Another Gender Barrier Falls to 'Safeway Superwoman' Renda

Larree Renda, e.v.p., chief strategist, and administrative officer of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc., earlier this week became the first female inducted into the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation Hall of Achievement, which recognizes California grocery retailers and suppliers who have contributed substantially to the advancement of the grocery industry.

Renda received the Hall of Achievement Award March 11 during a ceremony in San Ramon, Calif.

According to CGA, inductees have exhibited commitment to charitable activities and public service programs, participation in major fund-raising campaigns and community charitable events, involvement in humanitarian and cultural causes, and enhancement of community education.

"I'm overwhelmed and honored in being the first woman to receive the award," Renda said during her acceptance speech. "But it's not that I'm so special. What's special is our industry, and how it is a place that provides real opportunity for success for all people whether they are men or women, young or old, educated or not. Being in such prestigious company is incredible."

During the event, Safeway's chairman, president, and c.e.o. Steve Burd, dubbed Renda "Safeway's Superwoman." He praised Renda for having an "appropriate degree of toughness, while possessing strong communication skills, great judgment, and in having the best input/output ratio in the business. Additionally, she has done an effective job of balancing work and family."

Burd also presented her with a letter from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger congratulating her on being inducted, and for her industry leadership. "Your leadership has helped Safeway contribute so much to our state," Schwarzenegger said in the letter. "Whether providing jobs for tens of thousands of Californians or working to improve lives through health care reform and charitable giving, Safeway is a vital part of California's business community."

Renda is a member of the executive management team at Safeway. She is responsible for all retail strategies and a broad range of critical administrative functions including labor relations, public affairs, government relations, health initiatives, human resources, industrial engineering, reengineering, and communications at one of the nation's leading grocers, with more than 1,700 stores and over 200,000 employees in North America.

In 1994, she was the first woman and youngest person in Safeway history to be promoted to s.v.p., and in 1999 became the company's first female e.v.p. She has been twice voted one of the "50 Most Influential Women in Business" by Fortune magazine.

In addition to her executive responsibilities, Renda also serves as chairman of the board for the Safeway Foundation, which oversees all of Safeway's charitable giving programs. Safeway annually contributes millions to a range of different charitable initiatives including hunger relief, education, breast and prostate cancer research and awareness programs; and other health services such as Easter Seals, Special Olympics, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where Renda serves as an MDA national v.p.

In 2007 alone, the company contributed $172 million to these causes.

CGA's Educational Foundation is dedicated to providing educational opportunities and research programs that will benefit all segments of California's food industry. It provides financial support for educational programs and research projects that provide measurable benefits to the grocery industry, its employees, their families, and consumers.
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