If there’s one thing we know after a decade in the making, it’s that there’s always room at the top. That’s why our Top Women in Grocery awards program continues to grow. Fittingly, on the occasion of the program’s 10th anniversary, our judging panel reviewed an unprecedented 630 qualified submissions, with nearly 400 chosen as honorees.
We’re often asked: What makes a Top Woman? In a nutshell, it’s the total package: a dedicated professional who routinely transcends the limits of what’s expected, both at work and in the wider world of her industry peers and her community. Top Women are also creative, resourceful, assertive, inspirational in their leadership, generous with their time and expertise, and unequivocally passionate about what they do.
And given some of the sizable challenges they’ve had to face, they’d have to love their work, difficult as it may be at times. The honorees on the following pages have had to deal with every issue imaginable — from the familiar, such as tight deadlines, budget constraints and short-staffing issues; to the more complex, like labor disputes, competitive onslaughts and merger integration plans; to outright emergencies in the form of natural (and other) disasters and even, in one case, an armed robbery. It’s thus remarkable to see how these Top Women overcame every obstacle with uncanny aplomb.
As always, we look forward to next year’s submissions, which, based on countless prior examples, should be out-of-this-galaxy great. For our past, present and future honorees, the stratosphere’s the limit, but right now, we’re honored to have the opportunity to celebrate 10 years of Top Women in Grocery brilliance!
Chief Human Resources Officer, Acosta Sales & Marketing
Arion created Acosta’s holistic human capital management strategy and transformed human resources operations to directly align to business needs through a human resources business partnership strategy.
She transferred a decentralized, geographically dispersed human resources organization into a centralized enterprise model directly aligned to support business operations.
Arion introduced a suite of measurable, core human resources processes, including succession planning and performance management, and established the 2020 Human Capital Management Strategy aligned to achieve long-term business priorities.
SVP, Business Solutions, Acosta Sales & Marketing
As Acosta’s manager of client relationships for suppliers to Walmart, Hooker identified and implemented new methods to optimize Walmart operations, including a redesign of the retail execution model using predictive analytics, resulting in an increased ROI for retail execution. Many of these methods were deployed across the entire organization.
She automated all weekly retail reporting, standardizing dashboards and introducing enhanced software, resulting in a reduction of input time.
Hooker was instrumental in developing strategic partnerships to elevate Acosta’s analytics insights team in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.
VP, Strategic Advisors, Acosta Sales & Marketing
Maduzia developed proprietary, critical insights for clients to maximize current business and uncover new areas of growth, including a new trade promotion strategy that resulted in significant savings, and identifying white space, positioning and concepts for a new product launch.
She became manager of the Advanced Analytics practice area, impacting clients’ bottom line by setting volume or margin-enhancing retail pricing, increasing the effectiveness of trade promotion budgets.
Maduzia implemented efforts to enhance measurement of ROI for Strategic Advisors programs, including syndicated retail modeling shopper marketing initiatives.
VP, Natural/Specialty Sales, Acosta Sales & Marketing
Williams spearheaded the first national In-Store Brand Ambassador Program for Whole Foods Market’s (WFM) Global Grocery team, and trained more than 2,600 WFM associates to deliver in-store assisted selling, creating more than 50,000 consumer impressions and increased brand awareness and product knowledge among employees and customers. The initiative led to significant sales increases for both brand and retailer.
She led the development and implementation of a national display compliance audit-reporting system for the global grocery team, in which its findings are used to strategize trade spend; it has since become WFM’s standard format for all brokers to submit data.
SVP Business Development, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
As business development lead for Advantage’s shopper marketing practice, IN Marketing, Bernstein forged a path into the new verticals of toys, premium beauty and adult beverage.
By diversifying beyond CPG food, she spearheaded $15 million in new revenue in 2015 alone and opened up an 18-month pipeline of $45 million in incremental revenue.
In her role of business team lead for the consumer and shopper marketing division, Bernstein provided best-in-class RFP responses and established a winning 60-day onboarding process for new clients.
VP, Business Development, Advantage Sales & Marketing/The Sunflower Group
Cassidy devised a good/better/best initiative to simplify sampling for national-brand marketing teams, tailoring their sampling plans according to the priority and strengths of each retailer, while keeping the program transparent, on budget and easy to buy for clients.
Her cross-selling kept clients’ entire sampling budgets with The Sunflower Group and demonstrated the breadth of excellence available from her colleagues on the experiential team.
Cassidy created an entry-level program for new clients that features an easy-to-budget price, and her sales talent invariably led to upgrades.
SVP, Strategic Planning, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Fogerty revamped IN Marketing’s strategy and insights function to raise the bar on delivery of shopper-centric solutions, including INpath, a proprietary approach to defining the path to purchase that uses qualitative behavioral inputs and quantitative measures to provide clients with a road map for optimal consumer activation.
She developed a proprietary performance measurement, ROI and predictive analytics tools that deliver business intelligence across IN’s client base and highlight IN’s analytics expertise.
She contributed to more than $14 million in new business growth in 2015.
President, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Griffin’s accomplishments centered on growth and diversification, expansion, and industry recognition, earning her honors from “Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing Agencies” and Path to Purchase Institute, among other accolades.
She grew revenue by upwards of $100 million, or more than 25 percent, won $20 million in annualized revenue on a go-forward basis in diversified industries and sectors new to the agency, and improved client portfolio diversification by 55 percent year over year.
Griffin acquired significant revenue in new agencies and strategic capabilities.
President, Consumer and Shopper Division, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
As leader of the IN Marketing Services team, Klauser doubled revenue and won marquee CPG clients, all of which were onboarded seamlessly.
She recruited an all-star team of industry veterans to offer clients access to “the best minds in the business”; this approach led to world-class work that garnered numerous industry awards, including a Gold Effie.
Klauser serves on the foundation board of the University of Connecticut, is an avid volunteer within her church community and serves as an industry mentor to many young women in the workplace.
EVP, Client Services, Advantage Solutions
Oesterreich led three clients through critical organizational transformations as a result of disruptive mergers and acquisitions, providing value-added consultation on outsourcing needs, retail deployment and optimization strategies.
After her promotion to EVP, she developed a blueprint for delivering organizational growth with an emphasis on Advantage Cultural Pillars, including a special focus on people development, best practice sharing, needs-based solutions and developing an enterprise mentality.
She led her team to more than 5 percent organic revenue growth through expansion of services with clients.
KIRSTEN ALFORD OSBORNE
VP, Client Services Agency, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
For Meijer’s Explore More platform, Osborne successfully developed and deployed an adult beverage demo program that drove incremental events and met the client’s category needs, and created and rolled out a seasonal event strategy; together, the initiatives helped the team increase the average daily event count by 33 percent.
She implemented process efficiencies to reduce preparation time, improve field communications, and increase program lead times by more than 200 percent.
Osborne created and implemented an enhanced operations model that resulted in a 14 percent increase in event execution and achievement of operational stability.
VP, Retail, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Ray led the full integration of The Sunflower Group’s key retail account services partnership with Target, including conversion of associates, operational infrastructure conversion, title and structure alignment, and the transition of all employee management solutions.
She headed the development of an improved training curriculum and stronger quality control measures, resulting in a strengthened client relationship through improved value-added resources and strong ongoing thought leadership.
Ray improved overall execution rates by up to 25 percent and reduced store complaints by 50 percent.
SVP, Merchandising Fresh Formats, Ahold USA
Daubert was part of the team that built from the ground up the Fresh Formats company, whose goal is to test and trial new retail concepts, opening the first two new-format bfresh stores; launched a completely new nonperishable product mix; and introduced a new prepared food and scratch bakery concept.
She assembled a merchandising team that blended Ahold USA experience with new thinking and ideas; the team scored 100 percent on the Ahold engagement survey.
Daubert received Ahold’s Better Place to Shop award in 2015 and supported the company’s Women in Leadership efforts; she also took part in a local middle school’s Career Day.
VP, Engagement and Talent Development, Ahold USA
Fallon achieved associate engagement and communications survey participation of 95 percent, an increase of eight points, upping the communications score by five points.
She grew the development score three points through two initiatives: situational leadership training for all division management associates, and the launch of a career website for each Ahold USA company, illustrating potential career paths within functions, and highlighting key roles and successes.
Fallon created a new business resource group for working parents, to make the company more desirable to work for and to gather insights to increase sales.
SVP, Marketing, Ahold USA
Hahn developed and launched a consumer communication campaign for investment in lower shelf prices, instilling a Best Customer mindset and strategy across the organization, grounded in customer insights-driven segmentation, including first-of-its-kind mapping into loyalty systems to enable merchants, marketers and suppliers to build plans and strategies to targeted customers.
She increased marketing effectiveness and investment allocation across multiple channels, delivering improved ROI, including a fourfold increase in sales from media strategy.
Hahn led Ahold USA’s digital strategy and personalized marketing, resulting in double-digit growth.
VP, Accounting and Control, Ahold USA
Rota volunteered to take a lead role in Delhaize-Ahold merger activities, specifically in the actions required to gain regulatory approval to complete the deal; she also led the finance work stream for merger-related activities, collaborating with multiple stakeholders to coordinate the development of plans and execution of tasks.
She led and directed the corporate close process, ensuring the timeliness and accuracy of financial statements.
Rota was accountable for corporate reporting of financial results, disclosures and key metrics for Ahold USA and its subsidiaries, along with the oversight of the external audit of the financial results.
SVP, Operations, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New England
The company’s only female operations SVP, Wiggins was the only person in Ahold USA’s history to have worked in all four of its divisions, giving her the ability to create a more unified company through idea sharing.
She successly boosted the financial results and employee engagement scores of the Carlisle and New England divisions, displaying a talent for reversing the fortunes of regions struggling to change with the culture.
A US Army veteran, Wiggins is active in the Boys and Girls Club, helping families in need and spending time with young children to teach them about teamwork, responsibility and developing relationships.
VP, Retail Support Deli Foodservice-West Region, Albertsons Cos.
As part of the Safeway acquisition, Brady rapidly deployed signature and best practice programs that generated double-digit increases for the total deli foodservice department, the highest growth rate of any other department across the total store.
Her role of coaching, training and mentoring sales managers and operations specialists led to unified collaboration across the divisions.
Brady advised the Own Brands team on how best to support sales managers through division visits, asking questions and understanding the role of a sales manager in a decentralized model; as a result, divisions began accepting more Own Brand items.
VP, Labor, Government and Employment Law, Albertsons Cos.
Brown stabilized and improved the labor-management relationship, enabling the company to operate more efficiently and flexibly; this improved relationship also extended to various state and local governments in which the Eastern division operates.
She was given oversight of all litigation and contractual matters affecting the division, resulting in a streamlined legal review process and substantial cost containments in litigation management.
Brown led negotiations with multiple unions and political officials to obtain control over the division’s distribution center, greatly increasing supply chain capabilities and efficiencies.
VP, Federal Government Relations, Albertsons Cos.
Coler was active in advancing legislation to create federal standards for informing consumers about foods that contain GMOs, to provide flexibility in regard to menu-labeling regulations, and to expand supermarket pharmacists’ scope of service.
She was the key information officer on Capitol Hill for the Albertsons-Safeway merger, both before and after it received final FTC approval, updating policymakers about the new company and its key business goals.
Coler became chairman of Food Marketing Institute’s Government Relations Committee in 2015, facilitating collaboration among member companies.
VP, Retail Support, Deli and Prepared Food-East Region, Albertsons Cos.
Dupre implemented a program that helped some stores regain lost sales and others realize a completely new sales opportunity by placing pre-sliced, grab-and-go deli meats and cheeses in free-standing refrigerated display cases.
To properly introduce Own Brands and build a relationship between teams, she convened a multiday off-site meeting to introduce products and present data showing years of success and growth.
Dupre is the event lead for a new corporate women’s networking group that allows others the opportunity to hone their skills related to project development and collaboration.
VP, Procurement, Meat/Seafood/Deli, Albertsons Cos.
East played a vital role in supporting distribution center IT integration, providing key insights and guidance for data conversion and post-conversion support roles specific to perishable procurement.
She hired management staff and developed a multifaceted training program for new decentralized procurement teams representing 10 newly established independently managed distribution centers, and placed all centralized department applicants in new roles within the organization.
East collaborated with cross-functional teams to reduce excess inventory across the enterprise, saving the company millions of dollars in working capital.
VP, Finance and Analytics, Albertsons Cos.
Under Fields’ leadership, the Own Brands finance team established data sources and analytical and reporting tools that allowed the organization to seamlessly gather insights on business performance across divisions in a timely manner; during this critical first year of integration, Fields kept executive leadership apprised of Own Brands’ financial health.
Her team created a system to track Own Brands products selling in the company’s divisions, which was instrumental in meeting several sales milestones.
Fields was the point person for Own Brands synergies, identifying multimillion-dollar savings from integrating into Albertsons’ banners and driving incremental EBITDA.
VP, Consumer and Shopper Insights, Albertsons Cos.
Fifles’ team established a baseline of shopper perceptions for Albertsons banners and their competition across the new trading area of the merged company, and she advanced division leadership’s understanding of the drivers of loyalty, price, shopping experience and customer service.
She developed and facilitated a marketing and merchandising vision/mission/strategy session with leadership, resulting in a comprehensive strategic plan.
Fifles directed her team to assess shopper reaction to a new advertising campaign to understand breakthrough, persuasion and communication, resulting in optimized launch materials for rollout.
VP, Human Resources and Labor Relations, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s and Star Market
Working with the leadership team, Garnett developed new tools and methods to identify, source and develop high-potential employees from both inside and outside the organization.
She and her team launched the Training Fundamentals program to provide a baseline of knowledge in the areas of customer service and financial acumen to all management-level employees, both at the stores and the support center.
Garnett conducted succession-planning sessions for all levels of employees, launched targeted career day events, and revitalized campus recruitment efforts, focusing on culinary and business programs.
Group VP, Bakery, Albertsons Cos.
Upon the completion of the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Hunt, then group VP of pharmacy, was asked to return to bakery, which she had previously run with success; under her renewed leadership, bakery achieved sales growth outpacing industry growth by 350 percent, consumer experience and satisfaction improved substantially, and market share penetration increased.
Hunt and her team developed multimillion-dollar cost-savings initiatives and best practices during the first year of company integration with Safeway.
She helped launch, and is a board member, of a new Albertsons resource group, WIIN: Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network.
VP, Corporate Initiatives, Albertsons Cos.
Long coordinated all integration activities for the Albertsons-Safeway merger, leading the conversion of the Southern and Houston divisions to in-house technology within nine months of the deal’s close.
She actively facilitated a culture of collaboration and cooperation between two distinct company cultures to build a strong, unified and enthusiastic team.
Long’s team provided training and support for hundreds of associates to facilitate the conversions and prepare employees for large-scale change; her leadership enabled the newly combined company to execute its aggressive integration plans on schedule, with several areas outpacing expectations.
VP, Corporate Human Resources, Albertsons Cos.
After the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Lord worked with a new management team to restructure and reorganize the corporate offices to align with a strategic focus on decentralizing many roles and responsibilities; she executed the project, which affected hundreds of associates, with compassion and professionalism.
She was a valuable partner of a small team that focused on combining the merged companies’ human resources programs and policies, including multiple contract renegotiations that yielded profitable savings.
A mentor for women at the corporate offices of Albertsons and Safeway, Lord is past chair for the Single Mom’s Network Group.
VP, Corporate Procurement-Grocery, Liquor and Bakery, Albertsons Cos.
For the legacy Safeway distribution centers, procurement for grocery and GM/HBC was centralized under Martinez’s leadership before the merger with Albertsons.
Her team led the tracking and evaluation of key supply chain initiatives and participated in the planning process for multiple national sales events throughout the year and other cost-reduction efforts.
Martinez worked with other women leaders to start an employee resource group at Albertsons corporate headquarters in Boise, Idaho, with the aim of connecting talented women across the organization.
EVP, Retail Operations-East Region, Albertsons Cos.
To facilitate the Denver division’s conversion to a decentralized operating model, Morris quickly built a team of seasoned professionals to manage procurement, pricing, advertising and all other key functions; she also created 5 Minute Friday, an update delivered to employees by email or smartphone on the last Friday of every month.
Under her leadership, the division boosted its funding of nonprofit community organizations; she empowered store directors to choose funding partners, allocating nearly $500,000 in local grants.
Morris is an active member of Colorado Concern, an association of CEOs and business leaders committed to ensuring economic growth.
SVP, Digital Marketing and e-Commerce, Albertsons Cos.
Pattison’s team launched the Just for U personalized loyalty program to new geographies, drove greater engagement in the Fuel Rewards program and developed the digital road map to support the continued growth of mobile and social program participation.
She helped her team extend the existing e-commerce offering by launching grocery delivery in four West Coast markets.
At Albertsons, Pattison is executive sponsor of the Gen-Now employee resource group, and a foundational member of the Boise, Idaho, and Pleasanton, Calif., chapters of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network (WIIN).
Group VP, Treasury and Investor Relations, Albertsons Cos.
Plaisance led a company-wide process to identify incremental savings opportunities; she negotiated payments contracts, leading to millions of dollars of annual savings.
She was instrumental in the Albertsons IPO process, including preparation of the S-1 and presentation materials; participated directly in the investors roadshow; was involved in raising $11 billion of debt financing; and coordinated efforts among Treasury, IT and information security on the payments side of the business.
Plaisance serves as president of Bucknell University’s alumni board and is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute.
President, Southern California Division, Albertsons Cos.
Raya successfully integrated Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores into one division, combining company cultures and reinventing many processes and strategies while achieving same-store sales growth and creating 1,400 new jobs.
A longtime supporter of Special Olympics Southern California, she spurred her division to raise awareness and funds — $478,077 in just two weeks — for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, for which Albertsons served as the official grocery sponsor.
Following the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings, Raya led a division-wide fundraiser garnering $372,624.38 for the Arrowhead United Way’s San Bernardino Victim Fund in just nine days.
VP, Shopper Marketing, Albertsons Cos.
Sales formed a department team from scratch to support the combined Albertsons-Safeway organization, implementing policies and procedures for finance, accounting, advertising, merchandising and operations to support the new breakout of 14 divisions, and absorbing more than 100 additional stores purchased over the course of the year.
She launched a centralized in-store demo solution this past February, with an expected impact of significant savings to vendor partners and increased sales for the company over the course of the next two years.
Sales added and implemented five incremental national CPG-supported shopper events.
VP, Merchandising Services, Albertsons Cos.
For the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Wilson oversaw space planning, schematic development, merchandising systems and data governance; her hybrid space-planning and schematic development structure allowed for local control while leveraging the scale and expertise of a national production team.
Wilson’s teams built business processes and systems to support the newly merged decentralized organization.
She created a company-wide merchandising execution program that significantly increased the efficiency of reset work by deploying dedicated reset teams and taking schematic development in-house, allowing more work to be done to impact sales at the shelf.
CEO, Andronico’s Community Markets
A fitness buff and certified holistic health coach, Monford created Andronico’s FitMarket department and program, which led to partnerships with community members, including nutrition consultants available to customers at no cost.
She funded and developed the iTunes app Sweat. Works, a platform where FitBank participants could check in for their workouts and track their rewards.
She launched events featuring yoga in Andronico’s parking lots and gardening for children, and is working with UC Berkeley on a program in which students can track their workouts for Fit-Bank to donate money directly to local food banks.
VP, Trade and Promotion, Avocados From Mexico
Bezart-Hall’s influence permeated the category through innovative avocado programming in more than 28,000 stores.
Her leadership of customer category programming led to avocado in-store store growth of 18 percent, to 220 percent; these programs have made the category the second-largest in the produce department.
She helped pioneer support of registered dietitians in the produce industry, and led the category with support of the PMA and Oldways programs, offering expert insight and detailed information on avocados’ nutritional benefits to retail and foodservice dietitians, aided by an in-house research and development team.
CEO/President, Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk’s board of directors appointed Roche to succeed William Y. Tauscher as CEO. Before this appointment, she was the company’s president for more than five years, a role she continued to fill.
Roche led Blackhawk’s aggressive growth objective, including the completion of a number of acquisitions, like that of digital commerce platform and promotions network NimbleCommerce, that added to the company’s offerings, scale and reach.
One of San Francisco Business Times’ Most influential Women in Bay Area Business, she has also received such industry-specific honors as a PYMNTS Innovator Award in the Women Driving Innovation in Payments category.
VP, Brownie Brittle LLC
The first official employee of Brownie Brittle, with influence over all aspects of its business, Eichler set up a major strategic partnership with Mondavi that resulted in significant sales and a request from the company for another exclusive team-up.
She participated in the global initiative Mentoring Monday, as well as in the South Florida Business Women’s Leadership Group, and was a judge for the CANstruction event benefiting the Palm Beach County Food Bank’s annual architectural food donation program.
Responsible for all things digital on a global scale at Brownie Brittle, Eichler was a regularly requested speaker for various women’s groups and the technology industry.
VP, Supply Chain Planning and Integration, Clif Bar & Co.
Albertson led the creation and implementation of several new processes, including those relating to sales and operations planning, five-year capacity plans and long-range shipment forecasting, as well as a variety of system and reporting enhancements.
She created the role of supply chain manager, which has become indispensable in the innovation and product life-cycle management process.
As Clif Bar prepared to add its first two wholly owned and operated bakeries, the company was able to draw on Albertson’s prior experience with Quaker Oats/PepsiCo to gain insight into how self-manufacture would affect processes and costs going forward.
Group Director, Sparkling Commercialization, Coca-Cola North America, The Coca-Cola Co.
Bates and her team spearheaded an extraordinary addition to the Diet Coke campaign It’s Mine that involved the production of thousands of new 12-ounce glass bottles, each with its own personal design.
Her team led internal communications for the new Coca-Cola one-brand trademark strategy, in which all beverages under the Coca-Cola umbrella — Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life — moved to a one-brand approach, to ensure that all employees were on the same page for the global rollout.
Bates was active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, having mentored the same “little sister” for nine years.
Director, Ko Lab and Shopper Experience Innovation Center (SEIC), The Coca-Cola Co.
Gronek-Gibbs transformed the KO Lab and the SEIC into a thriving hub of solution and innovation, starting with a complete refresh of the lab space.
For a planning meeting with a major large-store customer, she and her team delved into every part of the customer’s business and integrated discussions on historic performance and sales numbers with talks from subject-matter experts on possible partnerships, flavor innovation and shopper insight trends.
Gronek-Gobbs received internal recognition for working to create a path to purchase through beacon technology.
VP, Retail Channel Strategy and Commercialization, the Coca-Cola Co.
Marr led the creation of a collaborative business-planning process for national retail sales customers, working closely with the national retail sales organization and multiple cross-functional partners on a disciplined approach to customer planning.
She developed a retail value proposition giving customers access to company insights, expertise, differentiated shopper solutions that could be activated both nationally and locally, and operational and executional excellence capabilities.
Marr initiated the development of a strategy to help retail customers build a best-in-class foodservice offering and experience.
VP, Customer Management, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, The Coca-Cola Co.
Motherwell created a joint business planning scorecard and process with Coca-Cola Consolidated’s largest customer, resulting in strong volume and revenue growth performance for both the customer and the company.
She and her team redefined Coca-Cola Consolidated’s go-to-market model to support a large-store customer, leading to significant cost savings, in-stock improvement, and increased sales for both parties.
Motherwell helped launch an e-commerce platform enabling the company to support brick-and-mortar e-commerce locations opening within its footprint, and better partner and engage with key retailers.
VP, National Retail Sales, The Coca-Cola Co.
Stewart evolved the Coke with Meals platform in her customer’s store delis, leveraging analytics, shopper insights and extensive foodservice experience; the plan she and her team created was so successful that internal parties requested to use aspects of it for other customers.
She transitioned the customer’s field team to a strategic franchise leader center of excellence, ultimately leading to mastery of auto-replenishment and strengthened pillar/holiday event execution.
Stewart developed a five-year customer-aligned strategic road map to drive buyer and trip conversions for the customer, focusing on research that shows where the customer can grow.
Group Director, Category Strategic Advisory, East Region Large Store Team, The Coca-Cola Co.
Valenzuela piloted a collaborative business-planning program to improve the opportunity assessment process for her clients, working with her customer teams on a model that was scalable and adaptable for other retailers.
She standardized category reviews across the East Region, developing a template that allows for consistency across customers.
Valenzuela developed a program that brought in other company departments’ leaders to talk with her employees about different topics and how they achieved success in their careers, and she volunteered to participate in a Coca-Cola leadership pilot involving virtual and in-person training.
VP Managing Director, Crossmark
Fuller drove top- and bottom-line performance, exceeding her stretch revenue target by an additional $271,000, and leading her team to the most profitable year since its 2008 inception; she also worked with the business development team to grow revenue, a proactive effort resulting in an incremental $972,000
She established strong relationships across her client portfolio, retaining an at-risk client that was key to the company’s convenience store relationship.
Executive leadership asked Fuller to join a client initiative to highlight the above program’s value, her efforts garnering visibility for the team’s performance and quality provided.
SVP, Client Development, Crossmark
Gamble led the rollout of a new client go-to-market strategy, including its development, refinement and implementation.
She headed the growth innovation summit to introduce Crossmark’s new organizational structure and processes, working with an outside company to help coordinate and facilitate the kickoff as well as related ongoing training; this included the formalization of all new job descriptions and the development of employee playbooks.
Gamble championed efforts to develop Net Promoter Score (NPS) within the company, marking the first formalized effort to improve clients’ satisfaction to ensure their continuing growth and innovation.
SVP, Government and Public Affairs, Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
Hatcher successfully led the industry’s legislative and regulatory efforts on multiple public policy fronts, most recently in relation to menu labeling and GMO labeling proposals.
When an outage by a major service provider caused massive disruptions in electronic payment systems throughout the industry, she worked nights and weekends to ensure that food retailers’ needs were addressed and that affected companies had a means of redress.
Hatcher oversaw the industry’s work with Congress to reauthorize and reform the Women, Infants and Children program.
Senior Director, Media and Public Relations, Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
Thesmar’s work facilitated implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the biggest change to food safety laws in 70-plus years; to help with compliance, she coordinated four training sessions for food retailers and wholesalers.
She regularly visited FMI members to consult on food safety best practices, including store tours during which she provided hands-on instruction and shared training methods.
Thesmar worked with FMI’s Food Protection Committee to develop new publications to aid retailers’ food safety efforts, and led implementation of the “Produce Safety Best Practices Guide for Retailers.”
VP, Deli and Bakery, Giant Eagle Inc.
After successfully running Giant Eagle’s deli business for many years, Woods took on additional leadership duties for the bakery business.
She was instrumental in generating improvements through innovative products and merchandising in bakery, leading to a net gain of more than 10 percent.
The recipient of numerous company and industry awards, Woods — the first-ever woman to chair the IDDBA board — founded the Giant Eagle Women’s Business Resource Group, which to date has grown to more than 700 members; her employee development efforts also included taking part in an internal video on growth opportunies at Giant Eagle.
SVP/Chief Customer Officer, Hallmark Cards Inc.
A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, Wiewel guided all aspects of Hallmark’s marketplace, workplace and workforce.
Under her leadership, the company elevated its diverse and active employee resource group community — Wiewel herself chairs the Asian-American Resource Community at Hallmark — and received a 100 percent score on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index.
Identifying a gap in both LGBTQIA and Asian-American products, Wiewel led award-winning work to bring a customized and unique assortment to a Walgreens store in San Francisco’s LGBT-centric Castro neighborhood, and began focusing on localized retail solutions.
KRISTI MAGNUSON NELSON
President/Owner, Hugo’s Family Marketplace
The leader of Hugo’s Family Marketplace and Hugo’s Wine & Spirits, Nelson undertook a major renovation and remodel project for five Minnesota and North Dakota stores, which added many new features, including expanded natural food sections and more deli choices, and resulted in impressive sales gains.
In addition to leading an innovative and impactful social media strategy to engage and reach customers, Nelson was instrumental in teaming with a local health care facility to introduce a Healthy Living program.
Nelson was recognized as one of Prairie Business Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Business in February 2016.
VP, Produce and Floral, Hy-Vee
Under Fuhrman’s leadership, Hy-Vee’s specialty foods subsidiary experienced double-digit growth.
Having significantly expanded the chain’s international food offerings with a direct-import program with Italian food companies, Fuhrman helped lead her division’s category growth for private label across many lines, as well as playing an instrumental role in doubling the scope and size of Hy-Vee’s in-store HealthMarket departments.
In her current role, Fuhrman oversaw the implementation of a company-wide produce, floral and salad bar marketing program, and helped develop and execute a successful full-service, made-to-order salad bar initiative.
VP, Brand and Image Marketing, Hy-Vee
Under Hiatt’s leadership, Hy-Vee saw a 228 percent increase in Instagram followers, a 138 percent growth in Twitter followers and a 50 percent increase in Facebook fans in 2015.
She led the launch of Hy-Vee’s entrance into the Twin Cities, which included a fully integrated campaign consisting of numerous direct mail pieces, digital advertising, fliers and billboards, all in keeping with the grocer’s brand but designed specifically to appeal to the new market.
As Hy-Vee celebrated its 85th anniversary, Hiatt and her team brought back a well-known company promotion, Brands for Brands, with an updated twist that tied into the grocer’s Fuel Saver + Perks card.
EVP, Government/Industry Relations, Chief Customer Officer, Hy-Vee
In the short time since Laing became Hy-Vee’s chief customer officer, in June 2015, she’s made significant advances, among them doubling the size of the customer care department, the size and scope of recruiting efforts, and the size of the training and education department; in regard to the last item, she oversaw the rollouts of new employee certification programs for cheese, wine and cake design specialists.
She planned strategic initiatives to realign both company-wide meetings and Hy-Vee management group and communication meetings.
Laing was elected a permanent member of Hy-Vee’s executive committee and board of directors.
MARY KAY O’CONNOR
VP, Education, International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA)
Coinciding with her 30th anniversary with IDDBA, O’Connor led the release of the 30th-anniversary issue of “What’s in Store,” a trends book and online service for manufacturer, grocery retail, distributor and broker members. She is managing editor and founder of the publication.
She led the charge for the groundbreaking Safe Food Matters! Focus on Listeria campaign launched last year by IDDBA, developing new advertising, public relations and social media for the effort.
O’Connor oversaw the creation of Show & Sell Center 2015 and the first-time-ever Show & Sell workshops at IDDBA’s annual Dairy-Deli-Bake conference.
VP, Kroger Team Sales, Kellogg Co.
Overseeing a $1 billion business for 14 Kroger divisions and Harris Teeter across four Kellogg’s business units, Wilmer built a high-performing 40-member team and established a best-in-class partnership via collaborative, intuitive leadership.
She was one of five global winners, out of 30,000 employees, to receive Kellogg’s highest associate award — the W.K. Kellogg Values Award, named for the company founder — via nominations from her colleagues.
Wilmer created the Cincy One organization, spanning sales and distribution facilities, to focus on community engagement and reaching out to local schools for recruiting efforts, as well as to build a strong brand for Kellogg in Kroger’s hometown.
CFO, Kings Food Markets/Balducci’s
As CFO for the two companies with revenue in excess of $500 million, Bonamego, who is also a CPA, constantly challenged the status quo, providing groundbreaking solutions and valuable insights for growth.
She identified, acquired and implemented a financial software system that automated internal processes, increased organizational efficiency and provided tools to improve year-over-year results by 35 percent.
An active member of the real estate committee, Bonamego developed a property system of evaluation and review that ensures accurate and measurable ROI milestones and benchmarks.
SVP, Talent and Technology, Kings Food Markets
Promoted to her current role this past February, Gasser enjoyed many successes in the past year, among them negotiating five union contracts on behalf of Kings without any disruption to business, and at zero cost to the company.
She reduced health care costs by $2 million, with minimal effect to associates’ coverage, and led the reorganization and staffing of a critical sales arm of the organization, which resulted in a top-level, high-performance team.
Under her leadership and superior project management, a newly acquired company was fully integrated into the host system in a completely seamless fashion.
Senior Director, Indirect Sourcing, The Kroger Co.
Greinke evinced a high level of adaptability by transitioning noncore work from her sourcing team to the facilities team.
She and her team exceeded their savings target of $20 billion by completing large projects regarding third-party maintenance, structural steel, refrigerant, copper piping and other areas; by using her deep knowledge of store construction and operations, she was able to find many internal synergies with suppliers to add to their Kroger business and build stronger, mutually beneficial partnerships.
She was a key leader in the sourcing and procurement of many new items and fixtures for Kroger’s new Main & Vine format.
VP, Total Rewards, The Kroger Co.
Monti led the Total Rewards team in a new strategic direction: to meet associates where they are in life and offer benefits and programs that matter most across a multigenerational workforce. She particularly strove to engage the growing number of Millennial employees via programs and communication emphasizing the value of working for Kroger.
Under her leadership, Kroger was named one of the “100 healthiest companies in America” in 2015 by Healthiest Employer LLC.
As the point person for merger company integration, her leadership was invaluable as Kroger merged with Roundy’s, encompassing the transition of 23,000 associates.
Director, Supply Chain Systems, The Kroger Co./Technology
Nelson led efforts to modernize solutions in Kroger’s supply chain and corporate technology areas to meet such foundational objectives as agility, cost-effectiveness, security, scalability and supportability; as part of this effort, her team designed, developed and tested an application that served as a proof of technology for next-generation cloud-enabled applications.
She oversaw the market assessment and testing of new voice technologies, and selected the company’s next-generation voice-picking solution.
Under her leadership, associate engagement scores have increased by three percentage points.
General Merchandise Manager, Apparel, The Kroger Co.
While the apparel industry had flat to negative identical-store sales, Roberts and her team increased sales by 7.5 percent; they accomplished this by driving key items that she championed throughout the year, including Bearpaw Boots and men’s polo shirts.
She and her team joined forces with a vendor to revamp the cold-weather program for all divisions, updating the quality and fashion level of the items offered, and led the development of the first flash sale in Kroger Marketplaces, which drove first-time sales of $650,000.
Roberts served on a YWCA fundraising committee that helped raise $100,000 annually.
Director, Floral Merchandising, The Kroger Co.
Rose drove major changes in logistics to overcome the time and temperature challenges involved in moving floral product to warehouses. The changes resulted in a one- to two-day time savings and the requirement of a more consistent temperature setting to maintain fresh product.
She generated double-digit sales by changing Kroger’s longstanding Consumer Bunch program, the company’s second-largest sales commodity, to a more European program of premium products in all divisions.
Rose is a member of the PMA Floral Council, the Women’s EDGE resource group at Kroger and the Produce Floral Cultural Council, among other industry associations.
VP, Finance, Litehouse Inc.
Hegel, a CPA, achieved VP status at the age of 42, after 10 years of service at Litehouse, a maker of salad dressings, dips, sauces and marinades.
Tasked with implementing a financial planning and analysis department at Litehouse, she helped build key performance indicators and metrics across the organization, which greatly contributed to record-breaking growth and profitability for the company.
A member of many trade and professional organizations who was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow through Rotary International, Hegel also mentored her fellow employee-owners in alignment with Litehouse’s core values, as well as the company’s culture of striving for performance and improvement.
Marketing Director, Market of Choice
Ryse’s work was fundamental to the growth of Market of Choice, an independent, family-owned grocer in Oregon, as she directly influenced the company’s look and voice.
She was heavily involved in the company’s opening of its ninth store in Beaverton, Ore., working with the owner/president and an interior designer on fixtures and furnishings for all departments, and planning and directing ad campaigns and promotions in the new market.
Ryse was pivotal in a new endeavor for the company: repurposing a historic lumber mill into an event center in just 90 days to host a major event; the renamed Venue 252 opened on time and has been in high demand since.
Founder/CEO, Mom Made Foods LLC
Within the past year Stouffer has grown her, 10-employee company’s revenue by 89 percent, filling the need for healthy, convenient frozen meals and snacks at several national retail accounts.
Her mission was to bring America’s families back to the dinner table while showing them how to eat more consciously and healthfully on the go.
A onetime recipient of Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award, Stouffer belongs to a raft of professional and community groups, including Martha’s Table, where she volunteers to help cook for and educate vulnerable children and families about healthy eating.
VP, Merchandising, Meijer
Ackley worked toward making Meijer a true destination location for health and wellness; her vision included overseeing the rollout of an elevated skin care and VMS (vitamins, minerals and supplements) offering to 30 target stores; the strategy involved creating an enhanced in-store shopping experience through lower-profile shelving lighting experiential graphics and a store-within-a-store layout.
She expanded product assortment to include more prestigious skin care brands and specialty VMS brands.
Ackley was instrumental in driving sourcing growth in several categories, working through the Global Sourcing Office in Hong Kong. She also works as a mentor to her colleagues in Hong Kong.
VP, Business Development, Midwest Dairy Association
A “go-to” source for the dairy industry, Sorensen was a key presenter at the Feeding America Food Sourcing and Operations Learning Conference FED Talks in Chicago and at the Feeding America Conference.
A regular contributor to industry media she developed the Milk for My Plate purchase model.
Sorensen is a member of Network of Executive Women and the research and insights operating committee of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. She is also the current VP of membership on the executive committee of the board of directors for Women Grocers of America, a program of the National Grocers Association.
President, The Muffin Mam Inc.
When LaFreniere took over her late mother’s wholesale manufacturing business for baked goods, she worked on the production line and in each department to immerse herself in the operation.
She worked with her team to launch a “game-changer” item that extends shelf life up to 30 days and combines bulk packaging with individual portions that can be broken down into multipacks and grocery breakfast items.
Also new under LaFreniere’s watch were an all-natural, clean-label product line made with no preservatives and offering a seven-day shelf life, and a better-for-you line focusing on calories, protein and fiber without sacrificing taste.
Divisional VP, Field Sales, Nestlé Sales Division, Nestlé USA
Until August 2015, Olson led the category shopper development team focused on confections; more recently, in her current role, she led her team in planning and executing Nestlé’s 150th-anniversary promotion, growing share across the Nestlé basket by 100 basis points and sales by 4.8 percent.
A member of the executive team of the Women in Nestle Sales group, she led initiatives to create a more flexible workplace. Olson also joined two panel discussions and led a breakout session at the Nestlé national meeting.
As a board member for the National Confectioners Association, she helped redesign the strategy of the organization for the next 10 years.
Divisional VP, Beverage Category and Shopper Development, Nestlé USA
Wheeler played a key role in implementing a total beverage category strategy plan that helped expand sales and profits not only for the division, but also for Nestlé’s customers.
She was part of creating a new integrated planning process for Nestlé USA, revamped the framework of the company’s category road maps, and was tapped to lead an organizational redesign effort for the Nestlé sales division.
A board member of the Nestlé Women in Leadership/Diversity and Inclusion strategy, Wheeler participated in a broad range of business improvement initiatives, among them strategic and commercial planning integration, pricing optimization, and category strategy development.
President, Nielsen North America
The first female president of Nielsen North America, Fichuk successfully revamped Nielsen’s business model, based on emerging trends and a deep understanding of the company’s clients and their needs.
She oversaw the launch of several products that deliver against total consumer measurement and enable clients to garner increased insights and more effective solutions.
A frequent speaker across the consumer packaged goods industry, Fichuk participated in such in high-profile events as the Food Marketing Institute Conference, Grocery Manufacturers Leadership Forum, Telsey Advisory Group’s annual Spring Consumer Conference and the Food Marketing Institute Midwinter Executive Conference.
VP, Sales, Grocery Channel, Pepsico/Frito-Lay
Daudelin and her team significantly exceeded revenue targets in the U.S. grocery channel by listening to customers, bringing relevant and actionable insights, collaborating with cross-functional partners, working with other PepsiCo leaders, and aligning with key internal and external stakeholders; this strategy led Frito-Lay to top CPG supplier status in growth contribution to customers.
Leader of Network of Executive Women (NEW) for Frito-Lay, she planned PepsiCo’s participation in the NEW National Meeting in Dallas.
Daudelin played an active role in internal capability-building initiatives that supported the organization’s women leaders.
CEO, The Perfect Bite Co.
While The Perfect Bite Co. grew a historic 20 percent over the past year, thanks to innovative premium appetizer products, the development of a value-added frozen vegetable segment, and increased penetration in the catalog business, Valentine also worked on redesigning/relaunching the brand, which previously had a small presence in West Coast specialty markets, propelling it to become more of a leader in the premium appetizer segment.
Her team was able to increase distribution by more than 500 percent in a short period of time.
Valentine led a revamp of the company’s website that helped specialty retailers better discover and receive products.
VP, Sales, Alternate Channels, Post Consumer Brands
Assuming her new role as part of a new organizational structure after the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods, Wallen played a key role in directing the sales team’s integration into a cohesively knit, high-performing team.
Under her guidance, the new alternate channels team grew consumer sales by more than 40 percent alongside a double-digit sales increase, most notably in natural food stores, mass-channel food retailers and dollar stores.
At one account, sales gained 81 percent on strong distribution gains, thanks to the leadership of Wallen, who’s actively involved with Network of Executive Women and local animal rescue shelters.
Founder/CEO, Quinn Foods
After a year of searching for the right supply partners and testing recipes, Lewis developed a snack called Pretzels Reimagined, a gluten-, corn- and soy-free free, Non-GMO Project pretzel made from whole grain and ancient grains, and featuring full ingredient transparency; at the same time, Quinn Popcorn transitioned to Quinn Snacks.
As a result of her leadership, Quinn Foods’ revenue grew by 25 percent.
Lewis was named in Fortune magazine’s list of 2015 Top 10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, and at the 2015 Naturally Boulder Autumn Awards, she received the Breakout Brand Award, which is bestowed on successful up-and-comers in the natural products industry.
Inselman joined three cross-functional committees/initiatives, including one to find $30 million in cost savings in 100 days — something that was ultimately done in 76 days.
She spearheaded an effort to find savings through process improvements that saved the company $5 million in store and administrative expenses, and has begun leading another cross-functional team in a shrink initiative to find $8 million in savings.
Selected by the company’s executive committee to attend the USC Food Industry Executive Program, Inselman subsequently prepared a presentation for her team members on what she learned.
VP, Talent Development and Communications, Raley’s
When she was promoted to VP, Townsend asked to become a member of the company’s executive steering committee.
She implemented the company’s first learning management system, Raley’s U, to simplify the training of front-line team members and, ultimately, improve workforce skills and productivity. In the first six months of the program, 11,600 team members took more than 80,000 courses online.
Townsend led the evolution of the company’s internal webpage, The Pantry, and created a 12-week leadership development program for future store team leaders to impart company leadership traits.
VP, Merchandising, Relay Foods
Tyler delivered a 10 percent increase in the average basket and a 27 percent improvement in monthly revenue at Relay Foods, an online grocer.
Her efforts included a new pricing and promotion strategy, a new visual merchandising strategy, a category expansion in Relay-branded products, and, in a first for an e-grocer, the successful acquisition of a license to offer beer and wine to customers in Virginia. She also professionalized the company’s merchandising team, providing coaching and mentoring to young category managers.
Active in the Charlottesville food community, Tyler played a leadership role in the American Cheese Society.
ALISON ROUSE OYSTER
Managing Partner, Rouses Markets
A third-generation family member in a fast-growing family-owned company with 50 stores and 6,000 people across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Royster led automation initiatives, including the company’s financial reporting processes and the IT team’s project to automate employee health care enrollment and reporting.
She created a specialized marine supply operations unit to provide the offshore oil services and fishing industries with dockside pickup, delivery and shopping options.
Royster advised The Idea Village, host of the annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, which helps Rouses foster new food startups.
Owner and operator of a four-store chain of Save-A-Lot stores, Schmitz focused on driving sales and improving profitability of her store, successfully lifting sales and earnings.
She planned and executed a store remodel to drive customer traffic, and began planning her next Save-A-Lot supermarket.
Schmitz received a Business of the Month distinction in November 2015 from the Ontario, N.Y., Chamber of Commerce, and was awarded the Keys to the Village by Mount Morris, N.Y., for her work operating a store there; she’s also always willing to speak with potential and new Save-A-Lot licensees.
VP, Quality Assurance, Shopper Events
Cozza partnered with Walmart to redesign its in-store sampling experience and maximize the impact of investment dollars and sales trhough strategic identification of focus stores.
As part of the redesign, she led an initiative to hire and onboard 2,000 Walmart field associates during the fourth quarter, as well as to increase speed to work by seven days and reduce the new-hire drop-off rates of the company’s hourly field-based talent.
Working with IT, she developed a card management and expense reconciliation tool that reduced the time to invoice on Sam’s Club and Walmart accounts by more than 50 percent, and reduced rework by 75 percent.
VP, Business Development, Events Demo, Shopper Events
Mitchell, who led the team that launched the Walmart Neighborhood Market demo program, also created a fresh-focused demo program that delivered a 14:1 ROI for Walmart, improved customer perception of the retailer’s fresh departments and increased sustainability.
She developed a 360-degree gluten-free shopper program for Walmart, which showed an overall 522 percent sales lift for the 14 items sampled, a 1.8 million blog reach and more than 7.9 million social impressions; the retailer has since requested that the event be held multiple times a year.
Mitchell’s department drove a 98 percent growth in revenue year over year.
Senior Director, Wellness and Corporate Communications, Skogen’s Festival Foods
While driving her dietitian team to find innovative ways to educate shoppers and associates about food and health, Schultz implemented the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System and developed the Eat Well at Festival Foods ad program.
She headed Festival’s social media team to engage a growing audience of more than 112,000 Facebook fans, 8,300 Twitter followers and 1,600 Instagram followers, and provided insights and guidance for the grocer’s website.
Under Schultz’s direction as president of the board of directors for Cerebral Palsy Inc., its recent telethon raised more than $1 million.
Chief Marketing Officer, Smart & Final
Hong undertook an extensive rebranding of the Smart & Final banner and led the executive team in the creation of the company vision: Nourishing Communities, One Neighborhood at a Time.
She relaunched Project 100, a program she created, under which she and her team committed to sponsor a community service project in every neighborhood where Smart & Final opens a new store for the next 100 stores.
She developed the First Percent Back program, which contributes the first 1 percent of sales of Smart & Final’s flagship private label brand, First Street, to the company’s charitable foundation to help improve the communities the grocery store chain serves.
Managing Director, USA, Sopexa
Hired shortly after Sopexa’s privatization, Oudin led the transformation of the agency, hiring a diverse team of multicultural marketing specialists that helped secure new business and playing a major role in driving revenue to $80 million in 2015.
She built new retail and in-store content partnerships with some of the country’s major wholesalers and grocers, including Kroger, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, along with key technology players.
In all, Oudin maintained a 100 percent client retention rate, and helped grow the global business by 9 percent over 2015; beyond work, she promoted entrepreneurship and investment in women-founded and -led companies.
EVP, Marketing and Communications, Southeastern Grocers
Cramond, in charge of all marketing activities across Southeastern Grocers’ 750 Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores, was at the forefront of the grocer’s turnaround, launching seven innovative initiatives in less than a year.
In what’s believed to be a first in U.S. corporate history, she drove the business to donate 100 percent of its profits ($3 million) on the Fourth of July to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Cramond created the Cooking with Curtis for under $10 program with Food Network chef Curtis Stone, which has sparked sales increases of as much as 200 percent on featured lines.
VP, Corporate Affairs and Communications, SpartanNash Co.
Gremel transformed communications into a culture builder through multiple efforts, including the creation of a groundbreaking newsletter and video that connected associates in all departments/locations after the merger that formed SpartanNash.
She redefined corporate social responsibility, creating engaged committees and expanding SpartanNash’s Earth Week drive to 45 retail locations, 11 distribution centers and three corporate service centers.
Gremel successfully and skillfully combined the legacy Spartan and Nash Finch foundations into the best-in-class SpartanNash foundation.
Director, Supply Chain-Finance, Sprouts Farmers Market
In addition to managing supply chain finances, Breland led a finance team that supported produce operations, representing a quarter of the company’s business.
She spearheaded supply chain sustainability initiatives, which diverted approximately 14 million pounds of food to those in need, and coordinated more than 3,060 tons of corrugated cardboard recycling in 2015.
She implemented a transportation system that helped manage more than $1 billion in produce procurement and sales operations activities, improved product aging by 25 percent, and lowered resource reductions by 40 percent.
VP, Store Operations Field Capability, Sprouts Farmers Market
Chikahisa led store and field training and development programs for Sprouts, which is growing at an annual rate of 14 percent and recently reached 21,000 team members.
She ensured that effective training was executed in all stores, resulting in promotions for more than 20 percent of the Sprouts team member base in 2015.
Promoted to VP last year, Chikahisa proved a champion for store talent, with a passion for team member development; one of her key accomplishments was planning and executing logistics for Sprouts’ first-ever Store Manager Summit, attended by 250 people over three days.
VP, Grocery, Sprouts Farmers Market
Coffin helped streamline Sprouts’ new item submission process, and completed a strategic remerchandising initiative that allowed for the addition of 1,100 new items to each store.
She created the Sprouts Signature Products program, under which the grocer teams with top-quality vendors to create exclusive grocery products that are highlighted with a special logo on the packaging.
Coffin was involved in developing the Sprouts Vendor Advisory Council to help company leaders gain further insight into the natural industry and to work with top brands to drive authenticity in the natural channel.
VP, Vitamins and Body Care, Sprouts Farmers Market
Lucas not only ignited innovation within her department through the design and execution of profitable marketing and sales programs, she also helped change the customer perception of natural vitamins and body care industry-wide.
She spearheaded Sprouts’ partnership with nonprofit organization Vitamin Angels to raise $400,000 to provide more than 1.6 million children with life-saving nutrients.
She initiated major marketing refreshes for several vitamin and body care programs — sparking double-digit growth — and created new training modules to enhance thousands of team members’ natural selling skills.
Chief Information Security Officer, Supervalu
In 2016 alone, Hanscom and her team managed 10-plus key security projects, including PCI recertification, deploying an industry-leading Cyber Security Operations Center and enhancing the organization’s cybersecurity capabilities.
Immediately upon joining Supervalu, she reviewed existing security programs, made recommendations for improvements and built a team to accomplish these goals.
Hanscom and her team rolled out company-wide security and phishing training programs to ensure that all Supervalu associates knew about protecting the company’s data and assets.
SVP, Merchandising-Grocery, Target Corp.
Dament co-led a cross-functional, detailed strategic review of Target’s grocery business, resulting in significant changes to almost all aspects of the department.
While working on the long-term strategic review, she also focused on perishables and customer experience, resulting in several months of comparable-store sales growth and increased profitability.
Dament oversaw all grocery divisional leaders and the day-to-day operation of Target’s $19 billion grocery business, with direct management accountability for assortment, vendor relations, presentation, pricing, and grocery profit and loss.
CEO, Tatsuda’s IGA
Tatsuda oversaw a complete $2.7 million makeover of Tatsuda’s 42-year-old store while keeping it open for business the entire time, replacing all refrigeration and shelving, and most of the equipment.
She also expanded the store’s organic, natural and specialty foods section, as well as adding more prepared food selections.
Tatsuda’s goal was to create a caring atmosphere for both customers and associates, and she was committed to finding the right personalities to work in the store, where associates are asked to not only help customers, but also each other and vendors.
VP, Marketing, Topco Associates
Severin fielded 21 market research studies that reached more than 10,000 shoppers to cultivate a shopper-centric, data-driven approach, and updated or introduced several brands, including Simply Done, a nonfood mega-brand; Full Circle Market, an organic and natural brand; Paws Happy Life; and Food Club.
She led her teams to improve packaging development speed to market by at least 34 percent in 2015, which translated into 58 extra days on the shelf for 333 new items that added $4.3 million in sales.
Currently, Severin is developing several new brands, including a brand for culinary adventurers, a mainstream deli brand and a premium pet brand.
Director, Food Industry Program, University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business
McCloud completely reworked and revalidated the curriculum for the 2015 food industry management (FIM) class to be more relevant for today’s food industry executives, and established a USC FIM HR Council to share best practices related to selecting, onboarding and nurturing USC FIM students.
Her efforts led to the highest enrollment in the FIM USC class in more than 30 years.
McCloud designed, submitted and was granted approval to introduce a Master of Science in Food Industry Management and Leadership program at the USC Marshall School of Business that will be offered in fall 2017.
Store Owner/Manager, Vista Foods
Having taken over the company from her father, Yeatts grew a thriving business even in the face of increased competition from big-box retailers and dollar stores, managing two locations 30 miles apart in rural western Virginia.
She oversaw all operational aspects of the company, from government regulations and health department compliance to banking and insurance, dividing her time between the two stores.
Active in her community, Yeatts is a member of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, volunteers and plays the piano at events throughout the year, and created 130 food baskets for the Alta Vista Rotary Club to go to needy families this past holiday season.
VP/Co-owner, Wakefield’s Great Valu
Garrett’s leadership and commitment led to the biggest sales growth in the history of Wakefield’s Great Valu, which has been in operation for nearly a quarter of a century.
Responsible for all areas of operation, she oversaw the store’s major remodel, which spurred a 14.3 percent increase in fiscal year 2014, and helped push out a competitor for a 15.2 percent increase in fiscal year 2015; the remodel included putting the finishing touches on a new décor package.
For the past year, Garrett has been preparing her son to take over the helm of Great Valu upon her retirement in the next five to six years, resulting in a dramatic improvement in his performance.
Director, Strategy and Planning, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Collaro played a critical role in the launch of the Explore More sampling platform for all food categories at Meijer, executed through more than 90,000 events for 280 companies, and providing more than 20 million samples in shoppers’ mouths.
She demonstrated strong client relationship skills, leading to more successful event integration with Meijer’s marketing campaigns.
Collaro developed a new shopper survey for key events to ensure that the agency delivered the best in-store experience for shoppers, resulting in greater sales and ROI for client programs.
Director, Field Operations, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Courtney led the integration of The Sunflower Group’s field execution structure into Advantage’s organizational structure, which included 3,000 part-time associates, a scheduling platform conversion, and title and structure realignment.
She led the charge for acquiring and training 1,500 new hires within three months, improving overall execution rates by nearly 25 percent and reducing turnover by 10 percent.
Courtney activated real-time execution monitoring of all participating platforms to increase efficiency, resulting in more than 30 hours of labor savings each week.
Senior Manager of Strategy & Planning, Advantage Solutions, Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Doak was a key lead on Meijer’s Explore More in-store event sampling and experiential platform, contributing to the retailer’s decision to hold more events.
She led strategy development and implementation for two innovative programs that launched Meijer’s new private label brand, and leveraged a number of capabilities to realize and integrate an in-store engagement program.
Doak’s collaboration with the market research team to develop queries and standardize reports cut work and timelines by 50 percent; she also leveraged past experience to help guide data collection and best ROI reporting structure.
Director, Client Services, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
As lead of the client services team that supports Kroger’s Delightful Discoveries in-store sampling program, Haubner oversaw tremendous financial results, including EBITDA of 42 percent to budget.
She expanded engagement with Kroger’s top 100 stores and influenced positive qualitative shopper feedback, and also opened and shaped new test pilots alongside her Discoveries team in the retailer’s pharmacy, The Little Clinic, GM and HBC segments.
To launch these strategic initiatives, Haubner offered coaching to the client services team, resulting in 60 percent employee turnover to higher positions, or transitions to other INEX businesses.
Client team Leader, Advantage Solutions
As regional lead for business development, Kwon was instrumental in winning 16 new clients while expanding opportunities with existing clients into other regions, resulting in more than $5.7 million in annual commission revenue.
She pioneered and developed tools and trackers, and deployed best practices, to bring efficiency and consistency to the business development process, and worked with internal teams and a client on brand development and a lucrative new item launch.
Kwon was recognized by a client as “Best in Class,” as well as receiving Advantage’s highest honor, the Sonny King Award, for her measurable contribution to the company’s objectives.
Director, Sales, Advantage Solutions
Jacoby exceeded sales objectives, achieving record sales and profit results, and helped win new business at BJ’s Wholesale Club.
She built a best-in-class team to cover C&S Wholesale Grocers and customers in New England, exceeded her succession planning for key Advantage associates, and mentored the Advantage Leadership Development program, ensuring that the company was properly staffed for future growth; many of her mentees went on to fill important roles with Advantage.
Involved in various trade and community groups, Jacoby serves on a school budget committee and as a lacrosse coach, and supports such community charities as a foster home and charity walks.
Director, Operations and Client Services, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
McCants was project lead and manager for the second-largest 360-degree marketing platform for Kroger, bringing in $5 million-plus in revenue for Advantage and ensuring marketing support for 6,000 reports, including back-end reporting.
She took on the lead operations role for the launch of a new BJ’s Wholesale Club business platform, which included hiring and training 2,500 field staff and home-office associates in two months.
McCants contributed to two revenue streams at a major client, including a program of atypical products carried by the retailer, and an adult-beverage sampling program.
Director, Operations, Shopper Digital Group, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners Division
Nadeau developed and executed strategic solutions for external and internal clients, resulting in the creation of a new Advantage business entity that’s both financially successful and impactful from an innovation standpoint.
Launching 197 digital media campaigns in support of 44 distinct CPG and retail clients with her team, she increased such initiatives by more than 518 percent in volume and 1,222 percent in revenue.
Nadeau spearheaded a labor savings project that reduced the time of campaign completion by more than 10 percent delivery time/30 labor hours per week.
Associate Director, Marketing Strategy and Development, Advantage Solutions
Stokes managed the rebranding of Advantage Sales & Marketing to Advantage Solutions as it transitioned from a regional food brokerage to a global entity with full enterprise services; she assembled a cross-divisional team for consensus around the new brand and ensured the support of the company’s vision.
Her rebranding efforts helped fuel 35 percent year-over-year growth.
With Boston University and AMP Agency, Stokes created the first fully accredited in-house course that places marketing experts with students in a class exploring the intersection of creativity, strategy and technology.
Director, Business Development, Advantage Solutions
Szumlas led $4 million in new business, played an integral role in an additional $25 million in new business, and helped Advantage break into new sales categories and new business verticals.
For each new client integration, she mobilized more than 1,400 sales and retail associates within 60 days, with each integration resulting in improved sales and retail results.
Szumlas streamlined a new client onboarding process, and created a best practice integration toolkit to be used across the organization, including a planner of milestones, tasks, trade communications, training and legacy agency management recommendations.
Magazine Manager, Ahold USA
Axe spearheaded the launch of Ahold USA’s Savory, Fast, Fresh and Easy print and digital content platform and magazine, helping customers answer the question “What’s for dinner?” by giving them quick, easy meal ideas that incorporate fresh, healthy foods.
She launched the Savory platform to the vendor community at Ahold’s FMI Connect After Party in June 2015, and the magazine went on to win FMI’s Gold Plate Award for Family Meals in September 2015.
Axe hit her budget with only four issues published, surpassing 2015 revenue with the first two 2016 issues.
Category Manager, Baby, Ahold USA
Barrouk led the baby merchandising team to rebrand private label diapers, trainers and wipes for the Always My Baby platform.
She worked with internal and external partners to create and finalize the label platform logo and packaging redesign, as well as the marketing and merchandising plan for the launch, and collaborated with the legal department to get approval to feature the valuable “Up To 12 Hours Protection” claim on the Always My Baby diaper packaging.
The in-store launch results were up more than 13 percent in sales and nearly 15 percent in units.
Asset Protection Manager (APM), Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Baxter oversaw four districts comprising 78 stores, versus an average of two, and was the first APM to earn certification through a loss prevention certification course, which allowed her to help her fellow team members prepare for the exam.
Beyond her regular role, her special projects included providing division support during the conversion of 25 stores and ensuring a smooth transition of armored car carriers in two regions.
For the recently created asset protection coordinator position, Baxter developed and implemented a division-wide training program.
Senior Manager, Performance Management and Management Development, Ahold USA
Braley expanded the successful Director Academy initiative with district-centric teams (DCTs) focusing on situational leadership, and further grew the program with store managers, DCTs, manager level-plus and corporate office associates.
She co-captained The Our Family Foundation annual golf outing to support the Children’s Miracle Network, coordinating 144 golfers across several golf courses with just 10 volunteers, and raised several million dollars for the network.
Braley was the 2015 Ahold USA Associate of the Year.
Category Manager, Frozen, Ahold USA
Brassel drove 3 percent growth in the frozen department through ideas that positively influenced shoppers’ perceptions of frozen foods, including the “Aisle of Joy” and “Froduce” décor packages to support the ice cream and vegetable programs, respectively.
She shifted promotional spend to alternative and digital; her improvements to display plans resulted in lifts of as much as 22 percent.
Brassel identified key value items in her categories in which to invest in pricing strategies, and worked with vendors to increase sales and offer value, resulting in l ine improvement of between 9 percent and 20 percent.
Manager, Space Planning, Ahold USA
Couchman executed the remodel/conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, opening five stores in five weeks; one store opened in six days.
She led initiatives to grow sales, profit and households for Ahold USA that required new processes and the coordination of departments that hadn’t worked together before, including the generation of more space for major initiatives, and collaboration and communication with cross-department teams.
Couchman solicited food and toy donations from Giant Landover associates and vendors for a Christmas party for needy children at Baltimore’s Mercy Hospital.
Senior Director, Peapod Interactive, Ahold USA/Peapod
Crowder achieved revenue increases of more than 20 percent for shopper marketing programs, through increased support from existing and new partners.
She drove a “launch-and-learn” mindset within the teams from vendor partners to push understanding of, and innovation in, the online grocery business.
Crowder co-led the development — from idea to execution in 10 weeks — of a new category of meal kits, sharing consumer insights and resources with a key partner; based on preliminary success, the kits have expanded into all key markets, with plans to grow the product line.
Human Resources Generalist, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Fortier created a divisional engagement committee to help improve associate engagement survey results, and developed and executed a plan of action for the leadership team, exceeding goals by six points.
She oversaw the divisional human resources team through the conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, interviewing and hiring more than 3,000 associates, and onboarding more than 75 exempt managers.
Fortier received ONEHR awards for Making Ideas Happen and for her work with the A&P human resources conversion team.
Senior IT Manger, Ahold USA
Gates-Bishop led the U.S. finance team ahead of Ahold’s merger with Delhaize, identifying all finance impacts and coordinating the IT team to execute the project.
She created a process for resource demand planning for internal and external resources, which can identify a work queue 12 months out for optimal management.
Gates-Bishop reworked the invoice validation process for a large external vendor, saving more than 5,000 labor hours and $175,000 for the company and its business partners; her leadership on the above projects earned her several iStar awards from her Ahold USA peers.
Senior Manager, Portfolio, Ahold USA
In her previous role of business consultant, Grant initiated key IT projects such as the GC Friday Ad Break, which resulted in labor and sales improvements.
She kicked off a project that moved a major vendor to EDI invoicing and honor receiving, resulting in labor savings, guaranteed delivery and random-audit credit.
In her current role, Grant helped define “ways of working” for a new commercial organization, which was implemented and is exceeding expectation; she also received the Commercial All Star Award from the merchandising strategy and support leadership team.
Category Manager, Ahold USA
Guinther was the strategic lead for reinvention of Ahold USA’s bakery department, including building assessments, departmental strategy, design/fixture layout, pilot, capital approval, merchandising and execution; to date, the department has seen 6 percent sales and 16 percent unit increases.
She was the team lead for avian flu navigation, managing changes to assortment and pricing, supporting stores to ensure needs were being met, and maintaining or exceeding sales expectations despite flu impacts.
Guinther supported the Humane Society, Ronald McDonald House and the Salvation Army’s Angels program.
Front End Specialist, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Harland supported the conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner within six weeks; advance work included associate training, supply ordering and mentoring teams.
She rolled out Operate for Less for the front end, working with the director of operations to reduce the cost of rollout by more than 50 percent by centralizing within the division the production of all components needed to support the savings effort.
Harland received the 2015 People’s Choice award for being a district support leader, and the New York Metro Division’s Spirit award for leadership at work and beyond.
District Director, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New England
Johnson opened a new store in an extremely seasonal district challenged with substantial volume surges and high seasonal staffing needs, creating an alignment within the region to support the plan and logistics for the opening.
She partnered with human resources for the onboarding of 1,500 new hires, teaming with sales, operations and warehousing to ensure alignment, and represented Stop & Shop in several community partnerships and chamber of commerce meetings.
Recipient of the 2015 District Director Award of Excellence for New England, Johnson is active in Ahold USA’s Women Adding Value resource group, and serves as a coach and mentor to many at the company.
Deli/Bakery Sales Specialist, Ahold USA/Giant Carlisle
Kenny tested the bakery department Thunder 7 Program in a Hagerstown, Md., pilot store, which involved the review of product mix and renovation; success meant that she could begin implementing the program in the rest of the district’s stores.
She helped develop the “New Deli Associate Training Manual,” currently being implemented, and participated in, was certified for and facilitated a workshop for the Train the Trainer program, as well as training two team members to facilitate training in their respective districts.
Kenny won awards for Outstanding Performance for Best Deli EBIT to Budget Q1 and Q2 2015, and for Best Deli Sales Versus Store Total 2015.
Internal Communications Manager, Ahold USA
Lynch developed a communication strategy around a corporate reorganization, arming leaders with toolkits to encourage dialogue and feedback from associates; the 2015 Associate Engagement Survey showed a five-point increase in communication dimension.
She drove the strategy to join Ahold and its divisions together for the first-ever simulcast business meeting of 7,000 associates, leading a team of 20 associates and overseing all aspects of the event, from presentations and creative assets to vendor management and logistics.
Lynch produced a video series for the internal launch of Produce Marketplace, and drove the communication strategy celebrating winning store and produce managers.
Deli/Bakery Sales Specialist, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
In addition to increasing her district’s identical-store sales in deli and bakery, Montrony displayed a passion for people development, creating training plans for new managers that led to the promotion of some associates from part-time to full-time positions.
She played a key role in the conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, working around the clock to reopen some of the stores in just four days.
Montrony worked on the initial launch of the Project Thunder bakery remodels, and set up Ahold USA’s regional show store on several occasions, also presenting at those events.
Human Resources Manager, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Noting high travel charges on district profit and loss, O’Brien worked with the relevant teams to transfer associates to locations that would help the company minimize expenses; transfers and re-evaluations resulted in savings of $110,000 in travel entitlements.
As a member of the newly formed Customer Experience Leadership Committee, she improved associate training and morale, with new divisional standards such as Associate of the Month programs launching throughout all Stop & Shop New York Metro stores.
O’Brien received a company award for her work on the A&P store conversions.
Human Resources Manager, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
A top driver of associate engagement, Pinard inspired her district to raise engagement and communication scores by four points, while associate development scores rose 10 points; she led in the region for mentoring, coaching and training new human resources managers.
She headed the MOM’s partnership with Yale University to offer classes for associates struggling with the challenges of motherhood, including medical and child care, and balancing the needs of a job with those of a child.
Pinard received the 2015 ONEHR Hall of Fame award and was the 2015 Ahold USA Human Resources Manager of the Year for her division.
Senior Director, Product Development, Innovation and Integrity Own Brands, Ahold USA
Ross led a first-to-market launch of fresh meal kits into Giant Carlisle division stores, previously a market dominated by online grocers and meal delivery services. The easy recipes allow customers to create freshly cooked meals in less than 35 minutes.
She headed a “health by stealth” program focusing on reducing salt and sugar in Own Brands products, delivering an average of 6 percent sugar reduction and 15 percent salt reduction across multiple categories.
Ross is an active member of several professional and community organizations, including Network of Executive Women.
Produce/Floral District Sales and Merchandising Specialist, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Shapiro assisted in the conversion of 25 former A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, including converting all produce departments to a marketplace setup.
She held various associate training classes, including on cut fruit, produce excellence and sanitation, and also held a floral training class to walk floral leads through ordering, processing, upgrades, arrangements and department shrink; for the first period, produce sales were ahead of budget and shrink results on target.
Shapiro has won Assistant Store Manager of the Year and Best in Class Customer Service Team awards.
Manager, Merchandising Trade Relations, Ahold USA
Skovira established a process for Ahold USA to use a joint business-planning practice efficiently with top vendors to drive key metrics; she also helped to drive year-on-year increased spend with diverse suppliers and to put in place a strategy for better visibility and sustained growth in this area.
She managed the vendor council, allowing key partners to share feedback with senior leadership to help facilitate best practices.
Skovira facilitated Supplier Diversity Day to align vendors with merchandising to bring in new assortments and helped reduce Ahold’s carbon footprint by moving Own Brand soup packaging from steel cans to aseptic cartons.
Manager, Not for Resale, Ahold USA
Responsible for the development, management and tracking of category strategies to minimize not-for-resale cost structures while ensuring delivery against the strategic needs of the company, Sorafine saved $8.6 million annually in floor care expenses for Ahold USA’s four divisions, which also resulted in quality and service improvements.
She worked on the sourcing of the company’s entire facilities and maintenance portfolio, which led to savings of more than $4 million.
Sorafine received recognition because of her role in supporting Ahold’s Better Place to Work Promise and also volunteered regularly for the Boy Scouts to which her son belongs.
Engineer II Solutions, Ahold USA
As part of the Ahold-Delhaize merger, Sullivan worked closely with the global collaboration team to upgrade the video meeting facility rooms, thereby bringing unsupported systems under support and allowing system software to be upgraded to facilitate new features; this massive undertaking required the coordination of all equipment deliveries, installations, testing and training for the new hardware.
Overseeing a team of interns, she revamped the global collaboration portal, making it easier for associates to navigate for self-service help.
Sullivan planned created and managed Ahold USA’s Google Apps training including a summer collaboration training series.
Portfolio Lead, Ahold USA
Torres-Furtado’s team established a significant ethnic/kosher offering within six weeks at 25 former A&P stores converted to Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop banner, resulting in specialty/ethnic sales that accounted for more than 20 percent of total new store revenue, with 1,000-plus new items added; she also moved specialty/ethnic to a dedicated weekly ad spot, elevating the portfolio to exceed all 2015 sales targets.
She formed a synergistic relationship with a high-end food manufacturer to create a best-in-class offering as a destination for the categories.
Torres-Furtado completed the Cornell Food Executive Program and was a speaker at Ahold USA’s diversity fair.
District Director Ahold USA/Giant Carlisle
When Zahradka-Welch took over her current role sales were down 1.01 percent by year end she had raised sales 6.6 percent by leveraging many talented associates throughout the division to deliver best practices, and providing training for and executing an enhanced merchandising initiative.
Elevating succession planning to put the right people in the right roles, she promoted eight manager, s to their next assignments within six months, achieving a 19.5 percent increase in EBIT performance identically.
Zahradka-Welch encouraged collaboration and the sharing of ideas between stores.
TAB Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Acme Markets
Aleardi championed product innovations, most notably in Acme’s new Frosted Mug beer stores, making it a priority to ensure that customers could enjoy a superior product selection, and redesigning the entire procurement process to enhance vendor relationships, produce placement, pricing and promotion.
Responsible for Own Brands throughout most of 2015 as well as the total alcohol beverage (TAB) category, she launched a successful new Own Brands campaign.
Aleardi ran the tent at the NASCAR race at Dover Downs, in Delaware, and took part in many philanthropic efforts, including the Walk to Defeat ALS in Philadelphia.
Floral Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Tom Thumb
Baird successfully merged two major competitors, creating double-digit increases while turning an unprofitable banner into a turnkey profitable organization.
Aiming to identify with the local clientele, her team has expanded partnerships with local professional teams and charities, and worked with the bakery team to enter the wedding-planning arena.
Baird completed a successful training class for 106 floral managers on balloon upgrades and candy arrangements, implemented order-writing classes for the continual education of managers and supervisors, and developed a hands-on design and upgrade class.
Liquor Sales and Merchandising Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Connery joined forces with three winemakers to develop a line called The Three Thieves, exclusive to Jewel-Osco The line generated such strong sales for the banner that it was eventually picked up by two other national retailers; following on the initial product rollout’s success Connery went on to develop, two additional varieties.
With Millennial in mind she created and implemented the Be Your Own Bartender program, which distributes monthly, recipes and ingredients for popular cocktails.
Connery spearheaded the Northern Illinois Food Bank’s A Taste That Matters culinary event in May 2015.
Grocery Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Tom Thumb
Corley assisted the District 2 manager in certifying 18 stores for Gold 8+ Standards in 2015, and successfully converted six Albertsons stores to the Safeway in-house system during the companies’ merger.
She was involved in the remodel and grand reopening of Albertsons Store #70, with identical-store sales in the total store and the grocery department nearing 50 percent, and also successfully prepared the location for the Division Fall Marketing and Merchandising Show 2015.
The recipient of the Albertsons/Tom Thumb Presidents Award 2015, Corley is a member of the Junior League of Arlington and a yearly volunteer for Dallas Rebuilding Together.
Director, Corporate Procurement-General Merchandise and Health Beauty Care, Albertsons Cos./Safeway
Crab was selected for the new supply chain corporate leadership team, moving from Northern California to Idaho to review and develop best practices in procurement across 14 divisions; she supported procurement decentralization efforts as the company consolidated the distribution network.
She led a project team to reduce excess inventory in the distribution network across the company, saving millions of dollars in six weeks.
Serving on the board of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network, Crab chaired the group’s 2016 kickoff event to help future leaders develop and connect.
Director, Division Transition, Albertsons Cos.
Davidson led the integration of the Intermountain division, directing the strategic approach and day-to-day management of all merger activities for that area; within four months of the deal’s close, she had reorganized the division’s team and created processes to manage the merchandising and operations of stores realigned to the division.
She converted 73 legacy Albertsons and Paul’s stores to in-house systems, leading the effort to change every piece of technology.
Through her leadership, Davidson has improved communication, eliminated gaps within established processes and improved visibility of errors, enabling solutions to be quickly implemented.
Marketing Manager, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s and Star Market
For the company’s new Own Brand product line. DiChiro took it upon herself to help coordinate the transition process, bringing together multiple areas of the business, including merchandising, supply chain, space management, marketing and retail operations; as a result of her hard work, all transition milestones were met.
She worked on the Vermont GE labeling law and proved instrumental in plans to be in compliance by the required date of July 1.
A team manager and chaperone for a youth synchronized skating team, DiChiro was elected to the board of directors of Team Excel, which fields 11 youth skating teams.
Director, Content Marketing and Social Media, Albertsons Cos.
Under Erpelding’s leadership, Albertsons-Safeway was one of the top grocery advertisers on Facebook in terms of reach and best-in-class creative, with more than a half-billion targeted impressions and millions of unique users reached.
Her team created content for more than 1,000 shareable recipes to drive shoppers back to each banner’s website, with a relevant and unique custom landing page for further engagement.
Because of Erpelding’s efforts, Albertsons-Safeway has been noticed as one of the leaders in content/social development by its CPG partners.
District Manager, Albertsons Cos./Tom Thumb
During 30 years with the company, Fields mentored many women, “leading by example, teaching and guiding [them] to be more confident leaders in this industry,” she explains. “This is my ultimate goal in life and in business.”
She raised the customer service scores in her stores and took her district’s ranking to the top.
Fields’ transition to district manager in April 2015 appeared seamless because she had taken on the role several times in the absence of her colleagues; she became one of six district managers and the only woman in her division to be promoted to this position in recent years.
Director, Marketing, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Launching a strategy that made Jewel-Osco a trendier, more innovative grocery retailer, Garon helped the company leap into the 21st century with her approach to ad creation, social media expansion and a Millennial perspective; she also forged exciting sports marketing partnerships with popular teams.
Digital and social media reached their highest levels to date at the banner through Garon’s Word of the Day events and other content strategies.
Jewel-Osco’s Own Brands and natural/organic categories saw double-digit sales growth through in-store marketing and digital support spearheaded by Garon.
Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Hill was responsible for delivering an environmentally friendly alternative to a bag ban instituted by the city of Chicago, receiving accolades from Jewel-Osco customers and company leadership alike.
The flagship Jewel-Osco store, currently under construction, was made possible in part by her facilitation of 100-plus community events supporting the brand, and her ability to gain approval from city council members, with whom she worked directly.
When tornadoes hit central Illinois, Hill worked with the stores to help with fundraising and provided food for victims and first responders.
Director, Strategic Initiatives, Albertsons Cos.
Jesser led the item and vendor integration effort for Albertsons’ merger with Safeway, and directed both the strategic approach and day-today management of all item, vendor, pricing and promo conversion activities. She and her team also have supported other substantial initiatives within the company.
Her incredible system knowledge, customer focus and ability to deliver results were instrumental in helping the company achieve its aggressive goals.
Jesser received numerous high-profile company awards and volunteered her time in aid of breast cancer research, education and hunger relief.
Floral Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Kilcoyne transformed Jewel-Osco’s floral departments into Chicago’s top florist by developing new ideas and redeveloping stagnant programs, thus growing sales and profit. She developed a user-friendly order guide that automatically calculates store orders so managers are aware of weekly order counts.
She instituted regular sessions to give floral managers hands-on training and trendy ideas to help set Jewel-Osco apart from the competition.
Responsible for bringing the Debi Lilly home decor line to Jewel-Osco, Kilcoyne is highly regarded by management and associates for her vision, knowledge and leadership.
Director, Digital Customer Engagement, Albertsons Cos.
Mack led consolidation of the Albertsons-Safeway digital landscape to provide a seamless digital customer journey across all channels, overseeing implementation of strategic digital customer engagement for all divisions and banners of the company.
She leveraged vendors to work together across all platforms and managed the deployment of more than a dozen key digital initiatives.
Mack contributed to the strategic oversight and direction provided for multiple new initiatives that broguht relevancy to Albertsons customers on their path to purchase, including a partnership with MyWebGrocer.
Human Resources Manager, Districts 1 and 2, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Moorehouse spearheaded the hiring of key mashgiachs (supervisors) for kosher stores to drive customer loyalty and brand sustainability within a key market area.
She was critical in the hiring of 200 associates after coordinating six job fairs within two districts, and worked with 18 trainees who are currently department managers across 40 stores.
Moorehouse is recognized for her insight and ability to quickly analyze a situation and make decisions that are operationally savvy, such as sharing talent with other districts.
Community Relations and Partnership Marketing Manager, Albertsons Cos./Tom Thumb
Roberts was the catalyst for Albertsons and Tom Thumb banners in Dallas-Fort Worth donating more than $1 million in food to local communities during the holidays to help feed those in need.
She initiated a disaster relief program following several post-Christmas tornados in north Texas, getting donation-laden trucks on the road within 12 hours of the disaster.
Roberts fostered great working relationships with local media providers, including TV and radio, to help broaden the banner’s media exposure and enhance its public image.
Division Front End Customer Service Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Stock raised Jewel-Osco’s average customer service score to 85.2 from 73.0, increased speed of checkout, and upped the number of items per bag to 4.0 from 2.5.
She spearheaded the smooth implementation of Chicago’s ordinance banning plastic bags, subsequently reducing bag expense and landfill waste.
Stock led initiatives that ensured that Jewel-Osco sold millions of dollars worth of gift cards during a 10-day period before Christmas with no out-of-stocks, and provided supplemental financial training for every cashier in the division.
Bakery Sales Manager-Southern California Division, Albertsons Cos.
Tharp effectively developed team talent, providing direction and assignments to build bench strength; during the Albertsons-Safeway merger, she helped many other division sales managers with planning, development and implementation across the board.
She nurtured strong relationships with suppliers and was a formidable negotiator, capturing best-quality product solutions while controlling cost of goods.
Tharp’s strategic planning skills enabled her to lead the development of premium merchandising product portfolio solutions with innovative products.
Director, Finance, Albertsons Co./Shaw’s and Star Market
Vaillancourt was responsible for the multimillion-dollar budgeting and forecasting process for 154 stores in this division.
She developed an extensive profit-and-loss training program — the first of its kind for the company — to explain income statement financial reporting, from sales and gross profit to operating expenses and net earnings.
Vaillancourt personally presented the above program to all store directors and operations specialists, and began streamlining the presentation to teach operations specialists to train store department heads.
Human Resources Manager, Districts 9 and 10, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Vasconcellos’ eye for talent led her to hire 500 new employees after participating in eight store-level job fairs, and she also organized Jewel-Osco’s first outer-zone district job fair for store-level associates.
She spearheaded Jewel-Osco’s transition from the Unicru hiring system to Taleo, developing all training materials, creating more than 3,000 requisitions and providing day-to-day support for 185 stores.
Vasconcellos demonstrated active coaching teaching and training on a daily basis, and successfully organized proassociate meetings.
Assistant Liquor Sales and Merchandising Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Vox became a certified beer cicerone, an accomplishment held by few grocery buyers, distinguishing herself as an expert in the field and a crucial marketing resource for her banner.
She was instrumental in the successful incorporation of the first bar into a Jewel-Osco location, doing everything from researching equipment to choosing craft beers with greatest consumer appeal.
Vox helped build one of the largest selections within the Chicago metropolitan market receiving many sales awards, from beer companies and making Jewel-Osco truly competitive as a liquor retailer.
Senior Director, Albertsons Cos.
Whatley led testing and quality assurance during the Albertsons-Safeway merger for the Southern, Houston, Intermountain and Denver divisions.
To facilitate the integration process, she built and implemented an end-to-end strategy enabling validation of critical business functions across multiple complex systems, and established a test data management practice resulting in a 40 percent time savings in data service provided.
Whatley developed 60 percent automation for point-of-sale and digital marketing systems to reduce the cost of running manual validations.
Assistant Grocery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Intermountain Division
Whitney scored a key promotional success when the division’s first 10 percent-off frozen event achieved a 13.8 percent identical-store sales lift.
She implemented the Gold Standard program for dairy department standards and cleanliness, achieving 190 basis-point improvements in department service scores within the first three months after the program’s implementation.
Whitney successfully transitioned Albertsons’ top-selling pizza brand to a new private-brand name without sales loss during the key selling season of September 2015-January 2016.
Senior IT Director Albertsons Cos.
Wolcott oversaw the implementation of an IT e-commerce strategy and built a team to execute on a strategy designed to enable tremendous e-commerce growth.
She presided over the start of a modernization of Albertsons’ technology stack supporting its company-wide loyalty program.
Wolcott helped establish the technology road map for the merger of digital systems employed by both Albertsons and Safeway as well as their strategies and programs also building up a Force com development capability within Albertsons that provides application solutions for enterprise-wide needs
Public Affairs and Communications Manager Albertsons Cos./Tom Thumb
Yates represents the company on numerous boards whose work has a great impact on the grocery industry either directly or indirectly.
She participated in statewide programs and activities to promote the food industry as well as lobbying efforts at, the Texas state capitol on important legislation including the defeat of the Bottle Bill.
Through Yates’ association with the North Texas Commission which promotes and strives for the betterment of the region she worked to resolve such issues as traffic affecting area retailers including the approval of a strategic express-lane project
Rewards Marketing Manager/Marketing Account Manager-Macey’s Associated Food Stores (AFS)
Hall and the rewards team launched digital coupons in print ads for all rewards stores resulting in the clipping of 5 000 e-coupons and the redemption of 3 700-plus during the first week of the campaign.
Under her guidance AFS rewards reached a total of 600 000 rewards members at more than 65 stores.
Hall’s team increased penetration transaction rates by double digits at corporately owned stores by encouraging front end associates to discuss and promote the program with shoppers
Public Relations Manager Associated Food Stores, (AFS)
Pettit was critical to the brand development of AFS’ alternative store formats leading on brand development store design and all shopperfacing marketing as well as team member culture/support materials.
She helped develop Macey’s bakery brand via packaging innovations and a unique Doughnut of the Month program aimed at boosting product trial and sales in the bakery department.
Pettit worked with the AFS advertising team on a digital baby ad Baby Steps which offered parenting tips, product coupons and other valuable parenting information paired with baby photography
Category Manager, Associated Food Stores (AFS)
Rich helped create and implement the successful Dinner 1-2-3 program, which highlights the dinner sauce section to appeal to Millennial through distinct shelf signage, monthly Facebook giveaways, coupons and Pinterest recipes.
She developed a protocol for securing Facebook giveaways for corporate stores to launch new products and boost brand awareness, earning each store’s Facebook page new likes, multiple comments and thousands of impressions.
She exceeded overall budget projections in her categories during AFS’ nine-month fiscal year.
Sales Manager, Regional Chains, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG)/VMC
Within months of being promoted to her current role, DeSoto was able to work with retail customers to implement an online ordering system, address gaps in promotional and show plans, and aid in the conversion of two new customers.
She even participated in overnight resets to make sure the conversion process went smoothly.
She achieved 22.5 percent growth in her assigned territories — the highest sales increase at VMC — despite economic challenges and strong competition.
Promotional Manager, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG)/VMC
Ganzman worked with vendor partners to simplify the advertising program’s complexity.
She was instrumental in the continued success of the turnkey end cap program, which drove incremental store sales and shopper conversion.
Ganzman organized the successful biennial Selling Shows, which bring together more than 1,500 retailers, vendors and corporate associates for a three-day promotional event; her leadership and strong problem-solving skills enabled VMC to have its most successful show to date.
Executive Director, Corporate Traffic, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG)
Under Koch’s leadership, company profits increased by 6 percent and expenses decreased by 2 percent.
Her work enabled AWG to realize a 40 percent increase in third-party business, reducing empty miles for the company’s fleet.
Working with leaders from several business areas, Koch successfully executed an initiative that increased inbound produce shipments; her team also enhanced claim procedures addressing inbound discrepancies while fine-tuning a company-wide product-dating initiative.
Corporate Bakery Merchandiser, Boyer’s Food Markets
In fiscal 2015, Erickson achieved a 47 percent improvement in contribution to overhead in the total chain’s bakery departments through aggressive merchandising, pricing, shrink control, expense control and sales growth.
Her bakery departments achieved an 8 percent same-store sales improvement, compared with 3.25 percent total store sales growth.
Responsible for the chain’s 18 bakery departments, she and her team attained a 1.27 percent improvement to total gross profit, and a 0.75 percent reduction to payroll and supplies expense.
Senior Manager, KO Lab, The Coca-Cola Co.
Fabina helped guide an innovative remodel of the KO Lab with internal stakeholders and external contractors and vendors, assisting with the development and maintenance of the project budget.
She created and launched a survey for customers to provide input, giving the team access to specific insights they could use to keep improving customers’ KO Lab experiences.
Fabina developed a process for setting up planning calls to ensure the sessions were as effective and efficient as possible. She created a template for the calls to ensure all action items were achieved.
Division Manager, Crossmark
Collaborating with a client, Faught aligned her team’s in-store activities with overarching event-programming strategies, leading to a significant increase in customer awareness for new item launches, promotions and key focus events.
She implemented a sales incentive contest within her team that resulted in a 29 percent year-over-year sales lift.
Faught implemented an employee recognition program for those going above and beyond, as well as delivering on key performance indicators, helping boost employee retention and satisfaction.
NPS Program Manager, Crossmark
Runyan rebuilt the Crossmark message after a significant company-wide restructuring and rebranding, also developing a building tour that’s relevant and impressive to clients.
She played a significant role in a special project in which she helped to successfully and seamlessly roll out the company’s first-ever playbook to customer and client teams.
She began the implementation of Crossmark’s Net Promoter System, allowing it for the first time to quantifiably track and manage customer and client satisfaction, and developed a process for continual surveys.
Director, Retail operations, Crossmark
Sims achieved her on-top revenue goal of $1.5 million, and onboarded a dozen new clients between April and December 2015.
She launched a team to audit execution and display compliance for a large beverage brand, resulting in the program’s ongoing expansion across incremental markets.
To help an internal team provide competitive information to a client, Sims created a monthly implemented solution enabling the client to make pricing modifications based on store-level intelligence, for an incremental spend over budget of 87 percent.
Senior Director, Global Sourcing and Product Development, Daymon Worldwide
To integrate Daymon’s import acquisition, Pahwa built a hub and spoke-sourced infrastructure across the company’s offices in various regions, changing the way it sources products.
She and her team spearheaded the creation of a virtual showroom that allowed Daymon to showcase its seasonal catalogs and product assortments, addressing the need for differentiation and speed to market.
Her development of an on-trend portfolio of seasonal general merchandise products helped grow the company’s customer base internationally.
Director, Global Innovation Strategy, Daymon Worldwide
Riley created and managed Daymon’s first company-wide innovation event platform, working with the supplier, consumer insight and information technology teams to drive inspiration and innovation efforts.
She drove the creation and development of Daymon’s first program “kits” for retailer partners, offering 20 to 40 supplier-sourced, trend-led products to inspire and facilitate innovation in an easy, turnkey fashion.
Riley led the development of an internal innovation process connecting retail partner innovation requests with Daymon’s supplier network to drive efficiency and sales.
Commissary Contract Manager, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Voted by her peers to the position of customer service ambassador, she held monthly meetings with a rotating audience from each store department to brainstorm customer service ideas or voice concerns.
Caskey presented to upper management a 10-minute Fill the Floor Frenzy initiative in which all available employees go out onto the sales floor to the front aisles to assist customers.
She greatly reduced waste by coming up with in-store merchandising initiatives using what’s in abundance in the warehouse.
East Area Acting Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Moffett organized and guided the successful launch of Flonase in the stores she oversees when it became an OTC drug.
When the agency’s deli/bakery operations contractor suddenly ceased operations, she stepped in to minimize any disruption for customers, presiding over the transformation of 44 in-store deli/bakeries from outside contractor-operated to commissary-operated in just four months.
Moffett created the first agency-driven Push Promotion Program, as a result of which incremental dollar sales surpassed any previous DeCA promotion event.
Retail Services Manager, Delhaize America/ Food Lion
Often called upon across the organization to help shape and innovate business processes, Reynolds-Wiegand and her team worked with multiple departments on a tag-sorting method that made hanging tags more efficient chain-wide.
She played a key role in the delivery of Food Lion’s Ways to Save campaign.
Reynolds-Wiegand took on the additional role of director of execution and implementation, in which capacity she mentored female store managers while continuing to nurture the talent on her team.
Retail Talent Development Manager, Delhaize America/Food Lion
Whittington planned, coordinated, delivered and evaluated the impact of three five-week Store Manager College classes for 60 high-performing store managers and assistant store managers in two Food Lion divisions.
She helped the northern division coach retail leaders in four interactive cultural change initiatives to strengthen brand awareness, equity, loyalty and customer service for 17,000-plus associates.
Whittington led divisional talent and succession planning conversations to identify, capture and recommend targeted development solutions for high-performing and at-risk retail talent.
Director, Produce, Delhaize America/ Hannaford
Libby and her team spent significant time in the field with farmers, learning about their crops and harvesting operations.
She worked with suppliers on programs that reduce food waste and transit times, and led structural and operational design work for merchandising along the East Coast.
Nominated by her fellow colleagues, Libby received Hannaford’s highest honor, the John J. Russell Award, named for a longtime Hannaford officer and board member who exemplified the company’s values and ideals.
Marketing Communications Manager, ECRM
Shultz co-launched ECRM’s Content Gateway, the event company’s first content marketing platform, playing a major part in its strategy, direction and design.
She developed and executed ECRM’s first corporate marketing video program, which educated event attendees and prospective attendees on how to optimize their event experience and best leverage ECRM’s process and technology.
Shultz led the execution of ECRM’s 2015 corporate rebranding initiative, developing the creative and formats for a complete array of corporate marketing materials.
Manager, Real Inventory Systems and Development, Giant Eagle Inc.
DeLuca produced exceptional results for several major company initiatives by developing a five-tiered plan to reduce the known inventory-loss gap by 10 percent and save more than $4 million.
She created a sustainable inventory-tracking process that enabled retail department leaders to better manage inventory to reduce losses through the use of technology.
DeLuca was integral in the rollout of a new monitoring tool that targeted some 50 fraudulent front end activities, saving the company more than $250,000.
Director, Own Brands and Sourcing, Giant Eagle Inc.
Instrumental in achieving significant cost savings throughout Giant Eagle, Hodierne led the launch of an online vendor bid program for key seasonal offerings, resulting in significant sales and profit.
Her innovative thinking enabled Giant Eagle to launch a three-tiered approach to Own Brands strategy that further improved overall market launch.
Hodierne’s three-year strategic growth platform increased market penetration, leading to profitable growth for Giant Eagle’s most important brands.
Director, Customer Service Development, Giant Eagle Inc.
Olson and her team augmented conventional training by developing a video series to capture the hearts and minds of associates and guests.
She led a successful chain-wide initiative to participate in National Customer Service Week, which not only celebrated team members, but also brought fun into the workplace through customer service challenges, recognition systems, and clear metrics to improve customer engagement.
Olson was a 2015 winner of the prestigious Giant Eagle Chairman’s Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation Award.
Director, Corporate Advertising, Giant Eagle Inc.
Renn played a critical role in reducing the time to close financial results during each fiscal period.
She led changes for the entire accounting team’s account reconciliations process, which resulted in a significant work reduction, with overall improved efficiencies.
Renn completed additional projects within account reconciliation software, which included increasing auto certification by 40 percent, and led a new vacation policy implementation to include more detailed records and calculations, thereby improving audits and validations, as well as subsequent adjustments.
Technology Service Desk Manager, Giant Eagle Inc.
Szalla’s key role on an information technology service management project generated vast improvements and measurable efficiencies.
A mentor to her direct reports and others, Szalla facilitated the promotions of seven members of her team, exemplifying her dedication to setting her team up for success through performance goals and well-developed action plans.
She led the redevelopment of the IT department’s on-the-spot recognition program from a paper to a digital format, which had a positive impact on team member POV scores.
Director, Partnerships, Hampton Creek
Instrumental in leading Hampton Creek’s efforts in the natural and conventional grocery channels, and serving as the key point person with the company’s major retail customers, Fleming facilitated the distribution growth of the company’s lines into 10,000 stores.
She launched more than 40 new SKUs at Walmart, Kroger, Target and Whole Foods Market across six key grocery categories.
Fleming helped grow revenue from her channel targets by 350 percent year over year while guiding an innovative partnership with Just Mayo in Whole Foods’ prepared food department that scaled revenue and brand presence in its initial regions.
STEPHANIE SHEIN BERMAN
Team Leader, Ahold USA/ Delhaize America, The Hershey Co.
Responsible for a $200 million-plus business, Berman leveraged a more than $20 million trade and shopper marketing budget to deliver profitable sales and share wins for her two key accounts.
Guiding six account managers and five district retail sales managers, she spearheaded a strategic front end reinvention project to grow snack, beverage and confectionery sales by more than 10 percent annually for the next three years.
Berman co-authored a white paper outlining the future of food retailing in the United States, which was integral in laying the foundation for additional strategic programs and “test-and-learn” projects.
Case Division Marketing Manager, Hillphonenix
In an industry striving to master destination centers and grocerant concepts, Sayko was an instrumental, behind-the-scenes influence in designing and creating successful menu and program solutions at retail.
Her vast experience and unique ability to bring disparate industry stakeholders together elevated retail foodservice programs into top-performing, solutions-driven meal centers.
Sayko worked with researchers at university food science programs to establish and execute real-world protocols for cold-chain management, retail refrigeration and lighting in stores and manufacturing processes.
Assistant VP, POS, Hy-Vee
Myers oversaw a redesign of Hy-Vee’s customer loyalty program, Hy-Vee Fuel Saver + Perks, as well as the addition of 50 new restaurants, the inclusion of digital receipts and the upgrade of new fuel dispensers.
When Hy-Vee expanded into the Twin Cities market, she managed the inclusion of new POS hardware. This year, her team completed a major refresh on more than 280 POS server retail systems.
Myers led her team through the application of Hy-Vee Aisles Online, making great strides and attracting the attention of media outlets.
Director, Retail Design, Hy-Vee
O’Leary led the design team through a complete redesign of several Hy-Vee store departments to complement new or enhanced programs.
The “Streetscape” design that she helped create and implement will be used in Hy-Vee’s new stores, giving them a fresh and modern look with an eclectic twist.
O’Leary helped shape the creative direction for Hy-Vee Market Grilles and Market Cafés, as well as the Mothers’ Rooms. Continuing to push for improvements, her designs offer a consistent yet unique shopping experience for Hy-Vee’s customers.
Director, Catalog Operations, Instacart
After assuming her role in April 2015, Mastrorocco spearheaded the creation of a three-tiered strategy to optimize the Instacart experience by guaranteeing data accuracy, driving scalable operational efficiencies and improving the customer experience.
Under her leadership, the catalog operations team doubled in size and launched hundreds of new store locations, as well as adding millions of new products to the product catalog.
Mastrorocco led a catalog infrastructure overhaul to improve Instacart’s e-commerce marketplace for its retail partners.
Director, Global Communications, Interactions Marketing
Under Short’s leadership, Interactions strengthened its public profile, industry leadership and internal communications programs; specifically, the public relations program prompted national media coverage in the areas of retail, technology and consumer experience.
In 2015, Interactions earned seven national and international awards for agency operations, as well as for its publications, including the honor of Best Corporate Newsletter of the Year.
She spearheaded the company’s public relations program and public-facing initiatives from the ground up.
Director, Customer Relations, Club Demonstration Services (CDS), an Interactions Company
Garcia played a key role in planning and launching an experiential marketing campaign nationwide for a major retailer across 283 locations. The campaign generated 51,000 hours of interaction by 1,500 product demonstrators, who drove trials and generated incremental sales that exceeded target expectations by 68 percent.
She worked with a major CPG brand to develop the launch of an international demonstration program for a warehouse club operator.
Garcia developed and executed three nationwide campaigns that generated $1.5 million in top-line revenue.
Senior Director, Sales, Kellogg Co.
Leading sales for Kellogg’s snack business for The Kroger Co., Rogers was responsible for overseeing a multimillion-dollar revenue stream across both warehouse and DSD networks.
She produced the highest single-account growth performance in 2015 within Kellogg’s grocery sales team.
Rogers was integral in people development as a key part of an internal committee to write global sales competencies, which serve as the foundation for evaluating sales talent and career plan development, and will provide far-reaching benefits for years to come.
Director, Human Resources, Global U.S. Sales, Kellogg Co.
Zube demonstrated great leadership by orchestrating the largest-ever sales-restructuring effort to transform the sales organization into four business units for greater connectivity.
She was instrumental in establishing guiding principles by teaming with sales leads to build the new structure and subsequently lead its overall execution.
Zube led the development of Kellogg’s new People Development Committee, focusing on career progression, development and advancement, in tandem with successful college recruiting efforts that have seeded a diversity platform to build a talent pipeline reflecting today’s diverse consumers.
Interactive Marketing and PR Manager, Key Food
Following Key Food’s acquisition of A&P stores, Gissi helped integrate more than 20 locations, which included streamlining their digital presence under the Key Food banner.
She set the marketing budget for all stores and helped identify opportunities to bring in vendors to help offset the budget by implementing co-promotions.
Gissi spearheaded a number of marketing partnerships, including a joint marketing campaign with Procter & Gamble, #TheClosestRivals, featuring the New York Jets and New York Giants, as well as a new venture with the Brooklyn Nets.
Research and Development Chef, Kings Food Markets
In addition to her core duties with the deli business, Banks teamed with Kings’ director of seafood to develop and launch salmon burgers made fresh at store level; these items produced tremendous sales results.
She worked with a key vendor partner to develop a new core item for the company that provided better consistency in taste profile and freed up store teams to work on other unique items. Banks also helped create other new items with cleaner ingredient profiles and improved flavor and appearance. Sales of these items have exceeded the budget.
Banks volunteered at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
Bakery Field Merchandiser, Kings Food Markets
In her role supporting bakery managers at 33 locations across two banners and five states, Donnoli helped to lead key initiatives, including remerchandising all bakery departments and procuring new fixtures.
She helped lead a system-wide rollout of bakery production- planning tools that resulted in a reduction of the department’s shrink by more than 0.50 percent.
Donnoli was instrumental in the creation and execution of a new demo program that dramatically raised the in-store customer experience.
Research and Development Manager, Kings Food Markets/ Balducci’s
Responsible for overseeing prepared food R&D, Granston played a significant administrative role in ensuring that the catering system was routinely updated to reflect new menu and item development, and was a key player in a related e-commerce project.
In partnership with the quality assurance and merchant teams to ensure that quality and taste profile standards were met, she was integral to the expansion of the private label program.
Granston launched a private business, Boutique Sweets, a gourmet dessert catering company, which was featured on The Cooking Channel.
Area Director, Kings Food Markets
A former general store manager, Klejmont became the company’s first female area director, helping to recruit, onboard, train and develop two new general store managers.
She successfully led major remodels at four of her 11 locations, delivering financial results that supported the company’s return on investment year to date.
Klejmont championed a new waste program, which resulted in double-digit shrink reductions in each of the perishables departments in her three focus stores.
Site Leader, The Kroger Co./ Turkey Hill Dairy
As site leader for the 104,000-square-foot Vander-voort Dairy, Benitez maintained the highest levels of safety, quality and reliability, as well as wielding profit-and-loss responsibility, which in 2015 resulted in $9.434 million in operating profit.
A former U.S. Marine Corps major who joined the plant in 2013, she reduced negative consumer comments by 5.19 percent, and the dairy set all-time records for labor productivity, efficiency and cost per unit.
Benitez’s team maintained a preventive maintenance compliance rate of 98.3 percent.
Associate Communication and Engagement Manager, The Kroger Co./ Central Division
Setting the groundwork for the most transformational culture change the division has experienced in years, Bill worked on the executive committee for the Customer 1st Promise rollout.
She assisted with the creation, selection and training of a new store community coordinator role to help key stores become bases of community activity.
Bill led an initiative that resulted in Kroger’s Central Division being voted one of the Top Places to Work in Indianapolis in 2015, which helped with recruiting and hiring initiatives.
Senior Manager, Risk and Anti-money Laundering Compliance, The Kroger Co.
As senior manager of both the risk and anti-money laundering teams, Bishop introduced prepaid openloop/GPR changes and EMV loss analysis procedures that improved Kroger’s risk profile and limited loss.
Her team launched a new policy that included capping card sales at $10,000 per day, resulting in nearly $2.9 million of savings in interchange fees.
Bishop’s analysis revealed that nearly 75 percent of all gift card loss could be prevented by proper execution of controls currently in place at store level.
Division Controller, The Kroger Co./ Mid-Atlantic Division
Under Carrender’s guidance, the Mid-Atlantic division achieved identical-store sales of 4.8 percent on a budget of 4.55 percent and beat its EBITDA goal.
She was instrumental in helping every department achieve positive store sales.
Carrender participated in Kroger’s Great People Day event as part of a group of around 200 individuals identified as having high potential. She was also a steering committee member on the company’s Mid-Atlantic division Women’s EDGE resource group.
Drug and GM Merchandiser, The Kroger Co./southwest Division
Colvin led the drug/GM department to annual sales of $950 million, a 7 percent increase; her departments were second in sales revenue, just behind grocery.
She coordinated the opening of 10 new stores featuring expanded health/beauty/ cosmetic departments, as well as apparel, toy, baby seasonal, housewares and domestics areas.
Colvin coached associates on back-room operations standards and shrink initiatives, and frequently taught department standards to provide a better shopping experience to customers.
Senior Food Safety Manager, The Kroger Co./QFC
Dale led her division to become the top-performing Kroger division in food safety, with an overall score that bested the company average by 102 basis points.
She completed a service deli risk assessment analysis, led training for all store service deli and produce associates, helped decrease regulatory inspection violations by 12 percent, and increased country-of-origin labeling compliance in the meat, seafood and service deli departments from 75 percent to 99 percent.
Dale mentors future women leaders through her involvement in QFC’s Women’s EDGE organization.
Senior Manager, Corporate Supplier Diversity, The Kroger Co.
England created The Kroger Co. Diverse Supplier Business interchange for more than 100 minority- and women-owned companies to meet with sourcing managers for their products, and developed an information management tool for supplier diversity.
She has grown supplier diversity spend consistently for the past two years by more than 10 percent.
Thanks to her work, the company is a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a group of 21 corporations that spend more than $1 billion a year with diverse-owned businesses.
Digital Merchandising Coordinator, The Kroger Co.
Hanger worked collaboratively with the merchandising departments to execute a digital overlay for a planned merchandising event, leading to two record weeks of digital engagement.
She transitioned the second-largest packaged meat category to enterprise retail management. As a result, adjustments to the program items brought about sales growth of 3.5 percent.
Hanger secured funding from five key suppliers, enabling the grocer’s meat and seafood departments to execute a successful and lucrative Fall Taste of Italy event.
Human Resources Manager, The Kroger Co.
Haskamp created Kroger’s first open house for associates, which resulted in career changes for six store associates who transferred to Kroger Technology.
She developed and facilitated the retailer’s performance management series, and also developed a partnership with Per Scholas Inc., with the intention of increasing diversity in the company.
Haskamp created a development plan for leaders to use with their associates; she manages the grocer’s Hot Skills program to retain key associates.
Division Facility Manager, The Kroger Co/Delta Division
Howitz created a communication network for 152 facility engineers, technicians, mechanics and carpenters for an optimized workforce.
She worked on the Energy Star Saver program and piloted a store that measures carbon dioxide hoods and includes control panel programming that monitors panes, water heaters, water usage and roofing developments.
Howitz reduced facility overtime by 27 percent in the second half of the year by setting standard expectations and providing constant communication to all team members across six districts.
District Operations Coordinator, The Kroger Co/Dillons
Under Hudson’s guidance, District 1 achieved a 2.97 percent sales increase and ranked first in labor controls.
District 1 has also delivered the best food safety results for the past two years, thanks in part to her involvement in level-one food safety training, the We Care program and other related training.
A charter member of Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group, Hudson joined its community involvement committee.
District Manager The Kroger Co./, Atlanta Division
Jacobs helped grow sales in her district by 4 51 percent; identical-store sales were up 3.8 percent and operating profit increased 4.75 percent.
She worked to develop and promote leaders within the organization; her district was innovative in putting together sourcing teams developing high-potential assistant managers and staffing stores in areas with low unemployment.
Jacobs was instrumental in developing customer service toolkits for all of her store associates; the program was so successful that it was expanded as a best practice across the division
Pharmacy Operations Manager, The Kroger Co./ Harris Teeter
The 26 pharmacies overseen by Killough had a 9.2 percent increase in perscription growth, a 10 percent jump in flu shots, a 38 percent increase in non-flu immunizations, and a 15.38 percent rise in sales versus the prior year. Operating profit improved 5.74 percent
She increased the completion and revenue of MTM (medication therapy management) cases by implementing a special program.
Killough was selected to attend a leadership course designed for executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.
Division Community Affairs Manager, The Kroger Co./ King Soopers City Market
McGannon led efforts to block a bill that would have allowed locked-out workers to obtain unemployment benefits.
She introduced a virtual food-box program, which raised more than $500,000 in a single year, providing much needed dollars to area food banks, while saving them money on warehouse space because the program allows them to access food as they need it.
McGannon secured five statewide sponsorships that aligned the King Soopers City Market brand as “the hometown grocer.”
Main & Vine Merchandiser, The Kroger Co.
Meyer had a primary influence on the launch of the first-ever Main & Vine store, in Gig Harbor, Wash., determining the item selection and promotional plans in numerous departments, including executing and building an assortment of 10,000 items brand new to this concept.
She used her leadership skills in working with local suppliers in Gig Harbor, as well as on the ground floor to coach and direct the store team in merchandising efforts.
Meyer continued to focus on areas of improvement in the business model to take Main & Vine to the next level.
Talent Manager, The Kroger Co./ Columbus Division
Murphy developed and managed a $7 million training budget, providing leadership to five district reports and mentoring six district human resources coordinators.
She successfully launched a new-hire training curriculum designed to develop, motivate and retain associates.
She established the first Great People Review for the Columbus division; the three-day event focused on highlighting future leaders and provided an outlet for top leadership to network with high-potential associates.
Manager, e-Commerce, The Kroger Co./ Technology
Osterfeld led the pilot store implementation of the ClickList application (one of Kroger’s top five initiatives) in six months instead of the usual 18 months. Her team also cut rollout lead time from six weeks to 48 hours.
She oversaw the team that developed an alternative picking solution, which could potentially save the company more than $10 million.
Osterfeld is a mentor through INTERalliance, a program that helps high school students develop IT skills, and she also chairs the UC Kroger Intern Program.
Process Change Manager, The Kroger Co.
Pater and her team achieved their front end Customer 1st savings plan budget of $21 million in 2015.
She led a coupon committee comprising Kroger associates and representatives from a large CPG vendor to develop automated solutions that will help stores better manage paper coupons.
Pater managed the Self-checkout Behavior project, which emphasizes the key store associate behaviors that drive self-checkout use; as a result of this project, Kroger’s self-checkout usage increased by 1.5 percent in 2015, and is expected to improve an additional 1 percent this year.
Produce Promotional Planner, The Kroger Co.
Perkins, who recently moved from operations to merchandising, led two division produce teams to financial success; in her latest assignment, with the Fry’s and Smith’s teams, she’s responsible for managing 10.5 percent of total produce sales.
She led a strategic company initiative called Fresh Deals that invests heavily in produce retails.
In spite of her short time with the department, Perkins was chosen to train a new promotional planner, as well as more seasoned planners, while generating positive customer feedback, sales and profit growth.
Manager, Regional Data Integrity Center, The Kroger Co.
Postel was responsible for smoothly and successfully transitioning the Ralphs and both Food 4 Less divisions to the Salt Lake City regional data integrity center without any interruption to services at the stores.
She consistently received praise from the leadership of the divisions she services for her professionalism, level of service, and sense of urgency. Highly motivated, she advocated strongly for stores and their customers.
Part of the Kroger resource group Women’s EDGE, Postel worked to grow the organization and provide an environment of personal and professional development.
Pharmacy Clinical sales Manager, The Kroger Co./Fry’s
Under Rice’s leadership, overall pharmacy clinical sales beat the budget by 99 percent and exceeded prior-year sales by 95 percent, with non-flu immunizations up 100 percent.
She trained 120 pharmacists for a diabetes certificate program and 30 pharmacists in medication therapy management (MTM).
Rice was chosen as a Next-Generation Pharmacist award finalist, Patient Care Provider, 2015. She is a member of Fry’s Pharmacy Division Accuracy and Health and Wellness committees, as well as a number of state health organizations.
Merchandiser Service Deli/Bakery, The Kroger Co./Fred Meyer
Rogers and her team successfully opened 11 Starbucks coffee shops and three Murray’s Cheese Shops, and expanded the Boar’s Head program; their division was No. 1 in sales per store for these specialty programs.
She completed the Today’s Manager, Tomorrow’s Leader executive education program offered by Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership.
She sits on the board of directors for Fred Meyer Gold Star, an assistance program that helps associates in times of need
District Loss Prevention Manager, The Kroger Co./ Mid-Atlantic Division
Russell recruited a highly talented customer service manager to help address ongoing cash loss in the district; this effort led to a 50 percent reduction in cash loss.
She hosted a full week of loss prevention training for the Mid-Atlantic division’s loss prevention team, also helping to develop a comprehensive defensive merchandising training manual.
Russell opened 118 loss prevention cases during the year, 112 of which were founded, and also handled several sensitive investigations for the division
Produce Merchandiser, The Kroger Co./Fry’s
Stimac and her team helped increase identical-store sales by 5.7 percent from the year before, and beat the total division’s trend for the year.
Produce shrink for the year finished at 4.64 percent, one of the strongest results across the entire Kroger enterprise.
Stimac and her team encouraged associates to engage in more sampling with customers, and also created a monthy push item in the produce department, which generated an average of $500,000 in extra sales monthly.
District Manager The Kroger Co/, Delta Division
Under Turley’s leadership the division saw a 4 91 percent rise in net sales; she helped store managers evaluate their in-stock positions and implement new shelf-stock scanning.
She made safety a priority and as a result accidents among associates and customers alike decreased Spending more time with her associates allowed Turley to coach each one on the importance of customer service leading to increased satisfaction scores.
A charter member of the Delta division Women’s EDGE associate resource group she has also received the Ambassador Award from Network of Executive Women
Senior Merchandiser The Kroger Co.
Turner was instrumental in the overall design of Main & Vine leading the merchandising team at Kroger’s new fresh-centric store in the Seattle area Through collaboration she led the team to create a game-changing go-to-market strategy.
Her success was attributable in part to her ability to manage cross-functional teams throughout Kroger’s many business units.
While on Kroger’s HBC team Turner was responsible for the, development of the promotional plan strategy; she’s recognized as a leader in the industry and a champion for the customer
Director Human Resources and Diversity, The Kroger Co/ Turkey Hill Dairy
Wade introduced High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) at Turkey Hill Dairy making it a role model for the rest of the division As part of the rollout she designed a new organizational structure for a number of departments.
She worked directly with the VP of operations to usher in HPWS and led roundtables with hundreds of associates to get their feedback.
Wade was the inaugural recipient of the Spirit of Lancaster Award which recognized her efforts in leading a successful campaign for United Way that raised more than $1 million for the charitable organization
Technology Manager The Kroger Co.
As Kroger’s technology organization underwent a large reorganization Weisman effectively restructured her team and workload across three teams while maintaining transparency with all teammates and zero loss of productivity.
She reduced the overall number of applications by 26 percent and improved end-to-end, operations by defining and implementing standards for support and project delivery.
Weisman took on a new role within Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group that of community involvement steering committee chair
Division Recruiter, The Kroger Co./Atlanta Division
Williams developed a sourcing team concept for the division, in which current store managers assist their divisions in implementing and developing hiring plans, actively source for candidates and assist in strategic planning.
She oversaw the division’s first workforce planning session for business partners across various corporate areas; this resulted in a single strategic recruiting plan.
Williams was recognized by the state of Georgia for her hiring contributions and for speaking at a workforce planning meeting for the state school boards and various nonprofit organizations.
Senior Leader, Central Planning, The Kroger Co./Manufacturing Division
Winner, a 26-year veteran at Kroger, earned the promotion to her current role because of her great work as a global sourcing leader for the manufacturing supply chain optimization team at the general office.
In her previous role, she and her team worked with plants and third-party vendors to negotiate costs that saved $39 million for the company.
She led and helped develop an organic dairy plan that, using four distinct strategies, aided in the identification of the right partnerships with the right suppliers, as well as addressing potential shortfalls in product.
Production Lead, Lund Food Holdings/Mitchell Road Production Facility
Geng was instrumental in the operations of Lund Food Holdings’ commissary, which serves the retailer’s 28 stores; she worked daily to ensure each store had the correct amount of product ordered. She watched each item and kept them in a rotation to provide the variety and quality that customers expected.
She was the 2015 recipient of Lunds and Byerly’s Brand Champion Award, the highest honor given to company employees.
Geng been with Lund Food Holdings for 36 years and is a volunteer with her church and in her community.
Director, Marketing-Brand, Foods and Visual Merchandising, Meijer
Appert led the marketing strategy, campaign and visual merchandising involved in the opening of four stores in a new state for Meijer: Wisconsin.
She lifted the impression of customer value by boosting digital savings enrollment by 23 percent.
Appert reinvented the wine/spirits/beer department in 10 percent of the chain through store design and the launch of a comprehensive customer communications campaign; noted as the best in the industry by vendors, the revamp brought in an additional $1 million in top-line growth in three months.
Director, Merchandise, Meijer
Brush’s overall direction and leadership of the buying team on assortment, pricing, marketing, store presentation and product development, along with the execution of eight pet events with full marketing support, led to a sales volume of $415 million, up 5.6 percent from the previous year.
She focused on meaningful new and tier-one launches by executing a successful 360-degree campaign featuring various well-known pet brands.
Brush was the first external recipient of the Nestlé Purina customer service award, thanks to the strategic partnership between Meijer and Nestlé Purina.
Director, Retail Asset Protection, Meijer
Collins developed and implemented a comprehensive, aggressive intruder/active-shooter awareness program across the company to protect Meijer’s customers and associates.
She created a fraud mitigation team that shut down more than $3 million in cloned credit card transactions and saved $4.2 million in profit and loss by instituting a comprehensive plan leveraging vendor relationships.
A recipient of an FBI award for completing the Domestic Security Executive Academy, Collins used her expertise to help the Greater Boston Food Bank upgrade its physical security.
Manufacturing Plant Manager, Meijer
Coon implemented two manufacturing lines that led to the launch of 24 new items delivered to consumers and a resulting $7.2 million in new sales, among several strategic innovation projects she completed.
She spearheaded the introduction of a seasonal summer corn-packaging business, launched on a rapid timeline, that allowed for greater customer convenience.
Coon won Meijer’s Customer First Award for her work with merchant partners, following her earlier Lean Forward Innovation Award from the manufacturing team leadership. She and her team can boast five years of zero lost-time accidents.
Manager, Logistics Safety/Compliance, Meijer
Described as a role model for women entering the logistics field, Heinowski led initiatives reducing Department of Transportation recordable accidents by more than 30 percent, leading the fleet to an unprecedented industry safety record.
Under her guidance, Meijer’s private fleet CSA score was in the top 96 percent of the nation, and the team member claims-to-treatment ratio was at 4.98 at year end, down from 8.44 the previous year end, and down 50 percent in clinic visits from last year.
Heinowski was named the 2015 Michigan Trucking Association Safety Professional of the Year.
Director, Corporate Tax, Meijer
Larson teamed with a small group of tax professionals to simplify the tax treatment of store remodels and refresh costs, which led to a Retail Industry Issue Resolution in late 2015.
Demonstrating multifaceted tax and accounting skills, as well as the practical application of data analytics, she was a strong advocate for Meijer and the retail industry.
Larson was an active member and leader in the West Michigan chapter of the Tax Executive Institute, and volunteered her time with a youth hockey league as a coach and mentor.
Merchandise Planning Manager, OTC Healthcare, Meijer
Martin was a company trainer for the rollout of a new category management process, helping increase her department’s sales by more than 8.9 percent over the previous year while improving inventory turn.
She teamed with vendors on supply chain efficiency programs to maximize the supply chain flow while minimizing the amount of unproductive inventory.
Martin won Meijer’s Fearless Leader award for her role in opening a Meijer pharmacy within a hospital, a first for the grocer and is an active member of the Network of Executive Women representing Meijer at many of its events.
Director, Market, Grand Traverse, Meijer
Mitchell oversaw the opening of two new stores in her area, with a total of 300 new team members that were recruited, hired and trained under her direction.
She was instrumental in rolling out an interview and scheduling process designed to increase retention at the store level, and in the formalization of a 90 Days and Beyond program to drive career development and internal opportunities.
Mitchell was recognized for her achievements with a 2015 Michigan Works Employer of the Year award. She drove results across the Meijer footprint by enhancing leadership job profiles and redefining the market director job.
Director, Employee Development, Metcalfe’s Markets
Metcalfe increased staffing from 90 percent to 98 percent, spearheaded an electronic recruiting/onboarding process, created an employee appreciation program, established an online employee training program, launched a first-ever employee engagement survey and implemented a new human resources information system, among other accomplishments.
She began a program, Kickin’ it with Tim & Kevin, in which Metcalfe’s co-owners work alongside employees in various departments to build engagement and improve morale.
Metcalfe worked with such groups as the Wisconsin Grocers Association and the National Grocers Association.
Director Portfolio/Scale Marketing Category and Shopper Development Nestlé USA
Gilmore led a nationwide effort to support Nestlé’s 150th anniversary uniting the Nestlé portfolio in an integrated shopper consumer, digital and in-store program.
Program results showed great consumer engagement and retailer support as the company exceeded January financial expectations across the full portfolio for the first time in more than seven years.
Gilmore was involved in a variety of organizations including as a core team member for the Women in Nestlé Sales (WiNs) internal strategic initiative.
Director Sales Club Division, Nestlé USA
As part of the company’s strategic growth business unit, Ronald and her team grew market share by 80 basis points in 2015, and she was instrumental in partnering for new opportunities both with key global and regional accounts.
By working on multiple strategic initiatives with key accounts, she helped create new items that garnered breakthrough results for the company while enabling a new way of business.
A member of the Network of Executive Women, Ronald was also active in her children’s school and aided local charities and organizations.
Team Leader Sales-Target Nestlé Sales Division Nestlé USA
Walker worked to propel $212 million in direct frozen sales with an annual positive growth of 4 7 percent Her team achieved this annual growth even after having to pull back on promotion and encountering manufacturing challenges.
Walker became a lead for an internal strategic initiative Women in Nestlé Sales (WiNs) and a mentor in the sales division.
She was recognized in “Who’s Who in Digital Shopper Marketing” from Path to Purchase Institute and active in her division’s mentoring program
Front End Operations Supervisor, Niemann Foods Inc.
After a supermarket burned to the ground, Anderson led team meetings, starting the night of the fire, in the store parking lot and continuing through ongoing sessions with city representatives and associates.
For the next 10 months she took care of associates’ needs from employment at the company’s other area stores to compensation issues, all while still carrying out her primary job responsibilities.
According to Anderson’s supervisor she maintained her level of professionalism and consideration for all associates during this challenging time.
Senior Region Manager-Albertsons, North America Nutrition, PepsiCo
Based on Hagan’s performance, she was promoted twice within the past year, most recently to a senior manager role in August 2015.
While managing the Acme business, she continually exceeded all of her sales objectives, including growth of 124 percent and net revenue growth of 122 percent versus prior year.
Hagan also exceeded her key performance indicators, including share growth and share swing versus the competition, innovation ACV targets, and feature and display execution.
Senior Manager, Shopper Marketing-Kroger, PepsiCo
Humphrey personally influenced and touched more than $50 million in sales-driving activity through 2015.
She delivered a first-ever shopper experience for a Doritos/“Batman vs. Superman” promotion, for which she created a new order approach that yielded the largest order for a single event in PepsiCo history.
She spearheaded a first-time partnership for a Kroger co-branded program with the Pepsi Emoji summer program, which broke new ground as a media partnership between Kroger and PepsiCo.
Sales Analyst, North America Beverages, PepsiCo
Ramkerath exceeded top-line and margin contribution and variable gross-profit targets for Publix grocery and accomplished outstanding accuracy for each period for volume forecasts.
She led and organized several events for the team, focusing on areas such as work-life balance, Asian Heritage Month, the Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat For Humanity and Network of Executive Women.
She served as an official PepsiCo Ambassador and was an active PepsiCo Asian Network leader for PepsiCo’s Southeast region.
Director, Sales-Target, North American Nutrition, PepsiCo
Riffert grew the ready-to-eat cereal business by more than 17 percent and repositioned the Quaker granola business at Target, resulting in 20 percent growth.
She leveraged an exclusive first-to-market item for Target, Quaker Chewy, with the Girl Scouts, leading to more than 10 percent of the entire annual business being sold in two weeks and growing this business full-year.
Riffert is chair of public relations for Network of Executive Women’s Twin Cities chapter.
Director, Sales-Costco, North America Nutrition, PepsiCo
Robinson identified new areas of growth through the ready-to-eat cereal business at Costco and drove more than half of Quaker’s double-digit granola growth at her one customer through improvements in packaging and pallet design, as well as incremental and extended rotations in the customer regions.
She grew the Life cereal business by more than 25 percent and worked with the customer to co-create a new-to-market bar.
Robinson’s ability to manage the planning year, as well as her thought leadership on longer-term growth, set Quaker up for success over the next several years at Costco.
Walmart U.S., Key Account Manager, Pharmavite
Conner’s efforts led to sales growth of 19 percent in a challenging and relatively flat category, due to meaningful improvements in custom innovation, feature planning and strategies that enhance consumer messaging.
The Network of Executive Women recognized her as a national recipient of its Best of the Best Leadership Awards for her achievements and impact on the organization over the past year.
Conner’s customer partners regularly recognized her hard work ethic, fresh and creative approach to driving the business, and willingness to tackle challenges to drive business solutions.
Account Executive, Target, Post Consumer Brands
Responsible for the full scope of business for Target, Bzdok fostered positive share growth while successfully serving as the single voice of the new company and organizational structure resulting from the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods.
She developed innovative solutions to improve supply chain efficiencies, solidify distribution and create programs to formulate a solid platform for bankable future growth.
A volunteer at local food banks, Bzdok made significant gains in product distribution, setting up the business for strong future growth.
Team Leader, Costco, Post Consumer Brands
Assuming her new role as part of a new organizational structure resulting from the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods, Fromelius adapted quickly to lead her team to great success for an important account.
Her team maintained excellent sales performance during the merger, and she worked in partnership with marketing to develop and implement new product strategies.
Under Fromelius’ guidance, her team also devised new ways to improve profitability, solidify distribution and partner with Costco to develop new programs and products for continued growth.
Team Leader, Metro New York, Post Consumer Brands
Taking on a different role as part of a new organizational structure resulting from of the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods, Mueller led all wholesaler and independent business in a major market, which has regained 2.2 share points since the merger.
Directing a five-person team, she maintained solid share and sales in a highly challenging market.
Mueller spearheaded a cross-functional team to develop new items and strategies exclusively for her territory accounts.
Sales Director, Procter & Gamble
Berquam delivered on a joint business-plan growth target of 5 percent, making Procter & Gamble Kroger’s fastest-growing billion-dollar supplier.
Her team grew share of wallet across P&G categories and launched a center store acquisition program. She managed training, development and career planning for the 70-member team supporting the customer.
The leader for the North American women’s sales organization, Berquam worked to improve female diversity in the sales function.
Customer Team Leader, Procter & Gamble
Blair expanded the business by 3 percent and delivered on a joint business plan with Publix to include 65 percent fair-share growth on new initiatives and 33 percent growth in digital executions.
She developed the Team Legacy award to support new employees, developing the company culture through quarterly training and team building.
Blair enabled employee recognition for direct reports with the Kenny Shields Inspirational Leadership Award and the Dave Hollenbeck Community Service Award.
Grocery Product Supply Leader, Procter & Gamble
Fruhwirth delivered key supply metrics for total U.S. grocery, with a case fill rate of 99 percent and a customer service on-time rate of 87 percent.
She led the company’s grocery consumer responsive network execution to deliver $17 million in inventory savings for customers and $48.6 million in value creation, working with customers to maximize new supply chain capability.
Fruhwirth received Procter & Gamble’s most prestigious supply chain honor, The Magnus Award, which recognizes top performers throughout a career.
Senior Customer Supply Chain Leader, Procter & Gamble
Menz led her supply chain team to win both the customer business development and product supply functions’ Top Service Team awards, largely based on the transformation in service performance between Procter & Gamble and H-E-B, which was then jointly leveraged to drive additional business growth.
Hers was the only North American customer team to deliver targeted customer service metrics every month in the 20 months since that award was established.
Menz was a frequent volunteer and guest speaker at University of Texas supply chain classes, and she volunteered at a local women’s shelter.
Account Executive, Procter & Gamble
Working with Publix for more than a decade, Powell outpaced company growth in her business area and over-delivered versus fair share on strategic new initiatives.
She was rated among the top 10 percent of her peers in the sales function and selected for the honor of the Procter & Gamble CEO Award for her exemplary business and organizational results.
Powell won the Shave Top Customer Team Award for her strong sales fundamentals, which led to her exceeding expected results, as well as the Always Discreet Award for her exceptional go-to-market launch plans.
Kroger Regional Account Executive, Procter & Gamble
Heading the Procter & Gamble portfolio for two Kroger divisions, Titshaw grew the regional team’s sales through leadership, discipline, customer penetration and selling excellence. She managed this business holistically to understand what else the regional teams required to drive the business.
She helped reduce out-of-stocks, created tourist store distributions to manage seasonality, led the testing and expansion of on-shelf availability, and developed and delivered incremental P&G in-store marketing events.
Titshaw was named an Indispensable Rep for the Atlanta division.
URSULA (ULA) IRIARTE
Senior Customer Supply Chain Leader, The Procter & Gamble Distributing Co.
Iriarte worked to deliver a 25 percent improvement in event forecast accuracy, delivered a 20 percent customer inventory reduction and 8 percent reduction in the number of trucks, and co-led an effort to improve inventory rundown, closeout and conversion management processes to reduce annual reclaim costs.
A leader in Procter & Gamble’s Charlotte, N.C., market diversity development and support efforts, Iriarte was an active member of the company’s Women Managers Network and PS Latino Network.
Outside of the organization, she was a Special Olympics volunteer and St. Jude Hospital partner.
Director, Marketing Communications, Produce for Kids
Keefer successfully coordinated several Produce for Kids programs and campaigns, including the annual flagship retail campaigns, a new Produce for Kids Club promotion, and a digital Power Your Lunchbox campaign for the back-to-school season.
She worked closely with the digital marketing manager to launch the company’s first printed cookbook through Amazon.com, and bolstered the organization’s social media following by 96 percent.
Keefer took the lead on a new partnership with Feeding America, in which Produce for Kids donated more than $270,000, the equivalent of 3 million meals, to needy families.
Director, Sales, Pyure Brands LLC
Jones contributed significantly to a 100 percent growth of the business over the past 12 months; she recently added 10 points of ACV in the natural specialty channel, leading to an additional $200,000 in sales.
Thanks to her efforts, H-E-B is now the company’s second-largest retail customer. She was honored for her accomplishments with Pyure’s Superstar Award for 2015. Her data analysis and reporting was instrumental in gaining authorizations from several key retailers.
A member of the Pyure Promise Committee, Jones assisted with contributions to local charities.
Lead Specialist, Chef and Food Experience, Sobeys
Charged with reimagining the overall food culture of Sobeys, Dalimonte was project lead on the creation of a national catering brochure for all of the grocer’s regions across Canada, resulting in an uptick in catering platter sales.
In her previous role with the company, she created the Sobeys Urban Fresh catering program from the ground up and oversaw many culinary innovations.
As project lead for the Nutella Café by Sobeys Urban Fresh, Dalimonte worked closely with Ferrero Inc. to successfully manage the café’s design, menu, marketing and execution.
General Manager, Supply Chain HR and LEAN Operations, Smart & Final
Korytowski introduced and led the LEAN process improvement program in Smart & Final’s supply chain and corporate office, which resulted in more than $550,000 in documented savings last year. She also took over human resources responsibilities last year for all of the company’s distribution centers.
Through Smart & Final’s online recognition program, she received more than 200 formal recognition notes from associates across the company.
Korytowski attended the 16-week USC Food Industry Management program, where she was recognized as Student of the Year by her peer group.
District Merchandising Manager and Temporary District Manager, Smart & Final
Responsible for all financial, operational and associate-related issues within her assigned district of 19 stores, Leogrande managed the merchandising projects for five new stores in a six-month timeframe.
She trained 200-plus associates within Smart & Final’s perishables departments in 2015, when her role as perishable merchandising manager was expanded.
Leogrande was promoted from store manager to perishable merchandising manager, followed by a second promotion to temporary district manager last January.
Pricing Manager, Smart & Final
Locke was responsible for the quality of price execution, including prices, data, systems and people, for more than 250 stores. Her ad accuracy rate was 99.92 percent for the entire year, and she achieved 100 percent accuracy for 39 weeks.
She embraces teamwork, lives the banner’s core values and emulates the philosophy of “see it, own it, do it.”
An active participant in the company’s store “engagement” days, Locke visited stores to determine how she and her team could better serve them, while at the same time mentoring, developing and encouraging her team.
Purchasing Manager, Smart & Final
With 30 years of equipment-purchasing experience, Redcher enhanced Smart & Final’s equipment offerings, helping to source and develop state-of-the-art fixtures for its stores.
She created best practices for equipment to provide store personnel and end users with step-by-step instructions for installation, operation, maintenance and housekeeping, as well as written procedures for every job function within her department.
Redcher participated in and graduated from Smart & Final’s Leadership Development Program.
Manager, New Store Marketing, Smart & Final
As manager of the new-stores team, Wade directly affected business customer sales penetration in new stores.
She led the team to open 20 stores in 2015, driving new business customers to Smart & Final stores, as well as introducing current business customers to the grocer’s Extra! concept, and coordinated all in-store demos with suppliers and demo companies to ensure a great customer experience.
In addition to her usual job duties, Wade took over all of the Smart & Final charitable foundation responsibilities until a manager was hired, and helped plan and execute community events.
Accounting Manager, Spartannash Co./MDV Spartannash
In addition to leading the accounts payable and miscellaneous billing departments that processed more than $2.1 billion of expenses for MDV, Billups managed the merger-related integration of office systems and processes for the entire SpartanNash military division.
She designed and led associate training, led MDV’s migration to a content management platform, and headed the celebration and fun committee.
Billups earned her MBA degree while working at MDV.
Merchandising Analytics Manager, Spartannash Co.
Kobrzycki led customer-centric merchandising, providing actionable business intelligence and innovative thinking about the consumer.
She revamped the category business-planning process, implemented a set of data tools for category managers to better understand their business and translated the organization’s customer strategy into category-level goals.
Kobrzycki took the initiative to create SpartanNash’s first category budgets, and built them in accordance with its customer-centricity strategy, giving teams a clear road map to achieve comparable-sales and growth goals.
Manager, Worksite Wellness Programs, Spartannash
Murray led significant changes to SpartanNash’s Choose Well. Live Well. program (available to 9,000-plus associates), such as including part-time associates, doubling the wellness incentive amounts and implementing a free Fitbit for completing program tasks.
She enhanced program communications, which increased associate engagement in Choose Well. Live Well. from 1,518 participants to 2,294 in just eight months.
Another of Murray’s successful initiatives was creating an opportunity for associates to earn Vitality points for volunteering.
Manager, Business-Military, Spartannash Co./MDV Spartannash
As the single point of contact for the vendors and brokers doing business with MDV, Schneider continually looked for ways to make the company and its vendors more successful partners to the military commissaries and exchanges.
She was a 2015 Top Performer in sourcing new business, with more than $20 million in increased sales.
Schneider contributed to a 50 percent reduction of company liability for nonsaleable inventory in 2015, and was instrumental in piloting new programs to provide customers with inventory data 24/7.
Director, Business Process Re-engineering, Spartannash Co.
Songstad developed, led and implemented the One Way of Working program to identify, approve and document best practices in preparation for ISO certification.
She and her Item Process Flow Improvement project team reduced numerous retail pricing issues, including weekly pre-ad issues, by 70 percent and the number of hotline issues by 47 percent.
Songstad and her team inspired a company-wide retail store self-audit, and created a process to log, analyze and report on the audits, with the goal of a less than 2 percent error rate.
District Manager, Spartannash Co.
Wright was responsible for the financial performance, associate relations and customer service at all 14 stores in her district, representing $200 million in sales annually.
Despite competition, deflation and other challenges, her district earned significantly more in EBIT dollars year over year.
Wright’s commitment to professional development, was crucial to the success of her district, which boasts Assistant Store Director Training Program graduates and has continuously achieved its customer satisfaction goals.
Director, Customer Service and Channel Development Logistic Services, Starbucks Coffee Co.
Gamage successfully led the restructuring of Starbucks’ customer service capabilities so as to move order management from broker to direct coverage.
She implemented new processes and procedures to meet or exceed industry best practice standards and developed and implemented Oracle system enhancements that led to productivity efficiencies in the OTC space.
Her work was critical to Starbucks’ double-digit sales growth and record shares in the United States.
Bakery/Deli Consultant, Supervalu
Representing the Champaign/Chicago marketing area, Armstrong provided guidance and expertise in new store openings and major remodels, as well as strategic operational analysis.
She built a measurable business with Chicago-area Shop and Save Stores — a recently affiliated retail group — assisting with merchandising, productivity, schedule writing and product handling.
After Armstrong consulted on best store bakery/deli implementation at the Salem, Ill., IGA, both departments increased their profitability.
Sales and Operations Fresh Sales Consultant, Supervalu
Bagley participated in 46 successful Northwest store conversions as locations transitioned from Albertsons and Safeway to Haggen stores.
She led fresh department efforts in several locations, where — with four months less time to meet objectives than other fresh consultants — she exceeded her territory initiative goals by 14.55 percent.
In the final quarter of this fiscal year, Bagley rose to the challenge of covering both the distribution center’s territories for fresh departments.
Senior Financial Analyst, Supervalu/Save-A-Lot
Responsible for the preparation and consolidation of the annual budget, Crites developed significant improvements to the annual budget process, and created a zero-based budget process for accounts that were previously developed based on trend history.
She mentored other financial analysts who made significant progress throughout the year.
Crites serves on the Save-A-Lot United Way and Volunteers in Action committees. She has been a Big Sister and mentor for the past four years and is a member of the MESA group at Save-A-Lot.
Director, Technical Services, Supervalu
Diethelm managed a multimillion-dollar budget and a team of direct and third-party professionals.
She successfully led and completed a complex high-budget initiative on the technical side of a major systems upgrade of Supervalu’s HCM suite of applications, delivering the project on time and within scope and budget, without any significant business disruption.
Diethelm identified and implemented the consolidation of the company’s disparate recruiting applications into a common platform, resulting in a multimillion-dollar cost savings for the company.
Director, Finance, Supervalu/Shoppers Food & Pharmacy
Downs assumed full finance responsibilities for the Hornbacher’s retail division, becoming responsible for the financial management of two divisions of the company, including full fiscal 2017 financial planning and budgeting.
She developed a comprehensive daily sales planning and forecasting tool for the 54-store retail division, which improved sales-forecasting capabilities.
Downs boosted the forecasting performance of multiple SG&A (selling, general and administrative) accounts for the current year’s results.
Director, Finance, Supervalu/Cub Foods
As part of an initiative to reduce expenses by $6 million, Dwyer led the development of new tools to identify areas of loss from shrink and provide better insight into labor forecasts to adjust and avoid unnecessary expense.
She developed additional analytics regarding market-area performance that allowed merchants to target investment decisions for maximum performance.
Dwyer leveraged analytical expertise to translate strategic initiatives into actionable financial plans that contribute directly to the organization’s success.
Performance Consultant, Supervalu
Grubbs’ training programs helped independent customers drive sales growth, develop more efficient operations, and engage and train future store and business leaders.
She implemented a training program that prepared Supervalu’s independent customers to operate the new Shoppers Value Foods format.
Grubbs helped develop Supervalu University Day, spotlighting the company’s training and delivering 15 educational courses to more than 1,500 participants. She also led Supervalu’s six-month Department Manager Academy, which she helped develop.
Director, Employment Law, Supervalu
Lannan spearheaded and led a project overhauling several employment handbooks, designed to ensure that employees understand company policies and to help the company navigate complex situations.
She led the company’s compliance efforts with new Fair Labor Standard Act regulations related to the proper classification status of employees across all segments of the business.
Lannan developed and deployed extensive training on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which directly resulted in better handling of issues across the organization with concise, informative and engaging training.
Director, Merchandising-Independent Business, Supervalu
McDonald played a lead role in establishing Supervalu as the primary supplier with a new independent retailer customer, providing support as it acquired new stores and converted them to a new format.
She helped solve store conversion problems and store ordering and in-stock challenges, and with her team, delivered training materials and system support for the retailer’s merchandising staff.
McDonald’s team drove incremental sales growth of more than $140 million through such initiatives as seasonal candy programs and retailer-specific private label promotions.
Finance Manager, Supervalu Save-A-Lot
Neff was recently promoted to her current role for her quality work that included weekly sales and margin forecasts for the merchandising, procurement and pricing teams that allowed for quick, accurate results.
She developed a team that strengthens every day, converted and automated manual reports, and redeveloped forecasting models and improved the accuracy of the forecasting process.
Neff successfully took the lead for sales and margin planning for the annual budget, and willingly stepped in to assist with several marketing projects.
Safety And Food Safety Manager, Supervalu/Farm Fresh
In her role overseeing both occupational and customer safety, Elliot evinced a dedication and passion for food safety that set the tone for the entire Farm Fresh banner. She also played an active role in the community by participating in the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Action Challenge Committee and the Healthy Virginia Beach Steering Committee.
A team player, she assisted the sister Shoppers banner during a vacancy in its safety and food safety manager role, offering training and general store assistance.
Elliot helped build a corporate program on food safety certification that provided educational tools for store employees.
Director, Senior Planning and Execution, Supervalu
Flaten was responsible for the strategic direction and direct management of retail execution of category strategies, managing a $20 million-a-year program.
She improved efficiencies and effectiveness by building, executing and managing best-in-class processes for retail execution that reduced planning time frames and leveraged outside CPG/food broker resources at store level.
Flaten expanded her team to manage retail banner and regional store deployment managers and store setup coordinators to ensure flawless execution at store level that encompassed both company-wide and locally relevant requirements.
Senior Manager, Category and Data Strategy, Supervalu
Furlan led the development and advancement of Supervalu’s SVInsights data solution, providing CPGs and brokers access to internal POS data and metrics, and demonstrating how to leverage the tool to make data-driven merchandising decisions.
Her category strategy and insights leadership resulted in the development of two category business plans, for bottled water and cookies/crackers.
Furlan led the cross-functional enterprise effort for the development of a beverage department strategy playbook, and the revamp of a category management business plan process.
Human Resources Director, Supervalu/Farm Fresh
Supporting a retail banner of 41 retail stores and about 4,000 employees, Glaude drove leadership accountability through training and skill building.
In partnership with store directors, she designed a mentorship plan and action items for the 10 least engaged stores to boost morale and change the culture.
Glaude created a process for consistent onboarding of new hires, rolling out a successful pilot program that included “train-the-trainer” programs to decentralize training for the deli and expedite the productivity of new employees.
Senior Account Manager, Supervalu
Nollen achieved sales growth of 11 percent above projections across her territory and led the pilots of several key competitive strategies, including Supervalu’s new DSD program, the SVInsights Analytics tool, SVLinx and the implementation of strategic pricing projects.
She led the National Expo project plan and execution in 2015, which included directing more than 20 functional areas like merchanding, with sales results improving by 50 percent.
Nollen maximized and grew market share by coordinating activities for one customer’s new store, and a major remodel for another.
Category Manager, Dairy/Frozen, Supervalu/Cub Foods
Partnering with Kemp’s Dairy, Reding created a Milk Drive Donation program that was recognized by the National Dairy Council as a best-in-class promotion for retailers.
In the frozen category, she relaunched Culinary Circle, a private label brand that saw sales increases of nearly 50 percent in the past year.
Reding provided leadership for the SV program, launching SVInsights, as well as taking ownership of communication of the SV team.
Human Resources Director, Supervalu/Independent Business
Rees-Zecha successfully handled challenging labor issues in newly organized distribution centers; she and her team hired 220 employees in 15 weeks by advertising for nonproduction roles and attending a job fair at a local technical college.
She developed a spreadsheet with weekly goals that factored in anticipated turnover, to achieve and retain the appropriate staffing level.
Rees-Zecha creatively recruited drivers by networking at truck stops and advertising on an industry website.
Senior Director, Finance Shared Services, Supervalu
After Supervalu decided that the finance shared-services function would be partially outsourced to a third party, Reitan assumed responsibility for the transition to the new vendor while building from scratch a new management team to provide transactional processing and information for finance and other teams.
Her diligent approach included documenting every process for a planned, smooth transition of work and reporting.
Reitan’ vast network helped build a management team of top-notch talent while driving toward high-quality deliverables.
Pricing/Retail Integrity Manager, Supervalu/Cub Foods
Saete, who maintains retail integrity in all stores and oversees competitive price checks, spearheaded Cub’s conversion to a new digital tag program, which resulted in cost savings and reduced labor, allowing associates to redirect time to customer service and active selling.
During the midyear launch of the New Low Price Program, store category managers had unlimited availability to Saete and her team, leading to long hours but a successful implementation.
Her presence at every remodel, conversion and grand opening mitigated the potential for pricing function mishaps.
Senior Merchandiser, Deli and Bakery, Supervalu
Schools and her merchandising team provided bakery and deli leadership for 875 independent retailers. In 2015, she developed and orchestrated the implementation of Supervalu’s cake/cupcake and prepared food programs into 100 percent of the target accounts.
Cake/cupcake category sales improved 112 percent over the previous year, and prepared food category sales grew by 108 percent.
She oversaw all areas of functional and strategic bakery and deli category management while directing the marketing team to create sales strategies, programs and events for stronger sales and profits.
Human Resources Director, Supervalu/Shoppers Food & Pharmacy
Thomas focused this year on leadership training and development by preparing successors so as to have talent ready to advance their careers within the banner.
She led the effort to customize a leadership development program that focuses on key skill building to provide participants with development experience.
Thomas centralized the hiring processes for store-level employees, a big-change management effort to create consistency in hiring processes across the banner while alleviating some of the store directors’ recruiting work.
Senior Regulatory and Compliance Counsel, Supervalu
Walbourn co-led strategic projects to ensure a best-in-class food safety program, and played a leading role in developing a Food Safety Modernization Act cross-functional team to ensure Supervalu’s compliance.
She co-led efforts to design and implement a food safety and defense governance team, now fully operational, to provide robust communication, best practice sharing and coordination among Supervalu’s business, legal and compliance departments.
She played a key role in managing Supervalu’s enterprise risk management program.
District Manager, Supervalu/Hornbacher’s
Weisgram was project lead for two new stores, meeting with architects and construction crews, assembling store teams, communicating with vendors on equipment installations, and coordinating all in-store merchandising.
She trained, coached and developed three new store directors and six new assistant store directors, filling many of the positions with internal candidates.
Her knowledge of the community and culture proved beneficial in her ability to advance strategic recommendations while she stayed abreast of the changing retail climate.
Associate Category Manager, Produce, Topco Associates
Smith secured a USD A government grant to help fund more than 50 local farmers in attaining the proper and legal food safety requirements to provide retailers with safe, locally sourced produce.
She developed a relationship with the Wallace Center, which connects funders and investors with food systems research as part of championing GroupGAP food safety certification, thereby increasing opportunities for retailers to offer Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) produce.
Smith met with growers to encourage GAP practices when growing produce.
Associate Category Manager, Center Store, Topco Associates
Zavislak developed 70 new items in the past year, which helped lead to 14 percent growth in the frozen food categories, outpacing national average sales declines; the new items capitalized on emerging trends like premium pizza and breakfast.
She regularly participated in cross-functional teams designed to improve overall functions at Topco while continuing to oversee the $90 million frozen food category.
Zavislak joined teams to define a better process for new product rollouts, and also advised on the development of a packaging development project management workflow.
Director, Financial Planning and Reporting, tops Markets LLC
Kennedy improved and accelerated Tops’ annual budgeting process, with the fiscal 2016 budget finalized a month earlier than the previous year’s, and the financial statement close process accelerated by a day.
Her more collaborative approach to budget preparation included more involvement of leaders from all functional areas. She also played a key role in the company’s debt refinancing last year.
Through enhanced analyses, Kennedy and her team improved the flow and transparency of financial information throughout the company.
Manager, talent Management and engagement, tops Markets LLC
Payne led the research implementation of an Applicant Tracking System that modernizes the applicant onboarding process to reach a more tech-savvy Millennial workforce and improve the applicant completion rate.
The new system also provides substantial cost savings of about $743,000 over a five-year contract.
She worked directly with the executive committee to refine the company’s vision and mission, and to define company-level strategic objectives, as well as playing an active role in restructuring the merchandising function and administration of the employee talent assessment.
Human Resources Manager, tops Markets LLC
Rusk implemented a heart-health program, which included providing a heart-healthy food option at every meal in the company cafeteria, installing a blood pressure machine and publishing a weekly heart-healthy recipe.
She added the human resources functions of 12 retail stores to her existing warehouse and transportation responsibilities and implemented an online portal for management staff to easily access company information.
Due to Rusk’s proper management and recordkeeping, 100 percent of human rights, EEOC and Department of Labor complaints were dismissed, and intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act use was reduced by 30 percent.
Assistant Treasurer, Unified Grocers
Allen, who oversees Unified Grocers’ $370 million revolving credit facility, played a key role in Unified’s benefits committee bulk lump-sum buyout plan, which was estimated to save about $2.5 million. She also provided financial analysis for key strategic initiatives.
She developed an enhanced cash forecasting model to more accurately predict the company’s resources and use of cash that has enabled the company to better manage and lower its interest expense.
Her leadership skills were on display when she promoted a 20-year employee and created an opportunity for the employee to use newly acquired knowledge and advance her career.
Manager, Product Development-Market Centre, Unified Grocers
Beasley successfully negotiated container volume when sourcing products from Asia, leading to increased profits for both Unified and its retailers, and is in the process of establishing an importing training session for other Market Centre business units.
She grew the seasonal program from nearly $5.8 million in 2011 to a projected $16.4 million in 2016 by tenaciously ensuring retailers have the correct products for their store formats.
Her expertise was also instrumental in gaining Raley’s and Save Mart’s business; Raley’s seasonal business grew from $2.6 million in 2015 to a projected $6.5 million in 2016.
Executive Director, Talent Management, Unified Grocers
Guido realigned the human relations solutions for a more strategic focus, and evolved the learning and development strategy from a reactive to a proactive approach by revising the external nominations strategy.
She partnered with a cross-functional team of human resources and business unit leadership to identify and onboard an unprecedented number of employees within a short amount of time.
Guido implemented two incentive plans for grocery/ frozen/deli and Market Centre procurement teams, which included redefining and clarifying key performance success measurements for associates.
Director, Sales-Market Centre, Unified Grocers
Steiner, who oversees the $144 million natural division, including the Natural Directions brand, grew gross sales of Natural Directions by nearly 40 percent in one fiscal year.
She reinvented Natural Directions’ promotional calendar to reinforce the value of the brand’s low cost of goods. This included increased display support while keeping the brand competitive and investing in new products.
Steiner created a comprehensive presentation for the retail leadership and Market Centre teams, which was cited by decision-makers as a reason that they chose Market Centre as their supplier.
Director, Deli and Prepared Foods, Weis Markets
Cole oversaw the introduction of a new fresh pre-sliced program that grossed more than $3.5 million by the end of the fiscal year, and is expected to more than double by the end of 2016.
She implemented a hot-sandwich-to-go program, featuring breakfast, chicken and fresh-fried fish sandwiches, along with popcorn chicken.
Cole received Weis’ inaugural Robert F. Weis Award for Achievement for her outstanding leadership and work to increase sales in the deli and prepared food departments. She led her team to add and change menus seasonally and developed a plan to introduce a new branding program.
District Manager, Weis Markets
Holding several roles for the past 18 months led to Sokol’s promotion to district manager in January 2016. Overseeing 14 stores, she led her team to achieve financial sales goals and profitability.
She helped one store reduce shrink and increase sales and profitability; the programs she implemented were expanded into other stores.
As regional operations specialist, Sokol assisted store managers in using merchandising to increase sales and profits, as well as serving as a liaison between the vendors and Weis operations teams to improve displays and store resets.
Manager, Lifestyle Initiatives, Weis Markets
Promoted to her current role after nearly six years as Weis’ healthy living coordinator, Stark helped launch a pilot nutrition education shelf-tag program.
As well as editing copy and developing healthy recipes and meal solutions for Weis’ Healthy Bites complimentary in-store publication, Stark appeared regularly in how-to cooking videos, newscasts and a monthly local radio show.
She helped recruit and hire a new dietitian with responsibilities at both the corporate and store levels.
PATRICIA DEL GUERICIO
Store #6335, Whitehall, Pa., Ahold USA/Giant Carlisle
Del Guericio implemented and executed the district mentoring circle of bimonthly meetings to combine learning and fun to extend the skills of female management, receiving Giant’s 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Award and 2015 District Human Resources Award. She also planned and acted as MC for the 2015 Best Bagger Competition.
She drove fresh sales more than 24 percent versus the previous year by implementing creative merchandising and associate training.
Del Guericio introduced a fresh shrink initiative that improved results by 0.62 percent over budget and 1.38 percent ahead of the previous year.
Store #0132, Bethesda, Md., Ahold USA/ Giant Landover
By boosting morale, meeting customers’ needs, and ensuring employees worked efficiently and appropriately to their skill sets, Evans drove a 8.13 percent sales increase.
Her management improved shrink by 33 basis points, earning her the Sales Award and the Process Award for her district.
An active member of Ahold USA’s Women Adding Value and Excellence resource group, Evans is currently pursuing a business degree, with a minor in human resources. She is a member of the Frederick Optimist Club and promotes an active interest in good government and civic affairs to the area’s youth.
Store #6466, Altoona, Pa., Ahold USA/ Giant Carlisle
Evans turned an “opportunity” store into a profitable one, with 4.79 percent growth over the prior year, by focusing on customer support and improving “bench strength” through employee training and coaching.
She received Better Neighbor recognition from the executive board for her work to support the A+ School Rewards, Children’s Miracle Network, Bag Hunger, United Way and Support Our Troops programs.
Evans’ store successfully participated in such major corporate initiatives as Project Thunder to increase savings, service and selection.
Store #0146, Prince Frederick, Md., Ahold USA/ Giant Landover
Jones drove positive sales growth of 3.3 percent year to date while a pricing strategy was rolling out throughout the organization.
Her store was the first to introduce Bakery of the Future in Giant Landover, working closely with a sales specialist and a bakery manager on training and merchandising; the initiative increased sales more than 20 percent, improved gross profit over budget and reduced shrink.
Jones improved associate engagement 11 percent from last year by taking the time to listen and understand her team; she also saw positive results on profit and loss and improved customer experience.
Store #0823, Sparta, N.J., Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Kurta-Pavlovic managed the top store in contributions to the district bottom line: 4.62 percent positive identical-store sales in 2015 and tracking for 7.58 percent sales IDs in 2016. Her customer count was up 4.47 percent, and she upped the store’s customer-tracking score in cashier friendliness by four points in one year.
Associate development at her store was up 25 percent from year ago, and communication was up 9 percent; the store carried a 7.37 Plus One rating, with Own Brand shares for 2015 of 39.72 percent.
Kurta-Pavlovic was the first Stop & Shop associate to be invited into a year-long New Jersey Food Council leadership program, which she completed last year.
Store #0455, Winchester, Mass., Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New England
McLellan achieved positive sales and strong EBITDA, surpassing her store’s nonperishable shrink goal amid an onslaught of new competition.
By working closely with store associates to develop an orchestrated strategic plan to combat potential sales erosion and increase its customer base, McLellan solidified her store’s stance as “Winchester’s Stop & Shop” via extensive training, excellent service and high-profile community involvement.
McLellan received the Winchester Peace & Social Justice award in February 2016.
Store #6445, Hatfield, Pa, Ahold USA/Giant Carlisle
Miller moved to a new store in late 2015 to improve performance and boost associate morale; her previous store saw sales increases of up to 10 percent versus the prior year.
Her store’s engagement scores increased by six points and budget performance rose from the prior year.
Miller held regular meetings with associates to discuss sales and strategies for reducing shrink and optimizing merchandising; held employees accountable through consistency, communication and mutual respect; and increased morale with fun events and celebrations of goals met.
Store #0351, Salisbury, Md, Ahold USA/ Giant Landover
Leading a team of 140 associates, Reed took her store to the top position in her division for price image among shoppers, earning plaudits from leadership for exceptional morale and store conditions.
She took pride in helping others, from mentoring assistants to sharing experiences and giving honest and constructive feedback.
Reed’s involvement with her store’s community included raising funds for the local elementary school and veterans group, partnering on food drives, placing special-needs adults in the workplace, and encouraging her team to volunteer.
Store #0348, Clarksville, Md, Ahold USA/Giant Landover
Repass’ store launched several Giant initiatives, including price cuts, product launches and new technology. She gained team support by involving associates and getting their feedback, leading to her store’s selection as the pilot for Giant’s Store of the Future.
Her store held a Thanksgiving pie drive for Meals on Wheels, helped the 4H Youth Club by purchasing a prize-winning steer and held other events such as Photos with Santa.
A role model for her district, Respass was always available to associates for direction and advice.
REGINA SUE SWEENEY
Store #8101, Woodbury N.Y., Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
Despite undergoing a major remodel last year, Sweeney’s store exceeded all sales goals and had record-breaking sales weeks.
Through her membership in the local chamber of commerce, she kept her store involved in many community activities.
Sweeney received several customer service and community service awards, as well as Stop & Shop’s Triple Winner Best of the Best award; she also served as the green captain for her district and encouraged all members of her team to be better neighbors.
Store #6012, Altoona, Pa, Ahold USA/Giant Carlisle
Through teamwork and engaging associates, Sweigert’s store achieved an 8 percent sales increase, along with record sales in pharmacy and natural and organics.
Her store boosted Own Brand penetration, improved nonperishable shrink, increased EBIT distribution and implemented an internal food safety audit program that lifted the store’s year-to-date food safety score.
Sweigert achieved an optimal work-life balance by empowering her team to be their best while being an involved mother of three young children.
Store #0497, Westborough, Mass., Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New England
After her promotion from sales specialist, Szczurko dramatically improved employee morale, resulting in improved attendance, less turnover and reduced shrink.
She pushed her team to think outside the box for merchandising displays, resulting in double-digit identical-store sales in natural foods and new-store lifetime sales records in the natural food category.
Dedicated to team development, Szczurko promoted several associates to leadership roles in the industry and mentored others on their way to promotions.
Store #0743, Arlington, Va, Ahold USA/Giant Landover
Tarbouz led her store to step up its community involvement, including food drives and recycling programs, boosting the results each time.
Leading by example with high standards and expectations, she identified qualified associates to train, coach and develop toward promotions.
Tarbouz emphasized associate recognition, selecting winners at department manager meetings and honoring them with certificates and pins at a recognition breakfast.
Store #0639, Stratford, Conn, Ahold USA/Stop & Shop New York Metro
A firm believer in associate development, Witcher led her store to a very successful year that included a 27 percent reduction in nonperishable shrink and more than 1 percent perishable shrink while all categories saw 2 percent to 9 percent improvement.
She mentored many employees and drove the assistant manager training program, doubling its completion rate in 2015. The associate development score improved to 72 percent in 2015 from 52 percent.
Witcher was recognized by Stop & Shop for bottom-line profit and capital efficiency.
Store Director, Store #7715, Philadelphia, Albertsons Cos./Acme Markets
A 30-year Acme employee, Babst surpassed every financial goal set for her store, including sales, EBITDA and identical-store sales rate.
Her passion for customer service and staff training was solidified when her store finished 2015 among the best in the company in customer satisfaction ratings.
Babst coordinates the annual WMMR Camp Out for Hunger event at Thanksgiving and the Brent Celek Foundation for Children, and she actively supports, and has a close affiliation with, the Philadelphia Police Department.
Store Director, Store #2590, Carrollton, Texas, Albertsons Cos./Tom Thumb
Considering her associates’ development and success one of her greatest accomlishments, Eldabaja invested time and effort in each associate to help them grow personally and professionally.
Her team worked to minimize the impact of a competing grocer, leading her store to weekly sales increases and exceeding the financial plan for the year.
A leader in the company’s Women’s Network Group, Eldabaja helped to train and mentor employees to attain higher positions.
Store Director, Store #4163, Arlington, Texas, Albertsons Cos.
Hebert oversaw a six-month remodel, completed on time and on budget, that drove average weekly customer count from 9,900 to 12,000, a double-digit increase in sales, an average ticket increase of $3 and a five-point lift in customer satisfaction.
The remodel process “allowed me the opportunity to acquire new leadership skills that I am using in becoming a better leader and employee,” she asserts.
Hebert is a member of the Southern Division Store Director Council, which inputs decisions for her district of 17 stores and helps coordinate the district newsletter.
KATHLEEN (KATHY) MAWN
Store Director, Star Market #7576, Boston, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s and Star Market
Mawn successfully managed two high-volume Boston stores: Allston and Fenway. She led the Allston team to achieve an above-goal EBITD and, despite a competitive retailer opening across the street, guided the Fenway Star Market to achieve substantial year-over-year results.
She was nominated to the Store Directors Council, chaired by the president of Shaw’s and Star Market.
Mawn has received multiple Shaw’s and Star Market awards for attaining and exceeding exceptional results on the company’s customer satisfaction index model.
Store Director, Store #3088, Silvis, Ill., Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco
Rains continuously raised the bar in terms of customer service, boosting district and division scores while simultaneously increasing sales and lowering the on-hand inventory within her store.
During a time of center store refresh and tough competition, she kept her store at a consistent “8” by thinking outside the box in regard to staffing and maintenance.
Rains’ endless energy and strong leadership skills made her a valued management-level employee as well as an excellent mentor for assistant directors and trainees. She also received the Customer Service Index trophy for the fourth quarter of 2015.
Assistant Commissary Officer, Fairchild Air Force Base Commissary, Wash., Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Balido efficiently remodeled the warehouse layout by strategically rearranging contractor-stocked items and segregating vendor items to the side.
When a windstorm knocked out power, she ensured that customers completed their purchases and exited the darkened building safely, and then directed the removal of chilled and frozen product into storage rooms, thereby reducing both physical and fiscal losses.
Balido boosted morale by involving employees in team-building projects such as Red Shirt Friday in support of the troops.
Fort Sam Houston Commissary, Texas, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Honored by many local organizations for her commitment and involvement, Garcia actively participated in such community functions as outreach and volunteer services for a food bank, and military-affiliated events in collaboration with sales initiatives.
To support her fellow stores, she assisted in numerous store resets and VIP visits, as well as training and mentoring other managers and employees.
She demonstrated a high degree of originality and creativity in executing unique ideas for store events and award-winning displays.
Assistant Commissary Officer, Naval Base San Diego Commissary, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Thanks in large part to Hernandez’s leadership and motivation, the commissary earned more than $81 million in sales.
A veteran commissary manager of 35 years’ standing, she still demonstrated innovation by reaching out to single sailors through an event bringing hundreds of them to the store to learn about the commissary benefit during a fun, informative day.
Hernandez achieved successful results on a formal inventory and kept the commissary’s sales on track despite military downsizing.
Store #246, Ocean City, Md., Delhaize America/Food Lion
As a result of Collins’ commitment to computer-assisted ordering execution across the store, she drove significant top-line sales growth of 4.9 percent and improved shrink performance.
Her involvement with the community and local chamber of commerce enabled her to prepare properly for the increased business brought in by weekly special events on the oceanfront.
Collins excelled in seasonally relevant merchandising to grow the top line and meet the needs of a highly diverse summer clientele.
Store #1371, Mint Hill, N.C., Delhaize America/ Food Lion
Rollins led her store through the store openings of two competing operators in one calendar year, delivering positive same-store sales.
The mother of a grown son who works as a Food Lion produce manager, Rollins cross-trained and developed associates consistently and always had employees ready for promotion, helping the region fill critical positions.
She received the most votes by far from her peers to win the most recent Store Manager of the Year award in her division.
Store #2196, Morrisville, N.C., Delhaize America/ Food Lion
A new mom, Workman nevertheless embraced the challenge of operating a store in Food Lion’s first strategy market, where all locations received extensive capital investments, strategic training and new customer-driven initiatives to create a clean, safe environment for customers.
She grew sales against significant competition, losing no associates to any of the four rivals that opened stores near hers.
Workman was selected out of 162 store managers to run one of three Plus stores, which offer additional features, and mentored two new store managers.
Store Leader, Store # 72, Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle Inc./ Market District
Gray pioneered the implementation of an automatic in-store replenishment system for the grocery department, training the entire grocery team on the new process.
She improved her store’s customer service scores by 7 percent. Skillfully managing the budget to produce savings in both payroll and supplies, Gray improved total store shrink ratios while growing sales by $8 million, increasing gross dollars by $3 million and reducing shrink by more than $200,000.
Gray also helped develop a Food Safety Walk, which rolled out to 120 stores and improved food safety scores.
Island Foods Great Valu, Chincoteague, Va., Great Valu
Leading her store with the singular objective of sustainable, profitable growth, Heartley held to her results-driven mantra: “That which can be measured is worth doing.”
She directed the rebranding and reformulation of a failed location, whose heavy seasonal business increased 400 percent. The store returned to profitability as customer count, basket size and sales per transaction continued to grow.
Heartley’s exceptional abilities to quickly determine innovative, on-demand solutions underscored her skills of continuous improvement in sales, customer satisfaction and operating results.
Store Director, Lenexa, Kan., Hy-Vee
Brobst galvanized her store team’s performance, which outpaced the market in sales and profits because of the relationships she fostered with employees and customers alike. She expanded the Coffee with Cops program to include a Kool-Aid with Cops event for children.
Also responsible for the operations of her store’s newly opened fuel station, she produced exceptional sales results and profit growth.
Brobst promoted, and subsequently trained, an assistant manager to lead the kitchen department; empowering the associate helped the kitchen evolve from a struggling operation into a consistently high-performing sales and profit contributor.
Store Director, Mason City #1, Mason City, Iowa, Hy-Vee
Moving to a store in a larger market, Cavin led her new team to focus on an impeccable customer experience by setting high standards, well-defined expectations and lead-by-example merchandising excellence, all of which enabled her store to achieve record net profits.
Under her leadership, her store has expanded its food waste diversion efforts.
Cavin expanded the store’s Veterans Day breakfast, the most recent of which served free breakfasts to 622 vets, a number that ranks in the top 15 percent of the company. She also serves the community as a board member of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce.
Store Director, West Des Moines #2, west Des Moines, Iowa, Hy-Vee
Cole’s steady, persistent leadership was in evidence during a major remodel of her store, which continued to perform well throughout the project’s duration.
When her store was chosen as one of two for the test launch of Hy-Vee Aisles Online, Cole guided her team through an intricate ground-floor process that yielded one of the largest volumes of online customers in all of Iowa.
Serving as an exemplar for other store directors to model tailored customer service to specific local customer needs, Cole also maintained her store’s exceptional performance when a new competitor opened nearby.
Store Director, Council Bluffs #2, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Hy-Vee
Decker met an onslaught of new competition in her market head-on and with a positive attitude.
Collaborating exceptionally well with department heads on sales goals and promotions, she challenged her team to deliver the same high expectations she had of herself, as evidenced by the store’s exceptional results. Department managers were tasked with getting one more item into customers’ baskets, resulting in consistent sales increases.
Decker expanded her store’s social media reach by challenging her team to find one event each month to build a promotion on, in one case engaging more than 12,000 Facebook users.
Store #669, Casa Grande, Ariz., The Kroger co./ Fry’s Marketplace
Under Bejmowicz’s leadership, the team at store #669 — one of Fry’s highest-volume Marketplace locations in the division — met/ exceeded customer expectations every day.
She was No. 1 in customer service for her zone, and her store often held the top spot in Friendly & Fresh conditions. Under her leadership, the store also had no accidents in 2015.
Bejmowicz built strong relationships with associates and customers: greeting and meeting shoppers, engaging her team to provide a highly satisfying customer experience, holding daily associate huddles, and mentoring and recognizing her team.
Store #532, Pickerington, Ohio, The Kroger Co.
Borror inspired the best work from her associates, 12 of whom were promoted to store department head or lead positions under her mentorship in 2015; she also trained her younger associates on ways to “connect” to customers in new ways.
Compared with last year, her store’s year-to-date operating profit growth was 1.2 percent, year-to-date net sales growth was 8.4 percent, and customer count increased by 5.3 percent.
In 2015, Borror led her team to achieve the highest and most consistent Customer Acknowledgement score (more than 90.9 percent) each period in the Columbus division.
Store #622, Mesa, Ariz., The Kroger Co./ Fry’s Marketplace
Burton’s store reached $55 million in sales, with 2015 marking the first year that the location become a million-dollar store that exceeded sales, shrink and labor goals. In 2015, the store had an operating profit of $2.5 million.
At the same time, she helped increase weekly customer count and strengthened relationships with associates to best execute merchandising and operation standards. The customer count rose nearly 5 percent to 33,500 customers per week.
Burton received an award for 25 years of service in 2015, and actively volunteered in the community.
Store #83, Denver, The Kroger Co./ King Soopers City Market
Conway finished a two-year run as store manager of an Aurora, Colo., location, where her team outperformed their goals in sales, EBITDA and shrink. The team aslo outperformed in labor scheduling and overtime control.
In July 2015, she was tapped to manage a high-volume Denver location with diverse customer and associate populations that houses a center for online ordering and home delivery services.
Conway guided the African American Associate Resource Group, which she co-chairs, spearheading its involvement with several outreach activities.
Store #458, Dalton, Ga., The Kroger Co.
Dunn led her high-performing store team to the highest customer satisfaction rating in a district of 23 stores, as well as the highest rating on the company’s Associates Insights Survey, and in a highly competitive market, she grew her store sales by 5 percent.
She was a subject-matter expert in the training for My E-Schedule, an online electronic schedule.
Dunn’s store was consistently among the top three stores for all fundraisers within the division of 186 stores.
Store #33, Wichita, Kan., The Kroger Co./ Dillons
During a challenging and extensive 11-month expansion, Enslinger led her team to achieve an Associate Engagement score of 84 percent and positive sales growth that surpassed the sales goal by $200,000.
In period 12, the store achieved positive sales growth of 6.28 percent, and in period 13, 2.84 percent, with nearly all departments reportiing positive sales growth.
Enslinger kept her associates up to date on all of the details of the remodel through constant huddles and a communication board to ensure that staffers could communicate the changes to customers.
Store #456, Bartlett, Tenn., The Kroger Co.
After being promoted to store manager, Frost increased her store’s weekly sales by 5 percent in the second half of the year. She also reduced overtime by improving training and increasing the number of associates on the stocking crew.
She created a Date Check program to keep fresh product available, which decreased district shrink; the successful program rolled out to more than 100 stores.
Frost recruited several Kroger volunteers for a Faith in Action City Cleanup Day in Memphis to help beautify streets and neighborhoods.
Store #30, Charlotte, N.C., The Kroger Co./ Harris Teeter
Gawron was assigned as a training store director at her location, one of the company’s management training stores, where she successfully instructed and promoted eight management development trainees, and promoted nine department manager trainees.
She reversed a downward trend and led a positive sales trend of 4.5 percent on average, and bolstered customer service to mark a 105 percent increase in compliments in 2015.
Gawron received Harris Teeter’s Distinguished Store Director Award last year.
Store #562, Wheeling, W.Va, The Kroger Co.
Glatzer focused on mentoring to help develop associates’ leadership skills; she groomed future managers via the Columbus division’s management training program.
She and her team were able to exceed 2014 sales by 4.33 percent; additionally, they earned fifth place in their division in EBITDA.
She serves on the board of directors for the Wheeling, W.Va., House of the Carpenter food pantry, and is community involvement pillar co-chair for the Columbus division Women’s EDGE resource group.
Store #738, Spring, Texas, The Kroger Co.
Johnston helped achieve 12.54 percent sales growth throughout a year-long $12 million expansion/remodel at her store.
Strongly committed to growing future leaders for Kroger, she identified, coached and developed two department heads for the retailer’s management training program.
She successfully completed her division’s High Volume Store Leader program, and was also chosen as one of only five store managers in the Houston and Dallas divisions to participate in the first Kroger Leadership Academy.
Store #J-824, Lafayette, Ind., The Kroger Co./ Pay Less
McClure used her background in teaching to successfully train new assistant managers and other associates in her district’s department manager development program. Her success was due to her willingness to adjust her training processes to how different associates learn.
Her store achieved the highest operating profit in its district, outperforming her wage goal by more than 2 percent, and met its shrink goal of 14 basis points.
McClure’s store was also in the district’s top five for front end metrics, including speed of checkout and cash loss.
Store #335, Oxnard, Calif., The Kroger Co./ Food 4 Less
Moffet oversaw the successful opening of a replacement store, which was a new design for Food 4 Less, and helped recruit 100 new associates from the community by visiting schools, churches and community centers.
Her store was one of the top sellers in the district, with average weekly sales of $860,000, an increase of $300,000 from the old location. Additionally, the location was first in the division for sushi sales, and offered innovative bulk nutrition and organic departments.
Involved in Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group, Moffet acted as a role model and mentor to others.
Store #858, North Seattle, The Kroger Co./QFC
Naghibi led her store to achieve a 6 percent sales increase, along with higher profitability, in 2015. She kept her team informed on business results and celebrated individual and store successes through daily huddles.
In just one example of her commitment to the community, she and her store florists delivered flowers to their neighborhood nursing home on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as making and delivering wreaths to the cemetery for Memorial Day.
Naghibi won a company scholarship for pre-paid tuition to earn her Retail Management Certificate, in addition to a college degree.
Store #305, South Victorville, Calif, The Kroger Co./ Food 4 Less
Roberts was named the 2015 OSAT (overall customer satisfaction) champion for her district, where she actively engaged store teams to raise customer service awareness.
The Divisional Cultural Council co-chair in her district, she was appointed co-president of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less Women’s EDGE (Engage, Develop, Growth and Empower) resource group.
After Roberts transferrred to Victorville, the store achieved one of the highest scores on acustomer satisfaction survey: 72 percent, six points higher than the division average.
Store #398, Alexandria, Va., The Kroger Co./ Harris Teeter
Rodriguez oversaw the successful opening of a brand-new store; with her team’s help, she achieved exceptional financial goals, ending the year more than $7.86 million over budget.
Due to her creation of a natural training environment, her location was selected to operate as a training store within six months of its opening.
She’s currently working to complete the Dale Carnegie Leadership program, as well as SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) certification.
Store #488, Atlanta, The Kroger Co.
Smith led her store to a 4 percent sales lift, and a 73 percent overall customer satisfaction score, thanks to her leadership skills and focus on high-performing teams.
She promoted several associates to leadership roles, started a support group for other female store managers, organized financial seminars for her team, and was involved in the Know Women Atlanta Division organization, which identifes and develops high-potential leaders.
Smith faced numerous challenges, including an armed robbery, but led with confidence and passion.
Store #J-837, Warsaw, Ind., The Kroger Co.
Steinberger’s store turned in the highest sales volume in her district, including a 5.64 percent lift in identical-store sales, despite being located near newer, larger supermarkets.
As she’s known for her eye-appealing displays, her store was often chosen as a “show-and-tell” store for the district.
Steinberger beat her shrink goal of 2.09 percent, coming in at 2.01 percent for 2015. One key to her success was holding weekly board meetings at which she heard from her department leaders, who tracked results and planned how to tackle underperforming metrics.
Store #642, North Little Rock, Ark., The Kroger Co.
Vargas rebuilt her store in a competitive market by training and developing 146 associates, mentoring department heads, slashing shrink, decreasing customer wait times, and creating a 10 percent sales increase.
She earned the “district operator of the period” for six consecutive periods in measurements of labor usage, overtime hours, store accidents, shrink and cashier effectiveness.
Vargas was appointed by the division to roll out the Kronos biometric time management system, assisting 20 stores to enroll all associates and providing additional support after training.
Store #6415, Waukesha, Wis., The Kroger Co./ Pick ‘n Save
A standout manager in the company, Vieth exceeded budgeted sales by $640,000; her store saw a perishable sales increase of 124 basis points in 2015 (all perishable departments were positive to budget by $420,000) and increased gross profit by $180,000.
She personally mentored and promoted a floral manager, pricing manager, leadership candidate, service operations manager and assistant store manager.
Vieth found creative ways to make a difference in the local community, including free produce samples for kids and partnerships with area farmers.
Store #588, Thompson’s Station, Tenn, The Kroger Co./ Kroger Marketplace
Vinnedge developed future leaders among her store staff, including 15 associates who were promoted; three of these associates are female and now hold leadership positions in the company. The location was used as a division training store to develop managers.
Under her guidance, the store experienced a 10.71 percent sales increase, achieving two record sales weeks — outstanding considering the tough competition in the surrounding area — and its overall customer satisfaction score led the district.
Vinnedge sent personal handwritten notes to thank her first 150 online customers.
Store #589, Brentwood, Tenn., The Kroger Co.
While going through a major remodel, Whaley’s store achieved a 9 percent sales increase. The store also achieved an operating profit of 13 percent, the highest in the Nashville division.
She was recognized as a high-potential store manager within her division and district. Her ability in merchandising and shrink management led to a sales increase of 15 percent in 2015, with weekly sales of $800,000.
Whaley is the community co-chair of Kroger’s Women’s EDGE leadership team and she was recognized as one of the division and district’s high-potential store managers.
Store #717, Elizabethtown, Ky., The Kroger Co.
After undergoing a major remodel in 2015, Wheatley’s store turned in record sales. Almost all department sales were up by double digits after the remodel, which added a Starbucks that averaged about $10,000 in sales.
The store was the second in the Louisville division to roll out the ClickList service, which on the first day brought in 41 orders, tying a company record. It was the first location to have more than 100 orders in one day.
Both of Wheatley’s parents worked in grocery stores and taught her the value of treating co-workers with humility and respect.
Store #444, Grand Junction, Colo, The Kroger Co./ King Soopers City Market
Wilks closely mentored her associates and made sure they received the support and training they needed to reach their full potential. She had faith in the ability of her team and built their belief in themselves.
She and her team increased their store’s overall satisfaction score by 7.7 percent, and the store’s mystery shopper scores also improved significantly, while sales increased by 7 percent.
Thanks to Wilks’ continued success, she was chosen to manage a brand-new store in Grand Junction, Colo.
Store Director, Store #239, Oswego, Ill., Meijer
Beketic focused on creating and empowering a competitive team, achieving not only record sales, but also record profit. Sales increased 15.2 percent over the past three years and shrink was reduced by 230 basis points in the past year.
She was instrumental in developing talent from within: At store level, she developed and promoted seven team leaders into upper-leadership roles. Beketic is currently mentoring 35 associates.
Frequently appointed by senior leadership to participate in focus groups, she took the lead to drive several company initiatives in her region.
Store Director, Store #244, Davison, Mich., Meijer
A talent development program, 90 Days and Beyond, that Molosky developed with another director rolled out to the region, and then across the entire organization. The program seeks out talent and promotion teams from within, with a curriculum designed to develop specific competencies.
Her store completed 365 days without a lost-time accident; won an internal Triple Crown Award for success in sales, direct contributions and labor goals; and was tops in mystery shop performance.
Molosky served on the board of the local United Way and volunteered at the Eastern Michigan Food Bank.
Store Team Leader, Store #339, Modesto, Calif., Raley’s
A leader in innovative team building and engagement within her store, Decouto presented on the vision for Raley’s at a company-wide meeting.
She went back to school to earn her Retail Management Certificate.
Decouto followed through on her belief in the community through several endeavors, teaming with a local apartment complex to facilitate a barbecue for the tenants on National Night Out, and helping to sponsor a Letters to Santa fundraiser at her store to suppor local charities.
Store Team Leader, Store #328, Ukiah, Calif, Raley’s
Dieffenbach bolstered sales, increased profits and led team-building efforts at her store.
Often working all-night shifts, she and her team helped their community by providing meals to firefighters dealing with the devastating forest fires in the area.
Dieffenbach’s commitment to the community was further exemplified by her involvement with many local organizations, including the high school in Ukiah.
Store Team Leader, Store #306, Stockton, Calif., Raley’s
Mendes’ location was one of the company’s top stores in just about every metric within the district, and she helped other locations with merchandising products and opportunities.
She motivated her team members by starting a monthly “throwdown” food challenge in which employees brought in a dish for a taste test and the winner recieved a gift card, and also initiated a Raley’s running club to run or walk the neighborhood around the store.
Mendes helped support a 5K run, a local pumpkin fair, a Toys for Tots drive and partnerships with local schools. as well as suppporting several in-store events.
Store Team Leader, Store #213, Grass Valley, Calif, Raley’s
The leader at one of the company’s top-volume stores, Perez increased sales and profitability in an area with little to no population growth and continued competitive pressures.
She engaged her team in innovative ways, including team events like a game of “Family Feud,” in which employees were divided into teams and answered questions based on the store’s business metrics, product knowledge, and vision and values.
Perez created an outdoor barbecue venue with lunch offerings for customers to enjoy there or take home.
Store Team Leader, Store #522, Gold River, Calif., Raley’s/Bel Air Markets
Solorzano encouraged creativity and a passion for top-notch work among her staff, empowering team members to take reasonable risks and make mistakes.
She improved her store’s performance and profitability through such efforts as in-store events and an enhanced presence with local schools, recreational sports and community clubs.
Solorzano led the store’s customer service performance to the top position in the company by creating a fun and inspiring team focused on a common vision.
Assistant Store Director, Store #54, Bel Air, Md., Redners Warehouse Markets
DePasquale played a pivotal role in managing her store’s community outreach programs, which more than doubled and led to higher customer counts.
Under her leadership, the store achieved 20 percent sales growth in the past year, due in large part to her ability to sell nontraditional items.
DePasquale’s work spurred excellent store conditions and customer service and, beyond the store, a doubling of community outreach programs; a new holiday-giving basket initiative, for example, garnered more than $30,000 in sales.
Store #919, Westlake Village, Calif., Smart & Final
Athas successfully led her team through a challenging relocation from a high-volume core store of about 17,000 square feet to a 27,000-square-foot location with expanded selections, including full produce, bulk foods and meat departments. Even under a different operating model, the store remained successful.
She graduated from Smart & Final’s 2013 Store Management Development Program and completed Dale Carnegie training.
Athas and her store team received a certificate of appreciation from the Boys and Girls Club of Oxnard, Calif.
Store #935, Coronado, Calif., Smart & Final
Meza demonstrated superb management skills and excelled at mentoring, training and developing her associates, almost all of whom wanted to move up in the company.
She helped to find and develop associates for three new stores that opened in the San Diego marketplace, and also proved strong administratively, helping the district with training and mentoring.
Meza beat her shrink budget by 0.12 percent last year, is working toward her Retail Management Certificate, and participates in her local Network of Executive Women chapter.
Store #305, San Dimas, Calif., Smart & Final
She increased sales by more than 31 percent versus the previous year, reduced shrink by 0.89 percent, and was promoted to the role of perishable merchandiser in early 2016.
An outstanding trainer and developer, Swartzbaugh identified and developed numerous associates within the district.
A graduate of the Retail Management Certificate Program, she continually developed her skills through professional activities and educational programs like Portland State University’s Today’s Managers, Tomorrow’s Leaders program.
Store Director, Lakeview Family Fare, Battle Creek, Mich., Spartannash Co./ Family Fare
Representing the best in store leadership and associate engagement, Harris’ associate recognition program includes appreciation potlucks, thank-you cards, and acknowledgement of associates who go above and beyond.
She improved the performance of her store through increased sales; reducing shrink; lowering labor costs, both direct and indirect; and increasing profitability.
Harris connected her store with the community by organizing such events as the Supermart Sweep, and leading the store’s participation in the Cereal City Food Festival.
Store Director, Gaylord Family Fare, Gaylord, Mich., Spartannash Co./ Family Fare
Sluck led the Gaylord Family Fare from defeat to become the No. 1 SpartanNash comp-sales store in northern Michigan by building a results-driven, highly motivated team. She encouraged team members to work together to build “their” store.
Her leadership was a game changer, empowering associates to create a customer experience that has earned the highest positive customer feedback scores in the district.
When a local pharmacy closed, Sluck led her team to improve the in-store pharmacy experience, and the department’s sales volume nearly doubled as a result.
Store #230, Elk Grove, Calif., Sprouts Farmers Market
Under Hayes’ leadership, Sprouts Elk Grove’s weekly store sales went from $200,000-$300,000 to exceed $400,000; she drove additional store profits by adding efficiencies to team member schedules.
In addition to being store manager of one of the region’s most successful stores, she assisted in training new team members for several regional store openings.
Hayes was recently promoted to the position of deli/bakery trainer-Sacramento/ East Bay region, in which capacity she will manage the deli departments and training for nine stores.
Store #326 Wheat Ridge, Colo., Sprouts Farmers Market
McLaren excelled in many areas, especially with regard to maintaining store standards and managing the overall budget.
In 2015, she exceeded her wall-to-wall margin budget, was under budget on payroll and controllable expenses, exceeded her EBITDA budget by $100,000-plus, and had the No. 1 store for audits and scan accuracy.
A true team player, McLaren volunteered to leave a top-performing store to take over the struggling Wheat Ridge location because, as she says, “it’s the right thing to do”
Store #314, Denver, Sprouts Farmers Market
Thanks to her dedication to the development and advancement of her team members, Wilkins’ store was designated a training location for the region.
As the Sprouts Academy Professor for the north Colorado region, she trained and developed future company leaders, which contributed to the promotion of more than 20 percent of the team member base in 2015.
Wilkins surpassed her 2015 sales goals by $276,000, reached her wall-to-wall margin, was under budget on controllable expenses and exceeded her EBITDA budget by $165,520.
MARY ANN BANHOLZER
Store Director, Store #2641, Woodbridge, Va., Supervalu/Shoppers Food & Pharmacy
Banholzer lowered shrink, increased profits and maintained sales at her store, despite new competition opening nearby.
A district lead for training and developing new management, Banholzer received several district sales, shrink improvement and performance awards, as well as a High Potential award.
An active member of the store’s surrounding community, she sponsored the Alexandria Elementary School, and ran training classes and store tours for Fairfax County schoolchildren.
Store Director, Store #205, Hampton, Va., Supervalu/Farm Fresh
Christie initiated the successful Associates Breakfast with the Store Director, in which she invited associates to have breakfast with her and discuss Farm Fresh’s values and growth opportunities.
Skilled and successful at identifying future talent, she has trained four front end managers in the past two years.
Christie is dedicated to the company’s longtime fundraising efforts for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter, in Norfolk, Va., with her store consistently one of the top Farm Fresh contributors.
General Manager, Redwood Falls, Minn., Tersteeg’s Inc.
Lechner, Tersteeg’s Employee of the Year in 2015, facilitated the switch to a new wholesaler while managing day-to-day operations.
Knowing the importance of local in the store’s rural location, she constantly supported the people who shop in the area, and was appointed director of the Orrin S. Estebo Foundation, which donates to people and projects in need.
She worked on numerous fundraising events, sat on school advisory boards and mentored many students through high school and into college.
Store #232, Buffalo, N.Y., Tops Markets LLC
As she oversaw a remodel of her previous store, Ponzi imparted a sense of goodwill to her customers and associates while keeping sales the major priority.
Her leadership, planning and tireless efforts during the remodel of the Arcade store led to her promotion to manager of the larger-volume Elmwood store, the position she currently holds.
She received several district Key Trainer awards, and won the Shrink Improvement Award, as well as being invited to join the Millionaire’s Club for store earnings, at the 2015 Tops Annual Business Meeting.
Store #231, Conshohocken, Pa., Weis Markets
Cucchiara and her team oversaw an extensive remodel, with new décor and a new in-store beer café; since the remodel, sales and net income have increased to among the best in the company.
She emphasized improved customer experience, resulting in a top-five ranking in overall customer experience, and her team’s engagement scores exceeded the company average.
Her store was one of three to win Weis’ award for Highest Overall Customer Experience, due to her team’s ability to deliver the best, most consistent customer service.