Women Grocers of America Bestows Woman of the Year Award

Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Women Grocers of America Bestows Woman of the Year Award Jennifer Graff
Jennifer Graff accepts the 2020 Woman of the Year Award presented by the Women Grocers of America during the NGA Show

The Women Grocers of America (WGA) has presented the Woman of the Year Award to Jennifer Graff, perishable director at Youngstown, Ohio-based Columbiana Foods, which operates stores under the Giant Eagle banner. The presentation took place during the NGA Show, taking place Feb. 23-26 in San Diego.

The Woman of the Year Award recipient embodies the true characteristics of a leader with passion for the independent grocery industry. Honorees are strategic thinkers, standout representatives within their company or organization, and have the perseverance to face almost any challenge they encounter.

“For 30 years, Jennifer has been a tremendous leader in the grocery industry, helping peers and many next-generation leaders,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the independent grocery sector. “Jennifer’s passion and dedication are evident in everything she does, and she exemplifies what this award is all about.”

Graff began her career in the grocery industry at the age of 17 as a cashier, eventually transferring to the deli department in 1991. The next year, she moved to the bakery department and became an expert cake decorator alongside her twin sister, Christina. Graff transitioned to the floral department in 1996 as manager. In 2013, she became part of Columbiana Foods’ executive staff as perishable director of deli, prepared foods, in-store Starbucks and floral. In this capacity, she oversees merchandising, sales, reducing shrink, recruiting, training, and team leader development.

WGA, the sole organization representing female grocers and other women affiliated with the independent food industry, serves as NGA’s career development network for active female professionals as well as students interested in pursuing independent retail grocery careers.

Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle operates more than 460 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. The Pittsburgh-based company is No. 14 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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