Lori Raya, Albertsons Companies Southern California division president for Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, based in Fullerton, Calif., has been chosen as the 2017 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer from Progressive Grocer and Network of Executive Women. In addition, Raya is being recognized as one of the Top Women in Grocery this year, an honor she has received several years previously.
Raya will be honored at the upcoming Top Women in Grocery gala celebration on Nov. 9, 2017, at The Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago.
“Lori’s long-standing commitment to advancing and advocating for women leaders, both at her own company and across the industry, makes her truly deserving of recognition, and we are proud to honor Lori as our 2017 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer,” said Jim Dudlicek, Progressive Grocer’s editorial director.
Over her 30-year career in the grocery industry, Raya’s responsibilities steadily expanded as she worked her way up the retail ranks to her current role. She began her career as a courtesy clerk in Safeway’s Denver Division and went on to run store operations in several of the company’s key divisions. After cross-training at the senior level in Safeway’s Corporate Merchandising Department, Raya served as president of the Vons Division of Safeway, where she played a key role in the merger and integration of the Albertsons and Vons organizations in Southern California. Her considerable breadth of experience has provided her with a unique set of skills and has earned her a reputation as a seasoned retail executive.
“With her track record of success running the largest division of Albertsons, Lori inspires those coming up behind her to strive to achieve, to dream big and give back to others. She truly is what we all want to be ‘when we grow up,’ even if we are already grown,” said Katie Martin, Progressive Grocer’s senior editor.
Raya has been a longtime, passionate supporter of the Network of Executive Women’s mission to advance women, grow business and transform the industry’s workplace, noted NEW President and CEO Sarah Alter. An active leader in the NEW Southern California region, Raya has shared her personal career story and insights about leadership at the NEW Executive Leaders Forum and regional events, and will be a panelist at the launch of NEW Idaho on Sept. 19 in Boise.
“As she has climbed to higher heights in the industry, Lori has lifted others,” Alter said. “She’s not only a vocal advocate for change, she creates change.”
Raya is a graduate of the USC Food Industry Executive Program and resides in Orange County with her husband, Sam, a retired Vons store manager.
Established in 2012, the PG/NEW Trailblazer Award recognizes a single executive whose leadership, vision and influence have helped break new ground for women in the retail food industry. The first Trailblazer Award recipient was Lynn Marmer, of The Kroger Company. Other recipients include Janel Haugarth, of Supervalu; Larree Renda, of Safeway; Meg Ham, of Food Lion; and Judy Spires, of Kings Super Markets.
This year marks the beginning of the second decade of PG’s Top Women in Grocery awards program, which recognizes the invaluable contributions of women from all walks of the retail food industry in three categories: Senior-level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers.
Additional details about the Top Women in Grocery gala event and daytime leadership program, including registration and program information, hotel accommodations, and a list of current and recent winners, can be found here.