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Progressive Grocer Names 2018 GenNext Award Winners


Progressive Grocer is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural GenNext Awards program, recognizing emerging grocery leaders under the age of 40 who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in either the grocery or consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

Honorees were recognized for innovation through their work; leadership, including the capacity to inspire and lead others, and a commitment to learn from others; and a involvement and support of the industry – such as through associations – and helping through charities or in the community.

Out of more than 160 nominations that underwent a rigorous selection process, 25 honorees were selected who meet the award criteria. The winners are truly representative of today’s grocery industry – coming from retailers and CPG companies, as well as suppliers, associations, agencies and even finance.

“The 2018 GenNext Award winners are a diverse and exciting group that points to the evolution we’re currently seeing in grocery,” said Jim Dudlicek, editorial director of Progressive Grocer. “As the industry moves into a new age, these next-generation leaders are bringing a fresh perspective and innovative thought to their companies and influencing the industry at large.” 

The winners will be honored with profiles online at and in the December 2018 issue of Progressive Grocer.

The 2018 GenNext Award winners are as follows:

  • Lizzi Ackerman, Co-Founder and CMO – Birch Benders
  • Akin Akanni, Division CFO – The Kroger Co.
  • Darrell Anhel, Division Ecommerce Manager - The Kroger Co./Fry’s
  • Jenna Arkin, Vice President of Innovation - Earth Friendly Products
  • Abby Ayers, Manager, Retail Partnerships – Fair Trade USA
  • Justin Comparetto, President/Owner – Just Ryt Foods
  • Julie Divis, Quality Manager – Pre Brands
  • Beth Faught, Director of Retail – Crossmark
  • Seth Fridley, Assistant Director, Health, Wellness & Home – Hy-Vee
  • Jessica Harris, Senior Marketing Innovation Manager – Earthbound Farm
  • Diana Haussling, Director, Shopper Engagement and Activation – Campbell Soup Company
  • Vincent Kitirattragarn, Founder & CEO – Dang Foods
  • Daniel Knox, Category Analyst II – Giant Food
  • Lindsay Koch, President – Koch & Associates
  • Jill Lester, Health & Wellness Pharmacy Practice Coordinator – The Kroger Co.
  • Patrick Mateer, Founder and CEO – Seal the Seasons Inc.
  • David Mell, Managing Director – RBC Capital Markets
  • T. Bliss Pierce, Global Consumer Insights Expert – General Mills
  • Jordan Poff, Division Ecommerce Manager – The Kroger Co.
  • Cara Pratt, Vice President Customer Communications, Product Strategy & Innovation – The Kroger Co. / 84.51
  • Kevin Schnell, Store Director - Skogen’s Festival Foods
  • Abdelhaq Serine, Division Front End Manager - The Kroger Co./Fry’s
  • Bo Sharon, Founder and CEO – Lucky’s Market
  • Amy Souers, Area Sales Manager Combo – Coca-Cola Consolidated
  • Stacy Vossberg, Vice President of Innovation – Insignia Systems
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