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06/22/2015

Portraits of Success

Much like fine artists, Progressive Grocer’s latest Top Women in Grocery — who, purely by chance, number exactly 300 this year, chosen from more than 500 nominees — have created works of lasting value, for which they deserve to be celebrated.

With strokes both grand and subtle, PG’s illustrious 2015 honorees crafted a better grocery industry through innovative thinking, groundbreaking initiatives, incisive problem solving and convincing tenacity. These Top Women haven’t been afraid to step up to take on extra duties, put in long hours and engage in plenty of multitasking.

What’s more, through patient and dedicated mentoring, many have provided advancement opportunities for colleagues in their respective fields, often, but not exclusively, with a special emphasis on their fellow females, enabling them to reach their full potential and improve the overall industry. Despite coming from various cultures and backgrounds, these women —Senior-level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers — are united in their commitment to excellence.

They’ve also helped design a better world, both on the job and off, whether it’s by traveling to far-flung corners of globe or cheering on a child at a school event. As our readers probably know by now, Top Women display artistry well beyond the store or office, but in all areas of life.

As Top Woman Donna Lonsinger, store manager at Martin’s store #6466, in Altoona, Pa., so aptly expresses it, “My vision is to embrace every day with the attitude to make a difference [and] inspire my team to be better every day.”

The profiles on the following pages bear witness to another stellar lineup of the best the grocery industry has to offer, who’ll be duly spotlighted at a gala awards and networking event set for November in sunny Orlando, Fla.

SENIOR LEVEL EXECUTIVES

MARY TAYLOR

IT director, Field Services, Acme Markets

➤ Taylor handles Acme and Shaw’s/Star Markets IT activities, working across functional areas to best represent business needs, based on feedback and input.

➤ She led the implementation of a new payment device, improving safeguards on customers’ existing information; was instrumental in the rollout of the Acme/Shaw’s Mymixx app, allowing shoppers to create lists, “clip” electronic coupons and save recipes, among other features; and worked on 40-plus store remodels, saving more than $100,000 by repurposing equipment from closed stores.

➤ Taylor is a previous co-chair of People Opening Windows Enabling Results (POWER).

DARCY FOX

VP, Health and Beauty Care, Acosta Sales and Marketing

➤ Fox oversees efforts to build health and beauty care sales across all Kroger stores. Her work includes strategic planning, sales and marketing, category management, strategic account management, profit-and-loss management, and business development.

➤ She helped gain Kroger’s acceptance of more than 30 new items for HBC clients, and was pivotal in entering into the confection area, which was previously managed by another Acosta department; as a result, her team now handles four new confection clients.

➤ Recognized many times by clients for her performance, Fox is an active member of the Network of Executive Women.

MEREDITH LEGO

VP, Integrated Planning and Execution, Acosta Sales and Marketing

➤ Lego leads the sales-planning and execution process for Acosta’s grocery sales, category management and foodservice teams across the United States and Canada.

➤ She played a key role in the development and rollout of Acosta’s new sales planning and execution approach, created a live and online continuing-education curriculum for Acosta University, and led the company’s entry into foodservice category management through the Acosta Foodservice sales and marketing category planning agency.

➤ Outside of work, Lego participates in such organizations as Northeast Florida United Way and the American Cancer Society.

TANYA DOMIER

CEO, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Domier oversees all of Advantage Sales and Marketing’s (ASM) sales, marketing, operations and business process outsourcing functions, as well as its finance, legal, information technology and human resources departments.

➤ She played a lead role in the sale of Apax Partners’ interest in ASM to Leonard Green Partners LP and CVC Capital Partners, and worked with the companies to create growth plans for ASM, including continued merger and acquisition activities, increased investments in technology and talent, and the exploration of international expansion opportunities.

➤ Domier is a frequent industry speaker and panelist.

LORI STILLMAN

SVP, Business Intelligence, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Stillman led the transformation of Advantage Sales and Marketing’s (ASM) business intelligence offerings with new shopper analytics capabilities, including a visual path-to-purchase solution to identify consumer decision points.

➤ In addition to enhancing ASM’s trade promotion, category and space analytics work by launching a tool that measures new-item effectiveness, she aggressively redesigned the team structure to increase connectivity with manufacturers and retailers, which included opening a Harrisburg, Pa., office.

➤ These efforts have deepened ASM’s ability to service its clients and retailer partners.

ANDREA YOUNG

President, Experiential Marketing, IN Marketing Services, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ One of five practice presidents in Advantage’s marketing organization, Young leads the experiential marketing practice, playing a critical executive leadership role for all of the company’s retailer marketing platforms, field marketing teams, national assisted-selling teams and premium-brand out-of-store experiential programs.

➤ Under her leadership, eight of 11 new business opportunities were converted, resulting in a potential $25 million in new revenue to the division.

➤ Young belongs to Orange County Women Entrepreneurs & Executives, Network of Executive Women, and Event Marketing Industry Professionals among other groups.

TARA PONNETT

VP, Portfolio, Ahold USA

➤ Ponnett is responsible for grocery sales in Ahold USA’s 750-plus stores.

➤ She led the development and implementation of a new promotional planning tool for the retailer’s nonperishables business, and oversaw the company’s merchandising strategy, which contributed to savings in 2014.

➤ Ponnett is an active participant in Ahold’s one-on-one mentoring program and co-leads a Women Adding Value business resource group. Last year, she received two company honors: Ahold USA Associate of the Year and the Ahold Leadership Award.

NANCY COTA

VP OWN Brands, Product Management, Albertsons Safeway

➤ Cota is responsible for the growth of own brands in all of the center store categories. Her team has driven own brands to the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in several hundred categories.

➤ Following the Albertsons-Safeway merger, she led the product management team responsible for innovation, product and packaging for a multibillion-dollar own-brands portfolio, addressing the major challenge of integrating brands into the Albertsons banners.

➤ A PG Top Woman in Grocery every year since 2010, Cota is active in many causes, from breast cancer support and mentoring, to her role as a member of the Network of Executive Women.

KIRSTEN CURTIS

VP, Supply Chain Strategic Initiatives, Albertsons Safeway

➤ Curtis led a $60 billion supply chain integration in the Albertsons-Safeway merger, in which capacity she integrated procurement, distribution, warehousing, accounting, supply chain services and training across both organizations.

➤ She built a new department with more than 40 employees focused on supply chain planning, created and executed a cross-functional sales and operations-planning process across the organization, and reorganized the supply chain department to align with company goals.

➤ A member of the executive board of directors of the American Institute of Big Data Professionals, Curtis mentors Stanford and MIT students.

CATHY EAST

VP Procurement, Meat, Seafood and Deli, Albertsons Safeway

➤ East oversees warehouse inventories for all of the grocer’s distribution centers across the United States, focusing on the acquisition of products from vendors.

➤ Previously group director of meat, seafood and deli procurement, she collaborated with quality assurance, merchandising and the USDA-AMS to develop and implement the company’s first Retail Process Verified Program for Beef.

➤ East chairs the retail advisory committee of the National Pork Board, is a member of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association Beef foresight committee, and was part of the industry-wide Cooperative Meat Identification Standards Committee (ICMISC).

JEWEL HUNT

Group VP, Bakery Albertsons Safeway

➤ Following the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Hunt was promoted to her current position, in which capacity she leads national bakery operations for the combined company.

➤ She leads strategic initiatives and direction for bakeries in 14 divisions, with more than 2,200 bakery locations. Hunt is chief strategist for bakery strategic initiative development, portfolio development, consumer insight solutions, supply chain synergies, cost savings development and retail operation integration.

➤ The Safeway Diversity and Inclusion Group recognized Hunt as a key leader for creating diversity and inclusion with the Women’s Network Group.

MONICA McCOMBS

SVP, Procurement, Albertsons Safeway

➤ McCombs and her team plan and purchase billions of dollars of inventory annually across 27 distribution centers for replenishment to 2,200-plus stores.

➤ She took her department to the next level by creating a statistical forecast for information fed to warehouses, vendors, manufacturing plants, and category teams 10 weeks prior to promotional events.

➤ The recipient of a Safeway President’s Award in 2014, McCombs mentors emerging industry leaders, and is a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars, an executive sponsor of the Network of Executive Women’s LGBT Employee Resource Group, and an active supporter of many causes.

SONYA HARDY

SVP of Marketing & Strategic Brand Relations, Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen

➤ Second-in-command at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen, Hardy is responsible for marketing the CPG business across grocer and retail channels.

➤ She launched a number of successful product merchandiser programs in grocers such as Publix and Winn-Dixie, and was instrumental in introducing such products as CupUP, a premium line of single-serve coffee cups; Brewsticks, a cold-brewed liquid instant coffee; and Crop Ex, a line of rare small-batch roasted coffees sourced from around the world.

➤ Hardy sits on the board of the central Florida chapter of Dress for Success, which promotes economic independence for disadvantaged women.

SANDY BANTHEM

CEO, Bel-Garden Supermarket

➤ Banthem oversees store operations, streamlines operational efficiencies and develops strategic initiatives for the company.

➤ She purchased 2 acres next to her store, the site of several abandoned buildings, which she transformed into a new 15,000-square-foot development of retail space. She created much-needed jobs in the Baltimore area and breathed new life into an underused piece of property.

➤ Banthem chairs the Maryland Food Center Authority and is a member of the Maryland Retail Association and Belair Business Association. She’s also involved with Chesapeake Search Dogs, through which she is certified to search for missing people.

KATE BROWN

Founder and President, Boulder Organic Foods LLC

➤ Brown leads short- and long-term strategic planning, and has co-oversight of all departments, financial planning, sourcing and execution.

➤ She led her team in designing and building a custom facility, which, upon its opening in September 2014, enabled the company to triple its production capacity. She also guided the organization in a rebranding effort that has positioned Boulder Organic as the brand to beat in the organic fresh soup category.

➤ Brown is a member of the Colorado University Women’s Council and a local business association member.

JULIE BUSHA

President/CEO, The Busha Group LLC, dba Nicole Foods (Slawsa brand)

➤ As “Chief Effort Officer,” Busha essentially wears all hats in the 4-year-old business, including marketing, publicity, sales, accounting, operations and logistics.

➤ Thanks to her efforts, the Slawsa brand is now expanding internationally. Busha has helped secure placement in more than 8,000 stores in the United States and Canada, achieving the retail confidence of major retailers like Kroger and Walmart.

➤ Busha is a frequent contributor to several publications and a mentor to various food startup companies.

MARLA THOMPSON

SVP, U.S. Strategy, Catalina Marketing

➤ Thompson accelerates the growth trajectory of the U.S business, driving innovation through new systems, tools and processes; designing and delivering Catalina’s go-to-market strategy; governing which products will be developed and launched; and creating efficiencies.

➤ She helped create the groundbreaking systems, policies and processes that enabled delivery of the first truly omnichannel content for U.S. manufacturers and retailers.

➤ Thompson is on the national board of directors for the Network of Executive Women, serving as regional chair.

BECKY ESTBY

VP of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Coborn’s Inc.

➤ Estby designs organizational structures that align the company’s talent with its long-term strategy; designs and implements learning and development programs; and optimizes performance throughout the organization.

➤ She helped develop a new companywide compensation structure, designed a retail training and development program, and led the redefinition of the company’s vision, mission and values.

➤ Thanks to her leadership, Coburn’s received a 2014 Central Minnesota United Way Best Year Round Partnership Award.

JESSICA FISTER JOHNSO

VP, National Retail Sales Central Region, Coca-Cola North America

➤ Johnson leads the national retail sales, large-store sales and customer development team for 80 retail partners in the central region. To retailers, her responsibilities include representing all bottlers, the company and its brands, and managing senior-level customer relationships.

➤ She and her team earned the Independent Grocers Association (IGA) China Supplier Award with promotional partner Mondelez.

➤ Johnson worked to align a joint strategy between Coca-Cola and retailers to support the Network of Executive Women, and participates on panels for national “lunch with leaders” chats.

KARLA RADKE

VP, Category Commercial Operations, Coca-Cola North America

➤ Radke leads the development and implementation of all business plan, program, product and package initiatives for a diverse portfolio of products. Her group also commercializes new products within venturing and emerging brands.

➤ A graduate of 2014 Leadership Summit training, she worked to develop current and future leadership within her team.

➤ Radke is involved in several community organizations and activities, including work as a board member for the C5 Georgia Youth Foundation, and as a Coca-Cola Ambassador/volunteer teacher at high schools.

JANINE SHEARER

VP, Category Advisory Services, The Coca-Cola Co.

➤ Shearer oversees several category advisory services departments within North America, including the Space and Assortment Center of Excellence, Walmart, Kroger, foodservice and on-premise.

➤ She developed a business growth model for retail tools that looks holistically at the whole store experience; launched the Space and Assortment Center of Excellence, which trains teams to ensure they’re working with the best vendors and using tools effectively; and restructured customer teams into “total beverage” teams.

➤ Shearer’s on the leadership team of the Coca-Cola chapter of the Network of Executive Women.

DEBBIE BUCKNER

VP Retail Recruiting & Sales Support, Crossmark

➤ Buckner collaborates with cross-functional teams to influence decisions within the Crossmark corporate team and manages the company’s recruiting and operations support services departments.

➤ She reorganized operations support services by improving processes, streamlining communication, creating efficiencies, augmenting training programs, enriching collaboration and providing visibility through scorecard and metrics. Buckner also decreased average-speed-to-answer by 50 percent and reduced the abandonment rate by 10 percent.

➤ Buckner is active in the company’s Network of Women group.

SANDRA DEITERS

VP Order-to-Cash Services, Crossmark

➤ Deiters handles Crossmark’s order-to-cash service offerings, leading a team of more than 150 associates who support manufacturers and retailers across the United States.

➤ She led a key strategic initiative for the organization to streamline order-to-cash service offerings, performed on clients’ behalf. Activities ranged from leading an RFP to select a best-in-class partner to contract negotiations, to transition of services and ongoing management of service offerings.

➤ She has received numerous Crossmark Service Excellence awards and is a second-time PG Top Woman in Grocery.

SHEILA GAMBLE

SVP Corporate Development, Crossmark

➤ Gamble manages a corporate client group that maintains the relationships and business execution of Crossmark’s largest clients. Her team manages such services as headquarter responsibility, retail sales and marketing.

➤ She was instrumental in developing a new syndicated retail platform addressing specific issues at store level; rather than deploying retail coverage to all stores, it’s only deployed in stores with identified issues. The platform has generated $5 million-plus in revenue for Crossmark.

➤ Gamble is an active member of the Network of Executive Women and the executive leader of Crossmark’s Network of Women.

SHERENE JAGLA

VP Managing Director, Crossmark

➤ Jagla leads both headquarters and retail sales and marketing strategies for her various clients, generating more than $20 billion in annual retail sales.

➤ She achieved double-digit revenue growth for the second straight year through a combination of organic business growth and incremental business; engaged a new client, leading to a trend change of more than 8 percent for the client; and developed for a major CPG brand a regional customer growth strategy that increased sales by more than 4 percent in this segment.

➤ Jagla is a board member of an organization that coaches and nurtures young adults on career paths.

MICHELLE SUTTER

VP Operations, Crossmark

➤ Sutter spearheads Crossmark’s retail operations and client services departments, driving quality processes, ensuring internal and external client satisfaction, and delivering EBITDA goals.

➤ She successfully drove out cost in the Canadian retail operations to ensure competitive pricing for clients and profitability to Crossmark, and tackled a quality initiative for the U.S. retail team that halved the time it took for performance risk to be identified and resolved.

➤ Sutter plays an integral part in Crossmark’s relationship with the Network of Executive Women, managing the national relationship with the organization, and is a leader in the Crossmark Network of Women group.

CARLA COOPER

President and CEO, Daymon Worldwide

➤ Cooper drove an initiative to implement a “culture of accountability” at Daymon Worldwide, including global training for all 5,000 full-time associates.

➤ She increased the visibility of socioeconomic importance of private brands, consumer behavior and overall retail industry at key events and via media coverage.

➤ Cooper supported funding, research and execution of a 2014 male shopper study, as well as a worldwide life-stage diversity white paper, to better respond to important consumers.

SHILPA ROSENBERRY

Senior Director, Global Consumer Strategy, Daymon Worldwide

➤ Rosenberry developed the Consumer Strategy practice for Daymon Worldwide, helping customers innovate across three key growth areas: retail, culinary and wellness.

➤ She also launched the company’s WonderTour initiative, translating innovative ideas — many from outside of the food and beverage industries — into customer strategies.

➤ Rosenberry has led strategic initiatives for several major grocery retailers, delivering relevant, customized innovation and optimizing business practices in the areas of retail format, brand development, new product launches, line extensions, marketing platforms and consumer experiences.

ANDREA DAILY

Director of Customer Engagement, Door to Door Organics

➤ Daily led a brand-positioning campaign, Joy Delivered, with a supporting digital campaign to increase brand awareness and new customers; the results were 32 percent growth and nearly 40,000 new customers.

➤ Additionally, Joy Delivered’s social media campaign helped drive a 133 percent increase in Facebook fans.

➤ Due to Daily’s involvement in nonprofit organization B Lab, Door to Door Organics became the first Colorado grocer to meet standards for social and corporate responsibility. She also works with two Colorado food banks, Growing Gardens, and chairs the volunteer fundraising team at her alma mater, Williams College.

JULI DUFFER

Director of User Experience, Door to Door Organics

➤ Duffer led the company’s mobile strategy, starting with market research, definition of strategy, and establishing and learning from user testing, and ending with software development; the results were a 10 percent increase in customers and a 2.5 percent bump in revenue.

➤ She led website development for the annual “Buy a Box, Get a Free Box” campaign in early 2015, which bested 2014 results by 25 percent, and spearheaded the company’s Business Agility initiative to drive innovations faster and with more predictability.

➤ Duffer volunteers at community food banks Food for Thought and Sister Carmen Community Center.

CAMBRIA JACOBS

VP of Marketing and Customer Service, Door to Door Organics

➤ Jacobs drove national and local PR strategies and programs as part of efforts to secure Series B funding, achieving prestigious placement in both national and trade media. The company successfully secured the financing it sought.

➤ She spearheaded the “best in quality” company-wide initiative to exceed customer expectations in service, experience and product quality, resulting in a four-point gain in the company’s net promoter score, from 71 to 75.

➤ Jacobs conceptualized and implemented the company’s first automated customer onboarding and nurturing programs, resulting in a 48 percent increase in customer retention.

SARAH SWEITZER

SVP of Grocery, ECRM

➤ Sweitzer grew grocery division sales more than 25 percent, based on new vendor hall concepts incorporated into 10 events; expanded the division’s convenience event to include college and university bookstores; and launched supplier diversity initiatives in which women-, minority- and veteran-owned suppliers were invited to meet with retailers during specific ECRM events.

➤ She developed an onboarding and training program for junior sales reps.

➤ Sweitzer devotes time to Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Operation Shoebox, Operation Interdependence and the American Association of Suicide Prevention, among other organizations.

RENÉE BARCH-NILES

President, North America, Emilia Personal Care

➤ Barch-Niles shared responsibility for the acquisition and integration of a U.S. manufacturing plant that enabled Emilia to expand its category portfolio into over-the-counter products, contract manufacturing and new customer acquisition. She provided financial analysis of the opportunity and secured key customer commitments.

➤ She’s in the process of launching a line of sun care/skin care products that will donate a portion of the proceeds to melanoma research.

➤ Through Barch-Niles’ leadership, Emilia donates beauty products to support the mission of empowering women in transition to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency.

JANICE TALERICO

VP, Total Rewards and Chief Diversity Officer, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Through 2014, Talerico was VP of independent retailing, in which capacity she served as a liaison between 47 Giant Eagle independent owners and the corporate office, overseeing the changeover of several independently owned stores to corporate ownership.

➤ Her new role involves setting compensation and benefits for more than 35,000 team members, including medical, 401(k), deferred compensation and pension, as well as all HR administration functions.

➤ Talerico was chosen to lead a comprehensive diversity strategy for the company, and she created the Diversity Council to lead organization executives.

JENNA SCHAFER

Co-owner, VP Marketing, It and HR, Gordy’s Markets

➤ Schafer provides leadership and direction within the Gordy’s organization while overseeing all aspects of information technology, human resources and marketing.

➤ In tandem with the rapid growth of the company, she created and built an IT department to support both supermarkets and gas stations, and played an instrumental role in the new stores’ staffing and technology.

➤ Schafer recognition of the importance of social media has grown Gordy’s fan base on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, while increasing brand awareness and building a community. She also helped develop Gordy’s new logo and branding strategy.

RACHEL ROGERS

VP, U.S. Category Strategy & Insights, The Hershey Co.

➤ Rogers leverages intellectual capital to develop thought leadership and collaborative partnerships to drive the category, and oversees the Insights Driven Performance planning model to improve the front end, center store and overall retail experience.

➤ She led the IDP Group/Hershey sales organization to a Gold Level category adviser designation, and was a key player in Hershey’s No. 2 ranking in the Advantage Survey within the food channel.

➤ Rogers advocates for women in leadership roles, championing efforts to challenge young professionals to take on ambitious assignments, and encourages work/life balance.

JEN KOPRIVA

Group VP, Private Brands, Hy-Vee Inc.

➤ Kopriva oversees Hy-Vee’s new and growing private label department, which features nearly 7,600 private label and control brands, as well as heading the new bread program.

➤ Her leadership led to more than $945 million in private label sales and the introduction of more than 1,000 private label products last year. Additionally, she helped Zoet chocolate bar become one of Hy-Vee’s million-dollar control brands.

➤ Kopriva is a volunteer for Variety-the Children’s Charity and a member of the Ankeny, Iowa, YMCA board of directors. She also sits on the Iowa Grocery Industry Association advocacy board.

KATE WOLFE

Group VP, Human Resources, Hy-Vee Inc.

➤ Wolfe hires and onboards all employees, as well as overseeing performance management, compensation structure and employee recognition.

➤ She was instrumental in developing several new programs that move Hy-Vee’s strategic priorities forward. For instance, she led the development and implementation of a new veterans’ recruitment benefits package.

➤ Wolfe is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Central Iowa Society for Human Resource Management; she also serves on the board of directors for the Iowa International Center.

CORINNE SHINDELAR

CEO, Independent Natural Foods Retailer Association

➤ Responsible for the day-today and long-term success of the purchasing cooperative, Shindelar develops and manages programs and services to attract and service members.

➤ Her efforts were responsible for the association’s significant growth, both in new members and income, and she signed two supply agreements with major natural food distributors that will help improve the bottom line of more than 100 natural food stores.

➤ Shindelar is a leader in organizing and developing partnerships that strengthen all stakeholders, from manufacturers to consumers. She’s also heavily involved in the Non-GMO Project.

MICHELLE HURD

President, Iowa Grocery Industry Association

➤ Hurd leads the association’s staff, board and members in defining its mission and vision, and oversees operations, government relations, the membership board, staffers and events.

➤ Her efforts led to an increase in membership of 3.5 percent and exceeded overall budget expectations by growing net income by 500 percent over budget.

➤ Hurd developed the Women in Industry Coffee Group to provide education, support and leadership opportunities to advance women in Iowa’s grocery industry, as well as the IGIA Leadership Institute, which is designed to enhance and develop the leadership skills of the association’s future leaders.

DANIELLE SATAWA

Co-owner/CFO, JHJ Foods

➤ Satawa oversees the HR department and manages all legal and real estate issues for JHJ Foods; her duties include budgeting and compliance with state and federal regulations.

➤ Her budget planning resulted in like-store retail sales that exceeded 17 percent, and she implemented a new health care program that gave better coverage while maintaining the current cost structure.

➤ She managed the purchase of a new store that was completely transitioned in 14 days, and oversaw the remodel of four stores that resulted in $6 million in additional retail sales for the company.

KATHY FERGUSON

VP, Alternate Channel, JOH

➤ With oversight of national alternate-channel business, Ferguson scored major achievements for a variety of key clients, securing and dramatically expanding retail distribution into hundreds of new stores, as well as increasing sales by more than 30 percent at one customer alone.

➤ As a highly competent and utterly unflappable multi-tasker, she solidified her role as an essential part of the JOH specialty division’s leadership team.

➤ In addition to her core responsibilities, Ferguson — who also excels at building an inclusive and diverse team — gives back to the industry through active, lead-by-example support of trade organizations and the Network of Executive Women.

KIMBERLY “KIM” REED

SVP, U.S. Morning Foods Sales, The Kellogg Co.

➤ Reed leads one of Kellogg’s largest, most influential U.S. business units.

➤ In addition to delivering exceptional results with key national and regional retail partners in a challenging, competitive climate, Reed played a significant role in the creation and implementation of a new go-to-market strategy, as well as in devising a new sales structure to leverage the specific skills and expertise of team members.

➤ A co-leader of Kellogg’s African-American resource group and the highest-ranking black female executive in the company, Reed is a board member of the Executive Leadership Council, which develops and advances black executives.

COLLEEN FLAHERTY

VP Sales-Kroger, Kraft Foods Group

➤ Presiding over the seamless integration of Kraft’s Harris Teeter business following its acquisition by Kroger, Flaherty drove top-line revenue growth by 5 percent by deploying shopper-based marketing resources across a broader portfolio.

➤ Engaging with category leadership organization to identify and leverage consumer behaviors and category dynamics, she created a culture of ownership, engagement, accountability, recognition and advancement within her team.

➤ As proof of her successful leadershio, one-third of the members of her team have been promoted to new roles over the past 12 months.

VANESSA EGLE

Senior Director of Innovation, G.O. Corporate Brands, The Kroger Co.

➤ Egle is primarily responsible for developing Kroger’s $18 billion-plus product portfolio.

➤ She led the formation of the Kroger Corporate Brands Center of Excellence for Innovation, encouraging the Kroger corporate brands team to expand innovation of its product offerings. Additionally, she leveraged her business operations expertise to launch a project-tracking system that gives enterprise visibility into the Kroger corporate brands pipeline.

➤ A 2014 SOFI Awards judge for the Specialty Food Association, Egle supports multiple causes that benefit youth, and is a champion of local business growth in her community.

ANNETTE HATER

Director of Business Effectiveness, Kroger Technology, The Kroger Co.

➤ As chief of staff for Kroger’s CIO, Hater is responsible for the technology budget, communications, vendor relationship management, and more.

➤ She negotiated self-checkout contract savings of $20,000, led strategic decision-making on Kroger’s integration of Harris Teeter, and led a team that delivered workforce management across all 2,500 stores early and under budget.

➤ Hater sits on Empower’s strategic advisory board, and supports United Way and other charities with her leadership skills.

MERRITT HENDERSON

Director, Human Resources, Atlanta Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Henderson oversees the human resources strategy and operations for Kroger’s Atlanta division, which consists of 187 stores and more than 27,000 associates.

➤ She served as human resources leader for Kroger’s Merchandising Organizational Effectiveness work; developed and presented a general-office mentoring concept that has been adopted by all of the company’s associate resource groups; and oversaw the 2015 Atlanta Division Human Resources Strategic plan, as well as nine district strategic plans.

➤ Henderson belongs to the Network of Executive Women of Atlanta and Toastmasters, among other organizations.

FRANNIE McGOWAN

VP of Pharmacy Operations, Axium Healthcare Pharmacy, The Kroger Co.

➤ McGowan oversees operations, along with legal, regulatory and compliance functions, for all Axium Healthcare Pharmacy entities, reporting directly to the CEO.

➤ She launched a company-wide customer service initiative, reorganized IT and prioritized work based on business needs, created a training department to own and oversee the pharmacy’s training needs, and was responsible for several successful operational pilots that have increased efficiency and customer service scores.

➤ McGowan has been active on Capitol Hill, promoting the importance of community pharmacies.

MARIA EMMER-AANES

VP Marketing & Communications, Litehouse Inc.

➤ Emmer-Aanes developed and executed a successful product launch in a new natural/free-from channel for Litehouse.

➤ Collaborating with R&D and the supply chain to develop and implement a revamped product and packaging innovation process and companion three-year plan, she helped improve design production efficiencies by 5 percent while adhering to rigid deadlines and staying within budget.

➤ Emmer-Aanes improved forecasting accuracy by 5 percent through collaborations with supply, sales and finance, and delivered 850 million-plus consumer impressions for the new line.

JULIE CROLL

SVP, Properties, Real Estate and Procurement, Meijer

➤ Croll led the strategic planning to open Meijer’s first store in the city of Detroit. Her hands-on leadership drove community involvement, site selection and store design to bring to fruition a trailblazing urban store embraced by residents.

➤ She also headed up the expansion of a new distribution facility while guiding the regional retailer’s entry into a sixth state — Wisconsin — marking its first foray into a new state in 15 years.

➤ Croll played an integral role in the conversion of a 320,000-square-foot warehouse into a state-of-the-art corporate headquarters, for which all campus buildings were remodeled to include a connector pedestrian tunnel.

KAREN MANKOWSKI

VP, Pharmacy Retail Operations, Meijer

➤ Responsible for pharmacy operations at 213 locations and growing, Mankowski led Meijer’s partnership in a pilot project to drive new business through point-of-care testing services.

➤ To advance the concept, she led collaboration on a successful pilot offering free testing for influenza and strep throat at 12 stores, six of which were set up as collaborative practice sites integrated with a local physician.

➤ Mankowski is a member of National Association of Chain Drug Stores policy council, the Michigan, Pharmacy Association (MPA) and Ferris State University’s advisory board, among other organizations.

CARLA CARVER

VP Supply Chain, MOM Brands

➤ Carver has oversight of key supply chain functions, including demand planning, transportation and customer service.

➤ She developed and implemented plans to optimize service, quality and costs, and her keen inventory management and production forecasting skills were integral in creating processes to improve forecasting accuracy and reducing transportation costs by more than $5 million while maintaining high service levels.

➤ Carver’s efforts resulted in exceptional inventory management and demonstrably improved service levels.

MARYGRACE SEXTON

CEO, Natalie›s Orchid Island Juice Co.

➤ As the founding corporate visionary, key influencer and font of inspiration for all aspects of the company, Sexton worked to place Natalie’s premium juices in 33 states and 24-plus countries.

➤ Thanks to her efforts, the company posted 13 percent gains in the past year in a category that experienced an overall decline of 8 percent, earned certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and transitioned to a second generation of women leaders.

➤ Under Sexton’s guidance, Natalie’s, a recipient of numerous prestigious awards and acclaim, gives back to more than 60 local and global charitable organizations and churches.

KOEL THOMAE

Co-founder, Noosa Finest Yoghurt

➤ Thomae oversees the overall sales strategy, key account management, new product development and marketing support team for the originally Australian yogurt company she co-founded and subsequently nurtured into a thriving U.S. brand.

➤ She presided over the rollout of the most successful variety in the brand’s history, pumpkin, which became the best-selling yogurt item at Target during fall 2014.

➤ Named Naturally Boulder’s Best Young Business in 2014 and runner-up of the Best of West in 2015, among other industry and commercial honors, Thomae is also the proud mom of 2-year-old Matilda, and provides pro-bono consulting for food entrepreneurs.

KANDRA WALDBUSSER

Head, Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Pilgrim’s/Food Safety

➤ Waldbusser created and implemented a successful quality assurance cost-structure initiative focused on reducing expenses without compromising food safety performance.

➤ She was invited to serve on the board of the National Chicken Council and provide her industry expertise before the CDC and USDA, as well as at industry events.

➤ Waldbusser is a critical player in key customer meetings with national players such as Walmart and Publix. She previously spent 13 years at Tyson Foods, working on quality assurance for such departments as foodservice poultry and pet products.

TRISH JAMES

VP, Produce for Kids

➤ James led Produce for Kids (PFK) to raise $5 million-plus for children’s charities and forged a primary charity relationship with Feeding America for donations starting in 2015.

➤ Spearheading the rollout of the new produceforkids.com, she drove an overall traffic increase of 145 percent and increased mobile visits to the mobile-friendly site by 235 percent. Her focus on social marketing boosted overall social following by 110 percent.

➤ James guided the poweryourlunchbox.com launch, which engaged an active community of moms, raised awareness of the participating brands and drove incremental donations to children’s charities.

HOLLY GERBER

VP of Operations, Pyure Brands

➤ Gerber’s leadership led to a doubled employee base, the establishment of benefit care packages for employees, the restructuring and reformatting of production schedules to meet and manage larger retail partners, and orders from mass retailers such as Walmart and Costco Japan.

➤ Her efforts have helped double annual sales through decreased cost per item, operational efficiencies, and initiatives like blanket ordering and improved warehousing capabilities.

➤ Since starting with Pyure Brands in 2008, Gerber has grown the company to a seven- figure business and is on track to double annual sales once again in 2015.

KIMBERLY RUIZ BECK

Chairman, Ruiz Food Products Inc.

➤ Under Beck’s leadership, her company launched a new product line expansion at its Denison, Texas, manufacturing facility; acquired a plant in Florence, S.C., where it broke ground on a new distribution center; and built an R&D center at its Dinuba, Calif., corporate headquarters.

➤ During her chairmanship, the company’s last fiscal year was the most successful year in its 50-year history.

➤ Beck is president of Ruiz 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to high school seniors and $2 million in grant support to nonprofit children-based organizations with a focus on education.

CAREN FITZGERALD

VP, Associated General Counsel, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Fitzgerald provides employment advice and counseling across the entire company, helps to solve complicated personnel matters, and leads on government contract review and compliance.

➤ After the merger of Spartan Stores and Nash Finch Co., she collaborated with her new colleagues to integrate business and legal review, incorporating teaching, process development and mentoring into her working relationships. She also created a cross-functional team to develop a new code of conduct for the merged company.

➤ Fitzgerald has guided SpartanNash through various merger-related transitions.

TAMMY HURLEY

VP, Finance, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Hurley oversees finance operations for SpartanNash’s Grand Rapids, Mich., service center.

➤ Following the Spartan Stores-Nash Finch Co. merger, she led the integration of the fiscal year, payroll, general and stock ledgers, and asset management; was a key leader on multidisciplinary teams for systems integration at retail, food distribution and service center operations; and built a team to provide the executive leadership team and internal finance customers with necessary financial reports.

➤ A Cub Scout den leader and t-ball coach as the mother of a young son, Hurley is also a member of Financial Executives International and the Michigan Association of CPAs.

JILL DEARING BECKMAN

VP, Advertising and Marketing, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu

➤ Beckman oversees all marketing and advertising initiatives to drive top-line sales, customer perception of the brand, and customer traffic in both corporate and licensed markets.

➤ She engaged her team in all facets of the business, enabling them to identify business synergies, build relationships and gain a deeper understanding of the business.

➤ Beckman implemented a marketing incentive structure to build brand equity and allow for regional relevance and flexibility while leveraging the Save-A-Lot’s scalability. Her team also completed a significant private label package and case design refresh.

KAREN BORMAN

VP, Finance, Supervalu

➤ Borman heads the finance function for Supervalu’s independent business and logistics divisions, and manages the field and corporate IB financial staff.

➤ She provided financial and analytical support for large-scale restructuring of the independent business division; furnished, with her team, the financial and business modeling needed to understand the financial implications of several mergers and acquisitions; and developed the corresponding business strategy to acquire new business relating to Rainbow Foods stores and Haggen.

➤ A highly respected 32-year veteran of Supervalu, Borman is a Network of Executive Women member.

PATTY FISHMAN

VP, GM/HBC, Supervalu

➤ Fishman drives profitable sales to achieve financial targets in the general merchandise and health and beauty care segments across all Supervalu corporate retail stores.

➤ She, oversaw the opening of 11 kitchen shops and three vitamin shops in corporate retail stores, as well as 54 baby shops and 55 expanded pet sets across multiple corporate retail banners, and led the redesign and implementation of innovative front end checklanes featuring LED lighting in more than 1,000 corporate and independent retail stores.

➤ She and her 56-member team are currently providing transitional services to Haggen in the areas of item setup, maintenance, planograms and store resets.

LISA GONZALEZ

VP Military Sales & Affiliations, Supervalu

➤ Responsible for leading Supervalu’s military distribution business — the company’s single largest distribution customer — Gonzalez oversees the sales, business development and execution of distribution to domestic and overseas commissaries/exchanges.

➤ She developed a growth plan for military sales and gained additional business with a number of vendors; was a military advocate within the organization, and earned praise from vendors and Defense Commissaries Agency staff alike for her proactive leadership, vision, collaboration skills and customer service.

➤ Gonzalez chairs the infrastructure committee of the American Logistics Association’s commissary council.

SUSAN GRAFTON

SVP & Chief Accounting Officer, Supervalu

➤ Grafton is responsible for all accounting functions, external reporting, tax, finance shared services and finance systems strategy.

➤ She spearheaded an effort to advance Supervalu’s finance strategy and drive positive change; implemented more efficient and simple ways of operating, such as simplified monthly reporting; and took lead roles in such endeavors as the oversight and management of transition services agreements with Albertsons and Haggen, and the creation of an ongoing service strategy.

➤ Grafton supported and expanded rotational associate and intern programs to attract new talent from top local universities to Supervalu.

TANDY HARVEY

SVP of Merchandising, Supervalu

➤ Harvey handles all merchandising aspects for grocery, frozen, dairy, meat, GM/HBC, produce, bakery, deli and consumer marketing in Supervalu’s west region.

➤ She led the formation of the new west region from the northern and Midwest region merchandising teams, requiring the creation of many new positions, training and the relocation of the company’s largest region; championed diversity by giving 50 percent of the region’s merchandising leadership to women; and guided her team through Supervalu’s first National Selling Expo for independents, resulting in a significant sales uptick.

➤ A 2012 Top Woman, Harvey is a member of the Network of Executive Women.

MICHELE MURPHY

EVP, Human Resources and Communications, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu

➤ Murphy oversees human resources and communications across three distinct business segments: independent business, the hard-discount Save-A-Lot grocery chain and the retail food segment.

➤ She helped realign Supervalu’s talent to its strategic business goals and growth opportunities; guided HR consolidation in the independent business segment, which better aligned the company’s business; and was a key stakeholder in a company-wide effort to improve the shopping experience through better customer service.

➤ Murphy is general counsel for the Network of Executive Women board of directors.

MICHELLE “MICKY” NYE

President, Farm Fresh, Supervalu

➤ Nye plans, organizes, leads and controls the operations, marketing/merchandising, and financial planning and results for the Farm Fresh banner.

➤ She met with parent-teacher organizations to enhance a program to aid local schools, resulting in a 58 percent rise in customer contributions; orchestrated, with a food bank culinary training program, a job fair and the eventual hiring of several assistant deli managers; and provided point-of-purchase discounts and welcomed returning military service members with goodie bags and flowers.

➤ Nye is an active member of the Network of Executive Women.

KARLA ROBERTSON

EVP, General Counsel, Supervalu

➤ Robertson’s purview encompasses Supervalu’s legal, risk management, asset protection, food safety and aviation functions.

➤ She oversaw complex legal analysis in the acquisition of Rainbow Foods grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores; played an integral part, with her team, in other strategic initiatives related to Supervalu’s transition services agreements; and focused on cost containment and organizational structure alignment to streamline work, create consistency and realize significant monetary savings.

➤ A past Top Woman, Robertson sits on the board of the Weisman Museum at the University of Minnesota.

KAREN SCZEPANSKI

VP, Human Resources, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu

➤ Responsible for the HR functions for 8,000 employees at hundreds of locations, Sczepanski ensures the right operational issues are well executed through collaboration with business partners and through a highly developed HR team.

➤ Under her leadership, Save-A-Lot was able to expand its part-time workforce, develop a shift leader role and offer robust training programs, in a period during which the banner opened 23 new locations.

➤ Through the company’s talent management process, Sczepanski matched executives with top talent for mentoring. Her superiors continue to rely on her leadership and counsel.

NANCY SUPERCHI

VP Shared Services, Supervalu

➤ Superchi directs Supervalu’s human resources shared services function, including payroll, leave and benefit processing, and the associate call center, in which capacity she supervises about 100 employees across multiple locations.

➤ She developed plans to upgrade Supervalu’s payroll system to the latest version, presided over the transition of the staffs of several Rainbow Foods stores to Cub Foods employees; worked with 100 former Albertsons stores divested to Haggen, providing support to the locations in moving to Unified Grocers as their supplier, and shifting some employees to new pay and benefit platforms, among other functions.

➤ Superchi has served as a Peoplesoft consultant.

BEKAH SWAN

VP Bakery & Deli, Supervalu

➤ Swan works to achieve financial targets for six Supervalu banners’ deli and bakery businesses, guiding strategic and tactical merchandising and marketing plans.

➤ She negotiated a fresh deli chicken contract, saving the company millions of dollars; helped create an online cake-decorating training program; oversaw multiple coffee kiosk installations in remodeled or converted stores, resulting in a significant increase in coffee bar sales; and teamed with a vendor to add and expand sushi sections in corporate stores, leading to a 50 percent year-over-year sales increase.

➤ Swan is a Supervalu Foundation board member.

MARION TABARD

Director of Marketing Turbana Corp.

➤ Tabard directs all marketing objectives for Turbana and all of its brands, including Turbana Bananas, Turbana Tropicals, Turbana Plantain Chips and Fyffes Pineapples.

➤ She forged programs combining unique brand partnerships, social consciousness and integrated marketing, among them “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” (GSSG), a movement that aimed to inspire people to eat smart, be active and get involved in their communities, for which more than 10 campaigns were created, including at ShopRite stores and Sendik’s Food Markets.

➤ Tabard is a member of the Nutrition and Health Council at United Fresh Produce Association.

TERRY BODWIN

VP/Chief Human Resources Officer, Unified Grocers

➤ Bodwin oversees all aspects of human resources across Unified Grocers, with a focus on building an inclusive, high-performance culture.

➤ Under her leadership, the company pursued its Total Rewards strategy, which provides associates with a compelling package of pay, benefits and customized work-life opportunities; managed, negotiated and administered 24 collective bargaining agreements; and refocused workplace safety and injury reduction efforts, leading to a 30 percent decrease in injuries and recordable incidence rates from the prior year.

➤ A member of the Network of Executive Women, Bodwin received its Women at Work Medal of Excellence.

Rising Stars

CHERYL BLACK

CEO, You Technology LLC (Subsidiary of The Kroger Co.)

➤ Black oversees all operations, engineering, sales, finance, legal and HR functions of the company, whose systems allow digital coupons to be loaded onto frequent-shopper cards for in-store redemption.

➤ She managed the transition of You Technology from an independently owned company to Kroger ownership, protecting You Technology’s other retailer clients’ privacy and confidentiality, and enabling it to recruit and retain effectively.

➤ Black increased year-over-year company revenues by more than 50 percent and improved bottom-line profitability 10 times over the prior year.

MELISSA ENGLISH

Manager of Training and Development, Acme Markets

➤ English facilitates training across all store levels and throughout the 107-unit division. She designs leadership development programs to support the business’ exempt employees, among other duties.

➤ She collaborated with Acme’s executive team to develop a new training program for field operation specialists, helped launch the Acme Continuing Education (ACE) Training program for assistant store directors, and led training for team members at the company’s new Frosted Mug beer store.

➤ English belongs to a local Toastmaster’s Club and the National Society for Human Resources Management.

KERRIGAN McKAY

Senior Real Estate Manager, Acme Markets

➤ Representing Acme in all real estate transactions, McKay identifies sites, negotiates business terms, prepares and submits proposal packages, and leads efforts related to due diligence, entitlements and legal documentations.

➤ Under her leadership, the company gained control of landlord negotiations after it separated from its former parent company, a process during which she rebuilt business relationships and renegotiated leases at lower costs and higher EBITDA. She helped Acme lower occupancy costs, mitigate losses and spur new business opportunities.

➤ McKay helped Acme acquire beer licenses in Pennsylvania that will enable it to increase market share and profits.

SARAH BELL

Senior Director of Client Services, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Bell is accountable for the supply chain and process management of Kroger’s exclusive in-store sampling program, Delightful Discoveries, focusing on strategic planning, budget and timeline management.

➤ Her efforts improved product case support by 100 percent, in turn increasing CPG ROI for in-store sampling, and she was on a taskforce to create a program to develop Advantage’s middle managers.

➤ The winner of many company awards, Bell is involved in such local charities and organizations as the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Save the Animals Foundation.

MAUREEN COLLIN

Director of Strategy and Integration, IN Marketing Services, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Collins oversees strategy development and consumer/shopper insights for key grocery retailers, and sets in-store engagement strategies for Keurig and KitchenAid across grocery stores, super-centers, specialty stores, mass merchandisers and club stores.

➤ She guided shopper and consumer insights, strategies and programs, securing two major new accounts. Her work led to Advantage/IN being named Agency of Record (AOR) for Meijer’s in-store engagement programs and in-store AOR for KitchenAid’s super-premium small appliances.

➤ Collins once received the President Award from World Kitchen’s Top 10 Innovations.

KELSEY HAMPTON

Account Executive, Advantage Beverage Solutions, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Working from Albertsons’ Southern California office, Hampton secures supplier-funded sampling events for the grocer’s adult beverage-tasting program throughout California, Washington and Oregon.

➤ She increased the event count by 64 percent, grew program revenue by 37 percent and improved client relationships; as a result of her efforts, Advantage has been invited to present the program at other Albertsons LLC divisions.

➤ Hampton has been a part of IN Marketing Services’ field management execution team under Sam’s Club, the talent development team and the Supervalu sales team.

KATIE McCANTS

Director of Operations, IN Marketing - Kroger Delightful Discoveries Team, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ McCants leads an account and field operations team responsible for the operational planning execution of the Kroger Delightful Discoveries in-store sampling program.

➤ She led her team in creating multiple operational processes and best practices that eliminated more than 20 hours a week of manual work and saved $1 million annually in assets and damaged equipment, and was a key contributor to the biggest marketing events in Kroger history, which generated more than $5.9 million in revenue for Advantage.

➤ McCants mentors up-and-coming junior colleagues.

BONNIE REINKE

Director of Sales, IN Marketing Services, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Reinke manages IN Marketing’s direct experiential marketing programs across two platforms (adult beverage and grocery), and leads a cross-functional team to support grocery retailers’ in-store sampling programs.

➤ She came in under budget, with significant revenue and EBITDA increases; led a ground-up effort to structure and launch the Premier Adult Beverage Tastings Program in two Albertsons divisions; and helped launch Jewel-Osco’s demo program.

➤ Reinke was one of six women from the company chosen to attend the Network of Executive Women 2014 Leadership Conference.

MARILU ROBLES

Marketing Manager, IN Marketing Services, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Robles supports the company’s strategy and integration team for experiential marketing practices. She works with cross-functional departments to align information to the organization’s overall approach and customer/client requests.

➤ Her contributions helped generate more than $25 million of revenue in new business, including the landing of Meijer’s in-store demonstration RFP, and she worked on Keurig and KitchenAid, two other top revenue-generating new businesses of the year.

➤ Robles is a member of Women in CE, the Consumer Electronics Association, and the Event Planning and Management Association.

BETHANY SLENTZ

National Client Team Leader, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Slentz partners with two of Advantage’s leading clients — Abbott Nutrition and Cacique — to direct a sales team responsible for driving nearly $1 billion in commissionable sales across the total U.S. retail channel.

➤ She helped grow Advantage’s portfolio across multiple new services in 2014, exceeding her budget goals by 10 percent and revenue by 15 percent over the previous year, and enhanced Abbott’s joint business-planning model for the grocery class of trade.

➤ Slentz is the engagement co-chair on the board of directors for Camp Kesem National, which supports children throughout a parent’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

ROBIN WETHLI

National Client Team Leader, Advantage Sales and Marketing

➤ Wethli spearheads the development and leadership of consultative business relationships at all levels with two national clients, and establishes metrics for performance, evaluating, scorecarding and overall improvement.

➤ She successfully brought in and integrated a new strategic client, and worked to maximize performance results, resulting in increased sales and consumption figures for that client. She also helped the company achieve growth by launching an over-the-counter item into the marketplace.

➤ Wethli serves as a food allergy volunteer with the Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE) organization.

FELIS ANDRADE

Director, Marketing and External Communications, Giant of Maryland LLC, Ahold USA

➤ Andrade leads marketing efforts that drive brand recognition for 170 stores in the Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Delaware; and Virginia markets.

➤ She worked with Procter & Gamble to create a campaign tied to Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend, led Giant’s USO campaign fundraiser to support local military troops, led the Hunger Action Month fundraiser to support local food banks, and collaborated with vendors to support health and wellness.

➤ Andrade has been a board and committee member for the Network of Executive Women, and is involved with Ahold’s Women Adding Value business resource group.

ASHLEY BELIN

Senior Manager, Talent Management, Ahold USA

➤ Belin is responsible for implementing global human resource projects, overseeing all internal networks that implement these projects, and developing an adequate talent pool, among other duties.

➤ She helped to implement a new electronic performance management tool called SuccessFactors, managed nominations for internal leadership training programs, led the development of a new curriculum based on the latest retail industry trends, and successfully executed the 2014 Management Review strategy across Ahold USA.

➤ Belin is a member of several professional groups, and has completed various certification classes to keep her skills sharp.

JOYCE GOLDEN

Manager, District Human Resources, Giant Food Stores LLC, Ahold USA

➤ Golden works with multiple-site management in the areas of employee relations, compensation, benefits, performance management, training and development, succession planning, and staffing.

➤ A catalyst for driving employee engagement through nontraditional methods, she coordinated a full week of appreciation events in celebration of Giant Food Stores employees. She’s also project lead in the design of an innovative employee breakroom area.

➤ Golden is at the forefront of diversity strategies, and is actively involved with the company’s business resource group, Women Adding Value, serving as a foundational committee member.

DEBBIE HILL

Manager, Public and Community Relations, Ahold USA

➤ Hill oversees the charitable giving and donation programs for Ahold USA’s Our Family Foundation, while also helping to execute public relations messaging and activities for the retailer. She works with Ahold USA’s retailer divisions to ensure consistency and alignment of PR messaging.

➤ She spearheaded fundraising efforts that raised a record $9.35 million in 2014 for Our Family Foundation, a significant increase from the previous year; and helped organize a community playground built in an underserved neighborhood.

➤ Hill has been recognized as Ahold USA’s Associate of the Year.

DAWN HURD

Specialist, Front End, Giant of Maryland LLC, Ahold USA

➤ Hurd is responsible for delivering consistent operational excellence and effectiveness for the front end departments of 34 stores in two districts.

➤ She created the “Best in Standards Front End Operations Guide” to be posted at all of Giant’s stores, and developed several other important initiatives, including a Western Union Phone Tree for front end specialists, a Register deep-cleaning guide and the Item Per Minute Incentive Plan.

➤ In early 2015, Hurd was selected for the Dale Carnegie Course, which helps develop poise and confidence when speaking. She also volunteers at local food banks and at Lewes Presbyterian Church, where she’s a member.

JAN INGRAHAM

Director, Finance, Ahold USA

➤ Ingraham is responsible for the support of data, playbooks/reports, insights and meeting leadership for nonperishable department negotiations, and oversees similar areas for the Fresh COGS (cost of goods) negotiation initiative.

➤ One of her greatest achievements was getting the retailer’s playbooks (key data sources for financial metrics) automated through the IT department. She also helped create a new business report called the Tier 3, which provides key information for merchandisers.

➤ Ingraham is a member of the Network of Executive Women and the Ahold USA Women Adding Value business resource group.

DEB KREIDER

Director, Category, Ahold USA

➤ Kreider is involved in the creation and oversight of the produce department budget, which includes sales, merchandising and supply chain for 768 stores stretching from New England to Virginia.

➤ She and her team developed innovative strategies and initiatives for the new Produce Market Place, including signage, format, pricing, promotions, marketing and training. One of their specific successes was creating excitement around the cut-fruit and vegetable categories.

➤ In 2014, she and her team received two Ahold USA awards: the Ahold Leadership Award for Simplicity, and Ahold USA Associate of the Year.

KELLY KRUTZ

Director, Portfolio, Ahold USA

➤ Krutz has full profit-and-loss responsibility for the floral category.

➤ She drove the floral department to 17 consecutive weeks of positive identical-store sales and unit growth during the summer, which is typically the most challenging period, and improved the department’s profitability by driving assortment segmentation, shrink mitigation, efficient department designs and labor efficiency. She has created a point of differentiation through the cut-flower program.

➤ Krutz has actively served as a founding member of the Produce Marketing Association floral council for the past five years.

REBECCA LUPFER

Director, Internal Audit and Professional Practices, Ahold USA

➤ Lupfer executes audits in various areas of the company and works with management to identify risks and solutions.

➤ She reinvigorated an internal quality assurance program to ensure audit teams were conducting audits consistently and effectively throughout Ahold in both the United States and Europe, and led a significant audit at Ahold USA related to shrink accounting and sales recognition, which initiated significant change within the company.

➤ Lupfer is a member of FMI, the Network of Executive Women, Ahold Developing Professionals, and Ahold’s Women Adding Value business resource group.

STACEY MILLER

Manager, Learning and Professional Practices, Ahold USA

➤ Miller analyzes, designs, develops and implements company-wide leadership and technical/functional skills training.

➤ She launched an initiative to standardize the retail and support office-training programs across Ahold USA, which included 30 unique programs, and led to the development of a food allergen e-learning course; and an enhanced Fuel Training Program.

➤ Miller led the development and deployment of mentoring circles within Ahold USA’s Women Adding Value business resource group. For her achievements at the company, she received the 2014 Ahold USA Divisional Support Award.

PATRICE O’SULLIVAN

Manager, Associate Engagement, Ahold USA

➤ O’Sullivan has oversight for the associate engagement budget, and is responsible for administering Ahold USA’s engagement survey, as well as enacting its engagement strategy.

➤ She and her team drove survey participation by 10 points in 2014, and she was project manager of an initiative that asked all Ahold USA support associates to observe strategic programs in action at designated stores.

➤ O’Sullivan is a member of the Network of Executive Women, as well as two business resource groups at Ahold USA: ALANA (a multicultural network) and Women Adding Value.

DIMPLE PATEL

Senior Director, Enterprise Architecture, Ahold USA

➤ Patel provides input for Ahold USA’s marketing strategy to determine the “store of the future” customer experience. Specifically, she’s responsible for identifying and testing in-store technologies that can improve the customer experience and potentially create a competitive advantage for the retailer.

➤ She was involved in the company’s first iPad deployment; based on the initial testing, she helped make the business case for an enterprise rollout. Additionally, she led the expansion of an IT co-op program to help attract talent within the organization.

➤ Patel received Ahold USA’s Discretionary Award.

ARLENE PUTTERMAN

Manager, Public and Community Relations, Stop & Shop, Ahold USA

➤ Putterman oversees public and community relations for Stop & Shop’s New York metro market. She has responsibility for charitable corporate giving, which totaled approximately $7 million in 2014.

➤ She helped the company raise more than $200,000 for breast cancer awareness through Making Strides to benefit the American Cancer Society; recruited more than 200 volunteers to build a new play space for children, and drove Stop & Shop’s 100th-anniversary celebration with the 100 Days of Giving program.

➤ Putterman is a board member of the Connecticut Food Bank and volunteers at several food bank events.

KASEY SHEFFER

Manager, Corporate Brands, Ahold USA

➤ Sheffer manages Ahold USA’s own-brand strategies to help build brand equity and increase customer loyalty, ultimately driving sales for the company.

➤ She contributed to Ahold USA’s brand strategy, established the Limited Time Originals brand for in-and-out own-brand products, and co-authored a marketing plan to support the introduction of World Menu, a new line of authentic Italian and Asian products. She also created the brand and messaging strategy for Etos, Ahold USA’s new beauty brand.

➤ Sheffer volunteered to co-create and conduct a week-long in-store training exercise to look into the needs and realities of store operations.

PHYLLIS SMITH

Specialist, Front End, Giant Food Stores LLC, Ahold USA

➤ Smith is responsible for the consistent operational excellence and effectiveness of the front end sections of 30 stores in her assigned districts.

➤ She was instrumental in conducting monthly conference calls with salaried managers who have oversight of front end operations, a move that helped to ensure consistent communication; and implemented the period cash countdown, whereby every period a salaried member of management is required to complete a full cash countdown.

➤ Smith is an avid supporter of United Way, and a member of both the National Association of Professional Women and the Network of Executive Women.

MARY SULLIVAN

Director, Finance, Ahold USA

➤ Sullivan leads the development and oversight of the operating budget for all of Ahold USA’s internal and third-party distribution networks, acting as the primary financial voice of the retailer’s supply chain executive teams.

➤ She led the company’s distribution teams in identifying, evaluating and implementing cost-saving initiatives, and was an integral part of the team that developed, negotiated and implemented new partnership agreements with a third-party distributor.

➤ She volunteers at local food banks and as a youth soccer coach; she’s an active participant in Ahold’s Day of Giving program.

MARY JACKSON

Education Manager, Tom Thumb, Albertsons Safeway

➤ Jackson manages education for a division of 107 stores, where she’s tasked with the creation, implementation and measurement of all division training programs. She also creates and manages a division training budget, collaborating with operations and marketing teams to facilitate programs that affect sales, profits and customer service.

➤ She helped implement an associate orientation and cashier training program, reduced turnover by 4 percent and increased the customer satisfaction index up to 8 percent for stores in the centralized program.

➤ Jackson is a Toastmaskers communicator and leader.

RUCHA NANAVATI

Director, Information Technology, Albertsons Safeway

➤ Nanavati leads integration of all supply chain systems between the Safeway and Albertsons organizations, managing a team of program and project managers, solution designers, developers and deployment professionals. She oversees a budget of $31 million.

➤ She led a strategic initiative in regard to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system assessment for Safeway, and helped plan for the companies’ merger and integration by moving Albertsons from a transition service agreement (TSA) with Supervalu.

➤ The three-year plan for integration is designed to save $280 million in TSA costs.

RITA PATEL

IT Director, Albertsons Safeway

➤ Patel manages functions within information technology to support Safeway employees across backstage and in retail stores, ensuring that the appropriate technology is available to service customers. She also manages application development, support and services teams both on- and offshore.

➤ Among other accomplishments, she operationalized a new information technology operating model, established the first IT information employee engagement group, and helped prepare for the Albertsons-Safeway merger and transformation.

➤ Patel is an active leader in the new employee engagement group and a member of the Network of Executive Women.

RAMONA GIDEROF

Senior Director, Anheuser-Busch

➤ Giderof manages Anheuser-Busch’s Kroger business, which includes personnel, budgets, plans, pricing and wholesalers across all of the grocer’s divisions.

➤ After only a year in her current role, she improved dollar trends by 2 percent and managed almost an entirely new team while creating customer-first programs for Kroger. Her new item launches have been deemed “best in class” by Kroger and continue to drive Anheuser-Busch innovation sales.

➤ Already promoted five times at Anheuser-Busch, Giderof received a sales excellence award in 2012 and Share the Dream recognition in 2013.

KATHY HAWKS

Retail Marketing Group Manager, Associated Food Stores

➤ A leader of the company’s Bringing Value Home share group, Hawks acts as a key liaison between member-owned independent retailers and the corporate office. She directs advertising, marketing, social media and print communications, buying, promotional execution, and general administration of the group.

➤ Thanks to her efforts, Associated Food Stores has experienced sales growth in the Bringing Value Home share group.

➤ Hawks created and helps organize Hometown Heroes events to assist local firefighters, police, teachers and veterans for more than 50 Associated Food Stores independent retailers.

TAMMY MARLOWE

Director of General Merchandise/Health, Beauty, Wellness, Associated Food Stores

➤ Marlowe guides efforts in regard to seasonal shows, finding new products and creating price and product shelf placement programs.

➤ She implemented a GM/HBW program with a renewed emphasis on center store and its importance in retail, and introduced an initiative allowing retailers to use iPads and tablets to place orders during Associated Food Stores’ general merchandise show.

➤ Marlowe played an instrumental role in the donation to Volunteers of America of 750 personal care kits for homeless teens in Utah. She’s also a Global Marketing Development Center board member.

DANA ISAACSON

Director of Deli, Bakery & Prepared Foods, B Green Co.

➤ Isaacson oversees bakery/deli AD planning and merchandising, operations, and employee training; enhances the business’ prepared food and catering program; and leads community outreach and company event planning.

➤ She won NGA’s 2015 Creative Choice Award for Merchandising in the dairy/deli/bakery category, for her Green Valley Marketplace Cake Off solution, and created the Taste of the Season holiday promotion, resulting in a 26 percent rise in bakery sales and the deli’s best-ever week.

➤ Isaacson works with local school, church and youth groups on fundraisers, and hosts creative selling events at stores.

ELIZABETH MARTIEZ

Director of Product, Bi-Rite Family of Businesses

➤ Martinez is second in command at Bi-Rite, having worked her way up from produce stocker. She manages the team of buyers that creates the retailer’s specialized product set.

➤ Having chosen and implemented Instacart as a delivery partner, she conceived, built and launched a unique Holiday Marketplace with the company to fulfill special holiday orders from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. She also played a strategic role in writing and executing Bi-Rite’s Ten-Year 2024 company vision.

➤ Martinez volunteers on the retailer network committee of the Specialty Food Association.

LAURIE HEBERT

Director of Talent Management & Employee Relations, Big Y Foods Inc.

➤ Hebert’s chief role is to design, plan and implement programs for the selection, hiring and retention of employees.

➤ Taking on additional responsibilities, including unemployment processes, recruiting and proper resolution of all employment-related legal claims, she reduced the staffing needed to process unemployment claims, and built a bench of store directors, department managers and “high potentials” through better use of assessment tools.

➤ The recipient of a Big Y 25-years-of-service recognition award, Hebert is a Future Connect/Future Leader committee member and a judge for the FMI Store Director of the Year awards.

TIFFANY TAYLOR

Buyer, BJ’s Wholesale Club

➤ Taylor manages several categories, from fresh prepared foods to specialty cheese and chicken sausages, and is responsible for product mix and selecting on-trend items while maintaining budget goals.

➤ She grew her departments, especially specialty cheese, and was a key decision-maker in implementing a specialty cheese category captain to assist in product mix and store-level merchandising and signage. Continually tweaks assortment to balance true sellers and ‘treasure hunt’ items.

➤ A member of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, Taylor has been a buyer for specialty cheese and prepared foods since 2012.

TRACI GEORGE

Pharmacy Zone Manager, Brookshire Grocery Co.

➤ George supervises 23 in-store pharmacies that employ 236 employees, including pharmacists, technicians, clerks and pharmacy trainers. She oversees all functions of these pharmacies to ensure compliance with government regulations, company policies and procedures.

➤ Her zone’s year-to-date sales were up more than 8 percent over the year-ago period, and she created a CARE Class for all new pharmacy employees that focused on improving service, increasing prescriptions filled and promoting customer engagement.

➤ She’s a member of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and Brookshire’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

HEATHER ADAMS

Manager, Insights, Crossmark

➤ Adams oversees category management and shopper insights for seven clients, totaling more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.

➤ Her efforts to identify growth opportunities for clients led to 4 percent growth for leading cosmetics brands, and her work in blending disparate point-of-sale data sources helped elevate a client’s product distribution goals by 95 percent.

➤ Adams has won Crossmark’s “This is My Mark” spotlight award, and is involved in the Network of Executive Women and Crossmark’s Network of Women. She volunteers at a local food bank and ministry, and has made humanitarian trips to a remote area of Brazil.

LAURA DICKEY

Division Manager, Crossmark

➤ Dickey is division manager of the Nestlé-dedicated team, managing a weekend packout team that focuses on correcting out-of-stocks and building secondary displays to support the CPG company’s retail efforts. She collaborates with client customer teams to align the teams’ retail activities with customer needs.

➤ She increased the team’s incremental revenue by 414 percent, versus the previous year. For her efforts, she was the Nestlé Dedicated Team’s Most Valuable Team Member of the Year (MVP) for the second straight year.

➤ Dickey is pursuing her Master of Science degree in marketing from the University of Texas in Dallas.

KATHERINE FULLER

Division Manager of the North American Field Intelligence Team, Crossmark

➤ Fuller manages Crossmark’s North American syndicated field intelligence team, overseeing revenue growth, performance improvement, capability expansion, efficiencies and talent development.

➤ Her team enjoyed the most profitable year since its inception, succeeding in both bottom-line and top-line growth. The group also enabled a large beverage manufacturer’s program expansion, resulting in incremental revenue of $4.6 million for 2015.

➤ Fuller serves on the sponsorship committee of the North Central Network of Executive Women.

SARAH PARRIGIN

North Central Division Manager, Crossmark

➤ Parrigin handles all aspects of Crossmark’s business in the North Central division, including people management, profit management, client management, and customer and business development.

➤ She restructured her team to increase performance and efficiency metrics on behalf of clients. The value of retail activities performed increased 20 percent from the first to the second quarter, and one client reported that on-shelf availability in a key customer account generated the highest levels seen in years.

➤ Parrigin actively mentors Crossmark management trainees and represents the company in the Network of Executive Women.

ASHLEY TUSSING

Director of Operations, Order-to-Cash Services, Crossmark

➤ Tussing manages the vendor relationship of a third-party labor provider, through which she develops and grows client relationships and drives process improvement initiatives.

➤ She revamped operational analytics and insights for a Tier I client into a singular dashboard targeted at client executives and field stakeholders, allowing near-time actionable results and profitable course correction, and successfully managed the transition of more than 150 manufacturers and 400 retailers from 19 field offices to the centralized Crossmark Service Delivery Center.

➤ Tussing is a career coach at the University of Tennessee, among other activities.

NICOLE PERANICK

Director, Global Consumer Strategy - Culinary, Daymon Worldwide

➤ Peranick published Daymon Worldwide’s global retail and private-brand perspective in “What’s Next in Culinary,” which has resulted in better client engagement.

➤ She worked with clients around the globe to translate culinary trends, including new cuisines, flavors, ingredients and packaging, into customized product solutions.

➤ Peranick developed Daymon’s culinary innovation framework to facilitate the process for developing and scouting new products and technologies, and also created Daymon’s International Culinary WonderTour to inspire clients’ creativity and innovation efforts.

JESSICA GURNY

Regional Marketing Manager, Door to Door Organics

➤ Gurny’s second coordination of a “customer love event” broke event records, secured valuable vendor support, outgrew its venue and became the model for future event success at other Door to Door Organics locations.

➤ She organized Door to Door Organics’ first Farm to Table dinner in Detroit, raising $3,000 for the Growing Hope community and school gardens; this model will be replicated throughout the company’s regions. She also received praise for her development of The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative’s mural project and farm cleanup in Detroit.

➤ For more one-to-one interactions with customers, Gurny successfully developed a globally focused cooking class.

PATRICIA BEDNARZ

Director of Operations, Rocky Mountain/Goldsboro, N.C., Food Lion

➤ Bednarz grows and develops store management teams; leveraged the ACE (agreeable, conscientious, extrovert) model to create great associate experiences that result in “want to” versus “have to” in customer service.

➤ She provided trickle-down targeted leadership growth and development with Planning and Business Development Mondays, during which her store managers meet one-to-one with department managers to offer empowering support to store associates.

➤ Bednarz focused on “right-sizing” store manager talent in her region, creating a sustainable workforce by celebrating accomplishments.

DEBBIE BOWERS,

Manager of Innovation, Front End operations and Service, Food Lion

➤ Bowers, a 28-year veteran of Food Lion, is responsible for all front end key performance indicators for the banner’s 1,108 stores, innovating and implementing front end operations.

➤ The new differentiating strategy that she implemented in the Greenville-Wilmington, N.C., market — the largest strategic initiative for the company in 2014 — led to impressive business growth and will serve as a template for the company in other markets.

➤ Recognized internally for her ability to recruit and develop leadership, Bowers is a member of Food Lion’s Business Women’s Resource Group.

DIANE MEDLIN

Customer Retail Services Manager, Food Lion

➤ Medlin, who has been with Food Lion for 37 years, is the gatekeeper of communications and a liaison between retail and all business areas that support the company’s 1,108 stores.

➤ She implemented the fully automated Voice of Retail by which all stores communicate to the customer support center. More than 160,000 inquiries were received and each was responded to in less than 24 hours.

➤ Medlin initiated the Retail Communications Scorecard to determine the success level of all communications and identify opportunities for improvement; this resulted in a 200 percent reduction in “correction” communications to retail stores.

CAROL MILLER

Execution and Implementation Specialist, Food Lion

➤ Miller has been with Food Lion for 30 years. In her current role, she ensures excellent customer experiences by reviewing projections for accuracy and ensuring that the company’s standard practices and policies are followed in stores.

➤ She brought Food Lion’s Count on Me strategy to life, especially in the company’s model store in Concord, N.C., resulting in increased customer counts and sales.

➤ Miller coordinated the Food Lion Feeds hunger relief program in 24 stores in her region, and she also volunteers at a number of local food banks; mentors future leaders and associates.

DENISE INMON

Regional Sales Director - Central Region, General Mills

➤ Inmon, who leads sales activities for multiple Midwest customers, was a key player in the turnaround of General Mills’ yogurt business, which experienced a 6 percent sales increase and a share increase of one percentage point.

➤ She designed, sold and implemented a program that doubled distribution of the company’s Greek yogurt, ensuring that it was competitively priced at shelf and drove significant trial. These efforts earned her the company’s Champions Award.

➤ Inmon is involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Girl Scouts, and mentors young women at General Mills through active women’s circles.

LAURIE BROWN

Recruitment Marketing Manager, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Brown led the redesign and relaunch of Giant Eagle’s careers website, which offers an improved candidate experience.

➤ She developed and implemented a comprehensive media and marketing communications plan to support the seven large-scale hiring events throughout the company’s key geographical regions. Based on her initiatives, Giant Eagle’s applicant-to-ratio hire is now 12 percent above average.

➤ Brown conducted Giant Eagle’s first-ever online reputation audit and analysis, with the aim of understanding the employer brand and gaining insight into how candidates/team members perceive the company.

SUSAN CARENBAER

Director, Business Technologies, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Carenbauer is program manager for Giant Eagle’s Customer Connect, a key strategic program that leverages customer data to build better category plans.

➤ Customer Connect startup initiatives under her purview included schedule and timeline, vendor contract negotiation, and the organization of more than 50 resources to support an effort across all lines of business. Sales of the first category implemented are up 10 percent.

➤ She leads the IT team that handles digital commerce, supporting IT strategy, analysis, development, support and project management for all new digital commerce initiatives and existing properties.

SARA CIOTTI

Director, Procurement, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Appointed to her current role in September 2014, Ciotti is responsible for central procurement and supply chain efforts within the merchandising group. She has been instrumental in developing a strategic sourcing team that delivers efficiencies, cost savings and sales growth.

➤ Before her promotion, Ciotti was senior category manager for inedible grocery, in which capacity she drove double-digit sales and profit growth, and developed an innovative own-brand platform for paper and tabletop that spurred strong growth in penetration, sales and profit.

➤ Ciotti volunteers with the Embark Mentoring Program.

ANN-MARIE DAUGHERTY

Director of Inbound Logistics and Supply Chain, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Daugherty establishes and maintains collaborative partnerships across merchandising, distribution, logistics and retail operations to coordinate efficient product flow.

➤ She restructured her team to provide clearer accountability, resulting in cost savings and better customer service and load tracking, and created a company-wide reclamation project with a financial accounting component to promote consistent operating procedures, improve shrink and create supply chain transparency.

➤ Daugherty led the 2014 American Heart Association HeartWalk teams for distribution and logistics.

JAN HAWKINS

Director of Retail Systems and Operations, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Hawkins played a key role in analyzing, developing and implementing a single-queue front end design, including queue management and a call-forward system to reduce shopper wait time and increase customer satisfaction.

➤ She led the implementation of tablets in stores to reduce paper dependency and increase mobility, resulting in increased efficiencies, and further lowered paper usage by designing and implementing consumer options for email receipts.

➤ Hawkins reorganized the company’s Eagle’s Nest in-store child development and activity centers.

SARAH PETERS

Senior Director, Giant Eagle Retail Business Systems, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Peters is responsible for developing, leading and implementing the automated replenishing (AR) system throughout all Giant Eagle formats and banners — some 400 locations. She developed the AR tool, leading cross-functional communication and education systems for various functions.

➤ She leverages technology and information to implement a system that automatically generates store orders that are reviewed by team members across formats.

➤ Peters led the cultural change necessary for the success of the new system.

KATIE SCHOLL

Director, Targeted Marketing and Customer Loyalty, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Scholl achieved multimillion-dollar annualized savings from the implementation of least-cost routing in PIN debit processing; her efforts earned her the Giant Eagle Chairman’s Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation Award.

➤ She launched the first new-format in-store bank location, which occupies a smaller footprint than previous formats, and is leading Giant Eagle’s Loyalty Customer Mailer, which drives incremental sales by several million dollars a month.

➤ A finance committee member and lector at her church, Scholl is also a member of the information systems advisory board at Duquesne University.

LISA WELDON

Deli/Prepared Foods Merchandising Specialist, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Weldon oversees multiple budgets totaling more than $70 million for stores ranging from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, and trains operations staff on cooking techniques and best practices.

➤ She opened three Market District locations from the ground up and expanded the deli/prepared food departments’ product offerings, among them an Asian grab-and-go product line.

➤ The winner of various company awards, Weldon earned certification through Carnegie Mellon University’s Executive Leadership Program.

NICOLE ZELLIE

Senior Manager, Corporate Talent Acquisition, Giant Eagle Inc.

➤ Zellie leads the development of a five-year corporate talent acquisition strategy, and manages the corporate, college and professional pharmacy recruiting team, while overseeing multimillion-dollar recruiting budgets.

➤ She reduced the time to fill positions from 29 to 24 days, and was a core member of the team that developed and implemented an assessment system that screens out 30 percent of candidates.

➤ Zellie streamlined the online application process, which reduced the candidate drop-off rate from 61 percent to 19 percent, and developed a three-year diversity-recruiting strategy.

JERI MAHER

Director of Retail Operations, Gordy’s Markets

➤ Maher oversees operations, including developing new markets and remodels, sales, and profitability for 16 Gordy’s Markets and 11 Gordy’s Express fuel centers; role includes development of grocery and fuel center budgets, business development, staffing.

➤ After Maher’s promotion last year, she was instrumental in the opening of five new grocery stores and seven fuel centers. With her oversight, the stores have maintained unprecedented positive comparable-store sales.

➤ Her leadership has been key in fostering Gordy’s culture in new stores, as well as in preparing current employees for growth opportunities and increased responsibilities.

SUMAN LAWRENCE

Senior Director, Business Development & Events, Hail Merry LLC

➤ Lawrence oversees the distributor business, acts as a liaison for the outsourced salesforce, drives sales in new markets, and supports the prioritization of SKU optimization for retailer differentiation and profitability.

➤ Since joining the company last year, she has analyzed SKUs to cull the product line and led efforts for retailer-oriented case packing and labeling, which included creating a new case pack configuration to maximize shelf space.

➤ Lawrence restructured wholesale pricing and brought on new distribution for lower prices for retailers, as well as developing regional trade show opportunities.

LAURA CHAMBERLAIN

Director of Dollar Channels, The Hershey Co.

➤ Chamberlain leads Hershey’s dollar class of trade business, which includes Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, accounting for more than $400 million in sales. The dollar channel has grown by double-digit rates by leveraging strategic partnerships among the three retailers.

➤ She delivered the largest channel growth, and exceeded financial objectives by creating customer alignment and partnership focused on the shopper and growing the category.

➤ Chamberlain achieved growth despite such obstacles as the reduction of SNAP benefits, increased competition in the category, and Family Tree’s acquisition of Family Dollar.

MELISSA DODDS

Director, Category Strategy & Insights, Food Channel, The Hershey Co.

➤ Dodds leverages Hershey’s intellectual capital to develop superior leadership and a collaborative partnership to drive category performance with retail partners.

➤ She added seven retailer/ category adviser relationships and five advisory board positions, along with reinventing aisles and checkstands to find custom solutions for alternative pay points.

➤ Dodds helped transform the in-store experience in the confection aisle, seasonal section and register, with major strategic projects rolled out to such retailers as Hy-Vee, Food Maxx, Jewel, Tops, Weis, Wegmans and ShopRite, in addition to the newly forged relationships noted above.

NICOLE JOHNSTON

General Manager, Global Value Channels, The Hershey Co.

➤ Johnston oversees profit and loss and internal-market plans for Hershey’s brands across the entire global Costco footprint, U.S. dollar channel and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

➤ She built a brand-new global club operating model that coordinated the portfolio, brand and merchandising plans for Costco and Sam’s Club as well as restructuring the value channel team to capitalize on growth opportunities.

➤ Johnston energized the company with the potential of cross-functional interaction for the club and dollar channels, and by ensuring alignment across the globe.

MARIETTE MORELLI

Senior Manager, Customer Marketing & Planning, The Hershey Co.

➤ Morelli collaborates with sales, marketing, category strategy and insights, and research to develop, communicate and use channel customer and shopper insights.

➤ She oversaw the creation of a breakthrough Easter signage package test that led to a significant increase in sales and customer satisfaction; she’s currently leading the creative development for Halloween as well as building a platform of creative materials across seasons.

➤ Morelli developed a predictive model based on shopping data that, when combined with a retailer’s shopper card database, identifies consumers so they can receive more direct and personal offers.

TARA DEERING-HANSEN

Assistant VP, Communications, Hy-Vee

➤ Deering-Hansen oversees the retailer’s communications department, and is responsible for strategic planning as well as developing and executing integrated public relations campaigns.

➤ She developed a two-year company-wide strategic communications plan that guides internal and external initiatives, and restructured the company’s internal communications system for more effective and efficient dissemination of information to Hy-Vee’s 75,000 employees across 235 stores.

➤ As corporate spokeswoman, she produced media coverage in Hy-Vee major markets in the Midwest, which racked up millions of impressions.

JULIE McMILLIN

Assistant VP, Retail Dietetics, Hy-Vee

➤ McMillin developed Hy-Vee’s retail dietitian department, which features programs and billable services that meet the needs of customers; she oversees more than 200 dietitians and the retailer’s clinical services programs.

➤ She rolled out a company-wide electronic medical record-charting system that Hy-Vee’s dietitians use when performing billable services, and created a standard policy and procedure manual for use in all retail locations.

➤ McMillin’s efforts helped dietitian services hit $2 million in sales, and she oversaw the implementation of 11 American Association of Diabetes Educators locations within Hy-Vee stores.

JESSICA MONICAL

Director, Retail Development, Hy-Vee

➤ Monical oversees the retailer’s career and leadership training program, Hy-Vee University, which offers employees insight into all facets of the company’s operations and helps identify their individual career paths.

➤ While she was promoted to the executive staff just last year, Hy-Vee University has grown so much under Monical’s leadership that more employees are being hired to to implement the program.

➤ Her strong work ethic, positive attitude and passion make her a role model for women within the company as she acts as an enthusiastic ambassador for Hy-Vee to businesses and organizations throughout the company’s eight-state operating region.

RITA PETERS

Assistant VP, Floral Operations, Hy-Vee

➤ Peters oversees all of the retailer’s floral operations, including the customer education program, Get Growing. She influences creative direction in all Hy-Vee floral departments.

➤ Her involvement in the evolution of the floral department, such as her work with other departments to cross-merchandise floral in display, thereby increasing profit margins, has led to several sales records. She also acts as a mentor to up-and-coming floral managers.

➤ Peters has made floral a centerpiece of company events like the Taste of Hy-Vee sampling series, and spearheaded company-wide floral promotions such as the Million Stem Rose Sale.

JODY SANDY

Director, IT Projects, Hy-Vee

➤ Sandy leads multimillion-dollar projects to realign warehouse management systems within Hy-Vee’s supply chain, which allows warehouses to operate more efficiently.

➤ She’s currently managing eight supply chain and IT projects, providing updates to team members and company executives while tracking all tasks and costs involved with each project.

➤ Her expertise was invaluable during Hy-Vee’s recently completed proposal request for a new warehouse management system; she’ll play a key role in the selection and implementation of the system throughout the company’s two distribution centers.

SHANNON WOODS

Assistant General Counsel, Assistant Secretary, Hy-Vee

➤ Woods provides legal counsel to Hy-Vee employees on a variety of issues, with a primary focus on health law compliance, health care contracting, and acquisitions.

➤ The first woman on Hy-Vee’s legal team, she has dramatically advanced the company’s levels of health law compliance while crafting new policies and procedures; she keeps company ahead of curve in this dynamic arena.

➤ Woods has served as a board member of the Drake University Executive Roundtable, Iowa Workforce Development and the Southern Iowa Revolving Loan Fund. She also is a past chair of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

NICOLE LEMAIRE

Senior Director, Interactions Marketing

➤ LeMaire oversees business development and all retail and brand clients in the United States, as well as leading the experiential agency division within Interactions, which showcases retailers, private label brands and CPGs.

➤ Her leadership led to 41 percent year-over-year growth in her division. The growth came from new clients and expanded service offerings in program development, franchise marketing and community events/sponsorships.

➤ LeMaire launched two major retailer event marketing programs, and helped with the development and launch of Interactions’ Field Mobile app, which tracks events occurring at retail locations in real time.

MOLLY MITCH

Director of Human Resources, Jerry’s Enterprises

➤ Mitch manages human capital initiatives, focusing on employee and labor relations, performance management, training and development, compensation, and talent acquisition.

➤ She led the transition to an online application and staffing methodology, and at presstime was in the midst of installing an internal payroll and human capital system, as well as developing a strategic succession plan for Jerry’s Enterprises.

➤ Mitch staffed eight stores in nine weeks as Jerry’s transitioned its acquired Rainbow stores to its own banner; this meant interviewing, background-checking and training 555 employees for the 36-hour conversion.

KENTHARINE BAJEMIN

Manager, Employee and Labor Relations, Kings Super Markets Inc.

➤ As chief architect of the regional grocer’s strategic plan and people allocation, Benjamin fosters relationships and maximizes cross-functionality across the company.

➤ She enhanced customer service training programs by the inclusion of a concierge module to reinforce the importance of customer engagement, and developed, coordinated and co-facilitated a workplace disaster prevention training initiative.

➤ In addition to devising associate refresher customer service training courses for seven major store remodels, Ferguson successfully negotiated three collective bargaining agreements.

LAURA WALLACE

Senior Marketing Manager, Kings Super Markets Inc.

➤ Playing a key role in the launch of Kings’ new private label program, Wallace helped the grocer win an award for the line’s packaging design, which is growing sales and improving margins.

➤ She established a new production process for the line that increased SKU production and speed to shelf, and collaborated on multiplatform marketing and merchandising support that yielded significant increases in unit sales, dollar sales and SKU counts.

➤ Wallace relaunched marketing collateral to expand Kings’ 24-hour local produce program, generating numerous multimedia placements and impressions, as well as extensive social media engagement.

HEATHER ACKELS

Software Solutions Manager, Kroger Technology, The Kroger Co.

➤ Ackels manages Kroger’s in-store systems and The Little Clinic team. Her responsibilities include overseeing the budget and managing the support and implementation of multiple tech applications used in stores.

➤ Identified as a rising star within Kroger, she participated in the Great People Review Day, improved The Little Clinic’s customer and vendor relationships, and built a strategic roadmap for enhancing the division’s technology.

➤ Ackels is volunteer coordinator for the 2015 TechOlympics, and a member of both the Network of Executive Women and Food Marketing Institute, as well as several resource groups at Kroger.

WENDI ADAMS

Meat/Seafood Sales Manager, Mid-Atlantic Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Adams collaborates with Kroger’s corporate meat merchandising team to create successful sales plans, communicates corporate/division sales initiatives and results, and works to develop solutions that keep the Mid-Atlantic division on track.

➤ She led a multidepartment initiative to implement multiple meat/seafood sanitation solutions, and worked with the division to develop and test an e-mail alert system to help achieve food safety compliance.

➤ Adams is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Women’s EDGE steering committee at Kroger and a board member for Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia.

KAREN BIRD

Division Meat/Seafood Manager, Michigan, The Kroger Co.

➤ Bird is an administrative department head in Kroger’s Michigan marketing area office, where she’s responsible for the meat/seafood departments in 124 stores.

➤ Under her leadership, the meat/seafood department has seen positive identical-store sales growth for three consecutive years. She has also led successful training efforts and served as a mentor to other employees.

➤ Bird was recently named the Midwest region’s representative on the Enterprise meat/ seafood steering committee. When not at Kroger, she enjoys staying involved in her two young daughters’ school and dance activities.

KATIE BOGENSCHUTZ

Software Solutions Manager, Kroger Technology, The Kroger Co.

➤ Bogenschutz manages Kroger’s loyalty technology team, including 16 applications that support customer insights and analytics, central execution, the digital customer program, and rewards and fuel discounts.

➤ She focused on talent development and process efficiencies, reducing her operating expense budget by 10 percent, and the time between testing and application deployment by 50 percent.

➤ Bogenschutz is heavily involved in community work, including her position as board member for the Starfire Council of Cincinnati.

CHRISTA CRISWELL

Operations Coordinator, Columbus Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Criswell’s sphere of influence includes 20 stores in Kroger’s District J. She works closely with store management to identify store opportunities, analyze reports, and make recommendations to improve sales, shrink rates, safety, profit and the shopping experience.

➤ She’s an excellent mentor who has worked with countless associates within the Columbus division to help them reach their desired positions. Her district’s outstanding performance includes increased customer count and a 5.5 percent increase in EBITDA.

➤ Criswell is active in her church and loves spending time with her family.

KATHY CULVER

Senior Supply Chain Manager, G.O. Logistics, The Kroger Co.

➤ Culver has direct responsibility for 250 associates, as well as the daily operations at two distribution centers in Kroger’s California network, which supports both the Ralphs and Food4Less store operations.

➤ She received a 2014 Logistics MVP Key Award for being a top logistics leader in the organization. Two of her main achievements included overseeing important process certifications and receiving double Superior rankings for the two DCs.

➤ Culver participates in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and leads industry education tours through the automated Paramount, Calif., DC for the METRANS/INUF Logistics Council.

MELISSA EADS

Customer Communications Manager, Nashville Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Eads oversees the Nashville division’s customer communication and loyalty/advertising programs. Her job includes managing the communications budget.

➤ She spearheaded Kroger’s efforts to successfully pass legislation through the Tennessee legislature to allow wine sales in grocery stores — a $60 million sales opportunity — and helped establish the new Nashville division, a process that included selecting and developing new team members.

➤ Eads is a board member of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, the Oasis Center and the Nashville Sports Council.

Senior-Level Executives

LORI ENNIS

Talent Development Manager, Atlanta Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Ennis guides the talent strategy within Kroger’s Atlanta division, which includes 187 stores and 27,000-plus associates.

➤ She led her team through some notable accomplishments, among them opening the division’s first small training center. She also co-developed and now leads a “talent walk” process focused on identifying and developing high-potential leaders.

➤ Ennis is a member of the Network of Executive Women and serves as social media co-chair for the group’s Atlanta chapter. At Kroger, she was part of the founding committee to develop the KnowwoMen group, a women’s development group.

JEANIE GOODRICH

District Pharmacy Coordinator, Smith’s, The Kroger Co.

➤ Goodrich oversees 23 Smith’s pharmacies, which employ about 150 associates. She manages her district’s sales and profitability, staffing and customer service; as well as opening and closing of various pharmacy locations.

➤ Under her leadership, the pharmacies exceeded their district script-count goals, as well as profit contribution and sales; exceeded district immunization goal by 29 percent.

➤ Goodrich is involved with the New Mexico Pharmacist Association, as well as with volunteer projects related to UNM Children’s Hospital, Road Runner Food Bank and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

KRISTY HOSMAN

Controller, King Soopers, The Kroger Co.

➤ Hosman is responsible for all financial aspects of King Soopers’ sales revenue, totaling several billion dollars and multimillion-dollar division earnings.

➤ She directed both a financial and a store operations audit with good results, and conducted an extensive administrative deep-dive expense review with the senior executive team, store operations and all administrative department managers. The latter analysis identified current and future cost savings opportunities through 2016.

➤ Hosman belongs to the King Soopers/City Market Women’s Associate Resource Group and the Denver chapter of the Network of Executive Women.

SHEILA LOWRIE

Division Associate Communications and Public Relations Manager, Dillons, The Kroger Co.

➤ Lowrie oversees internal and external communication throughout the Dillons division, comprising 82 stores in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and is the division’s spokeswoman.

➤ She was instrumental in the initiation and communication of an associate empowerment campaign, and developed a statewide food drive with the Kansas governor, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and food bank partners.

➤ Lowrie supports Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, local food banks, United Way of the Plains, YMCA and USO, and earned six medals competing in the 2014 Wichita Corporate Challenge on behalf of Dillons.

TARYN MYNEAR

Kompass Manager, Louisville Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Mynear’s primary responsibilities include the planning and execution of all in-store resets to ensure the timely placement of new items in stores. Her influence touches 98 stores.

➤ Her hard work and dedication helped achieve overall sales growth of 4 percent in grocery, and 27 percent in natural foods. During this time, she helped Kroger team with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to incorporate more than 100 local items in stores, and oversaw the complete revamp of the center store coffee aisle, adding nearly 200 new items to stores.

➤ Mynear is an active member of Women’s EDGE within the Louisville division.

SARA PARKER

Division Administration/Total rewards Manager, Fred Meyer, The Kroger Co.

➤ Parker leads the overall total rewards (administration, benefits and compensation) strategy with leadership and associates at Fred Meyer. Her job affects more than 33,000 associates in four states.

➤ She refocused efforts on increasing associate participation in the WAFC Retail Management Certificate program, which resulted in a 76 percent increase over the previous year, and helped launch a new structured mentoring program and leadership behavior training.

➤ Winner of a prestigious customer service award at Kroger, Parker is currently an advisory board member for Oregon State University’s marketing department.

CLARE REILLY

Head of Financial Services, Kroger Personal Finance, The Kroger Co.

➤ Reilly’s role is enterprise-wide: Her department has responsibility for driving growth in the financial kiosk category, which includes Kroger ATMs and Coinstar.

➤ She led a cross-functional team that launched Kroger’s co-branded insurance product, which offers fuel points on customers’ average monthly premiums. This year, Kroger will test a unique ATM offer in a select market, thanks to her innovation and vision.

➤ Reilly volunteered to be the “executive sponsor” of the Kroger Personal Finance Cultural Council, which aims to grow Kroger’s associate engagement score and recently joined the company’s Veterans Associate Resource Group.

DINA SERRANO

GM/HBC Merchandiser, Food 4 Less, The Kroger Co.

➤ Serrano is primarily responsible for managing and developing grocery category managers and creating a sales plan for Food 4 Less’s 131 stores.

➤ She oversaw and drove nearly $2.9 billion in sales, representing almost 55 percent of total division sales, and was instrumental in strategically increasing corporate brand growth.

➤ A strong advocate for cancer research, Serrano is currently committee chair for City of Hope’s Southern California Food Industry Circle Fashion Show and a committee member for City of Hope’s Harvest Ball. In 2014, she completed Kroger’s Women’s EDGE Leadership class.

Rising Stars

APRIL SHORES

Fuel Manager, Central Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Shores oversees 89 fuel centers in Kroger’s Central division. Her job includes managing the fuel department’s budgets, profits and goals, and she provides leadership for the opening of new fuel centers.

➤ She improved the division’s fuel profitability by more than 81.9 percent over the prior year, managed the opening of eight new fuel centers, revamped the fuel pricing strategy, and developed a fuel training program that had 100 percent attendance.

➤ Last year, Shores’ division had the highest average weekly sales for a fuel kiosk in the entire company.

RORY SNAVELY

Warehouse Operations Manager, Harris Teeter, The Kroger Co.

➤ Snavely oversees the perishables, floral and dry goods functions at Harris Teeter’s Indian Trail, N.C., distribution center, where she’s responsible for all warehouse operations to ensure timely, efficient receiving and shipping of product to retail stores.

➤ She guided the Indian Trail operation through 20 percent case growth, implemented a Customer Service Excellence training program for distribution, and spent time as a mentor in Harris Teeter’s diversity program.

➤ Snavely participated in the Great People Review Day at Kroger, and is active in various nonprofit groups.

MAGGIE WATTS

Grocery Sales Manager, Columbus Division, The Kroger Co.

➤ Watts handles grocery sales and profit budgets in Kroger’s Columbus division, working with corporate teams and the division grocery merchandiser on sales planning, space and price management, and service.

➤ During a water ban in the Columbus area, she coordinated the delivery of 90-plus truckloads of water to 23 stores. She also helped achieve great results by supporting Kroger’s Price Refresh program and participating in the corporate brands shipper challenge.

➤ Watts delivers Meals on Wheels and is in Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group.

YIMIN XIE

Controller, Kroger Personal Finance, The Kroger Co.

➤ Xie oversees and supports the financial results and performance of each individual business line and Kroger Personal Finance as a whole, liaising with senior management and communicating with all Kroger divisions.

➤ She introduced a number of processes that have improved forecasting capabilities, increased the focus and understanding of cost control, and allowed automation of various processes, and also developed her team through such methods as coaching and job rotation.

➤ Xie and four other associates initiated Kroger’s Asian associate resource group.

STACEY MILLER

Senior Brand Manager, Litehouse Inc.

➤ Miller helped contribute to overall bottom-line growth of 20 percent through innovative marketing programs, consumer outreach and cost savings initiatives. In particular, she elevated the herb channel to a $16 million product line generating double-digit growth.

➤ She mentored brand managers to grow other product lines and launch products, while creating and implementing a packaging innovation process through internal cross-functional departments.

➤ Miller helped create strategic initiatives for retail sales growth by region, along with training new brand managers for profit and loss, product launch execution, and marketing plans and promotions.

CRYSTAL ACKERMAN

Manager, Merchandise Planner, Meijer

➤ Ackerman is responsible for maximizing the customer experience through on-shelf availability for 11,000-plus SKUs across all Meijer stores.

➤ She eliminated $10 million in excess inventory within two months of moving into a new position and sustained inventory levels below plan for the balance of the year. Ackerman also improved comparable direct-margin returns on inventory investment by five basis points, following three consecutive years of declines.

➤ An active participant and key contributor in corporate initiatives for the merchandise planning and grocery teams, Ackerman has received five promotions in her eight years with Meijer.

DARLA DEVOE

Director, Supply Chain Unit, Meijer

➤ DeVoe manages all activities for 15 salaried employees and 375 hourly employees servicing 59 stores across Ohio and Michigan that yield $990 million in annual sales.

➤ She increased comparable productivity by 7.4 percent while reducing overtime by 30 percent during the first half of the year and by 17.3 percent in the second half, equating to a 26 percent reduction in direct labor dollars and leading to savings of $121,500 in five months.

➤ DeVoe was the grocery facility campaign leader for Meijer’s annual United Way team member drive, which netted $18,650 in pledges, exceeding the original goal by 71 percent.

CEHOENDRA KASSA

Director, Merchandise, Meijer

➤ Kehoe played a pivotal role in building beauty care and cosmetics’ category management process while developing a suite of strategic tools providing streamlined analytics that enable the creation of tailored sets.

➤ She orchestrated training for eight buying teams to pilot processes resulting in the standardization and efficiency of execution of category reviews and clearly defined roles; these efforts won her a Director’s Award in Planning.

➤ Actively involved in the ART (Aisle Ready Tote) distribution model to optimize replenishment system tactics, Kehoe revamped delivery procedures and pricing optimization.

AMANDA McVAY

Divisional Merchandise Manager-Home Division, Meijer

➤ Leading Meijer’s largest general merchandise sales division, McVay was integral in driving a 7 percent growth rate in the housewares and home décor division, which outpaces total company growth.

➤ By delivering a strategy focused on category segmentation with the most relevant brands, she enabled the hard home division to post a comparable 70-basis-point gain in 2014 — 10 basis points higher than Meijer’s total market share gain for 2014.

➤ Her analysis of space productivity for 29 end caps for the hard home division led to a 40 percent sales gain and 70 percent profit growth during the 2014 holiday season.

ANGELA ROSLONIEC

Regional Human Resource Manager, Meijer

➤ Leading the human resource initiatives for 34 stores and about 10,000 team members in the eastern Michigan region, Rosloniec devised a formalized talent strategy to develop front-line leadership.

➤ She facilitated succession-planning discussions and focused on targeted development activities to equip team members for future leadership roles.

➤ Rosloniec led the initiative to create a new human resources organizational structure to support and sustain a new market launch, which included developing hiring teams and teaming with community leaders and community agencies to source and prepare interview-ready candidates.

NICOLE SUNDERLAND

Manager, Merchandise Planner, Meijer

➤ Sunderland played a key role in altering the perception of Meijer’s apparel lines by selecting compelling, on-trend assortments and improving the lines’ social media presence.

➤ Regarded as a collaborative and influential leader, she worked on Meijer’s Look Book, which went out to about 3 million shoppers, and was selected to participate in a major category management pilot in fall 2015.

➤ The recipient of a Mentor Award in 2014 as well as an active runner, Sunderland leads a working mothers’ community group that holds health and beauty events to educate women on safe food and beauty options.

JUDY SWEETMAN

Director, Inbound Logistics, Meijer

➤ Leading a team responsible for inbound product flow from worldwide vendors to Meijer stores, reverse logistics, and customs/import compliance, Sweetman streamlined a network inbound appointment-scheduling system.

➤ She contributed $3.7 million to pretax profits through the reverse-logistics program, helping to generate margin savings of $9 million. Also, by improving delivery exceptions by 24 percent, she helped establish a high-bay frozen facility and a dry-grocery depot.

➤ Sweetman onboarded 65 contract carriers to service supply chain network changes, and led a team that conducted 147 freight analyses to support network changes.

ROSE TILLMAN

Director, Retail Services, Meijer

➤ Tillman mentors, develops and manages the performance of retail specialists in a 29-store region. She’s overseen three straight years of improved safety metrics and no lost-time accidents, as well as a safety and accountability initiative.

➤ She developed content, created the deployment strategy and delivered training for an initiative to reduce product waste, and created and implemented a strategy to improve profit and decrease revenue loss while designing leadership development training.

➤ The recipient of a Store Director Safety Milestone award, Tillman is active with the Lions Club.

LISA BLOOMER

Director of Sheeted and Shredded Business Units, MOM Brands

➤ Bloomer leads the strategic planning, margin management, profit and loss, new product development, and portfolio optimization for MOM Brands’ ready-to-eat cereal businesses.

➤ She was instrumental in creating new natural/organic products, including spearheading the launch of instant steel-cut oats, changing pack sizes, and optimizing the brand’s portfolio to help consumers find new solutions in the highly competitive cereal category.

➤ Bloomer turned MOM Brands’ hot cereal segment from a declining, unprofitable business to a growing and profitable enterprise.

LORI BROWN

Director Sales-West Region, MOM Brands

➤ Managing the western region sales team, Brown transformed double-digit declines experienced by two key divisions of a large retail account into thriving positive performances.

➤ She helped rebuild relationships and restore long-term partnerships between teams at another key retail customer, resulting in vastly improved base business. Further, Brown played a major role in regaining MOM Brands’ distribution at yet another key retail account while boosting new ready-to-eat box cereals at yet another major retailer.

➤ Active in a number of trade organizations, including the Network of Executive Women, Illuminators and the California Grocers Association.

HOPE DANIELSON

Health & Wellness Advisor, Niemann Foods Inc.

➤ Building a successful integrated health-and-wellness program image for all 100-plus formats under the Niemann Foods umbrella, Danielson shares her talents and expertise not only internally, but also with the media, health organizations, schools and community groups.

➤ She was integral in Niemann’s County Market banner being named the No. 1 supermarket in its operating markets for 2014.

➤ A Produce for Better Health Foundation Retail Role Model in 2014, Danielson is an invaluable resource to the company’s retail merchandising teams, helping to guide a full slate of events, activities and educational outreach.

ANNE AUGER

Senior Director of Sales, Great Lakes Region, PepsiCo

➤ Auger helped deliver an outstanding year for the largest regional grocer in PepsiCo’s Great Lakes region, as evidenced by superior overall business results that exceeded all bottom-line performance measures and delivered five out of five brand growth targets.

➤ For her work, she received recognition as 2014’s Best of the Best Great Lakes Region Sales Director and other internal awards.

➤ Auger’s charitable and industry activities include sitting on the planning committees for two major fundraising events, and being a member of Pepsi’s Great Lakes Region Diversity & Inclusion Council, and a Junior Achievement of Detroit instructor/volunteer.

KATIE COLLETT

Director of Sales (Retail), PepsiCo

➤ Taking on expanding responsibilities and leadership roles, Collett leads all aspects of PepsiCo’s DSD beverages for one of its largest and most influential retail customers, along with all of its operating divisions, after presiding over the successful East Coast rollout of a new brand.

➤ She’s a trusted adviser who works tirelessly to collaboratively achieve the customer’s and PepsiCo’s joint business plan.

➤ A member of the Network of Executive Women, co-chair of the Northeast Region Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) and a PepsiCo Ring of Honor winner, Collett was also recognized by her employer as one of eight national top performers in 2014.

NICOLE FLAVIN

Senior Director of Shopper Marketing, PepsiCo

➤ Flavin works closely with multidivisional retail marketing, merchandising and customer loyalty teams to build programs that result in a robust and sophisticated shopper marketing calendar.

➤ With a proven record of managing top-performing brand portfolios, she leverages her cross-divisional perspective and invaluable contributions to help her current shopper marketing team better connect with consumers in the grocery channel.

➤ Flavin’s foresight is helping to set a new partnership agenda with one of PepsiCo’s largest grocery channel partners, delivering a roadmap for transformational initiatives.

EMMA SMITH

Senior Director, Quaker Sales Planning, PepsiCo

➤ An integral part of a division generating about $3 billion in sales, Smith exceeded share objectives across all core categories and surpassed innovation revenue goals.

➤ She drove the Quaker Productivity Initiative, exceeded the plan by $2.5 million and was the executive sponsor of Quaker’s talent transformation team. Additionally, Smith led the national retail immersion “snapshot” day and was a key leader in training and onboarding new associates, as well as hosting a collaborative Quaker Sales 101 event for the marketing and supply chain teams.

➤ She’s a PepsiCo Pinnacle Women Leadership participant and Quaker Outstanding Performance Recognition winner.

JAMIE STROH

Director of Sales, PepsiCo

➤ As general manager of the PepsiCo snack business for a large retail partner, Stroh launched a first-of-its-kind salty/savory/sweet program in the drug channel that achieved 12 percent net revenue growth for the fiscal year.

➤ A 2014 PepsiCo Ring of Honor award winner, she collaborated with marketing and activation teams at the same retailer on a front end solution that doubled the immediate consumption snack business.

➤ Stroh presided over an organic product launch at another major retail account that powered the brand to achieve a 50 percent gain from original projections, while lifting overall category sales to record levels.

EMILIA TAUSS

Director of Category Leadership, PepsiCo

➤ Tauss teamed with a key retail account’s snack team to deliver 4 percent revenue growth, generating measurable gains in both market share and household penetration in the category.

➤ She collaborated with a major retail partner to develop a multiyear category strategy for snacks to enable transformation, which has yielded impressive results, as evidenced by 6.3 percent growth in the first quarter of 2015.

➤ Working cross-functionally with innovation, shopper marketing and insights teams to develop optimal sales territories for teams to execute against to ensure sustainable success, Tauss successfully hired, trained and developed numerous key associates.

MEREDIT WIKTOROWSKI

Senior Director, PBC Sales, PepsiCo

➤ With oversight of the beverage business for a major retail customer, Wiktorowski collaboratively created and executed a robust joint business plan encompassing sales, supply chain, finance and shopper marketing for one of PepsiCo’s major business lines, with the aim of exceeding goals.

➤ A recipient of many key awards across the company, she currently serves as president of the board of directors for the Kendrick Fincher Hydration Foundation.

➤ Wiktorowski also holds a national leadership position for the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) and is a leader for the Pinnacle program for high-potential women at PepsiCo.

CAROLE HAMPSON

Key Account Manager, Pharmavite/Nature Made

➤ Hampson manages and supports five broker divisions across a six-state region, sharing her leadership, insights and knowledge of the vitamin, mineral and supplement category with both customers and colleagues.

➤ Her communication skills and strategic approach were integral in helping her deliver and surpass objectives, as evidenced by an overall account sales increase of more than 20 percent in 2014.

➤ Hampson implemented and executed a successful off-shelf vitamin basket promotion at a major retail customer, and created new and unique SKUs for a key customer, resulting in a 17 percent comparable increase.

BARBARA WHITMORE

Director of National Accounts, Pharmavite/Nature Made

➤ Working cross-functionally to drive profitable volume and provide category leadership, Whitmore increased sales volume of a national retail account by more than 65 percent over a three-year period.

➤ She led the effort to bring innovation to the same retail account through product introductions, targeted promotions and merchandising enhancements, as well as by implementing a new roller-shelf concept that will be in place at all of the retailer’s stores by the end of 2015.

➤ Whitmore created and executed successful cause-marketing tie-ins to benefit breast cancer research and children’s hospitals.

KERRY-ANNE DEMPSEY

Senior Account Executive, East Food Team, Procter & Gamble

➤ Recognized for her people management skills and track record of developing new employees, Dempsey developed strategic business relationships and plans with multiple food retailers, enabling them to improve their cosmetics business performance.

➤ She leveraged her 25-plus years of experience to initiate a successful test pilot with a major nongrocery retailer to sell cosmetics.

➤ Dempsey is now responsible for the corporate P&G portfolio at several major regional food retailers in New England, where she has honed strong working relationships grounded in establishing joint business plans with monthly scorecards.

RACHEL DOUGHERTY

Senior Manager, Retail Supply, Procter & Gamble

➤ Overseeing the end-to-end supply chain for all of P&G’s household needs brands, from all plants and distribution centers to all divisions of a major national retailer, Dougherty worked on a joint supply chain action plan to deliver more than 1 percent incremental growth.

➤ She established and implemented several best-in-class processes, including Win With Weather, quarterly reviews and event planning.

➤ Dougherty rolled out other supply chain tools and approaches that have been shared and replicated nationally within P&G, including freight attractiveness, and customer inventory target-setting and management.

JOSETTE FLOYD

Associate Director, Customer Business Development, Procter & Gamble

➤ Responsible for a multimillion-dollar business at a leading national retailer as drug/GM team leader, Floyd outpaced the channel in share growth while nailing new item introductions.

➤ In addition to her outstanding business results, she earned high marks for her performance and contributions to the business.

➤ Leading the recruitment efforts for 49 interns and serving as a mentor to 11 managers, Floyd played a key role in a seamless team leadership transition. As proof of her excellent results, 43 percent of her business reached or surpassed targets.

JOY MEAD

Associate Director, Brand Management-Food Channel, Procter & Gamble

➤ Mead is recognized as a leader in Food Channel Shopper Marketing and has led her to team to deliver six unique scale campaigns delivering hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental NOS. Her work was a key contributor to dollar share and display growth.

➤ She worked with numerous media partners to secure co-advertising campaigns, and with vendors to customize programs for the grocery channel.

➤ Mead was one of the first category management leaders to help lead P&G expertise in this area. She helped champion shopper marketing, and was promoted to her current post in 2008.

VIRGINIA PALMER

Associate Director, Customer Business Development-Food Channel, Procter & Gamble

➤ Palmer demonstrated organizational agility by reorganizing team responsibilities across customers, covering unexpected gaps while maintaining strong customer relationships and a vibrant business.

➤ She invested in new hires and was a strong advocate for the development of P&G’s young talent.

➤ Palmer dramatically improved new-initiative results across the Southeast region. Currently on track to deliver above expectations on P&G’s most important initiatives, her teams are focused on delivering stronger actionable plans that incorporate key customer planks and P&G strategic choices.

LEE ANN TERHUNE

Senior Account Executive, Procter & Gamble

➤ Terhune developed a customized training plan of more than 500 sales professionals, and developed more than 50 national and individual training plans that directly contributed more than $1 million in incremental P&G sales in the grocery channel.

➤ She deployed a sales-forecasting tool enabling P&G’s sales organization to more accurately forecast sales, accelerate grocery customer market share performance and enhance joint business planning.

➤ Terhune created the North American Brand Management Infield Sales Training program, which enables brand managers to deliver high-quality launch plans.

MEREDITH MENSINGER

Corporate Dietitian, Redner’s Markets

➤ Mensinger created TasteStations, a store-level sampling program that raises awareness of healthier lifestyles.

➤ She manages product distribution and supply to ensure execution of both TasteStations and Healthcents, an in-store and online publication, and analyzes sales data to improve future promotions.

➤ A member of several professional organizations, Mensinger has presented at the Pennsylvania Dietician Annual State Meeting, and has won the Produce for Better Health Role Model Award, the Food Marketing Institute Gold Plate Award, and Supermarket Dietitian of the Year in 2013.

KELLY MIHALIS-McGOLRICK

Senior Director, Shearer’s Snacks

➤ Mihalis-McGolrick leads the company’s branded marketing, corporate marketing and category selling initiatives.

➤ She relaunched the Rice-works brand with new packaging and items, increasing velocity and reversing the negative trajectory of the brand. She also created and implemented the category selling approach, which provided value-added services to customers and led to securing new business at Safeway and WinCo.

➤ Mihalis-McGolrick has won several sales and best practices awards from Shearer’s business partner companies.

JEANNE NASH

District Manager, Smart & Final

➤ Nash transitioned from leading company safety programs to her role as District Manager in a realigned area; has profit-and-loss responsibility for 19 stores encompassing $240 million annually in sales.

➤ She inherited a challenging group of stores with the company’s realignment this past year, and was tasked with developing future leaders in the district as the company expands its store count.

➤ Nash developed a strong training and mentoring program within the district that enabled the company to open a new store in the market while continuing to keep surrounding stores staffed with qualified key associates.

STACIE SULAK

Senior Development, Mobile and Web, Smart & Final

➤ Sulak is responsible for the design, development, testing and deployment of mobile and web applications for internal use; has deployed game-changing mobile applications that have helped transform the IT department at Smart & Final from “order takers” to “innovators.”

➤ She introduced a feature to her custom iOS mobile application that displays the schematic location and item details for every item in the store; it also notifies the user if one or more items haven’t sold in a set time period.

➤ Sulak has received several quarterly awards from the CIO and was nominated as an IT Associate of the Year for 2014.

CELIA WORKMAN

Director, Quality Assurance, Smart & Final

➤ Workman has played an integral role in the development of the company’s new Sun Harvest Organic/ Earth Friendly brand of products and in configuring a new web-based product lifecycle management tool tailored to Smart & Final’s specific requirements.

➤ She actively participates in private label presentations to ensure associates are knowledgeable about the products and can provide relevant information to customers.

➤ Workman helped develop and implement a retail food safety audit program to provide stores with the proper training and certification.

RONDEL HARTWELL

Director of Competitive Response, Southeastern Grocers

➤ Hartwell leads a cross-functional team of representatives from merchandising, marketing, construction and operations to create and implement strategies.

➤ Southeastern Grocers helped channel $9 million back into its communities through her team and leadership; she integrated corporate and charitable giving processes so information flow for both can be accomplished through one system.

➤ Hartwell’s previous roles were director of public relations, community involvement and charitable giving; director of advertising and branding; senior manager, advertising and branding; and manager of supplier diversity.

KIM JACKSON

Director of Advertising Operations, Southeastern Grocers

➤ Jackson’s duties include the daily operation and execution of all advertising programs. She oversees the design and implementation of advertising strategies, plans and programs for the Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie banners.

➤ Jackson was marketing lead on a cross-functional executive team that carried out Southeastern Grocers’ integration of 150 newly acquired stores. She has achieved success through her commitment to improvement, communication and collaboration at all levels.

➤ The Jacksonville Business Journal recognized Jackson’s skills and achievements with its Women of Influence award.

JENNIFER McKNIE

Regional Sales Manager, Winn-Dixie, Tampa Region, Southeastern Grocers

➤ McKiney oversees the produce and floral merchandising departments for the Tampa region, helping to create and deliver their sales and earnings budget and gross margin.

➤ Through her work, the region surpassed the total net produce gross profit budget in produce and floral. She achieved results through her recognition of opportunities at the warehouse, leading to impactful changes, and also created the company’s first-ever floral training workshops.

➤ McKiney is involved with the Network after Work organization and Who’s Who in Business.

KIM SMITHERS

Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing, Southeastern Grocers

➤ Smithers is responsible for store marketing as a whole, promoting the reasons to shop at Southeastern Grocers’ Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores.

➤ She led a team that contributed to the messaging and strategic marketing plan for the integration of more than 130 acquired stores, and oversaw marketing support for remodeling 30-plus stores, the rebranding of a pharmacy prescription program, and the 90th anniversary of Harveys Supermarkets.

➤ Smithers volunteers at her children’s schools and authors a blog dedicated to cooking: In fact, a potato salad recipe that she developed was added to a national cooking magazine’s database.

DAWN SOLTIS

Regional Sales Manager, Winn-Dixie, Tampa Region, Southeastern Grocers

➤ Soltis oversees the deli merchandising department for the 85-store Tampa, Fla., region, assisting with the creation and delivery of sales and earnings budgets, as well as gross margin.

➤ Her region saw a company-leading 21 percent sales increase. Tampa also led the company in several deli category sales increases, including specialty cheese and chef-prepared foods. The region was the top Cheap Chicken Monday program sales producer and won a Dietz & Watson sales contest.

➤ Soltis co-organized a community walk for Turner’s syndrome, raising more than $20,000.

DEANNA STEPHENS

Corporate Chef, Southeastern Grocers

➤ Stephens drives the development of signature recipes and programs, and oversees a team of field chefs.

➤ She was the force behind the development of Cheap Chicken Monday, which spurred chicken sales growth by 10 percent over the previous year; played an integral part in last year’s planning and execution of more than 23 grand openings across multiple departments; and developed five regionally based training chefs, creating the position from the ground up.

➤ Stephens is a committee member of Children’s Miracle Network and a capital campaign committee member for Baptist Health, among other outside endeavors.

GINGER BLACKBURN

Director of Customer Service, MDV, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Blackburn established a focused team of support personnel located within the MDV organization, without adding headcount. First-call resolution rates have improved 200 percent, and customers get focused answers directly from the team.

➤ She constructed a plan to improve web portal self-service to expedite customer service; notable functions include detail order analysis and real-time access.

➤ Blackburn co-authored and implemented the expanded distributor discrepancy program, enabling trucks to deliver at, and depart from, a location with minimal administrative work.

FRANCES CONROY

Controller, MDV East Region, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Conroy worked closely with senior management to provide the level of financial data and tools necessary to manage the business and constantly challenge them to consider critical financial data and develop their plan of action toward financial stability.

➤ She led account-mapping and data projects that have streamlined processes throughout her division.

➤ Conroy is leading finance efforts toward manually developing reports required for MDV operations to complete performance-metric information, and working closely with payroll and IT leads to capture the required level of detail in reporting payroll data.

CARMELLA COOK

HR Manager, MDV, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Cook teamed with the operations, transportation and distribution teams at the company’s distribution center to build a human capital program that delivered on key results and metrics. She built a strategic recruitment plan and incorporated several key tactics that enabled all departments to exceed staffing projections in a 24/7 environment.

➤ She joined forces with the DC director and other senior leadership to build key associate-related programs.

➤ By building trust and leading with a heightened sense of dignity and respect, Cook is a champion of the culture committee, which has been recognized by executive leadership.

DEBRA CROSS

Executive Administrator to the CEO, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Cross is the primary contributor to the origination and development of SpartanNash’s Women Inclusion Network (WIN) employee resource group.

➤ Her quick action and commitment provided the necessary leadership and continuity to the WIN Voice team, as well as guidance on how to align programming with the company’s strategic initiatives.

➤ Cross was nominated to the newly formed culture committee, and has been a substantial contributor, helping facilitate an eight-month core values campaign and serving as a voice for diversity and inclusion initiatives.

PAULA DOCKEN

Business Analyst Specialist, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Docken is liaison between the business and IT technical staff; successfully managed key system integration projects following the company’s merger.

➤ She demonstrated incredible service, caring and leadership in support of the company’s NFC Foundation; as a member of its board, she was responsible for organizing and running the 2014 Helping Hands in the Community day, coordinating associates’ volunteer projects.

➤ Docken’s unwavering commitment to associates and the foundation resulted in her selection as a trustee for the SpartanNash Foundation Board.

MARY JENNIFER TALICURAN

Director of Finance, MDV, SpartanNash Co.

➤ Talicuran handles the financial accounting, financial planning, and analysis and reporting for SpartanNash’s military segment, totaling about $2.4 billion in sales.

➤ In the wake of the Spartan Stores-Nash Finch Co. merger, she led various systems integration projects for the military division, developed manual reports and appropriate assumptions to forecast weekly financial results, and collaborated on changes and improvements in the weekly reporting to ensure accurate and timely results.

➤ A certified public accountant, Talicuran completed a five-year term on Saint Gregory Catholic Church’s financial committee.

PATRICIA AMY

Director Technical Services, Supervalu

➤ Amy is responsible for the day-to-day technical operations of Supervalu’s West Region distribution network.

➤ She was key to planning and executing the movement of associates during a consolidation, handling issues of technology and physical space; spearheaded a company-wide print equipment use review that resulted in significant cost savings in equipment lease costs and actual print charges; and headed a team to bring all newly acquired stores onto the Supervalu distribution platform, without missing an order.

➤ Amy has consistently taken on additional responsibilities during her 43-year tenure with Supervalu.

CAROL ARKINS

Distribution Center Manager, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu

➤ Arkins leads a team of 100 associates at Save-A-Lot’s Plant City, Fla., operation, which services more than 120 corporate and licensee stores. It’s the lowest-cost distribution center in the company’s 17-facility network.

➤ She led a strategic initiative to completely overhaul customer delivery schedules, resulting in reduced warehouse and transportation expense, improved customer service levels, and better store in-stock positions.

➤ Arkins was instrumental in the development and piloting of a 5-S program to improve facility standards, and led its rollout to all of Save-a-Lot’s distribution centers.

JODY BARRICK

Director, Bakery & Deli, Supervalu

➤ Reporting to the VP of fresh merchandising, Barrick is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the bakery/deli department for Supervalu’s West region, including 24 employees.

➤ She successfully led the bakery/deli department transition of Midwest and Northern regions into the new West region while gaining new business across the region, and restructured the bakery/deli department to better align with the needs of Supervalu’s customers and the changing retail landscape.

➤ Promoted to her current role in 2014, Barrick participates in the IDDBA Show and Sell planning committee.

DIANA COLBURN

Director of Human Resources, Supervalu

➤ As director of human resources for Supervalu’s largest retail banner, Cub Foods, Colburn oversees 77 corporate and franchise stores.

➤ Colburn was instrumental in the acquisition of Rainbow Foods stores that were converted to a company, franchise or LLC Cub location; helped create and implement a higher level of accountability regarding store standards and execution, leading to better conditions for customers and employees; and implemented a mandatory interactive customer service program for employees.

➤ According to a colleague, Colburn maintains “a strong focus on business results and understands the importance of how HR can really help drive business initiatives.”

KERRY CORBET

Director of Marketing & Consumer Insights, Supervalu

➤ Corbet develops and implements brand standards, style guidelines and brand architecture guardrails for Supervalu’s private brands.

➤ She led the largest organic and free-from marketing launch in company history that of the Wild Harvest brand; coordinated efforts to present the program at Supervalu’s first-ever National Selling Expo for independents; and worked on the brand’s internal development with the company’s retail banners. The results: phenomenal incremental year-over-year sales growth.

➤ Corbet collaborated with various teams and agencies on the development and implementation of streamlined work processes to position the company for future growth.

TUCONA CROWDER

Director of Human Resources, Supervalu

➤ Crowder leads the human resources function for the West region and about half of Supervalu’s independent business.

➤ She was a driving force in the consolidation of three regions into two, working to meet staffing needs; helped advance the new West region’s growth strategy; and, when the East region human resources lead left the company, took on all HR director duties for two regions and 22 distribution centers until a replacement was found.

➤ Crowder is currently helping to lead the HR work associated with doubling the size of the Tacoma, Wash., distribution center to supply Supervalu’s new business acquired from Haggen.

SHERI DALEN

Account Manager, Supervalu

➤ Dalen is responsible for the budgeted independent retail sales in her territory of eastern North and South Dakota and eastern Minnesota, working with stores on events, promotions, remodels and resets.

➤ She achieved outstanding year-over-year like-store sales results in her market area; successfully opened a replacement store in Lamoure, N.D., for which she determined the location and size by analyzing market demographics; and completed a store remodel in Aberdeen, S.D.

➤ An Alexa’s Hope board member; Dalen participates in triathlons and marathons, and volunteers at the ever-growing Fargo Marathon.

COURTNEY DANIEL

Consumer Marketing Account Manager, Supervalu

➤ Daniel is the region special event lead, which includes responsibility for budget, RFPs, layout and working with merchandising to create planners for the events.

➤ She produced all marketing materials for Supervalu’s first company-wide Selling Expo for independents, had a record 532 indies participate in Supervalu’s fall baking book; developed a successful back-to-school shopper marketing event; and combined all shopper marketing programs during the creation of the company’s new West region to form a single robust initiative.

➤ Daniel sits on the board of directors for the Stages Theatre Co.

LISA ECHARD

Distribution Center General Manager, Supervalu

➤ Operating Supervalu’s Green Bay, Wis., distribution center, Echard guides a workforce of 225-plus that services more than 180 independent stores.

➤ Despite facility limitations, she encouraged her team to be creative, resulting in improved throughput numbers.

➤ Last September, when her facility experienced an ammonia leak, followed by an explosion and fire in one of its outside freezer facilities, Echard shifted customer orders to the Champaign, Ill., DC so that no store would miss a delivery. After the hazmat team allowed access to the facility, her team removed 18 truckloads of product, and all rescued items passed FDA inspections.

SALLY FATZINGER

Category Director, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu

➤ Fatzinger is responsible for organizing and articulating the near- and long-term strategic vision of the merchandising category group, and communicating that vision across the organization.

➤ Her business performance exceeded her plan in cost reductions, as well as driving increased indentical-store sales in the most recent periods. She completely redesigned key categories, including paper, pet and baby, with high double-digit results.

➤ Fatzinger’s sphere of influence is wide and allows her to carve through the organization, gathering support to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.

JENNIFER FOSTER

Senior Director, Category Strategy, Supervalu

➤ Foster develops technical tools and strategic processes for Supervalu’s corporate, owned retail banner and independent business merchandising departments.

➤ She headed a cross-functional team to create a frozen food strategy integrated into owned retail stores’ merchandising efforts and used by wholesale regions to work with independents; led the development and rollout of Supervalu’s Enterprise Data Sharing Strategy with CPGs and brokers; and fine-tuned and streamlined a program supporting category/aisle strategy development for supply chain regions and owned retail banners.

➤ Foster sits on Nielsen’s retail advisory board.

RIA GRAY

Lead Merchandiser, Supervalu

➤ Gray oversees the daily operation of department functions, working with senior merchandising teams to achieve category business plan goals.

➤ She developed a process for category managers to follow, as well as a “planning workshop” training module, to get them on board; devised a Trimester Planning 101 tool covering what needs to happen before and after vendor negotiations; and worked on three out of 12 seminars at Supervalu’s first National Selling Expo for independents, creating presentations, gathering data and serving as an overall subject matter expert.

➤ Gray developed and heads the steering committee for Supervalu’s Young Professionals business resource group.

KIM HAGER

Deli Sales and Merchandising Manager, Farm Fresh, Supervalu

➤ Hager handles the merchandising, planning, item assortment, vendor negotiation and promotion of all Farm Fresh deli departments.

➤ She assembled a tracking tool and process providing every deli item’s weekly performance, enabling her to forecast, invest in and understand the business at the item level; held training sessions establishing a solid foundation and knowledge base for her team; and mentored several department managers through weekly one-on-one meetings and store visits.

➤ Hager has implemented the greeting “What would you like to sample today?” for every deli customer and an aggressive companion and suggestive-selling program.

KORINE HEADLEE

Supply Chain Manager, Supervalu

➤ Headlee oversees the procurement of grocery, frozen foods, dairy, bakery, deli and meat at nine distribution centers.

➤ Following the absorption of the Midwest region into the west region, she added three distribution centers to her area of responsibility, more inventory and several hundred independent and corporate stores. She also dealt with the ramp-up of additional volume in the Hopkins, Minn., DC upon the acquisition of Rainbow Foods stores in Minneapolis, which led to the onboarding, training and mentoring of 19 new buyers.

➤ Maintaining a calm, positive attitude in the face of challenges, Headlee serves as a mentor to her team.

KATIE HELD

Senior Human Resources Manager, Supervalu

➤ Held provides HR generalist support for about 900 technical services employees.

➤ She worked closely with the technical services leadership team on offshoring an IT help-desk function, ensuring the smooth transition of employees and work.

➤ Held collaborated with leadership on the reduction of more than 60 positions prompted by a Salt Lake City site closure, helping to identify the right structure and positions needed in Minnesota to take on the work no longer performed at the closed site, and staffing these positions in the time frame needed to support the work.

PAM HIETALATI

Account Manager, Supervalu

➤ Reporting to the director of sales and operations, Hietalati establishes sales plans for her territory’s accounts and conducts annual business reviews with these accounts, among other duties.

➤ She developed and coordinated a key Alaska customer’s new store opening; orchestrated the redistribution/reallocation for assigned responsibilities at the Tacoma, Wash., DC; assumed the store conversion lead for the Albertson/Safeway divestiture reassignment; and developed a checks-and-balances system to limit returns of a key customer.

➤ Hietalati worked with shelf management staffers to identify tools to improve their performance.

AIJA JANTZ

Director of Consumer Marketing, Supervalu

➤ Jantz has responsibility for the sales and promotions department, as well as the consumer marketing department.

➤ With no loss of business, she successfully consolidated two regions’ consumer marketing and sales and promotions departments into the newly formed West region, and also helped develop a cohesive branding message for the West and East regions, including annual vendor and retailer books to drive sales and events, along with ongoing communication and selling materials.

➤ Jantz achieved double-digit year-to-date net income results over budget.

CARRIE JENSEN

Corporate Director, Supervalu

➤ Jensen establishes the strategic vision for her merchandising categories over a three-year time frame, and communicates that vision to her team, banners and wholesale partners. She also develops an annual plan to ensure financial targets are met.

➤ She led several projects, most notably the on-time and on-budget installation of new best-in-class LED-lit front end merchandisers for 1,000-plus stores, with results exceeding expectations.

➤ Jensen’s many professional honors include a 2014 Outstanding Work Award from Supervalu.

CRYSTAL JOHNSON

Corporate Communications Officer, Supervalu

➤ Johnson manages Supervalu’s internal communications vehicles.

➤ She created and disseminated messaging for Cub’s acquisition of Rainbow Foods stores, hosting all-employee meetings, creating executive presentations and contributing to grand-opening plans while providing milestone updates throughout the three-month project; helped organize and facilitate Cub’s community events throughout the year; and led the development and creation of new communication vehicles for Supervalu corporate offices, including monthly newsletters.

➤ Johnson is the grant manager for the Cub Cares Charitable Foundation.

RIMA KAPADIA

Director, Corporate Safety and Food Safety, Supervalu

➤ Kapadia directs Supervalu’s food safety and sanitation efforts, working with banner, merchandising, and supply chain leadership to maintain compliance with federal, state and local health regulations.

➤ She played a leading role in the design and implementation of a food safety/defense governance team that provides robust communication, best practice sharing, and coordination among business, legal and compliance functions; worked with a vendor to design and implement an enhanced food safety audit; and led efforts to improve reporting and tracking tools.

➤ Kapadia has volunteered at Second Harvest Heartland Food Shelter.

GAIL KOLLMAN

Fresh Sales Consultant, Supervalu

➤ Kollman leads, develops, motivates and coaches retail customers’ teams to maximize sales results. She’s directly responsible for 35 stores, and another 15 indirectly.

➤ She achieved double-digit sales growth in the Fargo, N.D., market; supervised six Hornbacher’s bakery and deli departments for eight weeks during an employee’s unplanned medical leave, while still fulfilling her regular job responsibilities; and created such extra-effort events as a holiday open house and a wine and cheese tasting.

➤ Kollman was co-chair of the North Dakota Grocers’ Cake Challenge, which attracted 45 entries.

BETH KROUTCH

Distribution Center General Manager, Supervalu

➤ Kroutch oversees logistics for a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center in Denver, Pa.

➤ She was the in-house project manager and expert consultant for DC projects throughout the enterprise; orchestrated the request for proposal for a dedicated third-party carrier agreement; negotiated to ratification a Teamsters collective bargaining agreement; and implemented the Accident Shutdown and Safety Blitz programs at her DC.

➤ Under Kroutch’s leadership, her facility was on track to finish first out of 17 DCs vying for Supervalu’s Champions Cup, awarded based on safety, expense control, productivity and customer service.

JESSICA LONDON

Director, Store Development and Market Analysis, Supervalu

➤ London creates, develops and leads Supervalu’s store design, store-planning, architecture, engineering, project management, construction, and market-planning and analysis strategic initiatives and activities.

➤ She completed 70 percent of the remodel portfolio by the end of the second quarter to realize financial benefits earlier in the fiscal year; added heat mapping for independent business retailers, thereby uncovering additional potential sites; and developed a short-term employee incentive program to meet customer deadlines for multiple competing projects.

➤ London won the 2012 IFMA Leading Edge first-place award for office design.

ANITA MERCADO

Senior Manager, SVUniversity and Enterprise Learning, Supervalu

➤ Mercado guides Supervalu’s training programs and initiatives, as well as the individuals and programs comprising Supervalu University, which provides fee-based learning programs for some of the company’s independent customers.

➤ She introduced an innovative customer training program that is now being rolled out across Supervalu’s retail banners; supported efforts to provide negotiations training to people in key merchandising roles; started a company-wide Manager 101 program; and rolled out an e-learning strategy.

➤ In her first year overseeing SVUniversity, Mercado put together a strategy for growth and execution excellence.

ROBIN MORGAN

District Manager, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu

➤ Morgan recruits, supports, coaches and develops her store managers and teams; her stores in Indianapolis consistently score in the top 10 percent for customer satisfaction metrics, and her district experienced the largest increase in identical-store sales for the Midwest area.

➤ Her thought leadership and vision led her to be selected for special projects working with key teams on developing best methods and reference guides to improve operating and merchandising standards.

➤ Morgan was recognized in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 for taking on the newly acquired Indianapolis stores atop her daily responsibilities for Save-A-Lot’s Chicago locations.

BARB PARKS

Director and Associate General Counsel, Supervalu

➤ Parks heads the team providing primary legal support to Supervalu’s real estate and independent business segments.

➤ She negotiated and drafted supply agreements in a complex Rainbow Foods stores acquisition; was the lead attorney working on the agreement for Supervalu to serve as a primary grocery supplier for growing West Coast grocer Haggen; and advised on and aided negotiations on the agreement for the company to be Haggen’s transition service provider.

➤ The National Law Journal recognized the Supervalu in-house legal team as one of the Twin Cities’ legal departments of the year, with a specific focus on Parks’ team’s deal work.

LIZ PHAM

Corporate Communications Manager, Supervalu

➤ Pham manages communications for Supervalu’s largest division, independent business, along with the corporate human resources department and the Shop n’ Save banner, for which she also guides community relations efforts.

➤ She developed all communications for Supervalu’s inaugural National Selling Expo for independents, and created and executed the transition communications plan for a company consolidation of three regions into two, including strategic messaging from the new West region leadership.

➤ Pham was the driving force behind a revamped annual corporate giving campaign.

VIVIAN RANK

Senior Manager, Talent Development, Supervalu

➤ Rank is the human resources lead on talent development workstreams, including succession planning, development, organization of Supervalu’s business resource groups, and strategy for engagement.

➤ She was the primary driver in the successful overhaul of Supervalu’s talent review process, earning enthusiastic approval from the board of directors; spearheaded in just three months no-cost, built-from-scratch company-wide training on the performance management process; and was instrumental in the redesign of the store director and assistant director performance review form.

➤ Rank is a member of the Network of Executive Women.

SHELLEY RICHARDSON

Human Resources Manager, Supervalu

➤ Richardson delivers human resources services to Supervalu’s leadership team and employees across multiple states, serving as the first point of contact for all region office associates for any HR need.

➤ She oversaw the movement of up to 80 associates during region consolidation; temporarily took on the duties of the departing HR director; and led both the VIBE and Focused On You business resource groups, as well as acting as a mentor to the East region Young Professionals group.

➤ Richardson belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and sits on the board of nonprofit PDM Productions.

MELISSA SAX

Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Supervalu

➤ Sax staffs positions across Supervalu’s corporate, retail and independent business segments, managing large-volume projects as well as ensuring her team supports business-as-usual recruitment.

➤ She not only increased by 30 percent the number of hires completed by her team, she also took the lead on several staffing projects, including a consolidation from three regions to two, for which she ran the effort to fill 125 positions within 90 days, relying on proactive planning, insight and understanding of the business.

➤ She also headed an initiative to increase the staff size at a company distribution center to accommodate a significant increase in volume.

JACKI SNYDER

Director, Payment Services, Supervalu

➤ With responsibility for all of Supervalu’s payment services, Snyder leads the team providing that function to Albertsons and 3,000 independent retail customers.

➤ She drove a successful full-service payment program for Supervalu-owned stores, Albertsons locations and thousands of independents; worked tirelessly to resolve the issue, faced by many indies, of expired certificates for older PIN pad model units; and helped corporate-owned stores or indies effectively execute on transactions.

➤ Snyder has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by working with retailers, the Secret Service and card brands in response to fraudulent events.

JULIE SOPER

Consumer Marketing Account Manager, Supervalu

➤ Soper supports Sentry Foods and Quality Foods stores’ advertising, and is the key contact for the Skogen’s group and Green Bay, Wis., DC retailers.

➤ She ran Supervalu’s Wisconsin State Fair booth, and Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers events, along with Sentry’s Pink event raising money for breast cancer and its community baby shower to collect funds for newborns, and brought new printing business to her region from Skogen’s, one of the company’s largest customers.

➤ Soper gained recognition for Sentry stores at Supervalu’s company-wide Selling Expo for independents, where the chain received marketing and radio advertising awards.

JESSICA SPENCER

Produce Business Support Manager, Supervalu

➤ Spencer creates produce category strategies, working closely with growers and field buyers on commodity availability and pricing. Her work supports produce and floral merchandising and procurement for about 196 corporate stores and 1,900 independent grocers.

➤ She led a company-wide floral realignment; developed new, streamlined procurement and inventory processes; trained regional teams on systems and processes; and became the acknowledged “voice of floral” throughout the enterprise and vendor community.

➤ Her focused efforts on floral contributed to a significant increase in corporate retail sales.

MARY VANDER LEEST

Corporate Communications Manager, Supervalu

➤ Vander Leest produces and manages internal communication components for specific business divisions, as well as corporate initiatives.

➤ She introduced such events as an Academy Award contest, for which employees interpreted nominated films by creating food items made with private-brand products, ensuring that community event sponsorships included private-brand donations. She also created and produced videos broadcast quarterly at all-employee meetings, and promoted retail customer programs on TV.

➤ Alongside her communications duties, Vander Leest is president of the Supervalu Foundation.

MICHELLE STENGEL

Senior Category Manager, Produce, Topco Associates LLC

➤ Stengel manages all fresh-cut floral sales and purchases for the member-owner cooperative.

➤ She successfully launched such innovative floral programs as a Cupcake of the Month Bouquet promotion that creatively tied in with retailers’ bakery departments, resulting in incremental sales increases of up to 15 percent; oversaw an aggregation-based product offering that brought in an additional $1.5 million in sales; and added a multimillion-dollar vendor by streamlining its procurement efforts and identifying operational and supply chain efficiencies.

➤ Stengel takes part in Pets in Distress’ rescue initiatives.

CHERYL COLBERT

Human Resources Manager, Tops Markets LLC

➤ With a territory encompassing the Finger Lakes, Midstate, Syracuse North and Syracuse South districts, Colbert works with the four district managers and the regional VP.

➤ Over the past year, she opened three new Tops stores, played a key role in the acquisition of another, successfully negotiated a union contract covering 10,000 associates, and recruited and trained more than 20 managers to fill crucial store-level positions, all while taking part in the Cornell University human resources certificate program.

➤ Colbert has won the Top Trainer/People Developer award four times at annual business meetings.

TAMARA HURLEY

General Manager-Grocery Warehouse, Tops Markets LLC

➤ Hurley has authority over the day-to-day functions of a 600,000-square-foot warehouse that provides grocery product to 157 Tops stores.

➤ She led her team through the complex transitioning of warehouse ownership to Tops Markets LLC, and spearheaded a warehouse reslotting project that resulted in a 25 percent reduction in selector errors and an overall net inventory adjustment reduction of more than 30 percent, while maintaining selector productivity and reducing support labor.

➤ For her tireless work to get September designated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in New York state, Hurley received an official proclamation from the governor.

PATRICIA LARSON

Director, Product Development-GM/HBW, Unified Grocers

➤ Larson leads Unified Grocers’ product development, procurement and marketing for general merchandise and health beauty wellness products, with an annual sales budget of $130 million.

➤ She led the launch of Unified’s GM/HBW distribution center in Stockon, Calif., and the transition of Raley’s GM/ HBW business to Unified, adding about $85 million in annual volume to the business; played a key role in onboarding 100 Haggen stores in California; and increased Unified’s volume of key import/seasonal GM programs.

➤ Larson takes part in fundraising walks and activities supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

BARBARA MILLER

Manager, Marketing Systems, Unified Grocers

➤ Miller has enterprise-wide IT responsibility for Unified Grocers’ procurement and marketing business units.

➤ She developed a new wholesale pricing technology that allows Unified to be more responsive to pricing within a highly dynamic market and gives retailers a greater competitive advantage, and was a leader and key contributor in the development of new third-party logistics programs enabling engagement in new partnerships with retailers and suppliers at the local and national levels.

➤ Miller revamped Unified’s perishable systems platform to boost operating efficiencies and better serve retail customers, thereby increasing market opportunities.

JILL MORRIS

Senior Product Manager, Unified Grocers

➤ Morris is responsible for about $2 million of retail technology products and services for all four Unified Grocers divisions.

➤ Leading a cross-functional team, she made major improvements to the company’s Business Center retailer web portal, among them simplifying user interface and site operations. She also led in developing new back-end processes and procedures, delivering greatly improved data integrity and customer satisfaction, and overhauled Unified’s proprietary price management software application.

➤ A winner of many awards in her field, Morris is also active in her church, developing outreach programs to educate and support youths.

BARBARA OBERHAMMER

Manager, Grocery Purchasing-Southern California, Unified Grocers

➤ Directing category managers, buyers and purchasing assistants, Oberhammer oversees $600 million in annual retail sales, generates $20 million in annual revenue, and manages 10,000 items and $27 million in inventory.

➤ She generated $7.4 million in incremental sales, surpassing her $1.5 million target; aided the execution of the Speed-to-Shelf Initiative; and helped boost sales under the SUM Secondary Display Sales Initiative by 16 percent, or $600,000.

➤ She’s earned certificates from the Unified Grocers Supervisor Certification Program, the Operational Category Management Seminar and the Food Industry Management Program.

PAMELA SIMMONS

Manager, Customer Satisfaction-Pacific Northwest, Unified Grocers

➤ Simmons oversees customer service/relationships for Unified Grocers’ Pacific Northwest division.

➤ She was the main point of contact for fulfilling product shipments and transportation needs in regard to Unified’s new Haggen business, played a major part in the implementation of a new order management system for perishables into the company’s Oregon and California regions, and assisted in developing a product shipment auditor program to ensure the quality of loads sent to the company’s customers, which achieved targeted savings of about $2 million.

➤ Simmons was recognized for her efforts to provide relief to victims of the 2014 Washington and Oregon wildfires.

PATTI WALSH-ZAUZIG

Director of Sales, Service Deli/Bakery, Unified Grocers

➤ Walsh-Zauzig is responsible for all service deli and bakery sales and service to Unified Grocers’ customers in all operating regions in the West.

➤ She led an inexperienced team to positive sales growth of 8.62 percent over last year’s sales; planned and guided her division’s order management system conversion from OMNI to OMS5, despite not having an executive director or director of procurement to rely on; and was key to the development of Unified’s Haggen store-onboarding project.

➤ Walsh-Zauzig serves as a board member and CFO for the Northern California Perishable Council.

SARA SAPP

Buyer, Natural and Organic Specialty Foods, Valu Merchandisers Co.

➤ Sapp is the key buyer for more than 5,000 natural, organic and specialty items, as well as the buyer and coordinator for Valu Merchandisers’ organic private label program.

➤ She helped drive 20.6 percent sales growth in her department; was the key point person in the executive team’s launch of a private-brand organic label for 3,000 member stores; and created and produced monthly web blast sales presentations to drive impulse sales, helping to generate 60 percent sales growth.

➤ The company has recognized Sapp for her quick response to product and pricing issues with retail members, and follow-ups from the senior team.

AMY THORNBURY

Buyer, Health Beauty Wellness, Valu Merchandisers Co.

➤ Thornbury negotiates product purchase costs with suppliers and recommends product mix changes to the category manager.

➤ She developed and implemented several programs with independent retailers to recapture and expand beauty categories, resulting in incremental sales for retailers; her involvement in a cosmetics category review and update of assortment resulted in doubled sales in the category for the last fiscal quarter; and she played a pivotal role in the retail launch of various natural and organic health and personal care items.

➤ Thornbury has been promoted twice in the past three years.

LUCY JASON

Director of Floral Merchandising, Weis Markets Inc.

➤ Jason handles all aspects of floral merchandising, including procurement, sales budgets and in-store execution, in 163 Weis Markets stores.

➤ She and her team delivered strong floral sales increases through a new outdoor sales program offering full-size Christmas trees for the first time, enhancing overall floral variety, expanding the Creations by Weis in-store floral arrangement and the grab-and-go floral arrangement offering, and providing such value-added services as custom arrangements for special events, and deliveries.

➤ Jason increased the company’s focus on training, development and career-pathing for floral associates.

Store Managers

KIM McGREGOR

Director, Customer Service, Weis Markets Inc.

➤ McGregor heads a team that plans, develops and implements customer service to grow sales, improve the shopping experience and increase customer satisfaction.

➤ Her team successfully launched a customer satisfaction survey and mystery shop program to provide stores with real-time customer satisfaction data and improve operations, and worked with senior leadership to identify service standards and behaviors to create an exceptional shopping experience and develop a customer service training program.

➤ Following McGregor’s efforts, post-training customer satisfaction scores and mystery shop results increased in the fourth quarter.

AMY GALLONE

Store Director, Store #7747, Philadelphia, Acme Markets

➤ Gallone oversees 125 employees in her high-volume, 72,000-square-foot store on Philadelphia’s bustling Red Lion Road.

➤ She restored the store to profitability, tripling EBITDA in the fourth quarter over the previous year.

➤ Gallone’s strengths include customer service: The overall service score for her store was 85 percent in 2014, which is among the highest in the chain. She’s also demonstrated merchandising skills, winning a company contest for items sold during the back-to-school season, and was recognized for selling the most pounds of roast beef during Super Bowl weekend.

SHERRY BEITLER

Store Manager, Giant Food Store #6422, Temple, Pa., Ahold USA

➤ Through mentoring and leadership, Beitler drove items, sales, merchandising, and engagement on a continual basis, raising her store’s company rankings to first and second for merchandising and engagement, respectively.

➤ She coaches associates to advance in roles of increasing importace that enables them to meet and exceed personal and professional goals.

➤ Beitler’s charitable spirt is depicted by her particiation in such efforts as MDA Lockup to raise money to help send kids with muscular dystrophy to camp, and the Salvation Army Annual Shoe Strut, which benefits the organization’s Harrisburg, Pa., chapter.

ILIANA DEL VALLE

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store # 0061, Longmeadow, Mass., Ahold USA

➤ Del Valle’s store ended 2014 in the top five in many areas for its region, including the No. 1 spot in overall satisfaction, meat quality, bakery quality, overall prices, deli service and store-brand share.

➤ She assisted other stores to prepare for and execute the rollout of a major company-wide initiative for the general merchandise and grocery departments and also helped conduct the district’s “model store” standards walk-through at her location.

➤ Del Valle held a highly successful fundraising event at her store during the holidays to help collect toys in support of Toys for Joy.

MARIBEL DICHARD

Store Manager, Giant Store #0743, Arlington, Va., Ahold USA

➤ Dichard’s store ranked No. 1 in its region for organic recycling.

➤ Her store built a strong partnership with the Arlington Food Assistance Center, with the front end team recognizing associates who helped raise the most in food donations through suggest-sell items located at the back of registers. These items also drove incremental sales during a crucial time as it underwent remodel.

➤ Dichard’s store provided water and snacks to the Americans Veterans Center’s annual conference and its Memorial Day ceremony, as part of an ongoing partnership that promotes Giant’s name among the military community.

MARY HUFFMAN

Store Manager, Giant Store #357, Bethesda, Md., Ahold USA

➤ Huffman’s store won a company-wide Jarlsberg cheese-selling contest, and increased its produce sales from fifth to a consistent second place while staying under budgeted payroll. Also successfully campaigned for her store’s produce department to be the first to undergo an extensive remodel.

➤ Her store experienced an increase in overall sales over the prior year, in response to her fulfillment of consumer requests for more natural and organic items, and her retraining of staff to be customer service-oriented

➤ Huffman is in touch with the community needs by attending and participating in PTA meetings, scout troops and various charity groups.

DONNA LONSINGER

Store Manager, Martin’s Store #6466, Altoona Pa., Ahold USA

➤ Lonsinger attributes her success to a passion for associate empowerment, encouragement, coaching and training. This management style has led to record-breaking sales in her store’s bakery, deli, seafood and floral departments.

➤ She successfully implemented Ace POS register installation and training, computer-based and hand-held ordering, and efficiency savings; prepared for the rollout of a new pricing approach; and successfully transitioned to fresh packaged meat.

➤ For the fourth-quarter sales kickoff, Lonsinger’s store hosted the first Holiday Open House in the Altoona market, inviting more than 100 local businesses.

JOHANNA RODRIGUEZ

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #619, Windsor, Conn., Ahold USA

➤ Facing a competitive intrusion, Rodriguez challenged her team to become more creative with merchandising through such activities as a Super Bowl display contest in which the winning team received prizes. This approach led to positive identical-store sales going into 2015.

➤ Her location was a pilot store for the 5S concept, which concentrates on total operations of a department to become more effective while improving associates’ work and creating a healthier work environment.

➤ Rodriguez developed two part-time associates, who transitioning to full-time, and her store hosted many local community events.

NICOLE STOKES

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #556, Hempstead, N.Y., Ahold USA

➤ Stokes’ store exceeded goals in customer-tracking studies scores regarding overall quality, product in-stock position, helpful employees and customer likeliness to recommend the store to others.

➤ With the rollout of a company initiative related to maintaining clean floors in the store, which aimed to decrease customer and employee accidents as well as maintain a cleaner environment, she personally trained associates on how to complete clean-sweep walks.

➤ Stokes’ community activities include donating 100 turkeys to the town of Hempstead to feed needy families.

JEANINE WOLCZYK

Store Manager, Giant Store #6081, Hazleton, Pa., Ahold USA

➤ Wolczyk’s store achieved positive identical-store sales growth, despite the community’s economic challenges, and increased its commitment to community involvement.

➤ She taught associates to embrace the area’s multicultural aspect, expanding their knowledge of Hispanic products and lifestyles, and began merchandising toward this customer.

➤ Wolczyk and her team have formed a partnership with the Hazleton Integration Project, which enables disadvantaged children to participate in no-or low-cost educational, cultural and athletic activities, through such annual events as a Back to School Carnival and Breakfast with Santa.

DONNA HILLIARD

Store Director, Albertsons, Garland, Texas, Albertsons Safeway

➤ Hilliard oversees some 100 employees at her store, and has also served on the company’s Store Director Council.

➤ Her store’s performance hit all metrics (sales, gross, labor, shrink and profits), and the location has achieved a double bonus several times under her exceptional watch. Developed many department managers for the company, which attests to her affinity for coaching and mentoring.

➤ Among other outside activities, Hilliard is an affinity program leader in the community for the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

MICHELLE CRAWFORD

Store Director, Big Y World Class Market, East Longmeadow, Mass., Big Y Foods Inc.

➤ Crawford and her team of 215 associates finished 10th in the company in employee engagement in 2014.

➤ During the past year, her store was at or near the top of the chain rankings in sales, gross profit, labor, waste control and bottom-line contribution. Further, her store ranks eighth in sales and fourth in net income, attributed to her ability to control expenses while driving top-line sales.

➤ Crawford has received a Store Manager of the Year award for her performance on operational disciplines.

KIM MACE

Store Manager, Grantsville and Glenville, W.V., Stores, Foodland

➤ Mace led the successful launch of the Foodland Fuel and Rewards Card at the Glenville Foodland, which increased market basket totals, customer count and store sales.

➤ Her stores generated greater sales than the previous year, and the Glenville store attained top-10 status in the G.O.L.D. (Grand Opening Look Daily) program multiple times.

➤ Mace tutors at local grade schools and is active in her church, in addition to her active support of her alma mater, Glenville State College.

TAMI NEMETH

Executive Store Leader, Market District Store #40, Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle

➤ Nemeth succeeded in driving sales, improving evening conditions, reducing costs, celebrating her team’s collective successes by creating a team environment, improving labor efficiencies, improving customer service goals by 2 percent, and cross-training leaders to manage multiple departments.

➤ She lifted sales through the promotion of Market District’s points of difference, employing resets and an in-store visual merchandiser and graphic artist.

➤ A United Way supporter, Nemeth is also active in the local Chamber of Commerce.

TALLY MERTES

Store Director, Omaha No. 11 (Nebraska), Hy-Vee

➤ Under Mertes’ oversight, three-year old Omaha No. 11 has seen double-digit sales increases, with higher profits every quarter. She developed the Produce Butcher department, where staff cut vegetables at customer request.

➤ Mertes is a leader in health and wellness. Omaha No. 11 was one of Hy-Vee’s first stores to add a health concierge, and she improved pharmacy services through rapid diagnostics, as well as increasing flu immunizations by more than 50 percent over last year.

➤ She earned the distinction of Master of Retail Operations through Hy-Vee University, a company program that develops store directors.

MICHELLE AIKENS

Store Manager, QFC #874, Bellevue, Wash., The Kroger Co.

➤ Aikens successfully led her team through an extensive store remodel in 2014 without missing a beat. Throughout the remodel, the store maintained positive sales increases and finished the year with an 11 percent increase.

➤ She’s committed to daily communication, conducting store huddles with her associates and celebrating and rewarding successes on a regular basis.

➤ Aikens has been recognized by QFC’s top management team for her strong performance. In fact, she was invited to give a presentation to a corporate SVP during a quarterly review.

ABBIE OLSON

Store Director, Pella (Iowa), Hy-Vee

➤ Olson recently moved to the Pella, Iowa, store, where she oversees 157 associates; she was previously store director at Dubuque No. 1 (Iowa), where she led a team of 325 employees.

➤ While in Dubuque, she oversaw a major store remodel while providing excellent customer service and not losing sales. The result was an updated store offering an enhanced shopping experience.

➤ Her efforts in Dubuque led directly to her move to the Pella location, with similarly great results expected.

MICHELLE CUMMINS

Store Manager, Kroger #784, Louisville, Ky., The Kroger Co.

➤ Cummins successfully opened one of the most unique Kroger locations in the country in January 2015 — a tri-level store that includes two food trucks, a specialty cheese shop and a restaurant. The store exceeded its sales budget within its first week.

➤ She selected a dynamic leadership team and led it through teambuilding and various store visits to prepare. Two days before the opened, her team held a Family Night.

➤ Kroger selected Cummins to sit on two separate focus groups, one for high-performing store managers, and the other to discuss the impact of the coordinator staff at store level.

MAGGIE DUSSEX

Store Manager, King Soopers #136, Brighton, Colo., The Kroger Co.

➤ In 2014, Dussex became store manager at one of the division’s newest Marketplace stores. The store is consistently among the division’s highest-volume stores in sales per week, and also earns high marks in customer satisfaction.

➤ She celebrated National Popcorn Day by providing freshly popped corn to customers and associates, and led her team to wear red every Friday in February, in support of Heart Healthy Month.

➤ Dussex works hard to train, grow and develop her associates, and is a mentor to new associates. She’s also a founding member of the Women’s EDGE resource group at King Soopers/City Market.

KAREN HANSEN

Store Manager, Kroger #959, Carmel, Ind., The Kroger Co.

➤ Hansen and her team achieved a 13.1 percent sales increase in 2014, which followed an equally impressive same-store sales increase of nearly 13 percent during the prior year. Her store was in turn chosen as the pilot for a first-of-its-kind expansion for Kroger’s central division.

➤ From 2009 to 2014, she served in a special assignment role working in facility engineering. In this unique capacity, she acted as a liaison for all store remodel projects.

➤ Hansen received the central division President’s Award in 2014, which vividly attests to her overall excellent performance and invaluable contributions.

CHELSEA HARRISON

Store Manager, Ralphs #287, San Clemente, Calif.

➤ Throughout 2014, Harrison helped lead her division and was recognized for customer service scores that consistently outpaced the district. During the beginning of the year, she led her store to positive comparable sales of 1.46 percent. She was next transferred to a lower-performing store, which she helped turn around with positive comps of 4.32 percent in the last quarter.

➤ She was selected to participate in Kroger’s Women’s EDGE program.

➤ Harrison is now taking a break from her store management duties to expand her skills by participating in the Food Industry Management program at the University of South Carolina.

DEBORAH HILTON

Store Manager, Kroger #398, League City, Texas, The Kroger Co.

➤ Before moving to her current store in October 2014, Hilton ran an upscale metro store in downtown Houston. In 2013–14, the store’s sales increased $20,000 a week because of her leadership. Additionally, she was a store manager mentor and counseled two management trainees.

➤ She was asked to become captain of District 2’s safety team. Kroger also chose her to participate in its Women’s EDGE resource group, as well as the High Volume Store Leader program.

➤ Hilton has won the Best in Class Leadership Support Award, as well as other honors, from her various district managers.

DEBRA KENNEDY

Store Manager, Kroger #722, Dayton, Ohio, The Kroger Co.

➤ Kennedy assumed responsibility of a new high-volume, upscale store as her first store manager assignment. She led her store team consistently to double-digit sales increases versus the previous year, and earnings results that exceeded company averages.

➤ She continued to explore special events that create a sense of theater for her shoppers, and successfully trained employees in other divisions.

➤ Kennedy is actively involved in Kroger’s Cultural Council and sits on the board of the Division Cultural Council. In 2013, she was selected to be a part of the Cincinnati/Dayton division’s Talent Review Day.

PAMELA LEE

Store Manager, Kroger #535, Bowling Green, Ky., The Kroger Co.

➤ During the summer of 2014, Lee’s store experienced major competition, yet she was able to help it continue improving sales and profitability. To prepare her team for the new challenge, she organized an out-of-town competition visit and led booster meetings. The store team finished the year with a 5.98 percent sales increase versus the prior year.

➤ She’s part of the Nashville division’s Women’s EDGE Leadership group, where she serves as a member of the new membership committee. She was also recently elected Cultural Council co-chair in District 3.

➤ Lee was named Store Manager of the Year by Kroger’s Nashville division.

ROBIN LIND

Store Manager, Kroger #641, Port Clinton, Ohio, The Kroger Co.

➤ In 2014, Lind and her team generated sales growth that was 24.6 percent better than the previous year, with each department achieving double-digit sales increases. The cumulative results subsequently led the store to its first-ever $1 million sales week.

➤ She personally mentored two associates to become successful deli/bakery managers.

➤ Lind supports United Way and Nate Washington’s Foundation Turkey Giveaway, and volunteers annually in the Making Strides walk to end breast cancer. Outside of Kroger, she loves spending time with her family and traveling.

RUBBY ZAPATA

Store Manager, Food 4 Less #307, Bell Gardens, Calif., The Kroger Co.

➤ Because of her successful track record at Food 4 Less, Zapata was selected to manage the Bell Gardens, Calif., store in October 2014. During Thanksgiving week, she and her team reached a new sales record of $1 million. The store has been running 3.27 percent in identical-store sales.

➤ She’s created strong partnerships with associates, vendors and the Food 4 Less marketing department to meet the needs of a diverse customer base.

➤ A member of the Women’s EDGE leadership class at Kroger/Food 4 Less, Zapata is a role model and mentor.

ELIZABETH CLEMENT

Store Director, Woodhaven, Mich., Meijer

➤ Clement earned first place in her region for sales volume by setting standards that foster a great customer experience. She accomplished this through a program featuring a recognition component that drove team member engagement.

➤ Achieving the top sales volume within her region and earning platinum status for shrink management in all four quarters of fiscal 2014, she also earned the impressive distinction of being No. 1 in sales for featured products.

➤ Clement participates annually with local police departments on a major program benefiting local children.

JANNA OSWALD

Store Director, Cadillac, Mich., Meijer

➤ With oversight of 300-plus team members and leaders, Oswald promoted 10 associates to key positions; in fact, she’s recognized as a regional development resource.

➤ She spearheaded interactive team meetings and customer outreach for a highly positive store environment; led a store remodel while growing store results; worked with a local university on a diversity awareness program for the store team; and created a leader development program using book club methodology.

➤ A Blue Ribbon customer service award winner in 2012 and 2013, Oswald was also a Food Safety Store Manager of the Year nominee.

JULI DUCKWORTH

Store Director, County Market #223, Dixon, Ill., Niemann Foods Inc.

➤ Duckworth is the top-performing store director at Niemann Foods.

➤ With oversight of 100 employees, she consistently maintains a profitable, exceptionally well-run store. In addition to her professional excellence, she participates in a variety of breast cancer awareness and fundraising activities, to the extent of donning a pink Superwoman costume on occasion.

➤ Duckworth began her 25-year career as a cashier and has risen through the ranks, graduating at the top of her Niemann Foods Leadership Academy class.

VERONICA MACIAS

Store Manager, Extra!, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Smart & Final

➤ Macias oversees 40 partand full-time associates at one of the Smart & Final’s top performing locations.

➤ Her store’s high standards and customer service scores are exceptional, as are its associate engagement levels and team work. In 2014, her leadership efforts produced annual sales of approximately $20 million.

➤ Macias was a model for others this past year with shrink control, and put programs in place to ensure results were not only achieved, but also exceeded. She won district store of the year for 2014, and at presstime was in the running for regional and company store of the year.

STEPHANIE SALINAS

Store Manager, Extra!, Bakersfield, Calif., Smart & Final

➤ Salinas manages 40 associates and is responsible for training, coaching and developing associates and other managers in the district.

➤ She was hired in 2006 as a part-time associate, and was promoted to a management position within two years.

➤ Salinas is an expert at managing and nuturing challenging stores. Areas of particular strength in this regard include improved operating standards and invigorated shopping appeal. At her current location, she increased comparable-store sales by 6 percent and improved customer service levels.

YOLIDURKY ROMERO

Store Director, Winn-Dixie Store #247, Miami, Southeastern Grocers

➤ Romero leads a staff of 90 associates, who respond positively to her leadership style and energy, resulting in positive sales and profit growth year after year.

➤ She’s also taken on other important roles and responsibilities, including participation in the Miami region Store Director Council and managing the bilingual team for LBI conversion projects.

➤ Romero’s leadership extends into the community through her work with the Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that assists underserved youth by providing educational and recreational programs to families in need.

AMY BERRY

Store Director, Parkview D&W Fresh Market, Kalamazoo, Mich., SpartanNash Co.

➤ Berry’s team’s customer satisfaction score achieved the highest marks in the district; she also led her 135 associates to the district’s highest food safety audit score.

➤ With the highest sales per transaction in the region, she guided her team to the most profitable year ever at the Parkview location, reducing operating expenses while increasing sales and customer satisfaction.

➤ Berry and her team held a successful Special Olympics fundraiser, and have helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity, which underscore her inspiring leadership abilities.

NICOLE ECKHARDT

Store Director, Metro Health Village Family Fare, Wyoming, Mich., SpartanNash Co.

➤ Eckhardt strengthened the store’s produce offering, especially in organics, resulting in a $154,000 sales increase over the previous year, and removed all shippers and displays from grocery aisles, creating a clear shopping path for customers and improving grocery sales.

➤ She restructured and re-staffed the store’s pharmacy, thereby boosting sales and script counts from last year.

➤ Eckhardt has led her team to participate in such successful efforts as the Food for Families County Wide Food Drive, the Feed Your Furry Friends Food Drive and the annual Salvation Army Bell Ringers campaign.

BRANDI MOREHOUSE

Store Director, D&W Fresh Market, Holland, Mich., SpartanNash Co.

➤ Morehouse grew sales at her store by $1,712,000 in fiscal year 2014 — the 6.5 percent increase over the previous year was the highest in the district and the region. This was accomplished without any major changes to the market.

➤ She worked extensively with all team members to nurture relationships and foster camaraderie, and was able to transition two associates to more senior positions. Customer and associate satisfaction scores both rose significantly.

➤ Morehouse completed SpartanNash’s Leadership Challenge as well as outside leadership advancement courses such as Inforum and Varnum Public Speaking.

ELAINE MANOVICH

Store Manager, Cub Foods, Cottage Grove, Minn., Supervalu

➤ Having taken the helm of a store with poor morale and declining sales, Manovich revamped the associate culture and reversed the sales trend, despite new competition in the area. What’s more, her store was able to capture 90 percent to 95 percent of sales from a closing rival store.

➤ Sales in her store were consistently 20 percent to 22 percent higher than last year, thanks to outstanding store standards and community involvement, including an award-winning partnership with the Holiday Train that runs through Cottage Grove every Christmas.

➤ Manovich constantly develops her team to take on greater responsibility.

JAMIE JAMISON

Store Manager, Farm Fresh, Elizabeth City, N.C., Supervalu

➤ Taking the helm of a store with a negative sales trend, an underdeveloped staff, a new grocery competitor and no community involvement, Jamison developed a well-trained staff of motivated, competitive associates; reduced payroll expenses; lowered total-store shrink; and improved the store’s bottom line performance by double digits over the previous year.

➤ Under Jamison’s leadership, her location was singled out for having the Best Chicken and being the Best Grocery Store in eastern North Carolina.

➤ She received the Skills Award for going above and beyond in bringing people with disabilities into the workplace.

VICKY REILING

Store Manager, Shop n’ Save, Twin Oaks, Mo., Supervalu

➤ Transitioning from assistant store director to store director, Reiling challenged her team to promote products to shoppers in new, more interactive ways, including outside the store; placed particular emphasis on freshness throughout the store, as in the deli department, where she worked with high-potential associates on presentation, production of product, and customer service; and improved her store’s Voice of the Customer scores.

➤ These steps have resulted in a positive sales trend versus last year.

➤ Reiling is a member of Shop ’n Save business resouce group NEED (Noticing Everyone, Embracing Diversity).

NEYNA ROSE

Store Director, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Burke, Va., Supervalu

➤ In addition to raising sales from last year, lowering shrink and increasing profits, Rose presided over a store remodel while maintaining excellent store conditions and was a district lead for training and developing new management. Further, her location provided valuable insights as the test store for Shoppers’ Optimal Grocery sets.

➤ She’s received several awards for sales, shrink improvement and performance.

➤ Rose is a sponsor for West Springfield Kindergarten, and runs training classes for Fairfax County, Va., schools on special needs children, among other community activities.

PEG WORDEN

Store Manager, Mountain Top, Pa., Weis Markets Inc.

➤ Worden became a member of the President’s Club, which honors the managers of the company’s highest-volume stores, and led her location to be a finalist for Weis Markets Store of the Year.

➤ She expanded variety and increased sales in key on-trend categories such as natural, organic and gluten-free.

➤ Worden’s store hosted a $40,000 product donation event, featuring an appearance by NASCAR star Richard Petty, to benefit a local food bank, and regularly teams with a local high school, providing ice for its home games and snack items for its concession stand.

AMY ZIMMERMAN

Store Manager, Brodheadsville, Pa., Weis Markets Inc.

➤ Zimmerman earned entry into Weis Markets’ President’s Club, which honors the managers of the company’s highest-volume units. In 2014, her store’s sales increased nearly 8 percent in a highly competitive market affected by a rival’s grand opening.

➤ She improved the morale of her store by clearly communicating store goals and leading by example. Zimmerman was also able to increaseher store’s overall customer satisfaction scores by nearly 3 percent over the previous year.

➤ Her previous location, in Honesdale, Pa., received the company’s Most Improved Store of the Year in 2014.