TWIG 2023 Hero Article

2023 Top Women in Grocery: Senior-Level Executives

Progressive Grocer reveals this year's awards program winners in Senior-Level Execs category

Progressive Grocer’s 2023 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 17th 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 in subsequent 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)

Below are the Senior-Level Executives honored in this year’s Top Women in Grocery awards. You’re sure to find them, as the late, great Tina Turner — like many of our honorees, no stranger to reinvention — so memorably sang, “simply the best.”

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Jessica Diamond


Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • Diamond conducted multiple training sessions for the Acosta core leadership team to help acclimate them to the distributor business.
  • She also created an 80-page training and reference manual for the company’s KeHE/Central team.
  • Diamond originated a volunteer committee to pledge to quarterly volunteer events in the community for her team to participate in; this effort led to more than 24 individual volunteer events per year in various communities. 
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Marie Findlay

SVP, Talent Acquisition

Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • Findlay drove increased staffing levels from 74% to 84% during one of the most challenging labor markets in history. 
  • She led a talent acquisition transformation, including implementation of a new strategy, organizational design, and selection and identification of new AI-driven technology to accelerate hiring.
  • Findlay revamped the company’s recruitment marketing strategy and career site to attract more qualified and diverse talent.
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Shannon Hodock

SVP, Client Development

Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • Responsible for driving client relationships across all of Acosta’s nonfood businesses, Hodock improved integration and communication at Acosta by implementing monthly meetings. 
  • She invested in the organization by accepting the position of executive ambassador for Next-Up and volunteered to partner with HR to drive recruiting and engagement with the University of Tennessee through its Sales Leadership Forum event.
  • Hodock also created a first-of-its-kind proprietary strategic partnership with FMI, which will be fully realized through multiple events throughout 2023.
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Julie Oxner

SVP, Business Intelligence

Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • Oxner led her team to deliver strategic pricing projects for clients that informed consumers’ willingness to pay for products, combined with pricing elasticity modeling and simulations, and identified emotional thresholds to avoid when taking pricing actions.
  • She launched a strategic upskilling initiative at Acosta Group to improve financial acumen and fundamental revenue growth management skills. 
  • Oxner published pieces on pricing elasticity predictability in an inflationary market; she was also a board member leading programming for NextUp in Northern California.
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Lacey Rogers

VP, Client Development

Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • Rogers led the Acosta team to exceed the Simply Good Foods 2022 quota by 5%, resulting in an historically high performance-based bonus paid to Acosta by Simply Good Foods 
  • She led the Acosta team to exceed Gojo’s annual share targets for the traditional grocery channel three months early, exceeding share goals by two full points at year’s end. 
  • Rogers’ superior partnership with her clients led to higher-than-average client engagement scores in the 2022 client survey, illustrating her strong client service and exceptional business results.
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Michia Stalbaum

VP Client Development

Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • Stalbaum transitioned midyear to leading a broader client development team amid a significant internal system changeover that included extensive new procedures and training.
  • Her efforts with training and development were instrumental in helping the Walmart team deliver 6% growth in revenue in 2022 versus the prior year while achieving more than 100% growth in EBITDA. 
  • Stalbaum was nominated in 2022 for Acosta’s Aspire Award, which recognizes and rewards top performers for building a high-performance culture and driving results. 
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Karen Watkins


Acosta, an Acosta Group Agency

  • With perseverance and determination, Watkins was able to gain distribution for a brand’s seven items, or an estimated $3.5 million in sales, with Sprouts Farmers Market. 
  • Another deal with another brand led to the SVP of sales saying: “Your insights on Sprouts were a big part of getting the business. You are one of the best at what you do!”
  • Over the Christmas holiday, Watkins enlisted her team to assist at St. Mary’s Food bank to package food bags for the homeless; they were able to pack 300-plus bags to help the less fortunate.
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Marianne Shick

VP, Business Development

Advantage Solutions/Advantage Sales

  • Shick created Broker Back to Basics training as a refresher of the fundamentals that may have lost by working from home and with new hires onboarded during COVID.
  • She also created a companywide mentorship program called WayViser, with a budget, an application and a training module.
  • Shick recently became a co-chair for 2023 of employee resource group Women’s Interactive Network (WIN) after serving as a member and chair of the enrichment committee of WIN since its inception in 2020. 
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Vicki Combs

VP, Operations

Advantage Solutions/Retail Odyssey

  • When Combs took over the King Soopers account, she worked hard to build her team, which, by the end of the year, hit its target goal of 100% staffing. 
  • Her consistent building of culture has attracted diverse and talented members to the travel team, which maintained a 95% or better completion rate for the customer.
  • When a customer asked for additional projects to be completed, Combs and her team took on those projects and finished the year with all accounts doing better in revenue than the prior year. 

Deborah Sabo

SVP, Marketing

Food Lion LLC

  • With consumers facing record inflation, Sabo’s team refocused marketing messages and creative materials to emphasize affordability and savings.
  • Her team grew Food Lion’s omnichannel presence, giving customers more shopping options; Food Lion to Go launched at 100 more stores, while home delivery reached more ZIP codes.
  • In 2022, thanks to Sabo’s work, Food Lion achieved 21% growth in customers loading digital coupons to their MVP customer loyalty cards, and 26% growth in engaged Shop & Earn customers year over year. 

Teresa White

VP of Financial Planning and Analysis

Retail Business Services (RBS)

  • White led financial planning and reporting activities and was the key facilitator of financial management activities that extended to IT and capital portfolio planning.
  • She delivered the 2022 budget with 1% forecast accuracy and ensured the success of an annual executive-level business strategy review by engaging with stakeholders following the company’s transition to the SAP platform software. 
  • White led the talent recruitment and management pillar on the RBS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and was executive sponsor of the EDGE Black business resource group; she was also a member of Chief, a private network for women executives.
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Robin Alcorn

VP — Store Design and Planning

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Alcorn developed standard and localized merchandising modules to optimize and evaluate each store based on customer needs, operational efficiencies and automation, with a goal of enabling easier and faster navigation and checkout.
  • She helped develop increased focus on health and pharmacy to drive connection throughout the store and provide the right digital and e-commerce services.
  • A member of the Pride associate resource group, Alcorn facilitated sessions of Living Our Purpose Workshop; supported the United Way Auction, Book Clean Up and Food Bank; and assisted with a Harvard Business School executive project.
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Kristi Argyilan

SVP — Retail Media

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Argyilan led the efforts to launch Albertsons Media Collective, which includes recruiting and hiring talent and positioning them where their skillsets could be leveraged, thereby ensuring that revenue goals are exceeded and the best offerings are created and leveraged by vendor partners.
  • She was recognized as a 2022 US Fellow by The Marketing Academy, as well as being named a Media Maven and Woman to Watch in 2022 by Ad Age. 
  • Argilyan has held numerous board seats, some of which include roles with MMA Global North America, ZEFR, and Hold Your Horses, an equine therapy facility specializing in trauma.
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Alice Chan

VP — Merchandising

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Chan designed a curriculum to provide training for the center-of-store merchandising team, rolled out a YouTube-style library of archived trainings, and created a subject-matter expert process. 
  • She co-developed the Master POD and POD meeting structure, a critical timeline process Excel roadmap, the cadence for wiring with functional partners for clear timelines and reporting, and feedback mechanisms with national and divisional teams and functional partners. 
  • Chan, the Albertsons National Asian Network associate resource group leader, helped develop a best-in-class enterprise strategy for the company’s pet category to deliver double-digit growth over the next three years. 
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Cathy East

VP Meat/Seafood

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • East transformed the meat and seafood department into a strategic team focused on delivering long-term differentiation through collaborative leadership, and she restructured talent to focus on customer- and data-led decisions.
  • She led her team through several successful supply projects, including sustainable sourcing and the Proposition 12 pork law supply project, ensuring supply in an ever-changing commodity market.
  • East was chair of the National Pork Board Retail Advisory Committee, a member of the planning committee for the Annual Meat Conference and a Trust in Animal Protein Task Force member at the North American Meat Institute.
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Ramiya Iyer

SVP — Digital, Data, Merchandising and RX

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Iyer led the Engineering Excellence transformation, creating workstreams that focus on improving excellence in the engineering discipline across Albertsons’ technology.
  • In pharmacy tech, she led the transformation from a traditional pharmacy business to a health-and-wellness business, helping deliver the digital Sincerely Health platform to 16 banners.
  • While an active member of the Albertsons Cos. Foundation, the Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network (WIIN) and the NRF CIO Council, Iyer also took over leading the HR tech transformation midstream, providing guidance and strategy in a post-go-live environment. 
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Rupangi Kadakia

Senior Director — Engineering Ops, Program and Portfolio

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Kadakia helped the project management office team improve its performance and impact, which freed up resources for other high-value initiatives and resulted in approximately $1.5 million in savings last year.
  • In addition to securing multimillion-dollar savings for the organization through negotiation, she led the progress for the DevOps organization in enhancing the quality of releases and delivering valuable outcomes to customers.
  • Kadakia helped establish the Fresh College Graduate Program, a comprehensive initiative to support and develop recent college graduates, as well as the first Moms Returning to Work Program for Albertsons. 
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Lisa Kinney

VP — Insights and Market Intelligence

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Kinney and her team empowered the company with self-serve tools by building PowerBI dashboards and The Knowledge Hub, which democratizes learning so that the whole organization can put customer and data at the center of decision-making. 
  • She loverhauled how the company measures performance with customers by embedding net promoter score (NPS) measurement into all aspects of the customer experience and conducting NPS measurement among all shoppers. 
  • In addition to volunteering for Idaho women’s corrections facilities and the Idaho Humane Society, Kinney was appointed global retail leader advisor at George Mason University. 
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Suzanne Long

Chief Sustainability and Transformation Officer

Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Long launched various innovative collaborations to keep Albertsons on the leading edge of grocery industry sustainability, building relationships with vendor partners, public organizations and academic institutions.
  • She oversaw the launch of the environmental, social and governance strategy called Recipe for Change, leading the assessment to identify focus areas and guiding the cross-functional teams to set goals for each focus area.
  • Long led the company-wide launch of a store food donation program, which involved ensuring that each store could deliver food and minimize waste.
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Kelly Mullin


Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Instrumental in developing a strategy to raise associate engagement using her company’s digital marketing platform, Mullin grew employee participation by 25% in one month.
  • She drove all elements of Safeway’s back-to-office initiative by creating a feedback committee and holding roundtable meetings to create an environment where employees felt safe and valued going back to the office.
  • Because of Mullin’s drive to move women forward, her division had an all-time-high number of female associates at the store director level, and backstage director female placement was also at an all-time high.
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Tina Lucero

SVP — Marketing and Merchandising

Albertsons Cos./Denver Division

  • Lucero was instrumental in identifying varying ways to reach the grocer’s digitally engaged households while also helping to grow and support its e-commerce business.
  • When Colorado voted in late 2022 to allow wine sales in grocery outlets, Lucero coordinated store resets throughout the state and also worked with wine vendors to ensure that all stores had product for sale when the new law went into effect.
  • Lucero was a board member for the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Association and was on the steering committee for the Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network (WIIN) at Albertsons.
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Kelli Elson

VP — Operations, NorCal

Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division

  • Known as a servant leader who’s never afraid to work side by side with her teammates and help remove roadblocks or simplify tasks to make their jobs easier, Elson developed lasting solutions and training that have been rolled out to the entire division.
  • She was responsible for spearheading e-commerce for her district, and her partnership with national and local teams has resulted in company-leading online sales and a lift in orders of more than 15%.
  • When not at her job, Elson volunteered for the local Lions Club, Special Olympics and the San Jose Food Bank.
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Kyla Cardillo

Area VP

Albertsons Cos./Southwest Division

  • Cardillo created methods to boost sales, including having each department identify a push item and challenging her operations team to drive the results, which generated positive sales and made selling fun in her stores.
  • She aided division labor negotiations by providing analysis and support in determining the financial impact of the contract negotiation strategies.
  • A Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network (WIIN) chapter president, Cardillo facilitated such activities as creating baskets for women transitioning to new homes, helping homeless children, school supply shopping for foster families, assembling emergency boxes for food banks and supporting breast cancer research.
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Marissa Crab

VP —  Replenishment Center of Store

Albertsons Cos./Supply Chain

  • As a member of the replenishment leadership team, Crab helped deliver more than $3 million in cost savings year to date; additionally, she was a member of Albertsons’ Idea Council, which is focused on diversity, equity and inclusion education. 
  • She helped launch a new capability to nationally plan for volume and strategically allocate constrained inventory based on customer-facing data attributes and a new algorithm.
  • She launched a new team to partner with national merchants in the center of store to drive vendor performance, focus on market share, and ensure a meaningful connection with each division to execute with excellence both locally and nationally.
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Nicole Glisson

GVP — Supply Chain, Finance

Albertsons Cos./Supply Chain

  • Glisson led the strategic sourcing organization to overachieve against its fiscal year 2022 targets by more than 20% in a highly challenging and inflationary year. 
  • In addition to creating a three-year plan to exceed the company’s $1.5 billion productivity target, she volunteered for the Idaho Foodbank and provided counseling to fellow church members. 
  • Glisson showed strong leadership in the supply chain transformation initiative and led the development of a center of excellence to create consistent methods for managing major projects and financial results.  
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Tanya Edwards

Regional Director of Key Accounts

Avocados From Mexico

  • Edwards was the first in her company to get branded packaging into retail stores, and over the past year, she and her team promoted the Avocados From Mexico Educational Bag in ALDI stores across the nation, as well as in select divisions at Costco.
  • Additionally, and for the first time, she promoted avocado bags at Albertsons stores, and one of the full-month promotions resulted in a 40-plus volume increase.
  • Edwards recently received the Golden Avocado award from her company, was a Susan G. Komen participant, and provided mentorship and support to others in the industry.
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Sarah Steven

VP of Marketing

Big Y Foods

  • Steven’s marketing efforts across flyers, social media, email and targeted media drove an increase in myBigY digital membership enrollment; she also launched the brand onto new social platforms, namely YouTube and Pinterest, to reach a new audience.
  • After spearheading her company’s first-ever attitude and usage study, Steven built upon those learnings and used insights to create cross-departmental strategies that have paved the way to a year of sales growth and increased market share.
  • Steven served on a committee for the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen communities through philanthropy and leadership.
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Rebecca Torpie

Director of Marketing

BriarPatch Food Co-op

  • As BriarPatch grew beyond one store, Torpie mobilized the marketing department from a passive one to a creative and dynamic team that focuses on how to make the world a better place through its work.
  • Torpie negotiated annual sponsorship agreements with local nonprofit partners, approved donation requests, and identified donation opportunities, including creating the store’s Apples for Gardens program.
  • Through the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, Torpie volunteered as a USAID marketing consultant for a farmers’ coffee cooperative in El Salvador, reporting back her experience to store management and the community at large. 
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Brit Cattey

VP, Support

C.A. Fortune

  • A member of the leadership team, Cattey guided services groups in order management, deduction reconciliation and trade fund management that collectively optimized retailer shipments and client trade budgets to run promotions and sell in new items. 
  • Her leadership and tech savviness led her to exceed the goal of automating client order processing and cut unreconciled dashboard orders by 81%. 
  • A Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteer who’s active in her church’s music worship team, Cattey supported the Salt and Light Coalition, which heals educates and empowers female victims of human trafficking. 
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Jessica Schmidt

SVP, Business Intelligence

C.A. Fortune

  • Having worked her way up through the CPG space for 15 years, Schmidt oversaw business intelligence at C.A. Fortune to elevate client brands and also led retailer-dedicated analyst teams.  
  • She started quarterly presentations on relevant factors influencing the industry for client brand and internal teams; spearheaded the company’s shopper analytics platform, which looks at the health of clients’ brands; and developed personalized training plans for each of her employees.
  • A board chair at her church, Schmidt held workshops on resumé writing and communication for women who have survived human trafficking.  
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Jen Carter

VP of Sales, Kroger

Campbell Soup Co.

  • Managing the business relationship and profit-and-loss progress for Campbell’s meals and beverage business with Kroger, Carter led a sales team that drove share, volume and sales growth. 
  • She led her group to exceed its growth target and grow marketing share in eight of 13 categories; she also strengthened the relationship between Campbell and Kroger and hosted a meeting that included a tour of the retailer’s Ocado-operated fulfillment warehouse.  
  • An active member of Campbell’s Women Inclusion Network and the local chapter of NextUp, Carter also led the company’s Community Cares program in Cincinnati. 
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Lindsey Enwright

VP, Customer Engagement

Campbell Soup Co.

  • Enwright headed up a team that fostered collaboration between Campbell and its retailers to develop mutually beneficial solutions in supply chain areas such as transportation, inventory, and forecasting and distribution management. 
  • She led shelf restoration efforts that resulted in stocks remaining 10%-20% higher than average case fill rates; she also delivered multimillion-dollar savings in cost-to-serve projects and developed a new customer inventory tool.
  • Active in Campbell’s Latino Network and the Bridge Network organization, which connects generations across different positions, Enwright volunteered as a youth travel soccer coach.  
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Michelle Morale

VP, Digital Commerce and Omni Shopper Marketing

Campbell Soup Co.

  • Leading digital commerce sales for Campbell’s $5 billion meals and beverage divisions, Morale created a seamless shopper experience for retail partners. 
  • Her group continued its double-digit e-commerce growth and was on pace to deliver a 17% boost in sales over the previous year; under her watch, digital shelf health improved 10% and the team updated more than 1,400 digital assets. 
  • A thought leader who often speaks at industry conferences and a member of the FMCG Institute, Morale led small-group mentoring circles at Campbell while also volunteering as a travel basketball coach. 
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Orma Haywood

Assistant Controller

Cardenas Markets

  • Haywood ensured that the retailer’s accounting records were accurate and led annual audit and tax work while also adopting new processes and software to maximize efficiencies. 
  • She played a key role in the transaction process when Cardenas Markets changed private-equity ownership, and onboarded sister company Tony’s Fresh Markets to Cardenas’ accounting platforms and programs; she also spearheaded new systems and processes that halved the days to close. 
  • Haywood joined the new women’s employee resource group and received accolades for helping retain high performers in her group. 
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Meghan Howard

Chief Revenue Officer


  • Responsible for Chicory’s growth plans and revenue operations, Howard oversaw sales and account management teams, created outreach strategies, and built client engagement strategies; her team contributed 100% of the company’s total revenue. 
  • Since joining the company, she has grown the sales team sixfold and increased revenue nearly ninefold; from April 2022 to March 2023, Chicory reached its highest annual revenue year to date. 
  • During the search for a new head of marketing, Howard mentored the all-women marketing team while attending industry events and leading growth and development pillars at NextUp.  
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Kristin Crouse

Principal, Mid-Market Client Insights


  • In a key role at Circana, Crouse led a diverse portfolio of midsized CPG clients across a range of categories that represented $10 billion in annual retail sales.
  • She created and oversaw a commercialized approach to get customized thought leadership insights leaders at small/midsized manufacturer partners, and also launched Circana’s mid-market strategic engagement approach, resulting in an 82% increase in strategic meetings. 
  • A board member of the food marketing program at Western Michigan University, Crouse shared her experiences with next-generation leaders; she also founded Kansas City’s popular Parkville Microbrew Festival. 
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Jonna Parker

Principal, Fresh Center of Excellence


  • Parker’s work led to the development of Circana’s Integrated Fresh Solution, the first fact-based total food and beverage solution that provides retailers and CPGs a complete view of the fresh food market.
  • She also introduced a monthly insights publication; launched Passport Fresh, which allows for Big Data to be budget-friendly and actionable; and guided her clients to expand their distribution and market share. 
  • A member of the Phoenix Women’s Leadership Council and the Phoenix Professional Women’s Giving Circle, Parker helped form Circana’s Working Caregivers employee resource group.
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Sally Lyons Wyatt

EVP and Practice Leader, Client Insights


  • Wyatt managed Circana’s center store and produce practice and worked with more than 160 clients. 
  • She and her team achieved a 100% renewal rate for all clients,while internally, she became an active member of Circana’s new global thought leadership team at the recently merged IRI and NPD Group; she was also chosen to lead a new internal global initiative for the company’s top 20 clients. 
  • Wyatt was executive sponsor of Circana’s Early Career employee resource group; a board member of Arkearth, a group that focuses on saving pollinating species; and a volunteer for Soup Mobile in Dallas. 
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Chelsea de Leon

VP, Customer Management

Coca-Cola Consolidated

  • Leading 23 managers and directors who work with 180 chains, de Leon created and helped execute national retailer beverage strategies. 
  • She partnered with Target to develop a beverage space strategy resulting in a 43% sales increase across the sparkling beverage category and teamed with Sam’s Club to develop two new packages; she also launched a new organization design for Walmart that doubled the team’s headcount investment. 
  • De Leon and her team received the Sam’s Club Game-Changer Award over all U.S. bottlers, and she recently established a local school sponsorship to support staff and students. 
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Shannon Durham

VP, Customer Management

Coca-Cola Consolidated 

  • Promoted to lead the grocery channel at the onset of the pandemic, Durham stewarded nonalcoholic beverage category strategies for more than 300 brands and 50 grocers for Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States.  
  • Her team sold more than 123 million cases and delivered more than $1.6 billion in revenue for Coke Consolidated, along with 17% revenue growth; she also rolled out a new training method for front-line sales associates.  
  • Durham co-founded the Women’s Leadership group at the company and launched peer mentoring circles in tandem with a mentor handbook. 
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Katy Avila

Chief Human Resources Officer

CROSSMARK, A WIS International Company

  • Avila joined the company shortly after the acquisition of CROSSMARK by WIS International and leveraged her mergers-and-acquisition expertise to guide the integration. 
  • She integrated HR teams from three legacy companies to create an enterprise team, led the first enterprise-wide employee engagement survey, unified the performance management program, and harmonized three U.S. health care plans without material costs to the employee or the employer, among other accomplishments. 
  • Avila served on the ID360 Leadership Advisory Council and was an active mentor with the Dallas HR mentorship program. 
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Kristin Frontario

VP, Global Business Services

CROSSMARK, A WIS International Company

  • In a department supporting more than 200 clients and 350 U.S. retailers, Frontario’s scope of work included financial, operational, technology and business processes; she managed the company’s partnership with IBM and helped stand up robotics and automation in her area. 
  • Through these robots and other process optimizations, her team cut turnaround time for deductions; she also launched a process-mining software that garnered deeper insights and processed three years of data within a week, saving 1,900 hours of reporting analysis. 
  • Frontario served on the board of the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network. 
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Jami McDermid

President, Sales Agency

CROSSMARK, A WIS International Company

  • McDermid successfully led CROSSMARK through a revenue mix rationalization, which allowed the organization to improve bottom-line profitability by about 10 points versus the prior three years, with several business units delivering their most profitable year on record.
  • She focused her team on strategic planning and helped develop role-specific seller training, leading CROSSMARK to gain more than 20 new client additions and key expansions with 15-plus clients.
  • McDermid is an active leader in NextUp, regularly attending its leadership summits, and she’s also the WIS International executive sponsor.
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Ashley Tussing

VP, Sales and Operations

CROSSMARK, A WIS International Company

  • Having taken ownership of the digital and e-commerce teams, Tussing spearheaded the development of such service offerings as a content management team that provides timely, cost-effective services for clients.
  • She boosted commission visibility and team ownership by deploying a buying point matrix that automatically reviews all selling/buying points across the organization and the business owners responsible for each.
  • Tussing was a board member at North Texas Performing Arts Fairview Youth Theater, a noprofit that seeks to enable growth in students through the arts, where she oversees finances and theater programming.
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Nawshi Williams

VP, Analytics and Insights

CROSSMARK, A WIS International Company

  • Under Williams’ leadership, the Accelerator analytic platform is continuously evolving, coming out with new releases and enhancements that include not just improvements and optimization of current capabilities, but also new capabilities.
  • She and her team are now gathering requirements and creating customized Accelerator-powered retailer dashboards specific to each retailer’s data and requirements.
  • Williams’ many professional honors include receiving a Path to Purchase Women of Excellence Award for technology and being named a Top Woman in Health, Wellness and Beauty by Drug Store News (both are Progressive Grocer sister divisions).

Amanda Villa

VP, Planning and Integration

Product Connections, a WIS International Company

  • Responsible for six teams, Villa steered marketing programs and support through efforts like in-store activation, digital media campaigns, video production and creative services. 
  • Among other efficiencies, she led the integration of four marketing agencies into one, cutting video production costs by 93% and reducing lead times by 12 weeks to 48 hours; she also executed processes and systems for the Target sampling business, leading to a 9% bump in program revenue, and contributed to an 11% lift in revenue for the Sam’s Club program. 
  • Villa shared her time with Bentonville, Ark., public schools and a local dog rescue group. 
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Theon Danet

CIO/Director of Information Technology

Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • When DeCA faced challenges with its IT contract, Danet assessed contracting officer roles, recruited a program management officer, realigned personnel, restructured the IT portfolio and launched a new procurement strategy; these changes saved DeCA approximately $1.5 million annually.
  • She implemented a process to allow Department of Defense patrons to shop online using SNAP EBT benefits, access curbside delivery and pay in store.
  • A member of Federally Employed Women (FEW), which works to improve the status of female federal workers, Danet also provided free financial counsel to military widows.
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Christine Frey

Director, Overseas Financial Operations Division

Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • Frey developed a cross-functional, collaborative strategic plan pertaining to DeCA’s only chill-and-freeze distribution center in Europe, which required host nation approval to continue operation under adverse operating conditions until a new system goes online in about two years.
  • She worked with lawyers to find disposable, biodegradable bags that were durable, environmentally friendly and accepted in all of the European countries where DeCA has commissaries.
  • The recipient of numerous awards for her work with the military, Frey was also a speaker, volunteer and mentor for the American Society of Military Comptrollers.
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Tiffany Minyo

Director of Human Resources and Talent Development

Dom’s Kitchen & Market

  • Minyo dramatically improved employee retention during unprecedented times through numerous tactical initiatives, among them the creation and launch of MYND, a mentoring program that develops the experience and careers of high-potential employees.
  • She also reduced health care costs through a process of negotiation and plan rationalization, and saved nearly $40,000 for a hiring center by repurposing an existing space.
  • Minyo’s various community outreach efforts included working to feed thousands of hungry and homeless people in Chicago by forging a relationship with Nourishing Hope, a nonprofit that works to address food insecurity.
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Anne Feder

VP of Client Growth


  • Feder embarked on a process of re-engineering that enabled eGrowcery to produce more features within a shorter timeframe with no sacrifice in quality, resulting in a net productivity impact increase of 14% both internationally and abroad.
  • She led the rollout of eGrowcery’s partnership with DoorDash to provide retailers with an integrated white-label delivery solution; participating retailers saw sales increases ranging from 35% to 130%.
  • Feder and her team supported the digital/omnichannel experience at retail partner Hitchcock’s Markets, which received a Creative Choice Award from the National Grocers Association in the Connections Through Omnichannel category.
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Linda Nordgren

Proprietor, CEO and President

Encore Associates

  • Nordgren defined new business opportunities that drove double-digit growth at Encore Associates, and assessed the company’s resource needs to invest in capital and human resources to achieve new business growth.
  • She was personally involved in finding the best new team members out of a pool of more than 300 candidates, based on their attitudes and potential skill sets, with the aim of fostering their career development and abilities.
  • Nordgren volunteered with the Northern California chapter of NextUp and facilitated a grocery industry event on how to effectively manage teams remotely and in hybrid settings.
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Jenny Johnson

VP-Active Nutrition/Grocery/HBC/Our Brands

Feldkamp Marketing

  • Johnson’s teams exceeded retail budget targets and contributed $270 million in sales volume to Feldkamp, accounting for more than 25% of total company retail dollars; from a company revenue standpoint, this was a 12% increase from 2021 revenue actuals.
  • She was heavily involved in securing the representation of a large collection of sport nutrition brands, bringing in an incremental $30 million annually in retail sales.
  • As well as contributing as a leader to foster a positive, energetic and appreciative work environment, Johnson regularly attends NextUp speaking and networking events in the Cincinnati area.
twig 23 se

Katerina Jones

Chief Marketing Officer

Fleet Advantage

  • Jones demonstrated her thought leadership by coauthoring a highly essential industry report, “The Future of Heavy-Duty Trucks: Building a Bridge to Alternative Energies for U.S. Long-Haul Transportation — the Backbone of Our National Supply Chain.”
  • She also built an educational campaign to help improve fleet efficiency and reduce costs associated with food shrink, which inspired grocers and distributors to adopt new ways to approach the issue, such as a closer focus on improving on-time deliveries.
  • Beyond her position at Fleet Advantage, Jones developed and ran the annual International Food Distribution Association Truck Driving Championship Kids’ Essay Contest.
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Stephanie Harris

General Counsel and Chief Regulatory Officer

FMI — The Food Industry Association

  • Harris reviewed and interpreted a 597-page rule intended to implement Section 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act regarding additional traceability of high-risk foods; she determined that the rule’s requirements will demand tremendous investments of time and resources across the entire food industry and significantly exceed the statutory authority of Congress.
  • She promoted collaboration between FDA and the grocery industry so that the agency can better understand dynamic supply chains, and the industry can help achieve shared public-health goals.
  • Harris oversaw the FMI Legal Affairs Committee.
twig 23 se

Kasey Sheffer

VP of Own Brands

Giant Eagle

  • Sheffer led own-brand center store sales penetration to 8.4% growth year over year, while center store sales rose 12% year over year and margin has increased 6% over the last 26 weeks.
  • She drove growth through dedicated product development that involved filling gaps and creating innovative items, right-sized planograms to position own brands front and center and provide higher minimum facings, and ensured that items provide the best value while making them key drivers of the loyalty program.
  • Sheffer sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance and volunteers with Junior Achievement, which supports the school system.
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Katie Hotze

Founder and CEO

Grocery Shopii

  • Hotze leveraged her company’s initial performance data to take its machine-learning enhanced recipe technology to market; she closed 280 stores under contact. 
  • She championed the launch of a retail media network for recipes, earning the trust and business of such brands as Unilever and Splenda; this offering generated her company’s largest sales quarter ever.
  • Hotze belongs to FMI’s Technology Advisory Council, where she volunteers her time supporting the expansion of technology topics across FMI’s leadership and educational platforms; she’s also on the board of the Western Michigan University Food Marketing Program. 
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Tammy DeBoer


Harris Teeter

  • DeBoer launched the Harris Teeter Delivery e-commerce business, widening the company’s reach into new communities, including many without a brick-and-mortar Harris Teeter; she also refreshed the company’s brand identity with a modernized logo and new marketing campaign.
  • Having developed and articulated Harris Teeter’s purpose (Enriching Lives — one meal, one family, one associate and one community at a time) , she is deeply committed to connecting with associates and learning how the company can improve their lives.
  • DeBoer serves as an advisory board member for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.
twig 23 se

Sara Dunaj

Partner/VP, Content and Strategy

High Wide & Handsome

  • Dunaj created and launched the Dole Whip Day social media campaign, the brand’s best-performing social media activation; it exceeded impression key performance indicators by 1,000 times, with 98% positive net sentiment.
  • She built a new social media marketing program for Coppola Wine that surpassed industry and recall benchmarks by 50%, increased engagement by 100 times in the first three months, and improved social return on ad spend by 1,462%.
  • As part of the agency’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, Dunaj worked to increase inclusivity among staff, vendors, partners and talent.
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Leslie Lee

VP of Digital Experience

Hormel Foods

  • Under Lee’s leadership, Hormel Foods’ investments in its omnichannel approach allowed the company to deliver an outstanding experience across all consumer touchpoints; last year, online sales for the organization set an all-time record.
  • She led the initiative to create and deploy an in-house search strategy team, saving Hormel $1 million in expenses year over year.
  • Lee’s dedication to serving as a mentor to team members was recognized with Hormel’s Pride of the Jersey, an award given to team members who embody the company’s cultural beliefs. 
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Stacey Johnson

SVP, Government Relations and Corporate Compliance


  • Johnson and her team worked with federal and state lawmakers to pass meaningful reform legislation affecting direct and indirect remuneration fees, which can be devastating for retail pharmacies, especially in rural areas. 
  • She oversaw the launch of Hy-Vee’s OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summits, pitch competitions that awarded $150,000 in seed money to minority- or women-owned businesses.
  • Her team’s relationships with federal officials led to Hy-Vee’s inclusion in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
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Amy Wadstrom


Vivid Clear Rx (A Hy-Vee Subsidiary)

  • Under Wadstrom’s leadership, Vivid Clear Rx more than tripled its client base and saw record financial results; the partnership she formed with Banjo Health streamlined the pharmacy benefit manager’s in-house prior-authorization process, allowing the company to focus on serving members.
  • She built Vivid Clear Rx’s customer call center on a “one-call resolution” model, ensuring that members and client concerns were resolved as quickly as possible in a single call.
  • Wadstrom served on the steering committee for Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute.
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Ali Miller

VP of Product Management


  • Miller spearheaded an expanded advertiser toolkit that includes shoppable video ads and shoppable display ads, curated brand pages, popups, and promotions designed to help advertisers tell a cohesive brand story on Instacart.
  • She led her team to unlock new optimization products, including sales lift metrics, A/B testing, objective-based buying capabilities and optimized bidding features that help brands maximize campaign performance on Instacart.
  • Miller performed as a violinist in the Oakland Symphony and was a member of the Women@ Instacart employee resource group.

Asha Sharma



  • Sharma’s team rolled out several new features designed to make online grocery more affordable, including an Instacart+ membership, free and no-rush delivery options with discounts and a “Savings Tab,” and a feature that lets customers add items from additional retailers to their trip at no extra cost.
  • She oversaw efforts to digitize EBT/SNAP programs with more than 70 retailers across 8,000 stores in 49 states and Washington, D.C., making online grocery more accessible for people experiencing food insecurity.
  • A board member at several nonprofit organizations, Sharma was named one of San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40 honorees in 2023. 
twig 23 se

Heather Prach

VP of Education

International Dairy Deli Bakery Association

  • Prach prioritized the digitalization and monthly updates of the organization’s trends publication, and she ncreased visibility of industry data through the IDDBA app and webinar series.
  • Her strong sales background helped propel What’s In Store Live sponsorship to record highs, she was instrumental in the launch and served as a co-host of the What’s In Store podcast, and she continued to find new ways to provide opportunities for IDDBA’s global member base through education, data, and connecting global and domestic audiences.
  • Prach spearheaded an IDDBA partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
twig 23 se

Laura Morgan

VP, Development and Quality Assurance


  • Morgan steered her team to deliver Invafresh’s first-ever mobile-native app and the release of the Recipe Manager solution, as well as a number of new features and functionalities to help grocers reduce waste, increase sales and optimize processes.
  • She implemented a more agile test-driven development procedure that resulted in improved quality, and she pinpointed ways to improve product knowledge transfer across teams, capture customer environment data and improve the incident management process.
  • Morgan worked with the Alzheimer’s Day program and with many charitable Alzheimer’s disease events.
twig 23 se

Jenn Hahn


J Recruiting

  • Hahn cultivated new relationships that contributed to record-setting revenue for her company; the business development framework she implemented led to several key relationships/business opportunities to support the hiring functions of several large companies.
  • She created a successful podcast with several c-suite leaders as guests, developed a stronger social media presence, and created a unique follow-up process to streamline the scheduling process between clients and submitted candidates.
  • A volunteer with American Corporate Partners as a mentor, Hahn helped acclimate returning veterans to the civilian corporate environment.
twig 23 se

Stephanie Adkinson

VP Sales, Beef


  • Adkinson and her team were recognized as C&S Meat Supplier of the Year 2022 for superior partnership, sales results and customer service; she also helped develop and execute the JBS One Company Customer Survey and drove cross-company synergies.
  • Partnering with Meijer on two strategic initiatives, she spearheaded the team launch and expansion of Grass Run Farms beef at Meijer, and the test and launch of POG Crumbles at Meijer; this resulted in the launch of POG Crumbles nationwide.
  • Adkinson is an active member of NextUp.
twig 23 se

Jessica Waller

VP Mass Channel

Kellogg Co.

  • Waller led the Walmart team through the most challenging time in the company’s history, driving record sales and share increases amid unprecedented supply and logistical issues.
  • She helped confirm several significant programs with Walmart, including securing the retailer as a sustainability partner with rice farmers’ InGrained program, linking Kellogg sustainability goals with the customer. 
  • At the same time, during historic labor shortages, Waller created a strong culture within her own team via roundtables, assimilation sessions and developmental workshops. 
twig 23 se

Tara Poponyak

VP, Amazon Sales

Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP)

  • Poponyak led a sales center of excellence for KDP’s hot and cold warehouse-direct beverages, which overdelivered on annual volume sales targets and share growth goals; she also delivered a best-in-class multiyear joint business partnership with a leading grocery retailer.
  • She built KDP’s proprietary e-commerce analytics suite to garner insight into omnichannel shopping behavior and measure sales and share in market.
  • As co-chair of the Women & Allies employee resource group at KDP, Poponyak helped foster a strong culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.
twig 23 se

Kris Kowalski-Christiansen


Kowalski’s Markets

  • Kowalski-Christiansen led the company’s implementation of a new approach to policy making at Kowalski’s, which took a look at how educational tracks within the company advanced stakeholders’ understanding of civic business principles. 
  • After the COVID-19 pandemic affected employees’ mental health, she authorized a campaign to educate affected stakeholders about available resources within the company and beyond.
  • Kowalski-Christiansen currently sits on the board of Kowalski’s 4 Kids, a nonprofit devoted to at-risk youth in the Twin Cities.
twig 23 se

Emily Gibbons 

VP, Science and Technology, Commercial Insights and Loyalty

The Kroger Co./84.51°

  • Gibbons’ leadership was critical to enabling growth in a business that thrives on the ability for data, science and technology to work in harmony to create value. 
  • She improved the data science teams’ efficiency, enabling 33% more projects than in past years, helped develop 14 new solutions and aided in the deployment of 12 solution enhancements.
  • Gibbons was named the co-lead of Women’s EDGE, 84.51°’s people-led team focused on creating a work environment where women can bring their whole selves to work and are valued for their own unique contributions.
twig 23 se

Erin Rolfes

Director, Corporate Communications and Media Relations

The Kroger Co./Corporate Affairs

  • Within Rolfes’ first week in her current role, she booked the company’s CEO for a speaking engagement and a live interview on CNBC. 
  •  She helped build the company’s narrative around the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday, working  with the head of merchandising communications to uncover Kroger’s holiday value proposition.
  •  Rolfes was key in shaping the company’s message regarding its pending merger with Albertsons Cos.; one visible piece of this work was the Kroger CEO’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. 
twig 23 se

Kathy Hanna

VP, Payments Acceptance and Services

The Kroger Co./Finance

  • Hanna implemented a card transaction reconciliation system across all business lines to ensure customer card payments, resulting in annual substantial savings.
  • She implemented a multipronged fraud strategy by partnering with multiple internal and external partners to improve the shopping experience; this development detects fraudulent activity prior to the completion of transactions, ultimately resulting in significant financial savings. 
  • Hanna forged partnerships to create an accelerator for testing concepts related to customer choice and payment activity. 
twig 23 se

Senchal Murphy

Senior Director of Human Resources —Training, Onboarding and Talent Development

The Kroger Co./Human Resources

  • Murphy and her team helped develop and deploy new Active Assailant Response and Emergency Exit trainings. 
  • She led the deployment of Microsoft Teams rooms and teleconference capabilities throughout the enterprise; the $18 million project helped associates across the company stay seamlessly connected. 
  • Murphy expanded the Fresh Start (Axonify) platform, a training application that can be used in-store or via personal devices; with this initiative, her team could deploy training in real time. 
twig 23 se

Erin Liber

VP, Data Ventures and Partnerships

The Kroger Co./84.51°

  • Liber used her leadership and experience to overcome market headwinds and still beat all of her business- and talent-related goals for 2023, which benefited Kroger customers as well as the wider Kroger/84.51° business teams.
  • She managed the partnership structure within digital incentives, which delivered more than $1 billion in customer savings in 2022. 
  • Liber also shaped the company’s full five-year vision for data ventures and has become clearly established as the go-to business leader across key enterprise strategies.
twig 23 se

Veronica Nester

Regional HR Business Partner

The Kroger Co./Human Resources 

  • Nester was key in the introduction of the district HR specialist role in the organization; prior to this, the company had inconsistent ownership of basic HR functions across the footprint. Today, 362 associates have this role in the organization. 
  • Nester was also instrumental in a strategic investment in Kroger’s store leadership compensation structure.
  • In 2022, Nester helped the Ruler division redesign its operations organization structure to better serve business needs and create career paths within Ruler and the Kroger Family of Companies.
twig 23 se

Rebekah Manis

Senior Director, Kroger Delivery FCs (Fulfillment Centers)

The Kroger Co./Merchandising

  • Manis’ strong financial and planning background were instrumental in kick-starting the launch of Kroger’s delivery program, increasing fulfillment center sales more than fivefold.   
  • She blazed a new trail for Kroger through an industry-leading automation solution with exclusive partner Ocado that uses vertical integration, machine learning and robotics to process online grocery orders.
  • Manis was pivotal in leading the the delivery expansion to larger geographic footprints in areas without a physical footprint and produced best-in-class net promoter scores that drove customers to shop more, leading to higher retention rates.
twig se 23

Catherine Mosich

Senior Director, Apparel, General Merchandise

The Kroger Co./Merchandising

  • Mosich developed relationships with the electronics industry to launch a five-store test bringing top-tier electronics brands to Kroger customers.
  • In the cell accessories business, she helped guide contract negotiations to update the program to scan-based trading, which will deliver an additional $8 million annually in margin. 
  • Mosich worked closely with the Fred Meyer division to curate an assortment unique to Alaskan customers, bringing new businesses such as ice fishing, toboggans, snowshoeing and high-end kayaks to the customer, and delivering an additional $2 million in sales for only 11 stores.
twig 23 se

Jennifer Schmitz

Director, Promotional Execution

The Kroger Co./Merchandising

  • Schmitz’s team launched an interim shoppable ad solution on that drove more than 3,000 new digital accounts.
  • She led the development of a new shoppable digital ad experience through a team connecting merchandising systems, circular production data, customer-facing details, and web and app customer experience. 
  • Schmitz’s team deployed QR codes across multiple channels, increasing site and app visits by 138%, growing digital coupon clips year over year by 194% and creating 100,000-plus new digital accounts.
twig se 23

Lydia Stroup

VP of Operations

The Kroger Co./Nashville Division

  • Under Stroup’s leadership, the division had a record sales and profit year and several in-store processes saw significant improvement, including a reduction in the number of items not found for pickup/e-commerce customers. 
  • Her division was the first to successfully pilot Kroger delivery through Instacart; additionally, by leveraging and executing various technological tools, she improved overall operational results.
  • In addition to being the executive sponsor for two associate resource groups, Stroup developed individualized plans for growth and succession planning. 
twig 23 se

Nicole Bodde

Director of Operational Improvement

The Kroger Co./Retail Operations

  • Bodde led the team to advocate for a more data-driven approach to business reviews for store, district and division leadership to influence divisions to focus on profitability instead of sales alone.  
  • She teamed with merchandising to analyze and remove underperforming food venues and stations, replacing them with grab-and-go options for customers, which resulted in a $15 million labor savings for the year. 
  • Among her many admirable accomplishments in the community, Bodde received recognition from the Alzheimer’s Association for fundraising.
twig 23 se

Tara Rouse

Senior Director, End-to-End Fresh

The Kroger Co./Retail Operations

  • Rouse led development of an end-to-end fresh produce program, which elevated fresh and quality standards along the entire produce journey; this resulted in incremental produce sales beating budget by more than $75 million.
  • She volunteered at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, and was a volunteer coach for Special Olympics of Kentucky.
  • Rouse completed United Way’s Board Orientation and Leadership Development Program, and chaired United Way, Artswave and INTERAlliance of Greater Cincinnati.

Erin Bailey

Chief Client Officer

Matrixx CPG

  • Bailey helped overhaul Matrixx CPG’s new-hire onboarding and training process to reflect a hybrid work model, and the adjustments have significantly decreased onboarding times.
  • She launched a Super Bowl promotion for a client based in Arizona that activated touchpoints across in-store, out of home and online, and beat benchmarks by more than 300%.
  • When Bailey wasn’t at work, she supported easy access to mental health services and dedicated a portion of her time to volunteering for a crisis line as a trained crisis counselor.

Jenn Abramowski

VP, Finance


  • Following a tornado strike at a Meijer distribution facility, Abramowski jumped into action to ensure minimal business interruption; her process to evaluate, quantify and sort affected inventory was deemed by the insurance broker team as one of the best that the members had seen.
  • She led the project to simplify the processing of intercompany accounting, eliminating millions of non-value-added transactions.
  • Abramowski sits on the board of the Women at Meijer committee for NextUp, and also volunteers at such organizations as Kids Food Basket and Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Becca May

SVP of Marketing

Nature Nate’s Honey

  • May elevated influencer engagement of Nature Nate’s Honey with key foodie and lifestyle influencers, garnering more than 45 million impressions, and also led her team to achieve more than 172 million in paid impressions below industry benchmark CPMs.
  • Under her leadership, Nate’s donated more than 70,000 pounds of honey to 35 food banks, food pantries and other nonprofit organizations.
  • May is an active volunteer and advisory board member for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and is also a member of Chief, a private women’s networking group.

Jenny McLeod

VP Operations

Next Phase Enterprises

  • McLeod was directly responsible for launching more than 50 items, leading to new income of more than $15 million and contributing to record-setting 65%-plus year-over-year company growth.
  • She developed and implemented a new organizational structure within the company’s logistics team to enhance scalability, improve training and establish team leads for individualized support.
  • A member of the board of directors for the Ben Hughes Foundation, McLeod is deeply involved with planning and executing its annual charity golf tournament, along with fundraising throughout the year.

Shannon Bennett

VP of Retail Sales-PBNA West Division

PepsiCo Inc.

  • Bennett was responsible for leading a $4.5 billion-plus business for her division and led a team of 110 retail sales employees, 15 of whom were directors and senior directors with more than 360 customers.
  • She led PBNA’s West division to be the country’s leader in revenue performance in 2022, while also maintaining, accelerating and exceeding profit, despite challenges and rising inflation.
  • Additionally, Bennett was an active member of PepsiCo Pinnacle, the company’s women’s leadership program, focused on strengthening female sales talent through career development and leadership training.

Larissa Rodriguez Jarvis

Frito-Lay Albertsons Team Lead

PepsiCo Inc.

  • Guiding customer strategy, customer P&L, people leadership, and customer relationships spanning buyers to chief merchants, Jarvis led a team that interacted with Albertsons across sales, shopper marketing, finance, category management insights and supply chain functions.
  • Her customer strategy efforts resulted in 20.1% sales growth; she also stepped up to serve as the total PepsiCo lead for the Albertsons business.
  • Jarvis was a member of two employee resource groups, a United Way Tocqueville society leader and chair of the Parents Step Ahead nonprofit.

Michele Lauer

Director of Analytics

RecorGroup LLC/Recor Intelligence

  • As a member of the executive management team heading up the data and insights organization, Lauer informed and guided clients through innovative approaches; she helped shape the strategy of 25-plus companies.
  • The business unit she created doubled in size in 2022 and was successfully rebranded as Recor Intelligence; largely due to her efforts, one of her largest clients doubled its distribution at a major retailer last year, and she and her team went on to pioneer new technology offerings. 
  • Lauer was an active member of the Category Management Association and a board member at NextUp.  

Kim Evanoff

SVP Sales, Large Format

Red Bull

  • Evanoff’s scope of work included strategic business planning, oversight of large-format key accounts, and cross-functional partnerships across mass, grocery and club channels, providing the “voice” of the customer within Red Bull North America. 
  • Under her guidance, Red Bull North America grew more dollar sales than any other CPG company and was highlighted as the best-in-class supplier to leverage Walmart Luminate shopper data at the Walmart Supplier Summit; she also bolstered the global partnership of Red Bull Racing and Walmart. 
  • Evanoff was a member of Next-Up and the women’s employee resource group at Red Bull. 

Shannon Palmer

SVP of Distribution

Red Bull

  • Supporting all channel sales teams and distributor partners, Palmer guided a distribution and field support team and oversaw a multimillion-dollar operating budget. 
  • She steered record-breaking growth for the company, the energy drink category and within total beverage while advocating for more investments in large-format stores; the grocery channel grew 37% in that time, attributable in part to consumers’ shift from singles to bulk buying and to driving volume through innovation. 
  • Palmer was active in the nonprofit Wings for Life and the women’s employee resource group at Red Bull.

Brenda Briggs

VP of Sales and Marketing

Rice Fruit Co.

  • The first female board officer at Rice Fruit Co. and the only non-family member officer, Briggs directed the company’s sales and marketing functions for imports and exports.
  • Her team won a top service award from the country’s largest retail chain this year, and Rice Fruit Co. also became the preferred eastern apple shipper for Lidl; she worked to improve the company’s operational efficiencies and led the effort to use eco-friendly packaging materials. 
  • Briggs and the board of USApple, which she chairs, visited the White House for a meeting on the Farm Bill, trade issues and other topics. 

Jennifer Hopper

Chief Information and Digital Officer

Save A Lot

  • Hopper ensured that the company’s implementation of technology evolved to meet or exceed the changing needs of the modern consumer. 
  • As the company moved from a retail to a wholesale business, she reached key deliverables and  completed the disengagement from a legacy IT system operated by the former parent company. 
  • Hopper partnered with nonprofit LaunchCode, which offers free tech education and job placement to underrepresented groups, and was also a mentor for the Regional Business Council of St. Louis and a member of the business and IT advisory board for Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Lori Nortrup

VP of Planning and Control

Save A Lot

  • Assuming control of 16 stores from two struggling retail partners, Nortrup worked with both to surrender control back to Save A Lot, taking responsibility for all back-end operations, including accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll processing.
  • She led her team to modify the sourcing intake process and improve customer service while processing 422-plus contracts, all without disrupting service; the new process resulted in a reduction of about 1,100 hours.
  • Nortrup volunteered for St. Louis’ Operation Food Search, a local food bank ensuring that schoolkids have backpacks of meals for dinner during the school year and the summer.

Larissa Lewis

VP Market Operations


  • Lewis reduced market clearance costs by more than 20% while improving on-time performance through incentivization structures and shopper targeting.
  • She launched and completed a guided cross-functional mentorship program for five organizations to connect senior leaders and aspiring talent, and stood up two new central verticals, absorbing significant portions of work from three partner teams in the process.
  • Lewis also established relationships with multiple teams that were not previously connected to operations, and made structural changes to enable better business outcomes and faster action on operational processes and launches.

Brindha Raman

VP Engineering


  • Raman and her team delivered a tech system to support the sortation center network strategy of Target, Shipt’s parent company, ensuring an aligned vision, delivering value for Target and helping unlock faster last-mile deliveries for Target customers.
  • Thanks to her leadership and implementation of tech solutions, Shipt has also fully modernized its distributed tech stack to scale with the business’s future, shortened the time it takes to onboard new retail partners and enhanced the experience with product catalogs.
  • Following Raman’s tech stack enhancements, Shipt saw a greater than 200% improvement in the efficiency of retailer launches.

Leslie Atkinson

VP, Marketing

Skogen’s Festival Foods

  • Atkinson beat the marketing department’s annual budget expectations by more than 10% while elevating Festival Foods’ marketing efforts to a new level.
  • She discontinued the use of lesser-known and underperforming platforms and brought the print production process in-house, a change that not only drove significant cost savings for the organization, but also allowed for better control and creative direction, along with reduced lead times.
  • As well as serving as a formal and informal mentor to many of Festival Foods’ up-and-coming female leaders, Atkinson is a Green Bay, Wis., Habitat for Humanity board member and part of its marketing task force.

Tracy Aquila

VP, Dairy and Frozen Merchandising

Southeastern Grocers (SEG)

  • Through the cultivation of strong supplier partnerships, Aquila led her departments to exceed target sales by a substantial amount and obtained greater market share for the dairy department.
  • Collaborating with her partners, she implemented a new strategic direction for natural and better-for-you product offerings by streamlining the process to one team member; this streamlined assortment and promotional decisions.
  • Aquila sits on the board of SEG’s charitable arm, the SEG Gives Foundation, and is involved in the Women’s Development Network, an associate resource group that aims to empower and engage women and allies.

Gayle Shields

Chief of Stores and Pharmacies

Southeastern Grocers (SEG)

  • Throughout most of 2022, Shields held the role of VP of own brands and pharmacy, leading highly successful strategic initiatives and programs; due to her instrumental leadership in the private label and pharmacy space, she was promoted to her current role.
  • In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian in southwest Florida, she oversaw the activation of mobile pharmacies in place of stores closed for repairs, giving associates and customers access to vital pharmaceutical support.
  • Shields served as the executive sponsor of SEG associate resource group African Americans F.O.C.U.S. (Fostering Organizational Culture to Unite SEG).

Liz Bleakley

Head of Public Relations and Communications

St Pierre Groupe

  • Overseeing communications for the United States and several other countries, Bleakley secured 1,200-plus pieces of coverage in 2022, with more than 800 appearing in U.S. publications. By contrast, in 2020, U.S. coverage pieces totaled only 15.
  • She reduced outgoings to agencies by more than £215,000 and saved more than £100,000 on media rate cards to secure exposure for the brands and business; when St Pierre was acquired by bakery giant Grupo Bimbo, she secured record coverage levels.
  • Bleakley was instrumental in the company being named a finalist for 2022 U.K. Marketer of the Year.

Rachael Hadaway

SVP, Product Management, CPG Solutions

SymphonyAI Retail CPG

  • Joining Symphony in January 2022, Hadaway became responsible for all software products under Symphony’s customer and category management solutions; that same year, she went from managing one business unit to overseeing two.
  • She developed a compelling strategy and repositioning of Symphony’s customer insights AI product, and also spearheaded conceptualization of an Insights Builder product that deepens use of modern technology and AI for grocers and CPGs.
  • Hadaway was a participant, mentor and speaker for several nonprofits dedicated to advancing women and girls in technology.

Lori Mills

SVP CPG Engagement

SymphonyAI Retail CPG

  • Accountable for ongoing relationships with more than 220 CPGs that are engaged with the shopper insight program of a major retailer, Mills overachieved on her 2022 new business plan by 13%, while business with existing clients increased by 11%.
  • She led efforts to commercialize a new technology solution that helps CPG partners collaborate with retailers on taking a customer-centric, fact-based approach to product assortment decisions; also, by investing time to build her team’s skill sets, she saw the CPG sentiment score increase by 7%.
  • In her St. Louis community, Mills served as an election supervisor for local and national elections.

Kristine Wydro

VP of Human Resources

Tops Markets LLC

  • Wydro played a major role following the Tops-Price Chopper merger: When the process for identifying synergies began, her transparency and honesty helped minimize attrition.
  • She was lead negotiator on a contract covering 9,000-plus associates; the successful negotiation took place amid difficult circumstances, as the country had just emerged from the pandemic and Tops was trying to recruit during a severe labor shortage and high worker demand. 
  • Wydro supported associates following a racially motivated mass shooting at a Tops store in Buffalo, N.Y.; one of the first members of Tops leadership to arrive at the store, she continued to help in the ensuing months.

Elysia Gonzales

President and CEO


  • Gonzales encouraged her sales and marketing teams to produce shippers and other nonconventional display materials to showcase Twang’s products; the new display vehicles and approaches, along with strong organic business growth and new distribution opportunities, led to aggressive revenue.
  • She worked with the VP of business development to attract new foodservice customers and expand offerings with existing foodservice customers, efforts that led to double-digit sales growth in foodservice.
  • A San Antonio Business Journal Women’s Leadership Awards honoree, Gonzales works with Thru Project, an organization that helps bridge the gap between foster care and adulthood.

Laura Taylor

VP, Brand Strategy and Insights


  • Taylor developed customer experience feedback surveys to better identify why customers do business with UNFI and pinpoint key drivers of their satisfaction going forward, and she then used the findings to develop actionable recommendations and determine benchmark metrics for ongoing customer experience.
  • She quarterbacked the creation of UNFI’s first Independent Grocer’s Guidebook, which highlights best practices and case studies and is designed to inspire smaller independent customers; due to its success, another volume is planned.
  • Taylor launched the Circle Mentoring program, pairing junior associates with senior mentors across UNFI.

Carrie Quigley

SVP of Professional Services


  • During the recent Itasca Retail-Upshop merger, Quigley ensured optimized customer transitions throughout the process; her mentorship role to the professional services team — which has doubled in size since she joined Upshop — was crucial to the customer-centric structure of the organization.
  • She helped to create the Upshop Customer Journey Playbook, a radical system designed to streamline the customer journey every step of the way; the system has already been used by Kroger, Wegmans, Cardenas Markets and Big Y.
  • Quigley volunteered with the Girls on the Run program, the Miles for Moffitt race in support of cancer research, and the American Cancer Society.
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Kendal Callender

Senior Sales Director, West


  • A critical member of the Vestcom media solutions team, Callender delivered consistent results, more than doubling her revenue contribution in 2022.
  • She expanded Vestcom’s partnership with Procter & Gamble through continued value creation and stellar client engagement, partnered with Albertsons Media Collective to develop a new tactic enabling CPGs to extend digital media campaigns in store to drive shopper engagement at shelf and bridge digital and physical messaging, and was instrumental in launching digital offer deep-link shelf-edge tags at H-E-B that increased coupon redemption and consumer savings.
  • Callendar served as a mentor to team members.

Catherine Magistrelli

VP Dairy-Deli/Frozen

Wakefern Food Corp.

  • Magistrelli exceeded all of her divisions’ financial objectives and led Wakefern through the transformation of its own-brand fluid milk strategy by identifying operating efficiencies and reducing costs by more than $10 million annually. 
  • She onboarded a new dairy supplier while working through the closure of the previous supplier, ensuring the continuation of milk delivery to 300-plus stores.
  • Passionate about helping families in need, Magistrelli volunteered with local charities and food banks to help fight food insecurity; as a female leader and role model dedicated to the development of women in the industry, she has mentored numerous associates.
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