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06/15/2021

2021 Top Women in Grocery: Senior-Level Executives

Progressive Grocer’s 2021 Top Women in Grocery awards program recognizes the integral role women play across all segments of the North American food retail and grocery industries. This is the 15th year for the food retailing industry's longest running program recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of thousands of women at all levels in the industry.

Females employed in all sectors of the grocery industry – from the retailer, wholesaler, supplier and solution provider communities – were nominated for above-and-beyond achievements between April 2020 and March 1, 2021 in three categories:

  • Senior-Level Executives (titles of Vice President or higher)
  • Rising Stars (titles lower than Vice President and Area/Region Director)
  • Store Managers (titles of Store Manager/Director/Leader and Assistant Store Manager/Director/Leader)

The following are the Senior-Level Executives honored in this year’s Top Women in Grocery awards.

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Stacy Cooper

VP of GM/HBC, Acosta

  • Cooper developed a COVID tracking system for out-of-stock items and provided daily updates to Albertsons and WinCo, ensuring that products wouldn’t be discontinued due to supply chain issues.
  • She worked with clients to negotiate allocation quantities and provide a fair-share breakdown by distribution center to maximize sales and minimize long-term out-of-stocks.
  • Cooper is a member of the Idaho regional group of the Network of Executive Women; raised funds for children through her work with Interfaith Sanctuary, in Boise; and participated in a food drive for the Idaho Food Bank.
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Chandra McCormack

CFO, Acosta

  • As an operating finance partner, McCormack advocated for high-margin investments in e-commerce, leading to an increase in click-and-collect grocery as well as other digital marketing offerings.
  • She improved reporting with insights that bring the company to life, built tools to steward sound future projections and growth plans, and worked cross-functionally with teams throughout the organization to reach goals.
  • As the chairman of Youth With Faces since 2017, McCormack has helped the organization reduce recidivism among juvenile minority offenders living below the poverty line by up to 87% through job training, character building and connections.
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Angel Scheid

VP, Client Growth, Acosta/Mosaic

  • Scheid supported and/or led opportunities resulting in more than $10 million in new business wins, creating 55-plus full-time jobs, a new service vertical offering for Mosaic and entrance into the emerging brands category.
  • She spearheaded the agency’s internal Mosaic 180 thought leadership series that brought brands and retailers together for stimulating conversations designed to tune attendees into pandemic-fueled trends, insights and strategies.
  • Scheid pays it forward as a mentor to young advertising professionals for 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program and for Girls in Tech Inc.
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Lori Wahl

VP of Sales-PetSmart and Chewy, Acosta/The Pet Firm

  • With a focus on securing drive aisle/register presence, store expansion and filling holes left by other manufacturers, Wahl helped the company’s top vendors achieve increases in sales ranging from 20% to 148%.
  • She launched several highly visible brands at PetSmart, including ROAM Pet Treats, which had the best-selling end cap in category history, and Mary’s CBD. Five new brands are set for launch in the chain this year.
  • Wahl is a board member and volunteers at several animal-focused organizations, including Maricopa Animal Care and Control, AZ Pet Project and La Gattara Cat Rescue.
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Crystal Rossel

VP Client Solutions, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Sales

  • Rossel grew existing annualized client revenue by $11 million, including $3 million in organic growth, and led a team to overdeliver on budget and growth targets by 15%.
  • During the pandemic, she quickly developed an incremental retail execution proposal that delivered more than $7.7 million in incremental consumer sales, with a 7.9 return on investment for a top national client. She also played a critical lead role in the development and execution of Advantage’s strategic digital plan and digital playbook initiative.
  • An active supporter of several charities and organizations, Rossel volunteers with the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity and Feed My Starving Children.
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Kimberly Senter

EVP, Analytics, Insights & Intelligence, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Sales

  • A champion of inclusion for all associates, Senter is a founding member and co-chair of the Advantage Solutions Diversity Equity & Inclusion Board, which in its first year drove significant positive change across the enterprise in the areas of employee engagement, learning and development, data and benchmarking, and DEI communications.
  • She defined, articulated and executed a strategic plan to focus on clients, customers and capabilities that drive shopper conversion and lead to brand and category growth for manufacturers and retailers.
  • Senter is a member of the Network of Executive Women and serves as the board ambassador for the Black and African American Network Diversified employee resource group.
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Aimee Becker

SVP, Advantage Solutions/Daymon

  • Becker grew her team to include a new integrated marketing practice designed to help connect private brands to consumers on the digital shelf, and also assumed responsibility for Thought Leadership and PR.
  • She now holds a board seat on the Daymon/Yonghui joint venture and is one of 10 board members responsible for providing guidance to the board and the team on growing private-brand sales. The team launched more than 1,000 new items and boosted penetration by 50%.
  • An expert in private-brand strategy, Becker is a frequent featured speaker at key industry events. 
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Christine Gard

VP, Advantage Solutions/Daymon

  • As COVID-19 started to impact supermarket conditions, Gard took immediate action by deploying retail merchandising teams throughout Texas and Mexico to deliver support services to the business unit she leads, one of Daymon’s largest business units.
  • At the same time, she continued to emphasize business growth, as her sales team successfully launched several hundred new items; she also invested in and launched new technology to support product development and sourcing, while leading a virtual training program and recruiting a diverse set of new associates.
  • Thanks to Gard’s past experience initiating a work-from-home program, her team was able to shift to a 100% work-from-home setup virtually overnight.
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Fran Brinkman

SVP, Measurement and Analytics, Advantage Solutions/EDGE Marketing

  • In the past year, Brinkman established EDGE Decision Analytics as a stand-alone department within EDGE Marketing, successfully transforming the agency’s analytics and measurement services from one-off projects to a clearly articulated, functional process that’s projected to deliver $1 million in revenue in the next 12 months.
  • She grew her team from outsourced support to four full-time dedicated analysts, and also created a training process for all associates in analytic and performance measurement.
  • Brinkman, who was promoted to SVP in the first quarter of 2020, sits on EDGE Marketing’s executive leadership team. 
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Jen Collins

VP, Business Leadership, Advantage Solutions/EDGE Marketing

  • Collins created and rolled out EDGE Marketing’s retail and shopper training program to ensure that associates have the tools and resources needed to support their clients, and she also developed and guided the onboarding experience for new employees.
  • A strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, she helped create Advantage Solutions’ Black and African-American Network Diversified (BAND) employee resource group mentoring program, and co-chaired EDGE Marketing’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee focused on associate training, community outreach and recruiting.
  • Outside of work, Collins is an emergency medical responder and firefighter with her local volunteer fire department.
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Liz Fogerty

Chief Strategy Officer, Advantage Solutions/EDGE Marketing

  • Fogerty has been integral in delivering new business wins and incremental business growth, achieving a 14% growth in gross margin in 2020 versus 2019.
  • She created the vision for and re-engineered the agency’s existing strategy and planning team into a strategic services department, with three distinct pillars: strategic communications planning, digital and e-comm integration, and measurement and analytics. This new operating structure has resulted in additional revenue, growing the team by close to 30%.
  • As executive sponsor for community outreach, Fogerty led the creation of the EDGEGivesBack initiative; in one year, this program has exceeded donation and service hours by 100% of set objectives.
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Cyvellis Vidal

VP, Experiential, Advantage Solutions/Eventus

  • Vidal was instrumental in working with Walmart on major experiential programs throughout the year, creating opportunities that were safe for customers, yet with the interaction that people craved; she leveraged various teams across the company to continue growing the experiential business by more than 80% at a time when events were shut down.
  • She led and executed more than 550 events, including Walmart’s Drive-In Movie program that encompassed 360 events over the course of 10 weeks.
  • Vidal leads a Latinx employee resource group committee at Advantage Solutions and works on an event board for Habitat for Humanity.
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Sarah Bell

VP, Client Services, Advantage Solutions/IN Connected

  • Bell supports the overall marketing operating plan and strategy for Walmart, helping to execute its sampling and events. In 2020, she oversaw innovative programs such as Walmart Winter Park, a walk-thru sampling experience complete with socially distant photos with Santa; that initiative resulted in a triple-digit lift on sampled items and a much needed boost for the photo department.
  • She was selected to be part of the Advantage Solutions Culture Crew, a group that supports and shares best practices for team culture across the company enterprise.
  • An active member of the Network of Executive Women, Bell recently became a mentor for the Future Women Business Leaders organization through the University of Arkansas Sam Walton College of Business.
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Whitney Ray

VP, Client Experience, Advantage Solutions/Sunflower Group

  • Ray’s team led a drive to consolidate 13 warehouses across the country; her review of assets led to recycling and donation of 30% to 50% of obsolete activation inventory, and to eliminating more than $267,000 in storage costs.
  • During COVID-19, she oversaw weekly shipments to support key retailer initiatives; her team fulfilled 1,000-plus unique shipments in a three-month period, with 97% accuracy.
  • In a plan that will continue, Ray reimagined her team alignment during the pandemic to new tactics, partnerships and customized solutions for clients; her activities beyond work include the Network of Executive Women and an Advantage employee resource group.
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Julie Swift

SVP, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint

  • Recently promoted to SVP from VP client development, Swift joined Waypoint’s seven-member executive leadership team covering business development; She also served on Waypoint’s COVID-19 team, which, in addition to internal tasks, provided help for foodservice operators struggling to stay in business.
  • Recognizing the needs of foodservice operators, she developed and implemented an inside sales team of 10 operator business development specialists.
  • Swift helped sponsor the formation of Waypoint’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, and helped in the formation of WIN – Women’s Interactive Network.
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Rebecca Lupfer         

VP, Center Store Merchandising, The Giant Company

  • During 2020, Lupfer led the in-store transformation of the center store; her team reflowed the aisle and assigned aisle lineage, based on the way customers shop today.
  • She has developed specific and measurable plans for each of her category teams, so they’re clear on expectations and their accountability, and also restructured the merchandising department to allow for better career paths and alignment with the company’s values.
  • Lupfer served as co-chair for The Giant Company’s women’s business resource group, LINC, in 2020, and is now the executive sponsor for the group, as of 2021. 
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Margo Peffer

VP of Human Resources, Hannaford Supermarkets

  • In response to the pandemic, Peffer established a command and control response team of stakeholders from nearly every corner of the company to ensure associates’ physical and emotional safety.
  • A champion of advancing inclusive leadership, she advocated for a comprehensive diversity, inclusion and equity assessment to analyze the associate lifecycle as it relates to people of color and other dimensions of diversity, and also insisted on making wise financial investments in community and educational organizations for long-term, sustainable partnerships.
  • Leading the Everyday Hero marketing campaign, Peffer promoted job opportunities externally and growth/engagement internally by showcasing real associates expressing what flexibility and balance mean to them. 

 

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Natalie Dupill     

VP, Omnichannel Strategy and Chief of Staff, Peapod Digital Labs

  • Dupill helped facilitate various workshops with U.S. local brand executives to redesign their commercial planning process to incorporate an omnichannel strategy.
  • She created and deployed an acceleration project for digital and e-commerce, resulting in a rapid installation of more than 400 additional click-and-collect locations in under a year and on budget. 
  • Dupill developed associate feedback forums and conducted more than a dozen listening sessions designed to seek feedback, input and ideas from associates; according to an annual engagement survey conducted in October 2020, the company had improved in every category of the survey, with a total engagement index score of 86%.  
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Julie Grant

Director of Application Development-Merchandising, Retail Business Services

  • Grant leads the perpetual inventory project for Ahold Delhaize, which progressed to a pilot phase in 2021; she and her team also helped Giant Food Stores stand up its own merchandising team and helped get Hannaford and Food Lion up and running on click-and-collect. 
  • To support the rapid growth in e-commerce and enable the organization to scale successfully, her team implemented a centralized pricing and promotion database, and helped distribution centers prorate available stock of items in short supply across stores. 
  • Grant serves as an active mentor to younger, less experienced members of her team, and each holiday season she coordinates adopting a family with her team.
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Christy Phillips-Brown

VP, Communications, Retail Business Services

  • To help associates stay connected while working remotely, Phillips-Brown drafted, designed and distributed more than 40 weekly associate newsletters called “Caring for You”; her team also developed “Manager Minute,” which outlined important information for managers to share with their teams. 
  • She created a virtual reading program featuring senior leaders providing five hours of educational entertainment for children who weren’t in school during the pandemic, and also developed an associate yearbook, a toolkit for associates who transitioned to Peapod Digital Labs, and a COVID-19 response site.  
  • Phillips-Brown and her team built guides to address social injustice, including kickoff announcements for diversity and inclusion or heritage months throughout the year. 
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Alice Chan 

VP, Sales and Marketing, Own Brands, Albertsons Cos.

  • Chan oversees a cross-functional team responsible for developing, commercializing and executing strategic go-to-market sales and marketing initiatives, delivering more than $14 billion in growth.
  • In 2020, she pre-wired initiatives nationally to drive organizational alignment for one voice, and anticipated issues through proactive discussions with business owners to mitigate concerns, resulting in a new best practice of 12 individual presidential division growth summits to drive enhanced execution.
  • Chan is an active member of the Network of Executive Women, holding many positions in the organization, the most recent one being the north Texas event planning lead.
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Cathy East 

VP, Corporate Procurement-Meat/Seafood/Deli Foodservice, Albertsons Cos.

  • Throughout 2020, as the meat industry faced unprecedented supply constraints and channel shifts, East acted as the supply chain point person, creating innovative supply chain solutions to maximize retail sales while avoiding product loss at foodservice distributors.
  • She was invited to join the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and serves as a volunteer mentor to current and former students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
  • East represents retail on the North American Meat Institute’s newly formed Trust in Animal Protein Task Force.
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Sharon Hall

VP, Strategic Sourcing Corp and Shared Services, Albertsons Cos.

  • Hall partnered with the crisis management team to lead the search and negotiations for an end-to-end provider of self-administered COVID-19 test kits to be used in all California retail locations and plants; the program has now expanded to New Mexico locations, replacing the previous provider and netting a savings per kit of $30 and a monthly savings of $120,000.
  • She leads the Supply Chain Diversity and Inclusion Council and has been selected to participate in McKinsey’s Black Executive Leadership Program.
  • Hall sourced a third-party firm to help identify and recruit diverse candidates, and facilitated Albertsons’ engagement in a leadership academy for African-American leaders. 
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Suzanne Long

GVP, Strategic Sourcing and ESG, Albertsons Cos.

  • Long oversees approximately $10 billion in annual company spend across 13 divisions, including nearly 2,300 stores and 18 distribution centers. 
  • When she took over strategic sourcing, the projection for the indirect side of the organization was $45 million-plus under target; despite spending the spring focused on the company’s COVID-19 response, she led the indirect team to close the gap, surpassing its original target by year end.
  • Long is a volunteer and supporter of the ANA (Agency for New Americans), including acting as a mentor to refugee families who are relocated to Boise, Idaho, and also serves as a board member for the Small Village Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of rural South Africans and providing opportunities for area students to use their talents to help others. 
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Kelly Mullin

SVP Merchandising and Marketing, Albertsons Cos.

  • E-commerce business grew rapidly in 2020 with the rollout of 90 new Drive Up and Go locations in the Portland division for which Mullin developed the marketing strategy; through her leadership and expertise, the division’s e-commerce business is growing at more than 500 percent.
  • After mentoring and direction, five of her direct reports were promoted to higher-level leadership positions in the past year; she also spearheaded diversity and inclusion efforts in the division as an executive sponsor of the women’s affinity group. 
  • In September 2020, Mullin was promoted to her current role and has already accelerated market share improvement and sales growth.
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Chris Rupp

EVP and Chief Customer and Digital Officer, Albertsons Cos.

  • Rupp drove e-commerce to focus on the customer first and created a vision to develop deep relationships with the customer, dramatically transforming customer metrics such as customer contacts, on-time delivery, product metrics, loyalty programs and innovative marketing to target.
  • She brought in an innovative culture within the digital group to drive solutions like Walk Up and Go, immense expansion in Drive Up and Go, Immunization Scheduler, Scan and Go, and innumerable other products to be competitive.
  • All of Rupp’s efforts have resulted in more than a 200% increase in e-commerce over the past three quarters. 
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Angel Singh

VP Marketing Technology and Operations, Albertsons Cos.

  • Singh and her team led an entire overhaul of Albertsons’ marketing technology tools and partner agencies to provide relevant and personalized customer communication touchpoints that increase customer engagement and loyalty; they stood up many new tools and capabilities, wound down legacy systems, and continued to operate all owned channels with great execution.
  • Her key customer engagement and retargeting emails (such as “abandon cart”) have significantly improved both revenue and orders. 
  • During the pandemic, Singh launched a hugely successful pharmacy program to support a landing page that captures users’ emails and SMS information to give customers information on vaccines.
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Bhargavi Whatley

VP Technology, Merchandising, Albertsons Cos.

  • Beyond her normal scope of work, Whatley drove an initiative on predictive promotional forecasting and insight-driven planning, using data science that resulted in a multimillion promotional ROI.
  • She established the technology strategy and approach for the consolidation of two Albertsons divisions, with store operations continuing smoothly post-cutover, and she helped set up round-the-clock monitoring and support to handle any issues with urgency. 
  • As chair of the Pleasanton, Calif., chapter of the Women’s Inclusion and Inspiration Network, Whatley doubled membership and built a mentoring program for women in the organization in which several senior leaders volunteer to be mentors. 
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Michelle Larson

Division President, Albertsons Cos.-Southwest

  • Larson cultivated a richer environment of associate recognition, distributing weekly “spotlights” on team members who exceeded expectations and announcing associate job promotions on the intranet and via email.
  • In the diversity and inclusion space, she made significant strides, promoting three women and one person of color to district manager positions in just one year; the three female associate promotions represented a 30% uptick in female district managers.
  • Larson led the division through double-digit sales growth every quarter and oversaw the expansion of 70-plus Drive Up and Go sites and more than 30 delivery stores, growing e-commerce sales by more than 200%.
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Jess Matisz

VP, Shopper Marketing, American Greetings

  • Matisz created a shopper marketing organization that brought together end-to-end marketing capabilities in strategy, shopper marketing and social media; she pivoted the newly created team to an entirely new strategy and successfully launched a new campaign across retailers.
  • She delivered 11 new campaigns to be launched between June 2020 and February 2022.
  • For the first time ever, Matisz led marketing strategy and capabilities developed for changing shopper behavior online and pickup in store, which led to an impressive 50% sales increase.
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Sarah Holt

Director of Marketing and Community, Bi-Rite Family of Businesses

  • Despite the challenges of 2020, Holt and her team were able to bring success to the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, a San Francisco-based independently operated company comprising two neighborhood markets, a creamery and creamery truck, a catering company, and a café. As the pandemic hit, she shifted the communication strategy to create a sense of calm and safety, and then evolved messaging to increase meaningful connections with customers.
  • She launched a new e-commerce site that generated 230% revenue growth in December.
  • Not forgetting about the local community, Holt partnered with a local restaurant to donate 2,200 free meals to front-line and restaurant workers, and also increased the number of families served by Bi-Rite’s Mo’MAGIC Healthy Holiday Meals program.
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Shelley Costantino

VP, Field Human Resources, BJ’s Wholesale Club

  • Costantino was a key leader on BJ’s cross-functional team responsible for developing and implementing enhanced safety protocols and new HR processes during the pandemic. Under her leadership, the company’s field center of excellence increased recruiting efforts by up to 1,000 per week.
  • As a lead member of BJ’s Inclusion and Diversity Council, she helped coordinate education sessions on inclusion and diversity for more than 700 leaders from every team within the organization, and was also a key contributor to the council’s mission and roadmap.
  • In April 2020, Costantino was named Honorary Operator of the Year, a distinction given to one exemplary team member selected by BJ’s leadership.
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Mariah Calderon

VP, Client Strategy and Partnership, C.A. Fortune

  • Overseeing all client relationship managers nationwide, Calderon created a client connectivity map so that all clients are treated with a boutique-style approach.
  • She recruited new high-level talent to the company, with four hires being promoted in less than a year; during COVID-19, she developed virtual meetings that could be held remotely, such as Coffee Meetups and other themed virtual events.
  • Calderon is a board member for the Good Food Accelerator and a mentor for Metro Achievement Center for girls.
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Catherine Willis Cleveland

CEO, Central Co-op

  • CEO of an independent grocery cooperative with locations in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., Cleveland oversees almost all areas of the company.
  • COVID-19’s effects on shopping habits and small grocers caused her to work to avoid mass layoffs and hour reductions, and to keep cases to the fewest number of staffers possible; she streamlined administrative staff significantly in favor of retaining in-store jobs.
  • Thanks to Cleveland’s leadership, Central Co-op turned a small profit in 2020 the first time the business had done so in five years.
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Pamela Goldberg

CEO, Dah!

  • Responsible for building her company’s yogurt into a leading plant-based private and branded label, Goldberg guided the India-inspired product portfolio onto the shelves of many national retailers and natural/independent sellers.
  • She and her group saw growth of 300% over the prior year; won accounts at Whole Foods Market, The Kroger Co. and Sprouts Farmers Market, as well as increased Walmart distribution; won four new private label sellers; expanded the company’s production facility; and doubled the workforce from 25 to 50.
  • In addition to winning awards for her company’s product, Goldberg is a member of the Women President’s Organization, platinum group.
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Ashley Tyrner

Founder and CEO, Farmbox Direct and FarmboxRx

  • Once a single mother on food stamps, Tyrner built Farmbox Direct with the goal of helping eradicate the food desert problem; during the pandemic, the company’s grocery and food delivery service grew 2,200%.
  • She offers her staff parental leave, the option to work remotely, and a flexible schedule with no Zoom meetings after 2 p.m. so everyone can connect with their families.
  • Tyrner has conducted virtual mentorship programs for new entrepreneurs and served as a keynote speaker at several national events; she also gives mentorship hours to those who had to leave their jobs due to COVID-19.  
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Kelly Donohue

VP, Vitamins, Feldkamp Marketing

  • Managing all client business, including Kroger, Harris Teeter and Vitacost, Donohue in 2020 beat financial sales by 41% versus prior year.
  • Under her leadership, the company’s vitamin business unit launched 460 new items, growing annual sales by $56 million over budget and outpacing category trends.
  • An active member of the Network of Executive Women, Donohue is also on Feldkamp Marketing’s leadership board and was recently promoted to VP.
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Diane Cleven 

Director, Deli/CMS/Sushi/Bakery, The Fresh Market

  • With 10 direct reports, Cleven is responsible for more than 24% of total store revenue and 32.1% of store profit dollars.
  • During the pandemic, she demonstrated leadership by helping keep The Fresh Market stores well stocked and her team motivated; her long-term relationships with manufacturers and distributors helped the retailer work through supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and ensure that there was steady product coming into stores.
  • Cleven is a member of The Other Voice Class which is part of the Greensboro, N.C., Chamber of Commerce. 
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Sara Ciotti        

VP, Procurement and Merchandise Operations, Giant Eagle

  • Ciotti led cross-functional teams through the complexity of the pandemic, creating innovative ways to get product from vendors to stores to meet demand.
  • She set up a sales planning and operations execution area with existing team members and played a lead role in managing inbound and outbound capacity to maximize product flow to the stores during the surge of early stock-up sales; this new structure streamlined the core work with less resources, encouraged cross-training of several areas, and led to multiple promotions of existing team members to leadership roles and stretch assignments.
  • Ciotti’s passion for development has driven her to mentor women leaders both inside and outside the organization; she’s also a Carnegie Science Center board member.
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Julie Patten

Regional Business Leader, Giant Eagle

  • During the pandemic, Patten was the first regional business leader to pilot a dark store with curbside-only service for a safe shopping experience for those who were most vulnerable.
  • She also rolled out several special projects, including a rotation calendar to ensure all stores were offering guests the freshest, best product available, and she championed a lottery projection to raise awareness of cash shortages. 
  • In addition to mentoring and promoting individuals at work, Patten is actively involved in the YMCA and has received the YMCA Cleveland Women of Professional Excellence award and the You Make Difference award three years running. 
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Katie Shire-Engleman

VP, Growth and Retention Marketing, Giant Eagle

  • As part of the COVID-19 response task force, Shire-Engleman stood up the organization’s first personalized SMS experience in March 2020; it expanded to support vaccination efforts this year. 
  • She increased digital activations more than 70% by scaling and optimizing their strategy, and she brought the first fully integrated omnichannel campaign to market for the supermarket enterprise during the 2020 holiday season, with continued trajectory for 2021 and beyond.
  • To recognize community members making a difference, Shire-Engleman developed and launched the first Giant Eagle Great Neighbor Award; she’s also a member of the newly formed Asian-American business resource group. 
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Jenni Smith

Regional Business Leader, Giant Eagle

  • To help reduce food waste, Smith is currently piloting and leading retail operations in the Flashfood initiative at 10 stores, and she championed the bag ban initiative for Cuyahoga County. 
  • Having been promoted three times in the past four years, she makes a concerted effort to give back and develop those next in line by playing an active role in the women’s business resource group and organizing events at the Great Cleveland Food Bank and for the Salvation Army.
  • Smith took the lead on organizing vaccination efforts and ensuring staffing is in place for the various waves of vaccinations.  
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Rhonda Demello

Director of Associate Relations and Store Excellence, Harris Teeter LLC

  • Demello designed the company’s latest iteration in its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) journey, adding a new “equity” pillar to the company’s Service Excellence program, re-establishing a senior-level Diversity Advisory Council, creating a DEI Committee and launching two new associate resource groups. 
  • As corporate office employees were working at home in September, she  planned and hosted a drive-thru bonus check/profit-sharing celebration including lunch and free gifts, an event that was repeated again in March for check distribution. 
  • Demello and her team were also responsible for COVID-19 protocols such as health screening and temperature checks for more than 35,000 associates, and a new remote onboarding process.
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Jessica Enos

VP, Education and Training, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • In her current position, Enos has been charged with revamping Hy-Vee’s training, education and customer service initiatives, in furtherance of the grocer’s goal to become a Best Place to Work in America.
  • She developed a strategic workforce plan for stores to ensure smooth recruiting and onboarding, and implemented new training, engagement and retention strategies, as well as having played a pivotal role in the implementation of a new human resources information System.
  • Enos launched a tuition assistance program for employees and their families, underwriting up to $10,000 annually for the pursuit of select degrees at Nebraska’s Bellevue University.
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Joan Driggs

VP, Content and Thought Leadership, Information Resources Inc. (IRI)

  • Driggs began producing COVID-19 thought leadership for CPG brands and retailers before the country went into lockdown in March 2020; her colleagues have relied heavily on her work to inform clients on how COVID-19 affects business.
  • Under her guidance, nearly 40 reports have been developed, covering COVID-19’s impact on many fronts, including changing customer behavior, holiday shopping and unemployment benefit spending; she also produced more than 50 podcasts featuring conversations with CEOs at retail and CPG organizations like PepsiCo and Unilever.
  • Driggs hosted a number of webinars on COVID-19’s impact, and has presented related trends to retailers, CPG suppliers and trade organizations.
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Jonna Parker

Principal, Fresh Center of Excellence, Information Resources Inc. (IRI)

  • Parker was instrumental in developing IRI’s Integrated Fresh shared data model for point-of-sale and shopper tracking; before, random and fixed-weight products were viewed separately in IRI syndicated measurement solutions.
  • More than 100 suppliers in the United States and abroad use Integrated Fresh to track weekly and monthly sales and consumer behavior across all five perimeter fresh segments, each report has yielded almost 350,000 impressions in trade magazines, and Integrated Fresh has generated 40% incremental revenue growth for IRI’s existing market measurement services.
  • Parker belongs to the Phoenix Women’s Leadership Council and is a pro bono mentor to young women balancing careers and parenthood.
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Sally Lyons Wyatt

Executive VP and Practice Leader, Client Insights, Information Resources Inc. (IRI)

  • Wyatt manages budget oversight and development of clients and people in the center store and produce practice, ensuring that thought leadership is relevant to clients and future growth, with her 117-person team accounting for 15% of IRI’s North American revenue; in 2020, she overachieved her annual plan by 4%.
  • She presented thought leadership in more than 30 webinars, including IRI’s State of the Industry conferences in New Zealand and Australia.
  • In 2020, Wyatt became an executive sponsor of IRI’s Early Career Professional employee resource group; she also serves on the strategy and planning committee of IRI’s Diversity Advantage Program.
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Dani Dudeck

Chief Communications Officer, Instacart

  • During the pandemic, Instacart became an essential service; for Dudeck, this meant new responsibilities and issuing constant updates to 500,000-plus professional shoppers and 600 retail partners, so, to handle the load, she executed a multichannel communications plan.
  • Her team worked with health and food safety experts to develop Shopper Health & Safety Guidelines; Instacart Shoppers received vaccine support stipends, extended sick pay, daily in-app wellness checks and free health and safety kits (including PPE), and Doctor on Demand provided free access to COVID-19 telemedicine consultations.
  • Dudeck’s team also drove awareness of 200 new retail partnerships, including Walmart, Meijer, 7-Eleven and Big Lots, and she was involved in launching Instacart’s EBT SNAP program.
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Sarah Mastrorocco

VP and General Manager, Instacart Pickup, Instacart

  • In 2020, Mastrorocco’s team responded to America’s need to socially distance by adding 2,100 curbside pickup locations, more than doubling Instacart’s total number; the 100 new partners include Aldi, Food Lion, Publix and Wegmans.
  • The team enhanced Instacart’s technology to support the expansion; this included integrating order fulfillment with retailers’ hot food systems and enhancing staffing models and guidance so that retailers could plan accurately and meet demand.
  • Mastrorocco has been a featured speaker for the California Grocers Association, NACDS, and other events and organizations.
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Stephanie Adkinson

VP, Retail Sales, JBS USA

  • Leading a team of seven managers who call on retail customers, Adkinson influences test market projects and manages the East Area customer marketing budget, programming and new product launches.
  • She spearheaded execution of the successful 1855 Black Angus/Taste of Inspirations Beef co-branding rollout at Stop & Shop, and also developed and launched the JBS Beef E-commerce Framework in collaboration with JBS interns.
  • Adkinson has volunteered with various Cincinnati area-organizations, including FCA, Cincinnati Works Workforce Development, CityLink Center, Freestore Foodbank and Crossroads Church.
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Barbara Thomas

VP of Training and Front End Operations, K-VA-T Food Stores/Food City

  • Thomas led the implementation of COVID-19 programs, policies and procedures to protect the health of associates and customers; this included creating the role of safety manager at each store to oversee temperature checks, mask compliance and sanitation procedures.
  • She and her operations team helped hire almost 2,500 additional associates and created a retail reserve team of corporate and retail associates who were trained to assist with warehouse operations to prevent supply chain disruption.
  • For United Way of Southwest Virginia, Thomas introduced and implemented the Ignite Program, which is designed to teach high school students critical workplace skills.
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Kris Kowalski-Christiansen

CEO, Kowalski’s Cos.

  • With 11 stores throughout the Twin Cities and their surrounding suburbs, Kowalski’s was at the geographic epicenter when George Floyd died in Minneapolis; in response, Kowalski-Christiansen leveraged her relationship with the founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the local University of St. Thomas to begin to develop a company-wide racial justice initiative.
  • During COVID-19, she authorized regular and overtime wage increases for associates, full wages for associates who contracted the virus, and other initiatives to support workers.
  • Kowalski-Christiansen is a board member of Kowalski’s 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization devoted to at-risk youth that partners with local organizations in the area to provide services.
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Terri Bennis

Chief Merchandising Officer, Kowalski’s Markets

  • While customers were homebound at the height of the pandemic, Bennis helped store directors increase their production capacity and offerings for home delivery — including heat-and-eat, grab-and-go and family-style meals — and to partner with DoorDash and Grubhub to make deliveries.
  • She also helped stores implement curbside pickup and online pre-order and prepay programs to meet customers’ higher demand for ecommerce.
  • Bennis serves on the board of Kowalski’s 4 Kids and the leadership team for the Midwest Active Citizenship Initiative.
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Kristin Foster

VP Data Science, The Kroger Co./ 84.51° Division

  • Due to an organizational restructuring during 2020, Foster was transferred from leading the data science team in merchandise and operations to take charge of a team of 30-plus data scientists aligned with Kroger Precision Marketing, the company’s strategic retail media business.
  • She’s now the leader of 84.51°’s Chicago office, known as a technology hub, where she manages the location-specific office strategy for 120 employees.
  • In both positions, Foster coached and mentored data science professionals and their teams.
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Melissa Stimac

VP of Merchandising, The Kroger Co./Columbus Division

  • Stimac implemented a new sales and merchandising strategy based on a simplified picture-based execution guide for store teams that improved consistency and execution of merchandising plans in all departments; the initiative drove incremental sales by more than $200 million in comparison with other Kroger divisions during the fiscal year.
  • She created monthly selling challenges during the summer, not only to elevate sales volume, but also morale; these competitions drove an average of $1 million in incremental sales per week for the division.
  • Stimac serves as the executive sponsor for the Women’s EDGE associate resource group and volunteers with the Salvation Army.
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Lee Cassiere

VP of Audit, The Kroger Co.-General Office

  • Cassiere and her team assisted in removing old, outdated systems and transferring all financial data to a more flexible and nimble cloud-based platform; she also led her team to create training for the new configuration launch and helped ensure a smooth rollout of the new platform.
  • Charged with working to achieve cost savings within the finance department, she collaborated across functions to realize more than $4 million in savings in 2020.
  • Cassiere serves on the board for the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and participates in many industry organizations, including NRF and FMI.
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Valerie Jabbar

Group VP, Center Store Merchandising, The Kroger Company-General Office

  • Jabbar’s team onboarded hundreds of new suppliers to ensure that shelves were full during a challenging year; under her leadership, the team grew diverse suppliers’ spend by 29% and increased diverse supplier relationships by 7%.
  • Her general merchandise team built an innovative store of the future in Portland, Ore., that reinvigorated and introduced new brands, including Nespresso and Martha Stewart, to the home department; the initiative created an interactive shopping experience for customers in photo electronics, featuring Apple and Google lines.
  • Jabbar co-chairs Kroger’s KePasa associate resource group.
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Lanell Ohlinger

VP, HR Business Partner for Supermarkets, Retail Operations and General, The Kroger Co.-General Office

  • As the pandemic began to have a long-term impact, Ohlinger’s work evolved from adjusting office-based associates into home working environments, to a much broader and long-term workplace strategy; for more than half the year, she served as workstream leader for the organizational health workstream in Kroger’s business transformation.
  • She and her team conducted extensive work that contributed to Kroger’s Blueprint for Business, which was shared with the public and detailed all of the best practices Kroger had gained as the company continued to remain open during the pandemic.
  • Ohlinger personally onboarded two new division human resources leaders amid the pandemic.
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Dawn Gilmore

Head of Talent Acquisition, The Kroger Co.-General Office/Human Resources

  • Gilmore was promoted to her current role in September 2020, and confronted with COVID-19’s prevalence, she focused on an immediate need for qualified talent in Kroger’s pharmacies.
  • She and her team are working with communications and marketing partners to launch new marketing and branding to better align with Kroger’s purpose and value of inclusion; this includes reaching out to Historical Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
  • Gilmore’s work with diversity and inclusion in recruiting made her a key candidate for the steering committee of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion associate resource group, of which she is a founding member.
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Kimberly Busdieker

Chief Customer Officer and Senior Marketing Director, The Kroger Co.-Kroger Personal Finance Division

  • In the wake of the pandemic, Busdieker shifted her new product development resources toward focusing on financial solutions that would benefit customers; she led her team through a series of customer segment-based innovation sessions to identify and validate incremental financial products.
  • As the lead for the University of Cincinnati recruitment team for Kroger, she pivoted her approach to hold virtual training sessions on interview skills.
  • An ardent champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Busdieker was asked to join the executive steering council for Kroger’s 10 associate resource groups; in this role, she serves as a sounding board for setting policy and helps set the structure for how the groups operate.
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Rachel Ross

VP of Merchandising, The Kroger Co.-Louisville Division

  • Ross led both the Houston and Louisville division teams to achieve record sales (she moved to Louisville in June 2020).
  • She managed an end-to-end merchandising transformation and built cross-functional teams within both divisions’ merchandising teams, and also launched the Price Impressions signage program to create a bold statement in the aisles.
  • Ross serves as the executive leader for the Women’s EDGE associate resource group and has organized networking opportunities for women; she’s also a mentor for high-potential leaders, and in the past year she has promoted three members of her team.
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Paula Ginnett

President, Mid-Atlantic Division, The Kroger Co.-Mid-Atlantic Division

  • Ginnett oversaw an aggressive growth strategy for pickup and delivery in her division, which increased sales by 139%; she also piloted a new in-stock process for the Kroger enterprise and helped develop key strategic initiatives, including Every Customer, Every Time.
  • She led a successful labor negotiations strategy, including internal and external campaigns, for the West Virginia contract, resulting in a mutually beneficial ratified contract.
  • Based on associate feedback, Ginnett revived the African American associate resource group in her division, and also led timely diversity and inclusion initiatives, among them a roundtable discussion with the NAACP.
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Dorrie Francis

VP of Technical Services, Litehouse Inc.

  • As the assigned COVID-19 task leader for all Litehouse facilities and programs, Francis developed, led and implemented mitigation strategies in compliance with the Litehouse pandemic crisis plan to help lessen the impact that COVID-19 had on the workforce, supply chain and consumers, and she also oversaw the creation of a company coronavirus resource center.
  • During this time, Litehouse acquired Veggiecraft Farms, and she oversaw the integration of the brand into the Litehouse portfolio.
  • Francis sits on the executive board of directors for the Better Together Animal Alliance (BTAA), and is an active member of the Association of Dressings and Sauces, serving as vice chair of the group’s technical board.
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Caite Rought

Senior Business Manager, Litehouse Inc.

  • In 2020, Rought gained oversight of Litehouse’s private label business, working closely with the executive team to rewrite the corporate private label strategy, and creating a formal process with clear expectations and guidelines for evaluating opportunities.
  • As COVID-19 hit, she had to quickly adjust to a completely new process of product development by working with customers virtually; despite the challenges, she and her team successfully launched 15 new private label SKUs at several key retailers.
  • Rought won the CEO award from Litehouse for her model leadership.
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Susan Serne

VP of Manufacturing, Litehouse Inc.

  • Serne, who has been with Litehouse for 40 years, was promoted to VP of manufacturing in 2020, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, she led the manufacturing teams to achieve 13% growth in cases shipped.
  • She worked with the executive team to implement safety precautions for manufacturing employees, and even directed a program in which employees sewed masks for themselves and for donation. She also helped keep spirits high by coordinating free daily lunches.
  • Serne focused her teams’ work on ergonomics and oversaw a job analysis to understand the physical requirements of each position and how to minimize ergonomic strain; she also contributed to increased employee retention by developing employee engagement programs.
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Abbey Walker

Director, Sales, Litehouse Inc.

  • When COVID-19 hit, Litehouse’s foodservice division was hugely affected; in response, Walker began weekly meetings with planning teams to make sure that the most critical products for foodservice were prioritized, and as a result, fill rates improved by 10%.
  • On the value-added side of the business, she and her team had to make some tough decisions, such as when to move forward with new product and when to scale back.
  • Walker has volunteered for six years with Edgewood Auxiliary, an organization that helps families dealing with mental illness or behavioral health issues; she volunteers with several other organizations as well.
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Angela Santiago

CEO and Co-Founder, The Little Potato Co.

  • Having started The Little Potato Co. with her father in 1996, Santiago leads operations in Canada and the United States, with 400 employees from 30 countries.
  • When the pandemic began, she supported employees working remotely by helping digitize several parts of the business and launched a mental health program to assist staff; during COVID-19, bottom-line results increased 38% over plan.
  • In addition to winning numerous awards in Canada and the United States, Santiago serves as an advisory board member to startup companies such as Earth Water and Bond Bakery.
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Danielle Mariano

Founder and CEO, Mariano Events

  • Mariano changed the direction of the company to focus on digital marketing, creating services such as social media management and grocery hauls; additionally, all live events moved to digital and streaming during the pandemic.
  • She and her team worked to change the in-store demo to digital grocery hauls; focusing on social media, she centered on new brands sold at target retailers, and oversaw the creation of a new digital marketing division.
  • Mariano volunteers weekly at the Boys and Girls Club, helping children ages 6 to 8 with their virtual learning and tutoring.
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Lynette Ackley

VP, Fresh, Meijer Inc.

  • Ackley reacted swiftly to customer behavior changes during COVID-19, adapting her team and changing 100-plus stores from full-service seafood to self-service -- a move that contributed to a healthy increase in sales during fiscal year 2020.
  • As customers continued to eat at home more, she and her team saw a need for restaurant-quality meal solutions, so, to reinvent the prepared food section, they joined with a third-party partner to run a pilot in 10 stores.
  • With the goal of reducing food waste, Ackley and her team donated more than $1 million in frozen turkeys in partnership with Flashfood, bringing short-dated perishable product to those in need.
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Calli Schmid

VP, Merchandising-Grocery, Meijer, Inc.

  • According to Schmid, who leads a cross-functional team driving Own Brand growth, she is most proud of leading her team through COVID-19 and the fight for social justice in 2020.
  • A high-level summary of her fiscal 2020 results versus last year included a sales increase of 18%, a margin increase of 24% and inventory turnover of 15%; the grocery business at Meijer is approximately $8 billion in annual revenue ,and her work covers more than 245 supercenters that operate across a 6-state region.
  • Schmid has served on the advisory board of Great Sports, Great Kids, which supports athletics in schools.

 

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Kristen Williams

VP, Customer and Digital Technology, Meijer Inc.

  • Williams is responsible for all customer-facing technology such as Meijer’s website, app and loyalty program, as well as all digital, data and analytics; her total budget is $152 million.
  • She supported a full data and analytics program to enable Meijer to become a data-driven decision organization, modernizing data storage and reporting.
  • Williams works with the Girl Scouts of America, focusing on technology, and also gives her time to First Robotics, serving as lead coach of the Lego Robotic team.
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Susan Phelps      

President, Phelps Market/Oklahoma City Division

  • Overseeing the daily operations, finances, human resources and public relations of the company of 75 employees, Phelps sets the annual budget and approves any operational changes before assigning them to upper management to implement.
  • She achieved 45% growth over the previous year during the COVID-19 Pandemic; using every resource at their fingertips, she and her team went beyond the original goals of customer and employee retention.  
  • Phelps sits on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Central Credit Union, ensuring that the relationship between Phelps Market and its future growth partners is prepared for upcoming success.
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Marcy Benton           

VP of Human Resources, Publix Super Markets

  • Benton led Publix to hire and onboard more than 90,000 new associates; she also contributed to other company-wide efforts, including a gift card program for associates, a celebration program for Publix’s Great Place to Work rating, and communication programs with senior leaders.
  • She is a recipient of Publix’s highest internal honor, having garnered the George W. Jenkins Award for demonstrating her leadership and commitment to the values and culture of the company’s late founder.
  • Additionally, Benton participated on the United Way Community Invest Team, as president of the INROADS Tampa Market Advisory Board, and as Vice Chairman of the board of directors for Able Trust.
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Q. Rhoneda Hyatt

VP, Commercial and Marketing, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

  • Hyatt developed a Coke Energy giveaway program designed to thank first responders, a program that was replicated by bottlers across the country, and she’s driving local launch efforts for Coca-Cola North America’s first bottles in the United States made from 100% recycled plastic
  • Supporting the Las Vegas Raiders’ inaugural season, she innovated custom co-branded 16-ounce cans, resulting in $450,000 in gross profit. 
  • Hyatt is actively involved in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., through which she supports nonprofits and mentors young girls, and she was one of 20 selected to the inaugural class of Lead Forward, a program designed to grow and develop female leaders. 
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Kalin Berry

VP of Legal and Central Services, Save A Lot

  • When the pandemic struck, Berry was tapped to serve as one of five on Save A Lot’s COVID Response Team to ensure the safety of team members and customers. 
  • She helped Save A Lot’s effort to increase the pace of revitalization and remodeling of both corporate-owned and retail partner stores by streamlining the process and condensing the time needed for a complete remodel from 26 weeks to nine. 
  • Berry took leadership of the Central Services team, immediately implementing a back-to-basics approach to inspire her teams to re-analyze projects and ensure that contracts and relationships with vendors would fit with the new Save A Lot model. 
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Karen Procell

EVP and Chief Legal Officer, Save A Lot

  • Procell was instrumental in the negotiation and finalization of a full recapitalization of the business in 2020, an out-of-court initiative that eliminated $500 million in debt and provided an infusion of $350 million in new capital; the agreement put Save A Lot back on solid financial footing and set the stage for further acceleration of an ongoing transformation plan.
  • She played a vital role in Save A Lot’s conversion of corporate-owned stores to retail partner ownership, a key component of the company’s broader business transformation.
  • Procell worked to raise housing funds for women leaving shelters and to build playgrounds for shelters with children.
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Lee Gelb

VP, Human Resources, The Save Mart Cos.

  • Gelb reduced the time to fill jobs by 50%, and upgraded the company’s talent by hiring people from the restaurant and hospitality industries.
  • Her team reduced training time to focus on key learnings necessary to accomplish the job; cashier training was condensed from five to three days, accomplished with the help of “cashier champions” identified at store level to assist.
  • Gelb implemented proactive policies and programs to help team members through COVID-19, including the creation of the COVID-19 sick leave bank at the start of the pandemic, and three paid days off to arrange day care.
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Barbara Walker

SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, The Save Mart Cos.

  • Walker successfully developed and deployed strategic plans repositioning the company’s FoodMaxx value format proof-of-concept stores, resulting in a significant increase in traffic, unit movement, market share, and customer price perception and loyalty.
  • She led her teams to place community relations at the forefront of their efforts, including purposefully increasing food bank donations and helping local restaurants and chefs during the pandemic.
  • Walker has overseen innovation in the company, including the recent partnership with Starship Technologies to provide contactless robot grocery delivery at the Save Mart flagship store in Modesto, Calif.
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Kelly Brigham

IT Director, Schnucks

  • Working in grocery retail since the 1980s, Brigham saw 2020 as the most challenging of her career: She and her team had to create new processes and implement new solutions quickly while ensuring that current projects were on time and on budget.
  • She and her colleagues developed several tools to allow the business to directly manage orders, since there wasn’t enough manpower at the distribution centers to support the overwhelming demand; they also completed a major upgrade of their demand, replenishment and promotions optimization tool, and implemented a new category management solution.
  • Brigham is a member of the company’s newly launched diversity, equity and inclusion task force and the Women at Schnucks group.
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Michelle Narain

VP, Private Label, Smart & Final

  • Narain’s efforts are responsible for $1.2 billion in annual private label sales across 250-plus stores in three states; she and her team are responsible for 33% of Smart & Final’s total gross margin dollars.
  • She completed a total packaging redesign across more than 3,000 private label products, and also completed a total packaging redesign of the Sun Harvest product line, Smart & Final’s better-for-you natural organic products.
  • Narain is a member of the Wise Diversity Organization (Women Impacting Store Brand Excellence).
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Nicole Zajack

VP, Assistant General Counsel. Smart & Final

  • Assisting the general counsel and human resource department in employment matters, Zajack was a key contributor during the pandemic, providing support by navigating the rules and regulations of various local and state governments.
  • When human resources was swamped with the influx of COVID-19-related requests, she pitched in to help lessen the workload.
  • Promoted to her current role of VP, assistant general counsel, Zajack is acting general counsel; outside of work, she’s on the Loyola High School Mothers’ Guild board.
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Amy McClellan

VP, Fresh Merchandising, SpartanNash

  • McClellan oversees operations that generate more than $550 million in sales annually, including 20 supermarkets, 18 pharmacies and seven fuel centers.
  • She partnered with local South Bend Chocolate Co. to get more than $100,000 of retail product into the supermarkets for the Easter season; retail proceeds were donated to local United Way agencies to aid COVID relief.
  • Through the chamber of commerce, McClellan participated in weekly COVID-19 update calls for local business leaders, giving guidance and perspective from the health community, and serving as a resource for updates from the retail operating environment and general-public feedback on COVID-19 protocols. 
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Yvonne Trupiano

EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, SpartanNash

  • Trupiano established and led a COVID-19 preparedness task force to oversee all COVID-19-related processes and procedures for 19,000 associates working in 16 states, and she implemented front-line associate safety processes and procedures in partnership with safety, retail operations and supply chain teams. 
  • She partnered with the SpartanNash Foundation to oversee a $250,000 grant for COVID-19 relief to Feeding America-affiliated food bank partners in the states where SpartanNash operates.  
  • In 2020, Trupiano led the effort to improve SpartanNash’s human resources processes, communications, systems and technology to enhance the candidate, associate and manager experience. 
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Karen Cox

SVP, Sales Operations, Swire Coca-Cola USA

  • Cox sponsored the restructuring of the commercial team and helped onboard system-leading technology to empower both internal sales functions and the stewardship of business results; this drove a 30% improvement in the distribution of new products to targeted outlets.
  • She launched the 2020 Inspiration Tour, introducing the front-line selling team to Swire’s big bets to drive growth of the beverage portfolio; the tour, which resulted in unprecedented space gains and off-shelf inventory opportunities, returned in a virtual format this year, with similarly impressive results.
  • Cox supports the United Way and is an active member of her church. 
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Lisa Roath

SVP, Merchandising, Food and Beverage, Target

  • Roath drove market share growth within Target’s food and beverage business, supporting the organization to deliver meaningful market share gains.
  • She led strategic initiatives to speed the digital growth of the company’s food and beverage business, including its fulfillment services, which amid the pandemic saw 235% growth across Drive Up, Order Pickup and Same-Day Delivery with Shipt.
  • Roath invested in the sponsorship of STRIDE, an internal grass-roots organization founded in 2020 and dedicated to supporting the development and career growth of Target’s entry-level diverse team members, a key component of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
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Diane Colgan

SVP, Tops Markets LLC

  • Colgan’s community relations team stepped up to staff Tops’ crisis communications hotline 24/7, assisting stores with questions about safety protocols, restrictions, how to address exposed associates, and more.
  • She helped drive the company’s $40 million capital improvement plan with upgraded, modernized store décor and virtual grand openings, allowing Tops to continue all planned remodels; these events invited press and shoppers to participate via video to create a sense of occasion while respecting COVID-19 protocols.
  • Colgan redesigned fundraising campaigns, resulting in a record-breaking Food for Families event to support local food banks, and almost $1 million raised during the holidays for area Salvation Army chapters.
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Tiffany Carreker

General Manager and VP of Sales, White Castle Retail Products Division

  • Carreker leads the retail product division for one of the first restaurant brands to enter the CPG industry.
  • Not long after joining White Castle, she led the division to strong growth, with a more than 40% increase in branded frozen handhelds; her recommended changes led to a new in-house team selling directly to major accounts, saving millions of dollars in commission fees and strengthening retailer relationships.
  • Carreker serves as an ambassador for Project Heal, a nonprofit organization delivering access to eating disorder treatment and recovery support. 
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Christina Minardi

EVP of Operations, Whole Foods Market

  • Minardi reports directly to the COO and collaborates with teams to develop and execute the retailer’s operations strategy across more than 200 stores; she also co-leads the Amazon integration. 
  • A Whole Foods employee since 1995, she was instrumental in increasing delivery capacity by more than 160% and tripling pickup locations in 2020; she also guided the culinary group on new fast-casual concepts, launched a food innovation task force, and helped sponsor the opening of 19 new locations and three regional support offices. 
  • Minardi is a longtime supporter of Hot Bread Kitchen, which provides opportunities for women, immigrants and other workers who need a chance.
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Season Elliott

President, WiseChoice Foods LLC

  • As the leader of WiseChoice Foods and its WisePies Pizza brand, Elliott directs the company, guides product development, and builds a foundation for tactical and infrastructure growth through careful investments.
  • Under her leadership, WiseChoice has expanded its distribution into 10 states and more than 750 grocery stores, including major banners like Kroger; she also helped the company win a regional National Minority Supplier Development Council Minority Business Enterprises IDOL award.
  • Elliott was nominated as a Woman of Influence in New Mexico, and is a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in that state. 

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