role in increasing Fresh Cravings’ points of distribution from 4,000 to 9,000 sites, and helped introduce Fresh Cravings Organic Salsa, an affordable organic option.
  • Parker led the company’s other major brand line, Cocktail Artist, to increase from eight to 18 products and distribution in 4,000 to 7,000 stores.
PJ Oleksak

PJ Oleksak
Chief Growth Officer, FreshDirect

  • In 2018, Oleksak took the on-demand delivery service FoodKick from a startup within FreshDirect to a fully profitable sister business covering the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens; she led her team to perfect the “dark store” mode to move closer to customers and deliver in as little as an hour.
  • With FreshDirect’s move last year, she led marketing and customer services in a campaign that helped retain the company’s most valuable customers.
  • Oleksak undertook responsibility for a complete overhaul of employee compensation, tying bonuses to productivity, which enhanced productivity.
Ann-Marie Daugherty

Ann-Marie Daugherty
VP, Logistics, Giant Eagle Inc.

  • Daugherty was in charge of all inbound freight and outbound transportation to Giant Eagle and GetGo outlets, and had responsibility for the safety of 448 Teamster drivers and mechanics.
  • She developed two safety policies, negotiated with two Teamster unions, promoting the goal of consistent driver accountability and reduction of incidents across the network.
  • Daugherty created a training program for transportation and retail support center leaders, and a platform she developed for her team leaders helped them obtain advanced training and certification from the National Private Truck Council.
Lora Dikun

Lora Dikun
SVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief People Officer and Corporate Secretary, Giant Eagle Inc.

  • Dikun led a hiring pilot at Giant Eagle’s health and beauty care retail support center (RSC) that will roll out out to all RSCs; her team worked closely with local agencies to hire differently abled associates, with new hires paired with a current team member as an ally/friend. 
  • She guided the organization in achieving an all-time low in unsafe conditions, beyond industry benchmarks. 
  • After reorganization led to four new business units, Dikun developed annual and long-term incentive plans linked to the objectives of each unit.
Tonya Herring

Tonya Herring
SVP, Merchandising, Giant Food

  • Herring built the first merchandising team at Giant Food in 15 years, adding 80-plus new associates, from category directors, managers and analysts to a pricing director and analysts, as well as commercial-planning and special-project teams.
  • As a result of the best-in-class execution standards set by her team, the new merchandising organization delivered its best performance in six years.
  • Herring helped her company understand the value that having a merchandising organization can bring; by adding merchandising back into the brand, she helped educate all departments in merchandising best practices to deliver improved sales results.
Aimee Smith

Aimee Smith
VP for the People, Harmons Grocery

  • A senior certified professional in human resources responsible for caring for Harmons’ associates, as well as an operating board member who contributes to the strategic direction of the company and informs business development activities, Smith introduced programs to honor employees’ personal achievements such as earning a degree.
  • She oversaw implementation of a digital human resource information system to ease access of information and streamline work.
  • In 2018, she researched and implemented an upgraded life insurance policy for associates, providing coverage to an additional 700-plus employees.
Casey Killough

Casey Killough
Director of Pharmacy, Harris Teeter LLC

  • Overseeing pharmacy operations at more than 200 retail locations, with a goal of ensuring optimal day-to-day execution, Killough led script growth of 12.84 percent and sales growth of 14.24 percent. 
  • Under her guidance, the number of flu shots given increased by 33.4 percent, with a 42.4 percent sales uptick, while non-flu vaccines given increased by 372 percent in count and 413 percent in sales; operation hours and staffing were modified for annualized labor savings of $5 million. 
  • Killough’s acquisition of a competitor’s files yielded year-to-date increased sales from May  to July of $12.7 million.
Denise Broderick

Denise Broderick
VP, Customer Care, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • Broderick restructured the process used by Hy-Vee customer experience supervisors to handle store-level issues; by creating a system that aggregates data from the Customer Care Center’s thousands of chat messages, emails and phone calls each week, some customer service issues were quickly identified. 
  • From this point, customer experience supervisors could work directly with the department or store involved to handle the issue and improve customer experience.
  • Broderick oversaw creation of customer experience director positions, and is monitoring the pilot for a chain-wide rollout.
Lindsay Knoop

Lindsay Knoop
VP, Auditing, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • Overseeing all internal-audit functions for Hy-Vee, including six of its seven subsidiaries, Knoop led the deployment of electronic auditing software that streamlined the audit-reporting process.
  • She refined audit procedures by implementing more risk-based analytical procedures to help determine areas of focus; this increase in analytical procedures allowed Hy-Vee’s auditing department to take advantage of a greater amount of data that might point out potential problems sooner than in the past.
  • These procedures also helped Knoop’s department focus time and attention on areas that have shown increased risk.
Angie Nelson

Angie Nelson
VP, Pharmacy Operations, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • In 2018, Nelson helped grow Hy-Vee’s pharmacy business to one of the largest departments in the company; under her leadership, the pharmacy division experienced record sales and profits, as well as record flu shot administration.
  • Due to her efforts, a record number of customers enrolled in 2018 Repeat Refills, Hy-Vee’s auto-refill program, which in turn improved patients’ adherence – a particular goal of hers.
  • Nelson oversaw two recent pharmacy acquisitions, which included obtaining pharmacy licenses in several states, buying equipment, recruiting staff and overseeing their training.
Deb Riedel

Deb Riedel
Group VP, Floral; President, Florist Distributing Inc. (FDI), Hy-Vee Inc.

  • Riedel oversaw both Hy-Vee’s internal floral operations and also its subsidiary supply chain Florist Distributing Inc. (FDI), making her first person in Hy-Vee company history to manage both the retail and supply chain aspects simultaneously.
  • In her dual role, Riedel was instrumental in building sales in the lawn and garden departments, adding new items for customers in these areas.
  • Riedel successfully drove a complete department refresh in floral across the company, including the introduction of new product lines, sourcing new packaging and creating new layouts for display features.
Donna Tweeten

Donna Tweeten
EVP, Chief Marketing Officer; Chief Customer Officer, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • In 2018, Tweeten oversaw the advertising, marketing and PR strategies for Hy-Vee’s first three Wahlburger’s restaurants; the first eatery opened in the Mall of America and received national media coverage. 
  • Late last year, the Hy-Vee history book that Tweeten assembled and oversaw was released, garnering Gold and Judge’s Choice American Advertising Awards.
  • Tweeten was responsible for the grocery industry’s first streaming network, Helpful Smiles Television (HSTV), which features original programming; the initiative went on to win Judge’s Choice, Gold and Silver American Advertising Awards.
Sarah Steffes

Sarah Steffes
VP, Sales, Insignia Systems

  • Steffes was a primary driver in the growth of client partnerships and portfolio solutions, delivering 30 percent of the company’s total revenue in 2018, and 40 percent of revenue for innovation products within the portfolio.
  • She secured key clients within new and emerging brand spaces as they launched into the grocery channel, and was instrumental in introducing new products into Insignia’s portfolio that provided sustainable revenue-growth experiences. 
  • Steffes’ work output helped guide the organizational restructuring and implementation of integrated tools, which allowed for sustainable and scalable areas of growth.
Annie Ryu

Annie Ryu
Founder and CEO, The Jackfruit Co.

  • Ryu led what’s now the largest U.S. jackfruit supplier, thanks to a supply chain of 1,000-plus farmer partners in India that brings sustainably sourced jackfruit to the United States in convenient, whole-food plant-based formats. 
  • Her work with chefs and nutritionists to produce new, exciting meals helped promote mainstream consumption of jackfruit in the United States; the company doubled its product categories and introduced new products that will drive more than 40 percent of sales in 2019 and help keep the company on its triple-digit growth trajectory.  
  • Ryu oversaw product innovation, finance, sales and marketing strategies at her company.
Lindsay Koch

Lindsay Koch
President, Koch & Associates Inc.

  • The chain-specific distribution initiatives, promotions, marketing and programs that Koch developed with manufacturers have driven sales and increased mutual business between her core retail accounts – which include Kroger, Publix, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Supervalu – and her vendor clients by an average of 36 percent.
  • Through creative programs that focus on innovation, pack sizes, price points, TPR schedules and marketing dollar spends, she brought brands from the corner store to the largest accounts in the country, some with a 42 prcent year-over-year growth.
  • Koch is currently working on opening doors with various international accounts.
Sandy Steiger

Sandy Steiger
VP, Analysis, The Kroger Co./84.51

  • Steiger led her analytics team to influence data-driven decisions on financial goals, process improvement and efficiencies, productivity reporting mechanisms, and collaboration across the business. 
  • She grew the use of predictive/prescriptive analytics, increasing the number of projects using these techniques by at least 30 percent; supported the deployment of automated machine-learning platform DataRobot across 10 corporate missions; and worked with senior leaders to gain support for analytics in setting business goals.
  • Steiger’s Analyst Development Program and Continuing Education Program, both focused on educating existing talent, contributed to increased employee feedback scores.
Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes
VP, Merchandising, The Kroger Co./Fred Meyer

  • Hughes had an impact on a number of areas, among them improving total pharmacy labor hours and increasing pharmacist effectiveness, growing digitally engaged households, meeting shrink goals, raising associate insights scores in merchandising, and growing the brand.
  • She collaborated to align the division with the general office’s ad plan, allowing the team to prioritize the customer experience and execute against a key piece of the Restock Kroger strategy. 
  • Hughes spearheaded 17 store remodels within the division; she also became executive sponsor of Fred Meyer’s Women’s EDGE group and mentored a colleague through the executive leadership development program.
Suzy Monford

Suzy Monford
Division President, The Kroger Co./ QFC

  • Monford increased the number of natural and organic products offered in the stores, led a SKU rationalization that contributed to a 2.13 percent increase in sales, and finalized an in-store FitMarket proof of concept, featuring fitness and water stations.
  • She identified three locations as the division’s proof-of-concept innovation stores with such new features as a bacon bar with raw bacon, ready-to-eat strips of bacon and hot breakfast sandwiches; a chocolate cookie bar; and self-service grab-and-go bars with hot and cold options.
  • Monford oversaw the EDGE Kroger/Microsoft partnership pilot program, featuring cutting-edge technology that includes digital shelves, guided shopping and personalized in-store digital ads.
Lynette Ackley

Lynette Ackley
VP, Health, Beauty and Baby Consumables, Meijer Inc.

  • Ackley led a variety of projects that significantly impacted the business, including the launch of a new HBC prototype that outperformed total store averages across all metrics and exceeded average sales, outpacing the average total store contribution for the HBC department.
  • She led the OTC health care teams to deliver best-in-class financial results driven by a strategic joint business-planning process that included optimizing and upgrading in-store space and secondary displays.
  • Ackley led first-to-market strategies to launch new national and own brands, and intentionally allocated space and marketing to highlight natural brands and trends.
Maureen Mitchell

Maureen Mitchell
Regional VP, Meijer Inc.

  • Mitchell launched retail leadership development programs that resulted in the increase of her leadership talent pipeline, including the development and promotion of six store directors in her region this year. 
  • She took a special interest in the development of young adults through the retail intern program and created opportunities for young leaders to experience many facets of the retail industry through Meijer.
  • Mitchell emceed the 2019 West Michigan International Women’s Day event, supported by companies that embrace diversity, with the aim of helping women build their careers; more than 570 attendees came to the event.
Susan Vanderploeg

Susan Vanderploeg
Founder and Chairman, MessageWrap

  • MessageWrap, the patented in-store advertising effort that transforms checkstand conveyor belts into dynamic, antibacterial billboards for marketing and advertising campaigns, which Vanderploeg founded from her kitchen table, has been installed in stores across North America and achieved 518 percent year-over-year growth last year.  
  • Taking a hands-on leadership role, she spent hours at the production facility ensuring that every MessageWrap rolled out to 1,000 Target stores was printed and shipped correctly. 
  • Vanderploeg is currently lining up partnerships to roll out MessageWrap to other parts of the globe.
Patricia Wallwork

Patricia Wallwork
CEO and Chairman of the Board, Milo’s Tea Co.

  • Wallwork led Milo’s to become the fastest-growing refrigerated tea brand in the United States, with the top-selling item in the category (Milo’s Sweet Gallons) and growth that continued to outpace the category.
  • Committed to helping balance the work and home lives of her associates, she created a temporary schedule, allowing for ample personal time with family while also meeting production needs. 
  • Wallwork made Milo’s sustainability efforts a top priority: Under her guidance, the company adopted an aggressive approach to reducing waste and increasing recycling — 99 percent of raw materials and packaging brought into the plant is now recycled.
Marygrace Sexton

Marygrace Sexton
Founder and CEO, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juices

  • Sexton oversaw Natalie’s expansion into a new facility allowing to introduce cold-press production and bring to market a new line of functional holistic juices, all with no adverse impact on the company’s bottom-line performance.
  • Natalie’s, a second-generation, women-owned company with Sexton at the helm, has become a major player in the ready-to-drink beverage sector and placed on the Inc. List of 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies in the United States. 
  • Sexton is also founder of the nonprofit A-GAP, which takes its participants on a journey free of the distractions of today’s technological devices to promote healthy living.
Laura Strange

Laura Strange
SVP, Communications and External Affairs, National Grocers Association (NGA)

  • Strange oversaw the request-for-proposal process, planning and launch of new websites for NGA and the NGA Foundation, delivering the projects on time and on budget as well as implementing a new communications platform.
  • An important part of NGA’s legislative success in 2018, she worked with outside stakeholders and NGA’s legislative team to have op-eds placed in select publications in an effort to raise awareness by elected officials of key NGA priorities. 
  • Strange engaged produce industry trade associations and NGA members early on in last year’s romaine lettuce crisis.
Melissa Villareal

Melissa Villareal
VP of Finance/Controller, Nature Nate’s

  • For the 2019 budgeting process, Villareal created turnkey tools for each functional leader and met with the leaders to ensure that they were clear on timelines, expectations and inputs.
  • She took major steps to introduce month-end departmental reporting and implemented monthly meetings with leaders to ensure their adherence to the budget; this, coupled with monthly budget reviews, reduced costs by $2.3 million in 2018.
  • The streamlined function of Villareal’s team enabled departmental managers to reduce month-end close by 60 percent, and they can now accomplish it in five days.
Toby Noiles

Toby Noiles
EVP, Canadian Food Procurement and Marketing, North West Co./Canadian Retail Division

  • Noiles put in place foundational best practices for marketing and merchandising with people, process and technological enhancements, while also restructuring her team for optimal performance.
  • As a result, she helped drive revenue from 3 percent to 6 percent above trend, expanded a convenience strategy driving double-digit growth and developed a strategic road map to deliver $2 million in cost savings
  • Noiles designed and implemented a category management process, leveraging best practices from top U.S. grocery retailers, to improve assortment, pricing and promo strategy, as well as to remove retail pain points. 
Reem Rahim Hassani

Reem Rahim Hassani
Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Numi Organic Tea

  • In 2018, for the third year in a row, Hassani’s commitment to positive environmental impact led Numi to earn a place on the Best for the World list, and the company was also honored in the Best for the Environment list, by the nonprofit B Lab.
  • Her leadership abilities were recognized with the 2018 Women and Business and the Professions World Award; she received a gold medal for Female Executive of the Year. 
  • Through her work with the Numi Foundation, Hassani embarked on an education and infrastructure program in Assam, India, to bring clean water and sanitation to Numi’s 6,500 farming families in the area. 
Roxanne Bernstein

Roxanne Bernstein
Chief Marketing Officer, Post Consumer Brands

  • Bernstein led Post Consumer Brands to gain more than a full point of market share, driving 5 percent growth in a hotly contested, declining category.
  • Her team also drove total company growth of 3.8 percent and roughly one full point of market share, and, in partnership with Mondelez International, launched a groundbreaking new platform of indulgence cereals targeted to Millennials that delivered an impressive $52 million.
  • Bernstein won a Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador Award for her commitment to the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and to continued advocacy across the organization; she was also a keynote speaker at a retailer’s Veterans Day event.
Roxanne Davis

Roxanne Davis
VP and General Manager, Three Sisters, Post Consumer Brands

  • Athough it was established only a year ago through the merger of Attune Foods, Weetabix and MOM’s Best Cereals, Three Sisters, under Davis’ leadership, has grown to be a $140 million entity of Post Consumer Brands (PCB).
  • She has been a key driver in helping the businesses integrate processes, systems and culture as one company, and in creating a unified business structure dedicated to serve the organic foods division of PCB.
  • Davis was active in Post’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, having led the employee initiative for the past five years; she recently trained the sales organization on having effective conversations regarding diversity.
Lisa Manzoline

Lisa Manzoline
Director of Sales, Private Brands, Reynolds Consumer Products

  • Managing more than 180 private label SKUs sold to Walmart, Manzoline worked with more than 200 associates across the sales, marketing, production, engineering and finance functions.
  • In just a few months on the job, she devised game-changing concepts between multiple business units and drove improved customer satisfaction, quality and speed to market. 
  • Manzoline was elected chairwoman of the board of directors of the Private Label Manufacturers Association, was recognized with a Walmart award in consumables for executing case-pack efficiencies in select products, and won a Quick Turnaround Award for her flawless execution of display mock-ups.
Dyana Tull

Dyana Tull
VP, Commercial Litigation and U.S. Privacy Officer, Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA company

  • Tull supervised commercial legal services to support U.S. brands and served as the privacy officer for Ahold Delhaize USA; she led a staff of four attorneys and paralegals and provided oversight for multimillion-dollar budgets and portfolios. 
  • She and her team resolved 17 significant legal matters and successfully integrated the Ahold USA and Delhaize America legal services portfolios, and she launched a new Retail Business Services commercial team that generated multimillion-dollar revenue and cost savings.
  • Tull sits on the boards of directors of nonprofits WinterKids and Good Shepherd Food Ministry.
Alice Francis

Alice Francis
EVP, Operations, Shipt

  • A key member of Shipt’s executive leadership team and board of directors, Francis led a team of 100 employees and 100,000 Shipt Shoppers, and guided business operations, market launch and operations, logistics, shopper recruiting, shopper engagement and performance, and catalog. 
  • In the past year, her team added about 14,000 shoppers monthly and experienced a doubling of orders every month, and Shipt has expanded to 160 additional metro areas and nearly 5,000 store locations.
  • Francis additionally oversaw the launch of Shipt’s Delivery Only and Pickup services to hundreds of store locations. 
Melody Conner

Melody Conner
SVP of Sales, Soylent

  • Conner oversaw an aggressive growth strategy that moved the company from single-channel to omnichannel international outlets, and provided strategic guidance on expansion to the leadership team.
  • She led the charge in expanding the number of retail locations where Soylent is available from 2,000 to 15,000, and also worked with leaders of Amazon Launchpad and Walmart.
  • Named a Windsor Entrepreneur Fellow in 2015, Conner gathered with leaders around the world at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom to collaborate on spurring innovation and cross-cultural dialogues. 
Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson
Chief People Officer, Southeastern Grocers

  • Through her primary job of driving cultural transformation, Thompson brought about positive change at every level of the company, and actively worked for a better overall customer experience through improved retail associate culture and engagement.
  • Leveraging an adaptive microlearning training platform delivering personalized, bite-sized pieces of information, she helped create a culture of learning and development that has become part of associates’ daily routines.
  • Thompson is a certified professional coach and an executive cabinet member of the American Heart Association.
Kathleen Mahoney

Kathleen Mahoney
President, MDV; EVP and Chief Legal Officer, SpartanNash

  • As president of MDV, Mahoney led significant new business development within the military channel, which included forming a partnership with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to provide fresh produce.
  • She and the MDV team received a SpartanNash Innovation award for their private-brand product development on behalf of the Defense Commissary Agency.
  • As a vital member of SpartanNash’s crisis management team, Mahoney advised the company through a class I recall of cut melon, as well as a nationwide recall of romaine lettuce.
Timmi Zalatoris

Timmi Zalatoris
VP, Human Resources, Sprouts Farmers Market

  • After her promotion to VP of human resources, Zalatoris oversaw Sprouts’ new “People Powered. Purpose Driven” employer brand campaign designed to attract new talent; the initiative helped Sprouts fill more than 3,500 new roles in new and existing markets across the country.
  • She led the rollout of a team member wellness program called My Wellbeing, which helps employees improve their mental, physical and financial health.
  • Zalatoris and her HR team introduced two programs designed to allow Sprouts team members to take greater ownership of their development and career opportunities.
Adrienne Uy

Adrienne Uy
CFO and COO, Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD.ca)

  • Uy demonstrated strong leadership at SPUD, a Canadian grocer with brick-and-click operations; under her watch, the company piloted Be Fresh Marketplace and Food-X Urban Delivery, and one of its biggest wins was signing a five-year deal with Walmart Canada.
  • She worked with SPUD’s sustainability team to maintain and improve its B Corporation certification; the company also won a national award at the National Zero Waste Conference.
  • Uy is on the board of directors for the Canada Health Food Association, the country’s largest trade association dedicated to natural and organic products.
Kristen Hanson

Kristen Hanson
VP of Center Store and Pharmacy Sales and Merchandising, Tops Markets LLC

  • Hanson led category planning across the fresh and center store businesses, defining processes and procedures to create effective joint annual category plans with key manufacturers.
  • She developed and led a cross-functional training and development program for store managers looking to move into category management positions.
  • Hanson led the request-for-proposal process for a supplier in the natural and organic space that not only improved Tops’ assortment, but also lifted the grocer’s profits, consumer satisfaction, speed to market and digital presence.
Heena Rathore

Heena Rathore
CEO, TrueChoicePack

  • Since founding the packaging company in 2012, Rathore has developed and introduced into the market such new items as Kroger’s Home Sense brand; the retailer’s sustainable/organic brand, Simple Truth; and TrueChoicePack’s sustainable foodservice product line, BioGreenChoice. 
  • She managed a large international supply chain operation, and under Rathore, True- ChoicePack won a number of key awards, including the New Vendor of the Year from Kroger.
  • Originally from India, Rathore came to the United States as an adult after holding managerial positions at General Electric and Suzlon Energy. 
Elizabeth Collins

Elizabeth Collins
VP Human Resources, Twinlab Consolidation Corp. 

  • Collins executed an HR transition from Utah to Florida and implemented “quick wins” to boost morale, such as weekly team breakfasts and summer hours. 
  • She disputed and resolved more than 15 unemployment claims in Florida alone, secured a new payroll company, negotiated with Twinlab’s health insurance carrier, and completed open enrollment with 100 percent participation in 15 days. 
  • Collins sponsors a team every year for the Pancreatic Cancer Walk, sponsors a child through the Angel Tree Program and sits on the Program Advisory Committee for Everglades University.
Carla Goffstein

Carla Goffstein
SVP Finance and Accounting; Interim CFO, Twinlab Consolidation Corp.

  • Overseeing a team of 15 people, Goffstein handled the organization’s financial planning, accounting practices, and relationships with lending institutions and shareholders; she also directed treasury, budgeting, audit, tax, accounting, purchasing, real estate, long-range forecasting and insurance activities. 
  • In 2018, she identified profit improvement opportunities; implemented a cost savings program for corporate staffing restructuring, saving millions; and led a financial and strategy review with investment bankers on a potentially major deal. 
  • Beyond work, Goffstein is treasurer of the Make Our Schools Safe nonprofit organization.
Melissa Zawada

Melissa Zawada
VP of Brand, Reserveage Nutrition/ResVitale, ReBody, Twinlab Consolidation Corp.

  • Zawada led a six-person team for the company’s largest brand, made up of 80-plus items accounting for $40 million in sales in more than 10,000 retail locations. 
  • She led the team to its most profitable year ever, expanding into 3,000 new stores in three months, employing strategic push/pull campaigns with retailers and using targeted outreach campaigns to increase customers by 60 percent.
  • In addition to winning product awards, Zawada received the Junior League of Gainesville League of Her Own Award and was named to the Gainesville Sun 40 Under 40 list. 
Danielle Benedict

Danielle Benedict
Chief Human Resources Officer, UNFI

  • Benedict led the human resources function for the entire company of more than 30,000 associates and 60-plus distribution centers in North America.
  • As a key member of the executive leadership team developing and executing short-, mid- and long-term strategy for UNFI, she helped orchestrate the acquisition of Supervalu in 2018, and then played a pivotal role in integrating the two companies during a time of major organizational change.
  • A governing member of the Boston CHRO Leadership Summit, Benedict is also involved with both the Network of Executive Women and the Society for Human Resources Management. 
Anne Dament

Anne Dament
EVP, Private Brands, Marketing and Retail, UNFI

  • One of two executive leaders who stayed in place after UNFI acquired Supervalu, Dament helped lead the integration of the organization. 
  • Responsible for more than 100 retail stores across the country, she provided marketing services and private-brand products to many of the company’s 3,000 independent customers across 46 states.
  • Diversity and inclusion are paramount to Dament, who formed a committee across all levels of the organization to discuss and create plans to bring people together and build a workforce embedding equality, inclusion and diversity. 
Cheryl Williams

Cheryl Williams
CIO, Wakefern Food Corp.

  • Williams looked for ways to harness technology to improve the customer experience, such as leading the launches of ShopRite’s first mobile app and of ShopRite from Home’s online pickup and delivery service.
  • She oversaw 300-plus associates, had a multimillion-dollar annual operating budget and worked with all retail stores to improve their technology.
  • Williams examined current practices, searching for the best methods of modernizing infrastructure, and found a sustainable system that improves current functionality and allows for upgrades as new capabilities become available. 
Keeley Tillotson

Keeley Tillotson
CEO/Co-Founder, Wild Friends Foods

  • Having founded natural nut butter company Wild Friends Foods in 2011 with fellow Top Woman Erika Welsh, Tillotson managed daily operations, set strategic direction and raised capital through investor funding.
  • In 2018, Wild Friends had its largest amount of fundraising in the company’s history, with a $3.5 million round to allow the team to continue its mission and add to its 10-person team and product lineup. 
  • The company partnered with growing natural brand Vital Proteins to deliver collagen nut butters — the first such items in this emerging space — which include collagen protein peptides. 
Erika Welsh

Erika Welsh
Chief Brand Officer/Co-Founder, Wild Friends Foods

  • A co-founder of the company with fellow Top Woman Keeley Tillotson in 2011, Welsh managed brand interaction with consumers, marketing and the generation of a future innovation pipeline. 
  • In 2018, Wild Friends Foods obtained B Corporation certification, meaning that the company can legally expand beyond the financial interests of shareholders to include consideration of environmental and social impact. 
  • Walsh dedicates her time to Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest, sharing the story of Wild Friends and demonstrating that women can successfully run small businesses.
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