2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (2024)

Table of Contents
COMPLETE TWIG COVERAGE Rising Stars, Part 1 Toni Warren Beth Smart Amanda Albert Angela Barrett Amanda Paim Diane Belvedere Jeanne Williams Hannah Fair Jennifer Harris Nermina Becirovic Jessica Booth Becky Griffin Jennifer Hinds Erin Mohler Jessica Noonan Lydia Alesina Michelle Arnold Madelina Fordham Jennifer Gebhardt Lauren Hartpence Brandi Langford Jenny Love Wanda Marshburn Lisa Owens Ronda Pendergrass Kiara Banks Abby Blauch Cynthia Blauch Jena Bomboy Stacey Kegel Sandra McCoy Meghan Mulleady Robin Pifer Kerri Quigley Jennifer Schell Jennifer Scott Leigh Shirley Crystal Smith Nicole Kunecki Anne Louis Felicia Scott Greta Stankovich Carrie Brewster Pallavi Jain Emily Marczak Phuong Dinh Becky Fanion Samantha Jennings Shannon Karafian Josephine Santiago Berenice Santos Lindsey Shapiro Caitlin Sharif Valerie Soto Geralyn Szczurko Gee Alcid Bryn Banuelos Nerozel Calpito Alaina Cruz Charitha Donepudi Sarah Herringer Karen Ivanis-Rogers Jessica Jarrett Janet Kamys Alexa Langona Debbie Lohmeyer Sarah Long Caitlin Malone Melissa McIntyre Gerlie Mendoza Chelsea Michels Liz Moir Deepthi Parthasarathy Bianka Ramirez-Ahuja Ellen Sanderson Vicki Sell Donna Thomas Brenda Valley Evelyn Villarta Kelly Webb Quinn Christensen Katina Wood Sherri Ahlgrain Amanda Boaldin Tina Browen Maria Brushenko Carmen Calderon Pam Collins Olivia Cotten Donna Devereux Kristyn Foust Monique Hoguet Kim Kilcoyne Patty Rodriguez Rachel Russel Tina Schmitz Alura Stewart Mary Frances Trucco Angie Marshall Susan Rorke-Lawler Lori Valenzuela Dana Ward Susan Bell Mackenzie Nordahl Victoria Sandoval Mary Wade Kelly Flores Cecelia Kelly Sara Osborne Ronda Richardson Tammy Lemnah Melissa Lowell-Sloan Ashley Boyd Ashley Charfauros Erica Dawsen Deborah Gilboy Lily Beltran Morris Janet Bishop Ashley Canonica Elizabeth Ing Gena Nalley Alyssia Stryker Debbie Gaines Emily Detwiler Stephanie Herrington Morgan Jones Michelle Perry Jessica Garabrant Michele Martell Katie Murphy Margaret Orciari Anna Ritchie Hilary Kouch Samantha Simmons Sarah Hart Gabriela Velasco Arana Sara Herring Elizabeth Sepinski Abby Larsen Doris Koepp T’Londa Lawson Michelyne LeBlanc Monique Salley Maren Lewis Heather Beshears Sigmon Becca Bellino Brooke Cash Sarah Durham Diann Fulp Jamie Osborne Lauren Porter Michelle Rupertus Liz Arickx Deirdre Magrane Tara Adams Misty Kern Hayley Berkshire Colleen Callahan Related Topics

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (1)

Progressive Grocer reveals this year's awards program winners in Rising Stars category


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  • Intro: Rising to the Top
  • Retail Trailblazer: Meijer
  • Senior-Level Executives
  • Rising Stars, Part 2
  • Store Managers
  • TWIG Event
  • TWIG Podcast

Progressive Grocer’s2024 Top Women in Groceryawards program recognizes the integral role women play across all segments of the North American food retail and grocery industries.

Females employed in all sectors of the grocery industry – from theretailer, wholesaler, supplier and solution providercommunities – were nominatedfor above-and-beyond achievements in subsequent categories:

  • Senior-Level Executives (titles of Vice President or higher)
  • Rising Stars (titles lower than Vice Presidentand Area/Region Director)
  • Store Managers (titles of Store Manager/Director/Leader and Assistant Store Manager/Director/Leader)

Below is Part 1 of the Rising Stars honored inthis year’sTop Women in Grocery awards.

Our profiles illustrate the many different paths that these women took to achieve their current levels of achievement in the realms of retail, CPGs, marketing, tech and more, but two things are true of all of the honorees: their absolute dedication to this business that we all revere, and their determination to make it even better.

Rising Stars, Part 1

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2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (2)

Toni Warren

Senior Business Manager/National Sales Lead, Grocery, Acosta Group

  • Under Warren’s guidance, Acosta secured nationwide acceptance of global dairy company
  • Lactalis’ core assortment, positioning the company for a 12% sales increase; addressing key voids at a divisional level was instrumental, leading to the expansion of 2,277 store counts.
  • She secured the U.S. presence of Indian brand RAASA by orchestrating a pivotal top-to-top meeting, which allowed for the acquisition of more than 3,500 new distribution points.
  • Warren rekindled the interest of Albertsons leadership by highlighting the compelling story of Chung’s Gourmet Foods; the strategic focus on best-selling items led to the nationwide acceptance of four core products.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (3)

Beth Smart

Director, Retail Marketing, FrontLine Marketing, Acosta Group

  • Smart managed three successful national rollouts across Kroger, Albertsons and Food Lion, completing 3,100 display installations on time and under budget, with $400,000 in cost savings.
  • Overseeing a $3.5 million budget, she onboarded, trained and managed three merchandising teams driving execution results of more than 90%, in addition to completing a $2.9 million rollout project on time, with a success rate of 99.8%.
  • Smart managed more than 20% of FrontLine’s retail revenue, which included spearheading retail development at Food Lion in Q3 2023 that increased FrontLine’s front end business by 6%, driving $355,000 in incremental retail sales.

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Amanda Albert

Associate Director of Client Services and Business Development, Advantage Experiential Services, Advantage Solutions

  • Albert extended her expertise to launch targeted e-commerce shopper programs, including the pet program, which generated annual revenue exceeding $60,000.
  • She spearheaded a collaboration with the Meijer media team, leveraging Hispanic Heritage Month to showcase seven Hispanic-owned brands at 50 stores; this resulted in event day sales seeing an 106.76% lift, accompanied by a significant increase in units sold.
  • Albert led the initial sell-in, development and implementation of year-to-date digital programming, resulting in $1.4 million in incremental revenue for the business.

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Angela Barrett

Director of Operations, Advantage Experiential Services, Advantage Solutions

  • As co-leader for her regional banner within Advantage Customer Experience, Barrett orchestrated the transition from a shared model to a dedicated service business model, resulting in the establishment of a cohesive client services all-in operations team.
  • In her role within Meijer’s ACX In-Store Sampling Team, she created 3,700 events, with a 87% execution rate, the highest since the platform’s relaunch.
  • Barrett’s strategic initiatives, including the implementation of new standard operating procedures and enhancements to the new-hire process, resulted in a 42% reduction in turnover and a 27% increase in execution rate.

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Amanda Paim

Senior Director of Operations-Regional Programs, Advantage Solutions

  • With significant rate hikes and the green light to bill previously unaccounted expenses, Paim’s team underwent restructuring, adopting shorter cycles and smaller territories; despite the heightened workload, they sustained 90%-plus staffing for six months and counting.
  • A retailer client tasked her with a significant project that involved reflowing 130 stores within a four-month deadline, and although this fell outside the scope of her remodel team, it dedicated 175 hours to each store, exceeding established metrics.
  • Paim received the SAS Golden Dart Award for Accurate Forecasting, underscoring her uncanny ability to predict market trends accurately.

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Diane Belvedere

Field Leader, Advantage Solutions CDS

  • Belvedere singlehandedly began the CDS Canada campaign to support the Terry Fox Foundation; the campaign raised more than $10,000 for cancer research and was the highest fundraiser of any newcomer to the foundation.
  • She led CDS’ involvement in the Costco Charity Golf Tournament, which saw 50-plus employees work on six golf courses simultaneously; the charity event raised millions of dollars for BC Children’s Hospital.
  • Recognizing the many different facets of the company’s associate group and wanting to celebrate their diverse interests, Belvedere put together the CDS Canada Has Talent program, during which associates could share their stories and talents.

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Jeanne Williams

Program Director, Advantage Solutions SAS Retail Services/Denver Division

  • Williams was tasked with cleaning up 12,000-plus hours of makeup work in her division, which she managed while handling her regular workload demands plus volunteer work such as supporting Project Linus, an organization devoted to providing handmade blankets to children in need age 0-18.
  • She helped launch wine in Albertsons’ Colorado stores; the program experienced a significant revenue increase, climbing from $8.5 million in 2022 to $11 million — a 23% lift.
  • Additionally, Williams spearheaded initiatives aimed at enhancing store compliance rates through AI-led store intelligence offerings, improving transformation from 13% to 92%.

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Hannah Fair

Director of Client Services, Advantage Solutions SAS Retail Services/Zelus

  • Due in large part to Fair’s leadership, her programs were poised to shift the company’s overall revenue from $4.2 million in 2023 to $9 million in 2024.
  • She leveraged Power BI to streamline a manual billing process, reducing the billing prep time from 14 days to just a few hours and providing estimated labor cost savings of $40,000.
  • In addition to serving as chair of SAS’s CONNECT strategic work action groups, Fair streamlined a client’s outdated processes, ensuring that what was once a highly manual process for an internal system survey was now easily accessed by the field and the client for instant visibility and monitoring.

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Jennifer Harris

Operations Manager, Advantage Solutions SAS Retail Services/Zelus

  • Harris’ leadership bolstered the Walmart/Target demo program, catapulting demonstration execution rates from 13% in July 2023 to 96% by January 2024.
  • She played a key role in the launch of Hostess baked goods in the New England market, ensuring comprehensive service twice a week across all Stop & Shop markets, and her partnership with Campbell’s snacks division facilitated seamless grocery resets in the Chicago and northern Indiana markets.
  • While her efforts to execute and diversify business ventures contributed to a 13% increase in sales from 2022 to 2023 for her region, Harris also supported local wounded veteran projects.

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Nermina Becirovic

Finance Manager, ADUSA Distribution

  • Becirovic handled the long-range financial analysis for the company’s supply chain, developing new skills and learning from both internal and external partners as she helped to shape the future of ADUSA’s supply chain through 2038.
  • She completed analysis for ADUSA that helped avoid $11 million in cost, pushed her partners to think differently about vacancy rates and corralled miscellaneous corporate card spend — keeping costs low so the company could show up for customers when they needed it most.
  • Becirovic was community relationships chair for CARE, a family and caregivers business resource group (BRG).

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Jessica Booth

Regional Planning Manager, ADUSA Distribution

  • Booth took on an interim chief of staff assignment for the EVP and senior leadership team, organizing the executive team and facilitating meetings, coordinating site visits, and developing presentation content for senior executives.
  • She led the year-long productivity arm of a value generation project, implementing a governance process, helping establish a monthly financial reporting process and providing clarity to team members.
  • Booth spearheaded the initialization of a stand-alone truck shop for a transportation facility, resulting in faster asset maintenance turnaround times — the average went from 40-plus inoperable trailers to fewer than five.

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Becky Griffin

Continuous Improvement Manager, ADUSA Distribution

  • Under Griffin’s guidance, the STAR (Safe, Trained, Appreciated and Respected) program was successfully implemented at selected distribution centers, resulting in a 12.09% improvement in associate retention.
  • She supported the development of coworkers in their transportation knowledge and connections, leading to a significant improvement in the Mauldin, S.C., distribution center’s on-time delivery rate.
  • Griffin actively engaged in initiatives beyond her immediate responsibilities, serving as a subject-matter expert in the competency project and representing the organization in promotional videos for its continuing-education pattern, Workforce Edge.

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Jennifer Hinds

Shipping Operations Manager, ADUSA Distribution

  • Hinds created associate engagement programs, such as Industrial Athletes, that recognized and rewarded associates for going above and beyond by giving them preferred schedules — thereby driving higher production and a safer work environment.
  • She was integral in establishing the veteran ambassador program, which provided a peer mentor for newly hired veterans, ensuring that they had a smooth and supportive onboarding experience; the program is now being replicated company-wide.
  • Hinds developed and implemented tracking tools, including labor planning and management of indirect-hours usage, to drive a higher awareness and achievement of production goals.

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Erin Mohler

HR Business Partner, ADUSA Distribution

  • Mohler played a key role in process documentation for the HR business partner team, building standardized processes for increased efficiency and writing numerous company policies.
  • She reduced payroll time by two hours weekly, enhancing overall operational efficiency for her team, and helped address turnover at the Schodack landing facility, surpassing the goal of 97%.
  • In addition to being a member of the Capital Region HR Association, Mohler was part of the economic development committee for the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District to help bring economic development to Albany, N.Y.; she also worked as a volunteer emergency medical technician.

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Jessica Noonan

Receiving and Inventory Control Manager, ADUSA Distribution

  • Noonan redesigned the recoup process for identifying and repacking damaged cases, leading to a total of $1 million in product being saved from shrink or damages through the end of 2023 and putting that product back in the hands of customers.
  • Through her leadership of the recoup process, she enabled the Manchester, Conn., distribution center to donate $1.2 million to local food banks in 2023; she also enabled the facility to partner with Connecticut Foodshare, expanding the company’s impact.
  • Noonan spearheaded holiday giveaways of food and cleaning products to assist associates through difficult times during the festive season.

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Lydia Alesina

Category Manager, Food Lion

  • Alesina’s categories of condiments/sauces and shelf-stable sides posted sales increases topping 15% and profitability increases of 17%; she paved the way for market share gains of 36 points in sales and 48 points in both units and volume through strategic partnerships with key suppliers, and innovative sales-planning techniques.
  • Working with the private-brand development team, she helped design and bring to market 24 new own-brand products, which contributed to 8.5% sales growth.
  • In addition to volunteering for Food Lion Feeds, Alesina was a member of the women’s business resource group (BRG) and supported the veterans and military BRG.

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Michelle Arnold

Category Manager, Health and Beauty, Food Lion

  • Previously category manager for beauty, Arnold doubled her responsibility and portfolio when she was tapped to oversee health as well; despite supply challenges and inflation, her sales increased by more than 10%, and she improved market share across all KPIs.
  • She worked with key business partners to implement a new business strategy to improve stock at shelf, boost financial results, and reduce shrink in health and beauty.
  • Arnold volunteered for Food Lion Feeds, the company’s hunger relief initiative, and she was active in the African American, women’s, Hispanic and Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islander business resource groups.

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Madelina Fordham

Regional Director of Operations, Food Lion

  • Fordham’s region achieved a 9% increase in grocery sales in 2023 over 2022, and she led her team to notable growth in multiple departments, including deli and bakery (up 11% year over year), produce (up 9% year over year), and The Market (up 3% year over year).
  • As a director of operations for Food Lion in North Carolina, she played a pivotal role in the relocation of a store that subsequently showed a 25% increase in sales.
  • Fordham served on the board of H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Eat) in Winston-Salem, N.C., and is a member of Leadership Winston-Salem’s Energizer Committee; she also served on the advisory board for the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation.

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Jennifer Gebhardt

Commercial Planning Manager, Food Lion

  • Gebhardt was responsible for the Food Lion ad-planning process, and 2023 was the strongest year on record for ad flyer sales, which rose 20%; Food Lion also saw greater customer engagement with its digital ad flyer.
  • She was responsible for creating and implementing a new process for bulk orders during the holiday season; the improvement led to more than $1 million in incremental sales in Q4 2023.
  • In 2023, Gebhardt was promoted to commercial planning manager, from commercial planning specialist; despite being busy at work, she served on her church’s Children’s Ministry Council and volunteered with Food Lion Feeds.

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Lauren Hartpence

Manager, Center Store Training, Food Lion

  • Hartpence was nominated by senior leadership to represent center store in special projects for a new e-commerce platform and a web-based product master data management tool.
  • As center store talent planning lead, Hartpence partnered with HR to identify and develop top talent and recruit associates, helping to create a mentorship program that exposed associates to various leaders outside of their immediate team; she also devised a series of 15 microlearning sessions on leadership for category managers and assistant category managers.
  • Hartpence volunteered at Rowan Helping Ministries and Food Lion Feeds.

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Brandi Langford

Director, Human Resources Strategy, Food Lion

  • Langford was one of two associates tasked with a retail compensation strategy project; the team created a tool that provided retail leaders with key compensation metrics and pay rate decisions.
  • She launched a program to help employees take advantage of company benefits that enhanced health and wellness, financial management, career and education, and community; by October 2023, 92% of associates had completed the program, and the company saw a 30% decrease of turnover in the first 90 days of employment among associates who participated.
  • Langford served on the Chief Talent and Learning Officer Board at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (I4CP).

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Jenny Love

Merchandising Manager, Meat and Seafood, Food Lion

  • Love led meat and seafood to a 43-basis-point increase in volume share in 2023; she also created new merchandising and assortments in her categories as part of a refined omnichannel strategy for Food Lion’s Home Meal Solutions (HMS), which delivered a 5% volume increase.
  • She introduced a new merchandising approach for HMS, centralizing and locating solutions at store entrances; the initiative contributed to fresh department unit growth of more than 5%.
  • Love received the category, merchandising and pricing department’s Count on Me award and was an active member of the Food Lion women’s business resource group.

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Wanda Marshburn

Merchandising Director, Food Lion

  • Marshburn implemented a new digital tool aimed at enhancing in-stock conditions with vendor partners and was instrumental in the successful opening of two new stores in her division.
  • At the time of her nomination as a Top Woman in Grocery, she was building a comprehensive plan to implement digital food safety, which included training and cultural change initiatives, with rollout plans across all stores slated by the end of 2024.
  • Marshburn spearheaded an inaugural partnership with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Jeb Burton for a Food Lion Feeds food drive, and she was a dedicated member of the women’s and veterans and military business resource groups.

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Lisa Owens

Director of Operations, Food Lion

  • This past year, Owens spearheaded a 5% increase in sales, exceeding the forecast, and customer count increased by 4%, a testament to her focus on enhancing the overall omnichannel shopping experience.
  • One of Owens’ priorities was ensuring product availability, as reflected by her region’s No. 2 ranking for in-stock results within her division; moreover, her commitment to food safety and workplace safety resulted in outstanding scores of 95% and 97%, respectively.
  • Owens’ region contributed more than 380 volunteer hours to local food banks in 2023, a remarkable 275% increase from the previous year, in addition to being the equivalent of more than 120,000 meals.

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Ronda Pendergrass

Merchandising Manager, Deli/Bakery/Home Meal Solutions, Food Lion

  • Pendergrass helped expand refrigeration in 67 stores, with a minimum sales gain of almost $600 in stores within the deli/bakery/home meal solution department, and rolled out corner merchandising units to test in 10 stores, thereby increasing merchandising space.
  • She and her team improved the overall deli/bakery/home meal solutions e-commerce business, increasing the percentage of total sales by 29 basis points and achieving double-digit sales growth.
  • A member of Food Lion’s women’s and veterans and military business resource groups, Pendergrass also served as a mentor for five associates.

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Kiara Banks

Manager, Store Communications, The Giant Co.

  • Banks undertook the successful multimillion-dollar rollout of mobility devices to all 193 Giant Co. stores, during which she was involved in scoping, knowledge gathering and device setup as part of the project’s initial phases, and co-led the piloting and implementation of the devices in stores.
  • She oversaw a major upgrade of The Giant Co.’s primary communications task management tool, which entailed extensive testing and troubleshooting, as well as the creation of all training materials and videos.
  • Banks helped stand up the MOSAIC business resource group, which promotes diversity, inclusivity and awareness about other cultures.

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Abby Blauch

Category Manager, The Giant Co.

  • Over the past year, Blauch drove seven-figure incremental sales for deli through negotiated programs that offer customers value products.
  • She launched a new program to inspire deli customers to build charcuterie boards easily and affordably, driving multimillion-dollar sales during the fourth quarter — an increase of more than 40% over the prior year.
  • Identifying a need in the business, Blauch developed a chain-wide training program to provide new and current deli associates with all of the requisite tools for success, including the proper operation of equipment, the correct performance of routine equipment maintenance, and the development of superior customer service skills.

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Cynthia Blauch

Category Manager, The Giant Co.

  • Blauch and her team analyzed the multicultural merchandising needs of each store through a review of individual demographics, business insights and store associate experience, employing item cut-ins, full resets, store reflows and secondary locations; as a result, global flavors category sales increased 5.3% over the prior year.
  • Her constant monitoring of social media, trade publications and customer feedback delivered incremental sales for The Giant Co., thanks to products like Dely Gely and Orion Turtle Chips.
  • Blauch’s charitable support includes departmental events with Project Share, a hunger relief organization based in Carlisle, Pa., and The Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program.

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Jena Bomboy

Divisional Human Resources Manager, The Giant Co.

  • Bomboy quickly mastered her new role of managing the HR function for retail operations across the full brand, standardizing communication of HR-related topics across regions and implementing consistent channels for disseminating pertinent messages.
  • She implemented The Giant Co.’s first-ever survey to gauge the overall mental well-being of retail team members and gather suggestions on how to better support their overall wellness, launching a cross-functional project team to recommend continuous improvements in this area.
  • The parent of a child cancer survivor, Bomboy performed in her family’s music group at Four Diamonds events.

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Stacey Kegel

Brand Manager, E-Commerce Growth Marketing, The Giant Co.

  • Tasked with optimizing marketing coupon spending while maintaining a solid flow of new customers to The Giant Co.’s websites, Kegel achieved a 60% reduction in coupon spending while maintaining a new customer rate of 93%.
  • She improved the mix of channels that customers were entering — pickup, delivery or third party — growing the most profitable channel and decreasing the less profitable channels to boost the overall profitability of the business.
  • Among her other charitable activities, Kegel was a member of a team participating in the Go Red for Women campaign committed to raising $5,000 for the American Heart Association.

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Sandra McCoy

Category Manager, The Giant Co.

  • Thanks to McCoy’s negotiations with suppliers to secure additional funding to reduce shrink on new item launches, total dairy shrink in Q3 and Q4 of 2023 decreased by 10 basis points versus the previous year, with the yogurt category seeing a reduction of 80 basis points.
  • Working with internal partners and suppliers, she identified an opportunity to deliver six-figure cost savings in the egg category.
  • McCoy volunteered with the Central PA Food Bank and served as a parent helper/assistant coach with the Eagle FC Soccer League, as well as helping out at her sons’ schools to coordinate and plan functions.

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Meghan Mulleady

Brand Manager, Loyalty Strategy, The Giant Co.

  • Capitalizing on the trend of increasing loyalty engagement offers, Mulleady implemented a new price-driven targeted campaign that drove a multimillion-dollar increase in incremental sales, with a sales-to-cost ratio that surpassed the campaign’s goal.
  • During Q4 2023, her team introduced seasonal campaigns to deliver to customers the best value ever for Thanksgiving and Christmas: Using loyalty offers, Choice program members could save up to $50.
  • Mulleady was co-chair of LINC, a business resource group that develops individual growth, supports business ideas and makes a difference in the community; in this position, she could facilitate team member development.

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Robin Pifer

Manager, Store Support, The Giant Co.

  • Pifer spearheaded a waste stream management project to help a perishable distribution center obtain a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection storm water permit; working with operational partners, she secured the permit at the end of 2023.
  • She streamlined inventory control reporting by collaborating with others to develop one simple report that all users aligned on to provide timely inventory disposition, thereby allowing additional time for her team to focus on store operations requests.
  • Pifer joined the Barrier Free business resource group, which seeks to raise awareness of and break down physical, intellectual and sensory barriers for all customers and team members.

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Kerri Quigley

Category Manager, Health and Beauty, The Giant Co.

  • In 2023, Quigley and her team delivered total sales growth of 2.3% and e-commerce sales growth of 10% for her category.
  • This past January, she introduced a value planogram of health and beauty care items with prices between $1 and $1.25, with margins higher than the category average, to combat dollar stores; initial performance was favorable, with each store selling an average of 17 units in week one.
  • Quigley led the health and beauty team to partner with Sanofi and Terracycle on a customer-facing health and beauty plastic tube recycling drive; the collected plastic was repurposed into three garden beds and two park benches.

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Jennifer Schell

Human Resources Business Partner, The Giant Co.

  • Schell created a hiring/development initiative in her region to create career pathing for internal candidates through in-store career days, a regional panel and weekly walk-in interview days at each location; as a result, there were 100-plus in-store promotions last year in her region.
  • She led operations on a sprint team to assist an underperforming urban market, reducing costs and driving profits to improve the underlying operating profit by 99 basis points versus last year and comps by 5.52%.
  • Schell and her team members teamed up to provide gifts and write holiday cards including inspirational messages for more than 4,000 underprivileged children in the area.

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Jennifer Scott

Chief of Staff and Director of Community Relations and Charitable Giving, The Giant Co.

  • Scott worked on a cross-functional team to accelerate merchandising initiatives and enhance partnerships to facilitate the transformation of many self-distribution projects. which resulted in a positive six-figure financial impact.
  • She also partnered with internal teams at The Giant Co. to get approval to include nonprofit vendors in the vendor proxy setup process, a move that shortened the timeline to get such organizations set up in the grocer’s system.
  • In her work with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Scott supported local programs ensuring the safety and well-being of at-risk children.

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Leigh Shirley

Director of Pharmacy Operations, The Giant Co.

  • Under Shirley’s visionary guidance, the pharmacy team exceeded industry standards and emerged as a leader in department unit growth; in the past year, pharmacy sales grew by more than 22%, while shrink dramatically improved by more than 280%.
  • She also led The Giant Co.’s vaccination program, which grew the number of vaccines administered by more than 14%.
  • An engaged participant in many philanthropic efforts and a frequent volunteer in community efforts, Shirley served on the advisory council for Vista Autism Services; professionally, she was a Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association member and active in the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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Crystal Smith

Brand Manager, Shopper Marketing, The Giant Co.

  • By streamlining the submission process and collaborating across both merchandising and marketing to align and enhance all shopper marketing activations, Smith overdelivered on her revenue budget for shopper marketing by an impressive 23% versus the prior year.
  • She integrated in-store demonstration vendor partners into the shopper marketing team, creating synergies and line of sight to assist with seasonally relevant in-store demonstrations; this resulted in a 20% increase in demonstration revenue over the past year.
  • Smith also served as an advocate for The Giant Co.’s corporate social responsibility programs by helping vendors understand their benefits.

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Nicole Kunecki

Manager-Supply Chain Strategy, Giant Food

  • Kunecki created new processes for training and accountability for associates, sent daily reports with out-of-stock (OOS) findings and partnered with each shift to help them improve; these actions resulted in the lowest maintained historical picker OOS percentage.
  • She redesigned the entire inventory and quality assurance team at Giant Delivers in Hanover, Md., resulting in dramatically improved inventory accuracy and fewer controllable customer complaints.
  • Kunecki supported the opening of an e-commerce fulfillment center (EFC) in Manassas, Va., which led to the facility’s having a 3.4% OOS based on her recommendations — the top OOS percentage for an EFC opening.

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Anne Louis

Human Resources Business Partner, Giant Food

  • Louis took on the additional responsibility of creating the recruitment and onboarding processes as part of the retail contingency plan for UFCW contract negotiations; she created process documentation and a communication plan and facilitated a train-the-trainer class with the HR business partner team before the contract expired.
  • She partnered with Loudoun County, Va., schools to launch a 10-week English-as-a-second-language pilot, providing a no-charge opportunity for interested employees to build their communication skills.
  • Louis’ store teams hired more than 1,300 new retail associates while minimizing turnover, achieving a best-in-class 53% new-hire turnover rate.

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Felicia Scott

Pharmacy Manager, Giant Food

  • Under her leadership, Scott’s team was able to achieve continued growth in her pharmacy sales by 8% year over year, and she exceeded her 2023 sales budget by almost $1 million amid providing a health hub for her community.
  • With a focus on education, she was able to increase vaccine awareness in her community, where immunization rates were typically low and members of the community could be resistant to receiving immunizations.
  • Despite a demanding work schedule, Scott was active in her community, volunteering for many external expos around Baltimore while also performing numerous internal immunization clinics to improve health care access and knowledge.

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Greta Stankovich

Category Manager, Frozen, Giant Food

  • Stankovich exceeded frozen sales and financial targets year on year; her financial performance in frozen was an average of 500 basis points greater than her peer group.
    Since the pandemic, planogram integrity has been an area of concern across the store, but
  • Stankovich’s planograms excelled in merchandising, as they were on-trend, customer-focused and visually appealing, with adequate packout.
  • After Giant Food completed a major project on product hierarchy and restructuring portfolios that affected frozen, Stankovich took a leadership role to ensure that all changes were handled properly to ensure the least amount of disruption.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (44)

Carrie Brewster

Director of Product Management, Peapod Digital Labs

  • Brewster led significant digital loyalty program improvements for the websites and mobile apps for the brands of Ahold Delhaize USA; she also led the migration process for one of Ahold Delhaize USA’s largest brands onto an internal digital platform.
  • She spearheaded the launch of multiple health-and-wellness initiatives, including shoppable recipes and a new pharmacy payment solution for digital channels.
  • By driving continuous improvements in the reliability and functionality of coupons and savings capabilities, Brewster helped drive a 9% lift in customer satisfaction, with the savings survey category showing the strongest growth.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (45)

Pallavi Jain

Senior Director Product Management, Peapod Digital Labs

  • Jain helped solve some of the major pain points in substitutions processes from both a customer and associate standpoint; customer engagement with these features has been steadily increasing, and associate feedback has also been positive.
  • She led her team to provide greater visibility to in-store transactions, digital receipts and alternative payment methods, and expanded delivery options in support of evolving fulfillment strategies; she also set up a streamlined process for third-party marketplace engagements in regard to planning, prioritization and budgeting.
  • Jain volunteered at local shelters and for Indian community outreach events.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (46)

Emily Marczak

Manager of Early Talent, Retail Business Services

  • In 2022, Marczak took on oversight of the program design and implementation of internship and co-op programs; in 2023, she enhanced these initiatives with perspectives from business partners and stakeholders across the company, creating a clear internal roadmap featuring best practices.
  • She supported students in early-talent programs with expanded learning opportunities to meet their unique needs, bringing in experts to discuss a variety of critical topics.
  • As Side x Side’s board chair, Marczak saw the group apply for and receive $242,000 in congressionally directed spending; the funds supported a year-long professional development series in arts integration for educators.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (47)

Phuong Dinh

Finance Manager, Stop & Shop

  • Having received a promotion in May 2023, Dinh led critical process improvements in finance for fresh merchandising teams, including an updated forecasting tool that increased collaboration and helped teams better understand the trajectory of the business.
  • She was instrumental in facilitating Finance 101 sessions to give merchandising teams more tools for managing their businesses.
  • Dinh was a chair and treasurer of the women’s associate resource group, and she was the team lead for the Boston Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in October, managing sign-ups and pre-event and sponsorship communications, and running the event-day booth.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (48)

Becky Fanion

Category Manager, Stop & Shop

  • Fanion drove omnichannel growth by collaborating with the e-commerce and marketing teams to implement webpages for greenhouse-grown, local and summer programs that could be easily updated with the same processes as seasons change.
  • She revamped and established processes for Stop & Shop’s local program for the first time, minimizing receiving and invoicing discrepancies and delivering increased margins due to weekly cost negotiations.
  • Fanion represented Stop & Shop on the board of the New England Produce Council, and at holiday time, she coordinated a volunteering event in which associates supported three local community organizations.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (49)

Samantha Jennings

Produce, Floral, Bakeshop Specialist, Stop & Shop

  • Jennings recognized the need to create store-specific diagrams to aid in the execution and maintenance of standards; because of this, her district showed the most consistent high-level merchandising execution versus the six closest districts.
  • To improve profitability, she initiated one-on-one training with the perishable and department managers at each store she supported, helping those stores achieve the largest increases in the area.
  • Jennings participated in two food drives to support local food pantries, as well as the annual Breast Cancer Walk in Providence, R.I., and the Relay for Life fundraiser in Fall River, Mass.

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Shannon Karafian

Charitable Giving and Community Relations Specialist, Stop & Shop

  • Not only did Karafian grow the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program to 48 schools in New York City, she also brokered two partnerships to help students access produce: a nonprofit’s new mobile truck, and the transportation of produce from Hunts Point Market to school pantries.
  • With various nonprofits, she launched a pilot to provide low-income diabetes patients with prescription produce cards enabling them to buy healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, and also featuring nutrition education.
  • Karafian coordinated large-scale and impactful associate volunteer opportunities, including events with major vendor partners and local celebrities.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (51)

Josephine Santiago

Customer Service Manager, Stop & Shop

  • Santiago increased her store’s net promoter score by five points by using customer service as a differentiator to compete with a new store in town, and she was able to keep customers coming back.
  • She was a recognized leader among her peers, reaching out to them when she saw them struggling with a key performance indicator, but she did this in manner that wasn’t perceived as off-putting, and people tended to gravitate to her.
  • An active leader in the community, Santiago served as a chair on the company’s Pride associate resource group and led many donation efforts to help those in need, including a garage sale held at her store.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (52)

Berenice Santos

Nonperishable Manager, Stop & Shop

  • Santos took on the role of temporary store manager on various occasions in 2023; at these times, she led by example and created a friendly work environment with front-line associates to build morale throughout the stores.
  • On Valentine’s Day, a store she managed achieved record-breaking sales in the floral department, despite the lack of a permanent floral lead — instead, she coached and mentored a part-time associate to run the department during this key holiday.
  • Santos received her district’s Better Neighbor Award in 2023 for developing multiple events and forming an in-store volunteer team that helped organize community events.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (53)

Lindsey Shapiro

Human Resources Business Partner, Stop & Shop

  • When Shapiro entered the district, it was down three full-time leaders, so she immediately set about hiring and identifying home-grown talent as well as external candidates; this past year alone, she prepared three full-timers for promotion through succession planning.
  • She additionally organized weekly training classes for assistant store managers to aid in their development, partnering with store managers to help create the content and facilitate the training classes.
  • Shapiro took an active role in Store #2520’s Thanksgiving dinner giveaway event in Rocky Point, N.Y., teaming with the police department to give 750-plus dinner kits to the community.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (54)

Caitlin Sharif

Customer Experience Specialist, Stop & Shop

  • Under Sharif’s guidance, the 16 stores in her district increased their online orders by more than 2,500 orders each week; her knowledge and passion for driving this new area of business has made her an expert and excellent resource.
  • She continued to grow the district’s online business through mentoring, training and coaching online pickup teams; this work has improved the district’s out-of-stock percentage and reduced wait times at all locations.
  • In 2023, Sharif supported communities through such district events as Feeding Westchester’s Golden Scoop, Stuff-A-Bus, the Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, Turkey Express and Cuddles for Cassidy.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (55)

Valerie Soto

Value Messaging Manager, Stop & Shop

  • Soto led the sign and tag execution elements of a cross-functional initiative to enhance value messaging across all customer touchpoints, leading to a redesign of all signs and tags to amplify and simplify company messaging.
  • She proactively sought out a temporary assignment with the strategy team for the development of the 2024 company strategy, participating in the development of strategic priorities and the establishment of an initiative framework for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Soto was one of just seven associates selected to provide counsel on strategic initiatives to Ahold Delhaize executive committee members as part of the Future Generations Board.

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Geralyn Szczurko

Category Manager, Stop & Shop

  • Szczurko implemented a transformative SKU rationalization and assortment simplification for seafood, ensuring that the right products were available in the right stores.
  • By implementing off-shelf programs tailored to optimize product availability, she enhanced the overall shopping experience while maximizing sales and in-stock positions; her strategic approach to planogram development ensured the correct packout configurations, further driving sales performance and operational efficiency.
  • As well as serving as a riding instructor and the regional president of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, Szczurko helps with large-animal rescues.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (57)

Gee Alcid

Manager-IT Service Desk Quality Assurance, Training and Knowledge Management, Albertsons Cos.

  • Alcid established the company-wide knowledge management (KM) Center of Excellence (CoE) practice and team for Albertsons Philtech to drive a culture of knowledge-driven service delivery; she was also an advocate for KM initiatives.
  • Her KM CoE team was instrumental to the Philtech business services group, which provided offshore business support and services to Albertsons U.S. in such areas as digital, merchandising, human resources, and finance and administration.
  • Alcid completed an analysis of training needs and identified gaps, addressing opportunities and enhanced competencies in various teams.

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Bryn Banuelos

Senior Director Partnerships, Albertsons Cos.

  • Banuelos increased customer use of DoorDash by relaunching and expanding DoubleDash, which enables customers to order grocery delivery for no additional fee within 15 minutes of placing restaurant delivery orders, allowing DoorDash customers to expand beyond meals into more verticals while providing Albertsons with a pipeline of new digital customers.
  • She launched stand-alone Uber Eats alcohol storefronts and introduced alcohol into the core grocery marketplace assortment just in time for holidays.
  • Banuelos upped share of sales from loyalty members by 500 basis points on Instacart, 800 basis points on Uber Eats and 1,820 basis points on DoorDash.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (59)

Nerozel Calpito

Technology and Engineering Senior Manager, Albertsons Cos.

  • Recipient of the Cloud Platforms Operations Manager of the Year award, Calpito established operations playbooks and metrics to improve overall team performance.
  • She addressed all system vulnerabilities, including the automation of various operating system and product patches, upgrades, certificate renewals, and policy implementations, which led to a more secure and stable environment and products.
  • Calpito implemented a data protection solution to 810 critical data sources in collaboration with her teammates in various locations to secure Albertsons data, which will support continuous business operations in the event of a disaster.

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Alaina Cruz

Senior Manager, Branded Concepts, Albertsons Cos.

  • Cruz oversaw the implementation of consumer-centric marketing and loyalty solutions for the retailer’s branded concepts, including Starbucks.
  • Working across functions, she resolved often complex ecosystems and leveraged technology to develop better processes, address operational issues and pursue new avenues for growth; her work, including the rollout of new promotions, expanded the Starbucks portfolio: Sales at Albertsons Starbucks locations are among the best in the industry.
  • Cruz attended the Cornell Executive Leadership Program and was active in the Recipe for Change Alliance and the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, both at Albertsons.

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Charitha Donepudi

Senior Technical Product Manager, Albertsons Cos.

  • Guiding system functionality for the retailer’s order management systems, Donepudi worked with stakeholders at all corporate, divisional and distribution center locations in the United States, and interfaced with offshore IT teams in India and the Philippines.
  • She enhanced the supply chain and retail systems to help warehouses fulfill e-commerce direct-to-consumer and Drive Up and Go orders, coordinated user training and acceptance testing of system changes, and led supply chain system changes related to the pending Albertsons-Kroger merger.
  • Donepudi rallied team members to take part in team-building and holiday events.

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Sarah Herringer

Direct Consumer Experience-Wine, Albertsons Cos.

  • Herringer was at the forefront of Albertsons’ new direct-to-consumer shipping of wine, standing up that business unit and overseeing the Vine & Cellar website and marketing; she also sourced and priced wines and managed the wine fulfillment center.
  • The Vine & Cellar concept went from vision to reality in a mere 10 months and can now ship more than 2,000 wines to every resident of California, resulting in higher incremental sales and expanded e-comm functionality beyond DTC wine sales.
  • Herringer passed prestigious wine exams and shared her time as an advisory board member with a group fostering work readiness and entrepreneurship among students.

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Karen Ivanis-Rogers

Senior Director, Business Ventures, Albertsons Cos.

  • Ivanis-Rogers oversaw the business venture’s execution team on a portfolio valued at more than $185 million and co-led the acquisition of new investment portfolio companies, among other responsibilities.
  • She launched Albertsons’ Innovation Launchpad competition event at Expo West in 2023, drawing more than 900 emerging-brand applications and recognizing three winners; she also initiated work with Project Potluck, which helps people of color grow their careers and businesses in the CPG industry.
  • Away from work, Ivanis-Rogers served on the board of Naturally Bay Area as well as on the PitchSlam committee to help small brands gain visibility.

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Jessica Jarrett

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Albertsons Cos.

  • Supporting the company’s retail media arm, Albertsons Media Collective, Jarrett worked across functions on marketing communication programs and vehicles, and designed and delivered social media training to senior leadership teams.
  • Thanks to her efforts, the group moved from a startup to a top industry voice, with nearly 200,000 media mentions in a year; Albertsons Media Collective grew its share of voice (SOV) fivefold in a year to comprise 26.4% of the retail media industry’s SOV, ahead of several competing grocers.
  • Jarrett was an active member of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network and hoped to join that associate resource group’s board.

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Janet Kamys

Director Item Management, Albertsons Cos.

  • Overseeing more than 2,270 stores’ item management setup and using more than eight systems, Kamys’ responsibilities included all fresh departments, and she was involved in training for all VPs, directors, category managers, sales managers and assistant sales managers.
  • She led the complex work to clean up 48,000 recipes in merged systems, finishing the projected 12-month project within a mere seven months and helping Albertsons identify areas where it could improve financial performance and build consumer confidence.
  • Kamys shared her expertise with such industry groups as FMI and IDDBA, and she volunteered for the FishWise seafood sustainability initiative.

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Alexa Langona

Senior Director Category Management and Innovation-Own Brands Meat
and Seafood, Albertsons Cos.

  • Langona led category management for the retailer’s largest and most complex portfolio, with $2.9 billion in revenue.
  • In a challenging year with various inflation, deflation and regulatory changes, she was instrumental in developing a new category strategy and assortment process across fresh for Albertsons and piloting the first four categories; she also oversaw plans to transform several categories with innovations and optimization.
  • A member of the Women’s Meat Industry Network, Langona spoke at last year’s Annual Meat Conference and was an active member of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.

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Debbie Lohmeyer

Director Product Development, Packaging and Nutrition, Albertsons Cos.

  • Lohmeyer led product development innovation, productivity and maintenance in the Own Brands center store and shelf stable categories, along with product quality testing, nutrition science and packaging compliance.
  • She steered the strategy of Own Brands nutrition criteria for new packaged items, established tracking of Own Brand items for future reformulation, and co-led the Own Brand product quality commitment agenda; she and her new team generated more than $42 million in savings for Own Brand productivity projects.
  • Lohmeyer contributed her time to the Institute of Food Technologists, the Project Management Institute and FMI.

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Sarah Long

National Category Director, Albertsons Cos.

  • Long was promoted to her current role in 2023 to head up national bakery category initiatives for 12 divisions and 23 banners.
  • She helped launch a custom cake online platform that was still in pilot phase but already seeing resultshe time of her nomination, recently negotiated multimillion-dollar investments for bakery, created new training tools for divisions, and added bulk bakery items to digital assets for easier e-commerce experiences.
  • A U.S. Army veteran, Long co-chaired the veterans associate resource group at Albertsons and volunteered her time with the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, as well as taking part in several food and book drives in her community.

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Caitlin Malone

Director, Pharmacy Procurement, Albertsons Cos.

  • Overseeing pharmacy wholesaler relationships, manufacturer relationships and contracting, Malone managed a multibillion-dollar wholesaler agreement; she was also a liaison for her team with peer pharmacy departments, merchandising teams and strategic sourcing teams.
  • She delivered twice the multimillion-dollar productivity cost savings on a year-over-year basis; negotiated more than 50 contracts with manufacturers, wholesalers and group purchasing organizations; and ensured adequate pharmaceutical product supply for stores during a period of disruption.
  • Malone was a board member and communications committee chair of the Pharmacy Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.

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Melissa McIntyre

Senior Director, Portfolio Strategy and Innovation-Own Brands, Albertsons Cos.

  • McIntyre was responsible for portfolio strategy, white-space opportunities for new brands and portfolio innovations, future action planning, and consumer insights for the entire Own Brands organization.
  • In a new role, she was key in establishing Own Brands’ long-term vision and partnered with category teams to develop innovations in priority categories; she led a detailed analytical assessment to identify priority categories for short- and long-term growth, and drove alignment with the Own Brands and Albertsons leadership teams.
  • McIntyre served as a mentor with the National Association of Women MBAs.

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Gerlie Mendoza

IT Manager, Albertsons Cos.

  • Mendoza supervised applications enabling offer creation for the business and timely offer redemption for more than 40 million Albertsons loyalty customers.
  • She initiated and executed global initiatives that eliminated customer pain points and prevented $13.3 million in possible missed discount redemptions; she also reconciled a $1.5 million-dollar discrepancy in the accounting report to bill manufacturer vendors and introduced a new store form for an enterprise promotion engine startup.
  • A member of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, Mendoza volunteered with the company’s corporate responsibility program to provide hunger relief and help at-risk youth.

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Chelsea Michels

Senior Manager, Partnerships, Albertsons Cos.

  • Managing Albertsons’ partnerships with the DoorDash and Uber Eats marketplaces, Michels maximized the retailer’s storefront presence over the delivery platforms and ensured a broad geography of offerings.
  • She launched storefronts dedicated to the deli, floral, bakery and pet categories on DoorDash, boosting category sales, and she partnered with DoorDash to launch Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT payments, with the aim of including all eligible banners by the end of fiscal 2024.
  • Active in the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, the Pride Alliance, and the veterans associate resource group, Michels volunteered for Meals on Wheels and Special Olympics.

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Liz Moir

Director, Patient Care Services, Albertsons Cos.

  • Recently promoted, Moir oversaw all immunization, travel health, point-of-care testing, prescribing services, vendor-sponsored clinical programs and diabetes engagement programs in the retailer’s pharmacy locations.
  • She helped drive and support more than 6 million clinical services at pharmacies; among her other accomplishments were designing a strategy to become first to market for the RSV vaccine launch, creating patient engagement programs at Albertsons pharmacies, and working with her team to redesign the travel program.
  • Moir worked with pharmaceutical organizations and took part in Pfizer retail working groups for the RSV and Prevnar vaccines.

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Deepthi Parthasarathy

Director of Product Management, Albertsons Cos.

  • Working in the e-commerce fulfillment group, Parthasarathy led the homegrown AcuPick product that helped associates pick, pack and process e-commerce grocery orders across more than 2,000 stores.
  • She improved the e-comm substitution experience, with customer satisfaction scores up 20%; enhanced AcuPick to reduce wait time for customers; introduced a new and improved AcuPick 2.0; and launched flash fulfillment for pickup and delivery within 30 to 40 minutes of ordering.
  • Parthasarathy was a passionate advocate for women and nonbinary individuals in tech as a member of the AnitaB.org group.

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Bianka Ramirez-Ahuja

Senior Director of Loyalty Membership Programs, Albertsons Cos.

  • Ramirez-Ahuja spearheaded loyalty membership strategy, building loyalty program benefits/perks, features, partnerships and experiences to win customers for life; her role was national in scale.
  • She led the complex relaunch of the grocer’s loyalty/rewards program and helped drive double-digit growth across key business metrics, lifting loyalty membership by 17% versus the previous year and upping FreshPass subscribers by 32%.
  • Ramirez-Ahuja was one of three enterprise-wide leaders selected to participate in the Mc-Kinsey Hispanic/Latino Executive Leadership program; outside of work, she was involved in various local community activities.

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Ellen Sanderson

Director, Demand Planning, Albertsons Cos.

  • Sanderson worked to achieve and maintain business metrics while examining new ways to improve processes such as reviewing and improving performance on promotional vehicles, understanding item seasonality, and steering projects pertinent to creating efficiencies; she was recently elevated to this role from that of replenishment solutions director.
  • In her new position, she maintained industry-leading levels in forecast accuracy in percentage of sales and percentage of items, and led the charge to bring new items onto the forecast and replenishment platform.
  • Sanderson was recognized by Albertsons as a replenishment support star.

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Vicki Sell

Senior Director, Human Resources, Albertsons Cos.

  • Sell was an HR partner for a portfolio of 22 distribution centers with 14,000 associates across 14 states.
  • On her watch, overall distribution center turnover saw a 14.7% reduction, while turnover among warehouse order selectors dropped 34.4% and overall associate engagement in the supply chain organization rose 7.6%; she also created the first internship program for distribution centers and plants.
  • An unwavering advocate for diversity at all points of the business’ supply chain, Sell also helped stand up Albertsons’ veterans associate resource group, which she subsequently helped grow to almost 500 members.

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Donna Thomas

Senior Director, Associate Engagement, Albertsons Cos.

  • Thomas partnered with the executive team and division leadership to understand the causes of turnover and develop solutions to substantially improve retention, associate satisfaction and customer net promoter scores (NPS).
  • She led the launch of camera and AI software to remove friction at self-checkout, and her initiatives resulted in consistent improvement in NPS and a meaningful reduction in retail associate turnover.
  • Thomas created the Spirit Award to honor front-line associates from each division; she also served on Albertsons’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and belonged to several associate resource groups.

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Brenda Valley

Director FP&A, Digital and E-Commerce, Albertsons Cos.

  • Valley oversaw digital business financial planning and analytics for Albertsons Cos., and she was responsible for building forecasts, budget projections, data analysis, financial analysis and weekly reporting for several cross-functional groups.
  • She led her team through budget cuts without cutting work and innovation through smart finance strategy, and she was a key enabler for the team to deliver double-digit year-over-year growth and achieve all underlying metrics.
  • Valley was the vice chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council at Albertsons, and she was also actively involved with NextUp, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Special Olympics.

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Evelyn Villarta

IT Manager, Albertsons Cos.

  • As an IT manager at Safeway Philtech Inc., Villarta led a team that supported the software applications of Albertsons Cos. for retail front end and checkout operations, and through her leadership, incidents and issues affecting point-of-sale applications and systems decreased.
  • She worked to integrate associate self-service tools to store iPads, and the adoption rate increased exponentially, resulting in cost avoidance of about $12,000 monthly.
  • Villarta was the organizer of a company interest group that encouraged a healthy lifestyle through running, and she was also a member of the Philtech Band, which provided music at company events.

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Kelly Webb

Senior Director-National Claims, Albertsons Cos.

  • In early 2023, Webb reviewed the Albertsons Cos. Workers’ Compensation Claims Program and had successfully overhauled it by April of that year, helping the company realize seven-figure cost savings for the fiscal year.
  • Additionally, she conducted an evaluation of the managed care program and decided to move it from an existing vendor to the company’s third-party claims administrator, with the result that it became more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Webb was recognized by Insurance Business Review as one of the Top 10 Claims Directors for 2023, and she has served on the Pacific Claims Executives Association Board of Directors since 2014.

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Quinn Christensen

Center Store Ops, Albertsons Cos./Intermountain Division

  • Christensen managed 19 store locations across a 400-mile radius and three states, working directly with 19 assistant store directors and 19 grocery managers, and she also covered for the district manager when they were out.
  • She ran the best center store shrink in the division, as well as running a 5% increase year over year in total center store sales.
  • In the realm of community involvement, Christensen helped hand out 200 stockings to a local school, and she also dropped off 100 stockings to a Ronald McDonald House for children battling serious illnesses; additionally, she helped facilitate a donation drive for the We Care fund, raising around $4,000.

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Katina Wood

Senior Labor Relations Manager, Albertsons Cos./Intermountain Division

Wood was either a participant or decision-maker in all union negotiations across her division, affecting eight states and more than 90 stores.

  • She influenced decision-making when controlling legal liability to address associate concerns and issues that arose before they reached a legal charge, and those contributions have saved the division hundreds of thousands of dollars over her tenure.
  • Wood successfully completed three union negotiations, completed and addressed 77 union grievances, and was selected as a mentor as part of the company’s formal mentorship program; she also received the Albertsons Cos. Role Model Award.

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Sherri Ahlgrain

Customer Service and Front End Operation Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Ahlgrain was responsible for front end teams and customer service associates at 38 stores, in which capacity she focused on everyday communication with her teams to help bring about ideas on how to increase sales and deliver the best customer service.
  • She led the district team to successfully pass the corporate compliance and anti-money laundering audits with a 99% pass rate, and also helped promote five new front end managers.
  • Ahlgrain partnered with the American Heart Association at four stores, and she also organized a bowling and golf event for two districts to raise money for Jewel-Osco Holiday Bucks.

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Amanda Boaldin

Director, Front End, Customer Service, Retail Integrity, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Boaldin partnered with multiple Jewel-Osco teams to align customer service initiatives to support and enhance the strategic direction of the company.
  • She was instrumental in helping to deliver on a variety of metrics, including net promoter scores, lottery sales and gift card sales; under her leadership, lottery sales increased by 7.6% and commissions by 7.9%, maintaining Jewel-Osco as the top lottery retailer in Illinois.
  • Boaldin was the executive sponsor of the division PRIDE associate resource group, and she also volunteered with local organizations to help pregnant women and new moms married to wounded or deployed soldiers.

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Tina Browen

Senior Marketing Director, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Browen was responsible for all Jewel-Osco marketing programs across 188 stores, including weekly circulars, out of home, radio and television, as well as digital and social channels; she also led all sports partnerships and many community programs.
  • She launched Jewel-Osco’s TikTok channel and gained more than 17,000 followers in the first year; she also expanded the Jewel-Osco mascot brand throughout the Chicagoland area, with JoJo the mascot attending nearly 200 events in 2023 — an increase of 150% year over year.
  • Browen designed and executed the first MOMents campaign to show appreciation for moms in the Chicagoland area.

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Maria Brushenko

District Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Brushenko, who had oversight of 18 stores and more than 3,000 associates, was lauded by her company for her level of detail, ownership, pride and engagement as she dug into her stores and conveyed high expectations to their respective teams.
  • She was ranked first or second in nine of 26 key category metrics, including EBITDA, labor, customer service and turnover.
  • Brushenko also received the Associate Resource Group Leadership Award for her efforts in spearheading the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group at Albertsons, and for her efforts with regard to coaching, mentoring and inclusion of other associate resource group chairs.

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Carmen Calderon

Human Resources Representative, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Calderon was the most senior human resources representative for the Jewel-Osco distribution center, supporting a total population of more than 1,200 union, non-union, exempt and non-exempt associates.
  • She increased the distribution centers’ diversity number by nearly 10% through leveraging community contacts and advertising campaigns, as well as through the launch of new interview panel requirements to ensure a diverse panel.
  • Calderon also spearheaded the launch of standardized HR walks focusing specifically on employee engagement and morale, leading to a significant increase in hourly retention year over year.

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Pam Collins

Bakery/Coffee Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Collins was responsible for a district consisting of 20 bakeries and four Starbucks Coffee kiosks, and which generated millions in sales annually; she was the lead on all district events, including store remodels, re-grand openings, and Black History Month and Juneteenth events.
  • She achieved the highest gross profit percentage, making her district the most profitable in bakery, and was consistently first in several core programming categories, among them tray sales, cake category sales and cupcake sales.
  • This year, Collins partnered with a new vendor, which was expected to increase the cake category by more than 5%.

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Olivia Cotten

Deli Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Cotten helped drive sales and financial results by teaching, training and coaching 19 store department teams to effectively implement merchandising and sales, and control expenses.
  • She held the district-best sales for Panera soup, with a 348% year-over-year increase, worked with deli managers and e-commerce teams to maintain a division-leading stock level, and also achieved division-best shrink results for period 11 last year.
  • A member of two Albertsons associate resource groups, Cotten helped deliver 8,000-plus meals to families in need over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and also volunteered at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

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Donna Devereux

Director, E-Commerce, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Devereux partnered with the Jewel-Osco leadership team to provide strategic direction for the e-commerce department and proved to be an outstanding leader in the division by providing coaching, training and development for the upcoming generation.
  • She successfully led the first Cyber Saturday sale for the company, resulting in a 169% sales increase and setting a record day in sales, orders and units; year-over-year e-commerce sales and orders also increased, while out-of-stocks improved by 20%.
  • Devereux helped launch Flash delivery and Flash Drive Up & Go in 177 e-commerce locations, offering a new service of delivery in less than an hour.

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Kristyn Foust

District Pharmacy Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Overseeing 36 Osco pharmacies in the Chicagoland area, Foust was within the top 10 of district pharmacy managers countrywide each period.
  • Her combined districts administered more than 125,000 flu, COVID and RSV shots this past year, which was 31% more than planned; she also grew new relationships within her community and captured 64 new vaccine clinics, an increase of 82% year over year.
  • Foust captured market share and new patients at a higher rate than all other areas by rallying her teams to provide the best patient experience; additionally, she successfully increased both script ID and sales in her district.

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Monique Hoguet

Assistant Sales Manager-Produce, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Hoguet oversaw the day-to-day operation of the produce department, ensuring product quality, implementing sales strategies, developing weekly merchandising plans and collaborating with vendors for best cost of goods for all 188 Jewel-Osco stores.
  • She guided the marketing and merchandising of fresh-cut produce in her stores, and grew sales in the fresh-cut vegetable category by 180% year over year on select items that she developed with an outside source.
  • Hoguet also moved the department’s dollar share up 2.7% and unit share up 4.7% while growing and enhancing the Asian category with new items and innovative merchandising.

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Kim Kilcoyne

Floral Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Kilcoyne led and managed the floral sales teams at 188 Jewel-Osco stores, providing guidance, training and motivation to ensure high performance and customer satisfaction.
  • The 2023 Mother’s Day holiday reached an all-time high under her direction, with sales and units up double digits year over year.
  • Kilcoyne also led the Jewel-Osco floral team to first place for identical sales and second place for units within Albertsons Cos; she and her team conducted a successful all-day store teams planning and training meeting, which included sessions devoted to balloon upgrades, holiday designs, potted upgrades, care and handling, holiday merchandising, and ordering.

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Patty Rodriguez

Deli Production Center Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Rodriguez was responsible for operations at the Jewel-Osco deli production center, projecting the daily needs of stores and scheduling the ordering, production and delivery of items to stores; she also oversaw the hiring, training and scheduling of center personnel, as well as food safety and sanitation.
  • Under her leadership, the number of stores serviced by the center expanded from 19 to 67, and daily production increased more than 300% over the past year.
  • Rodriguez’s daily production system integrating actual daily inventory into the projected sales model for each store led to higher sales and less shrink.

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Rachel Russel

Patient Care Services Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Russel was responsible for growing and expanding pharmacy clinical services, driving 436 new outside vaccination clinics, representing 34,000 incremental vaccines and achieving a division record; in total, outside clinics grew 55% over the previous year.
  • She also coordinated with a Pfizer representative to provide education and one-on-one training on pneumonia vaccines with technician staff, and since the start of this effort, the pneumonia vaccine category has grown by 40%
  • An active member of the company’s Pharmacy Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group, Russel was highlighted in the group’s Beyond the Counter spotlight.

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Tina Schmitz

District Pharmacy Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • Schmitz influenced the Jewel-Osco pharmacy’s performance across 34 stores and roughly 90 pharmacists, and spent this post-pandemic year refocusing her team and getting everyone back to the basics.
  • She captured market share and new patients at a higher rate than all other areas, even while seeing competitor disruption, and she rallied her teams to provide the best patient experience and keep Jewel-Osco’s doors open to new pharmacy customers.
  • A proponent of driving new pharmacy-based services and HIV specialized care, Schmitz took on two new pharmacies that were specially trained to provide HIV PrEP/PEP services based on patient need.

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Alura Stewart

Assistant Deli Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco

  • In addition to performing all of the functions of a category manager across several deli categories, Stewart was the department lead on both internal and third-party e-commerce operations.
  • She took the lead on updating the company’s entertaining/catering program in 2023 and, through careful analysis, was able to eliminate slow movers, introduce new items and update menus, which resulted in an increase in entertaining sales and gross-profit dollars.
  • Stewart was part of several associate resource groups within Jewel-Osco, and also volunteered with several organizations throughout the community, including Grant A Wish and Ignite.

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Mary Frances Trucco

Director, Communications, Public Affairs and Government Relations, Albertsons Cos./Jewel-Osco Division

  • Trucco championed Jewel-Osco’s mascot, JoJo, at events, increasing the brand by 150% year over year.
  • She grew the number of charitable grants distributed from the Jewel-Osco Foundation by 40% and supported more than 550 local organizations and events.
  • Trucco proactively engaged with lawmakers on grocery retail legislation and the statewide migrant issue in Illinois, and joined forces with the Salvation Army to collect donations for newly arrived migrants; she also worked with HR and operations to hire more than 100 migrants in stores.

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Angie Marshall

Sales Manager Deli/Food Service, Albertsons Cos./Mid-Atlantic Division

  • Marshall implemented a comprehensive shrink improvement plan across the division that resulted in substantial savings.
  • Under her leadership, Albertsons’ ReadyMeals program surged in the Mid-Atlantic division, achieving a remarkable 12.9% increase in sales compared with last year.
  • Beyond her professional endeavors, Marshall participated in numerous community activities, including Starbucks All In Community events in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, as well as the D.C. Feast of Sharing event, where she curated the menu, helped with logistical planning, and even volunteered alongside community members.

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Susan Rorke-Lawler

Project Manager, Albertsons Cos./Mid-Atlantic Division

  • Rorke-Lawler developed a Catering Playbook for the company’s Balducci locations, helping Balducci’s attain upwards of 30% sales growth.
  • Using her knowledge and experience from more than 200 past store and data conversions, she led multifunctional teams to plan and flawlessly execute the transformation of a former ShopRite location into an Acme in just 13 days.
  • Rorke-Lawler co-produced the company’s annual Safeway Feast of Sharing in Washington, D.C., with no prior experience in an event of this nature; her work included soliciting and managing more than 1,000 volunteers and acting as the co-on-site contact on the day of the event.

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Lori Valenzuela

District Manager, Albertsons Cos./Mid-Atlantic Division

  • As district manager for Safeway’s district 87 in Virginia, Valenzuela exceeded sales projections and budgeted EBITDA for the year; she was also named Best in Class in the Mid-Atlantic division for Market Guard and Project Sherlock.
  • She invested a lot of time and energy in developing and mentoring her team and empowered associates to act as owners, as well as working with other district managers within her division to offer advice and support.
  • Outside of her career, Valenzuela, an avid animal lover, has rescued and rehomed seven dogs; in one case, she handled the expense of moving a dog from Mexico to Virginia.

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Dana Ward

Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Albertsons Cos./Mid-Atlantic Division

  • After taking on a new role at Albertsons last year, Ward was asked to assume additional responsibilities within the division, due to unforeseen circ*mstances; her leadership and willingness to step in resulted in a promotion to her current title.
  • She oversaw and co-produced the annual Safeway Feast of Sharing in Washington, D.C., which was attended by local government officials and captured significant press coverage, highlighting the Safeway brand.
  • Through Ward’s leadership, the Mid-Atlantic division raised more than $8 million through the Acme, Safeway, Kings and Balducci’s foundations.

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Susan Bell

Assistant Sales Manager, Service Deli, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division

  • Bell spearheaded in-person cheese training for 130 deli managers and cheese specialists, and she also worked with her cheese supplier, KeHe, to boost the division’s cut-and-wrap specialty cheese sales by 14% in 2023.
  • She took on several new initiatives over the past year, including Vision PRO/Herro maintenance, Big Book creative and proofing, and Facebook Live events.
  • With an eye toward career growth, Bell spent additional time learning about financial planning, grand openings/remodels, and equipment/construction process and planning; despite this, she also continued to mentor two deli department specialists.

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Mackenzie Nordahl

Inventory Control Manager, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division

  • Shortly after taking on her current position, Nordahl encountered union contract negotiations for the first time, when her clerical staff joined a union; she immersed herself in reading the contract and could help senior leadership understand her position, thus leading to a successful ratification.
  • Understanding the importance of SOX inventory controls, she helped resolve issues as they arose, enabling her distribution center to successfully complete all of its cycle counts.
  • Nordahl developed her management team from the ground up, hand-selecting her supervisors and clerks.

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Victoria Sandoval

Warehouse Manager, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division

  • A highly strategic, people-centric leader, Sandoval oversaw the GM/HBC program at Albertsons’ largest distribution center; she also managed the asset recovery center, an on-site facility where all 284 Safeway stores sent their recyclables, compostables and return-to-cycle assets.
  • She helped turn around an underperforming GM/HBC program, achieving a five-base-point improvement in cases per hour that resulted in more than $700,000 in annual cost savings.
  • Sandoval also collaborated closely with the Northern California retail team and successfully restructured the Northern California seasonal inventory distribution plan.

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Mary Wade

Assistant Sales Manager, Grocery, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division

  • Wade was an excellent mentor to her department specialist, who was recently promoted, and also shared her knowledge with assistant store director trainees.
  • She took over the Premium project and made such immediate process improvements as implementing quarterly seasonal changeovers, creating an online portal for stores to reference and initiating a monthly conference call with stores; these changes helped the stores in her division grow their sales by 2.59%.
  • Wade helped the seasonal desk grow sales by managing markdowns to a granular level; looking at sell-through by segment, UPC and store; and taking the appropriate pricing action.

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Kelly Flores

Warehouse Operations Manager, Albertsons Cos./Portland Division

  • Flores was a key part of the success at Albertsons’ Portland, Ore., distribution center (DC), which is recognized as a best-in-class facility for food safety and other metrics.
  • As the first female operations manager at the Portland facility, she worked hard to provide a platform for other female leaders.
  • At a time when the industry was struggling to find and recruit employees, Flores took the initiative by partnering with third-party labor services to ensure that the DC had a solid labor plan to support its stores each week; she also encouraged employee retention by ensuring that key elements were executed during onboarding and weekly training follow-up sessions.

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Cecelia Kelly

Assistant Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Portland Division

  • Overseeing seven operating areas and their operation specialists, Kelly completed an entire overhaul of all bakery ingredients and updated all of the labels for store-made items.
  • She innovated products that were unique to the market, and successfully launched several initiatives at stores.
  • In addition to her regular duties, Kelly participated in internal groups like Albertsons’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Council and event-planning teams, as well as taking part in multiple associate resource groups; she was also called on to lead several associate engagement initiatives and activities, among them the division holiday team-building event.

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Sara Osborne

Public and Government Affairs Director, Albertsons Cos./Seattle Division

  • Osborne came up with an innovative pilot that used foundation funding to increase the company’s SNAP produce match from $5 to $10; with the resulting data showing a significant increase in redemptions, she successfully lobbied for state and federal funding to keep the match at $10 for the next three years.
  • She helped increase the district’s food donations by 29%, thereby saving composting costs and improving stores’ community impact; this work gained accolades from the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment.
  • Osborne helped get naming rights for the company at the cancer center of Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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Ronda Richardson

Floral Operations Specialist-Districts 21 and 22, Albertsons Cos./Seattle Division

  • Richardson worked closely with the 23 stores she served to develop floral managers’ business skills; her efforts helped floral achieve double-digit sales growth through most of 2023 while exceeding the profit plan in most stores.
  • She helped open a centralized design center at one of the retailer’s Alaska stores; this center is located in an expanded in-store floral department and features space for mass production and centralized orders.
  • Richardson was recognized by local vendors for her communication skills and partnership in sourcing local items; her stores also received numerous awards for their floral departments.

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Tammy Lemnah

Center Store Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s Division

  • During her tenure as the Drive Up & Go operations manager, Lemnah led the District 5 e-commerce business forward with high marks in on-time filling and picks per hour, low out-of-stocks, and a record low complaint rate.
  • Promoted to her current role in May 2023, she quickly worked to build a team focused on driving the business forward through great customer service and operational excellence; since then, her department has seen division-leading customer service scores and low out-of-stocks.
  • Lemnah took on a lead role during historic flooding in Montpelier, Vt., supporting the community with water and packaged goods.

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Melissa Lowell-Sloan

Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s Division

  • Lowell-Sloan, who oversaw the in-store bakery, commercial bakery and Starbucks in her division, planned the merchandising for all three businesses, staying on budget and furthering sales plans.
  • She was the driving force behind a 5 Star Cake Decorator initiative implemented at all Star Market and Shaw’s stores; this initiative helped interested candidates achieve the designation, classification and certification of an exceptional cake decorator.
  • Lowell-Sloan mentored junior colleagues with the passion of a true leader; she was also a strong advocate for advancing women in their careers and never hesitated to share her knowledge with others.

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Ashley Boyd

Regional Learning Representative, Albertsons Cos./Southern California Division

  • Boyd created a store director training mentor checklist and materials that were used by more than 50 store director trainees.
  • She revamped the New Associate Orientation into a virtual format and hosted a centralized onboarding experience for nearly 300 new associates.
  • As co-chair of the Albertsons African American Leadership Council, Boyd organized a Juneteenth celebration at the division office that reached more than 50 associates, and she supplied 35 volunteers for local community events; she also supported the Hispanic Leadership Network by rallying members to donate to the Monarch School and to volunteer for the Homeboy Industries Holiday Carnival.

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Ashley Charfauros

Meat Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Southern California Division

  • Charfauros developed four meat managers over the past year, and she guided three more candidates through the apprenticeship program.
  • She created an initiative to reduce shrink in lower-volume stores: Changing the merchandising containers in the display full-service case to a new bowl design allowed stores to order and display less product while maintaining variety and presentation standards.
  • Through communication and planning with her meat manager team, Charfauros increased district sales by deploying a hand-trimmed chicken initiative; her sales for fiscal year 2023 were double those of the lowest-performing district.

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Erica Dawsen

Grocery Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Southern California Division

  • As an e-commerce operations manager, Dawsen ran a micro-fulfillment center, where she contributed to higher order volume by an average of 700 orders per week; she helped streamline the pickup and delivery process, boosted customer satisfaction and improved operation effectiveness, as well as upping the number of items handled by the robotic system.
  • She worked with vendors, marketing teams, district managers, store managers and assistants to implement new merchandising strategies and sales-driving events.
  • Among her other community efforts, Dawsen volunteered at Olivewood Garden and Learning Center, which teaches children about sustainable agriculture.

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Deborah Gilboy

District Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Southern California Division

  • Gilboy received the 2023 Starbucks Star Award for her leadership and partnership with the Starbucks team to grow sales and customer connection; her commitment to training, coaching and development led her team to perform at the top tier nationally in customer connection and tie for second place in customer connection out of all Starbucks locations.
  • Her district had some of the highest Own Brand performance in the division: Own Brand sales penetration numbers were above 30% in many of her stores, driving profitable sales in her district.
  • Gilboy volunteered at local events with her team to help the homeless in downtown San Diego and in support of the San Diego Food Bank.

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Lily Beltran Morris

Floral Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Southern California Division

  • Morris developed a balloon certification program for store associates while preparing for upcoming trends and local municipality ESG ordinances; she implemented a complete ESG initiative to reduce the use of plastic and moved to recycled materials for all wrapping needs.
  • Her support and planning of micro-holidays and events resulted in positive sales and gross profit results; in addition, her planning and merchandising efforts resulted in record-breaking Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day sales results.
  • For National Teddy Bear Day, she and a vendor donated 100 teddy bears and a financial grant to a foster care support agency.

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Janet Bishop

Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Southern Division

  • Bishop delivered positive sales for four years running and helped elevate the bakeries in the division; she delivered $4.38 million over last year’s sales, on top of adding $10.5 million the prior year, and her fresh sales mix, units and average basket amounts all surpassed the previous year’s performance.
  • Her team developed quick reference codes/how-to videos for all bakery categories to facilitate instant training, and she also built a traveling team of vendor partners to help deliver results; the team assisted 12 stores in three days.
  • Bishop worked with the foster care ministry at Pathway and was a court-appointed special advocate for children.

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Ashley Canonica

Senior Director, Marketing, Albertsons Cos./Southern Division

  • Canonica’s cutting-edge loyalty efforts included targeting lapsed shoppers with mailers that led to a $9.99 incremental spend per week and engaging top-spend customers with digital platform offers that saw 81% retention for redeemers.
  • As a key point person on large-scale sports sponsorships, she negotiated with the Dallas Cowboys to restructure and update in the middle of a 10-year contract to create additional opportunities for traffic-driving initiatives.
  • She spearheaded community and volunteer events both locally and in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, including the adoption of three inner-city schools.

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Elizabeth Ing

Department Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Southern Division

  • Ing’s tech skills and forward thinking helped elevate execution levels within the bakeries; her strategic and innovative use of QR codes allowed seamless process, product and procedure updates and afforded associates instant access to information.
  • As a self-taught food photographer, she routinely shot photos for printed and digital advertisem*nt circulation, saving the division time and money; she also helped create and design a virtual three-day Beginner Cake Decorating training program.
  • Ing participated in Light the Night 5K runs to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and she worked with Breakthrough for Brain Tumors to raise funds for research.

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Gena Nalley

Floral Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./Southern Division

  • An FTD Master Designer and Texas Master Florist, Nalley transformed a district with the lowest identical sales, low gross and high shrink to one with the highest identical sales, highest gross and lowest shrink in the Southern division in just six months, and also exceeded floral upgrades by more than 200%.
  • Known for the genuine care and concern she brought to her team, she trained more than 50 floral managers, two floral operations specialists and several floral designers this past year.
  • A five-time recipient of the Floral Field Merchandiser of the Year title, Nalley used her spare time to volunteer at North Texas Food Bank, where she assembled meals for more than 2,000 families.

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Alyssia Stryker

Assistant Sales Manager, Meat, Albertsons Cos./Southern Division

  • Stryker consistently planned and executed profitable sales promotions that made a significant impact on the bottom line and were recognized by the SVP of merchandising for the Southern division.
  • She increased volume in sales and units for local brands that were previously unknown, allowing the store to successfully compete with supermarkets as well as specialty businesses.
  • As well as contributing to charity events held by Albertsons and the Dallas Cowboys, Stryker created her own charitable nonprofit organization, Welcoming Hope, for children entering the foster care system, ensuring that they have all of the items they need as they make this momentous transition.

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Debbie Gaines

Lubbock Area Food Service Supervisor, Albertsons Cos./United Supermarkets

  • Gaines played an instrumental role in developing and operating one of The United Family’s newest projects, Covenant Hospital ReadyMeals! Café, a line of chef-inspired meal solutions made in-house; the program exceeded initial weekly sales projections.
  • She was a critical contributor to a partnership with the Lubbock Independent School District’s culinary program, which allowed United’s foodservice team to help educate high school culinary students, and she also helped create the new catering/concierge supervisor position.
  • Gaines worked with the Lubbock National Charity League, which supports 30-plus nonprofits, and she served on the United We Care board.

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Emily Detwiler

Executive Director, AWG Brands, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG)

  • Detwiler led design, development and implementation of a vendor-supported home store program for independent grocers that will generate resources to perform 20,000-plusindividual shelf reset activities across AWG’s approximately 3,000 stores this year.
  • She helped reinvent AWG brands with new award-winning package designs, online marketing programs, category strategies and the launch of quality control laboratory capabilities; she also improved sales performance of AWG brands by 15% and financial benefits to AWG’s members by more than 25%.
  • Detwiler guided the development of improved member communication programs for the field sales teams.

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Stephanie Herrington

Category Manage, Brookshire Grocery Co.

  • A 20-year Brookshire Grocery Co. veteran, Herrington studied market analyses of consumer trends, best practices and changing demographics to establish appropriate product pricing; she also worked with corporate communications to develop category-specific communications for upcoming promotions.
  • She exceeded her 2023 sales plan by 7.39%; in the gift card category alone, she increased sales by 67%.
  • Last year, Herrington was recognized company-wide during Women’s History Month; she also works with vendors on sponsorships for the FRESH 15 race, whose total revenue is donated to local nonprofits that help needy families.

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Morgan Jones

Director of Communications and Community Involvement, Brookshire Grocery Co.

  • Jones worked on Brookshire’s announcement that it was selling 120 pharmacies to Walgreens; the project included more than 70 announcement materials and ongoing post-announcement communications, all targeted at a specific audience.
  • She led the team in hosting the 2023 Leadership Conference, a three-day event attended by close to 500 store directors and retail support leaders; it included training sessions, a leadership meeting, a food show and guest speakers.
  • Jones’ leadership helped break the record for the most money ever raised by Brookshire’s Charity Golf Tournament, which brought in $730,000.

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Michelle Perry

Director of Digital Marketing and E-commerce, Brookshire Grocery Co.

  • Perry led the launch of new websites and an app for the Brookshire banner after having done so for three other banners over the past two years; the new website, which enabled the company to localize content on store pages and highlight events, helped drive a year-over-year e-commerce increase of 3.19%.
  • She also propelled new opportunities for vendors to advertise on the website and apps to drive sales; this included website banners, sponsored searches and landing pages.
  • Perry helped Brookshire’s community involvement team serve meals to veterans and their families at a Veterans Day Parade at a local veterans’ home.

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Jessica Garabrant

Senior Manager, Merchandising, C&S Wholesale Grocers

  • Garabant’s leadership helped outpace financial thresholds for company objectives that exceeded 10%.
  • She grew top-line food show sales by 21% year over year; this involved improving retailer ordering capabilities, evolving the event’s layout to generate foot traffic, and partnering with manufacturers to drive incremental deals and funding.
  • Garabrant mentored three team members who took on leadership roles, and she led her team in returning to pre-pandemic levels of promotional funding; she was also a key stakeholder in the company’s partnership with the local United Way for holiday adopt-a-family programs as well as clothing and food drives.

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Michele Martell

Manager, Customer Solutions, C&S Wholesale Grocers

  • Martell assisted with the implementation of an automation solution that affected C&S’ largest customer, resulting in a 50% decrease in processing time for customer service; she also optimized customer relationship reporting to 1,000 users, saving $20,000 annually.
  • She facilitated the creation of an enhanced bilingual user support medium across 14 functions; led the quality testing of 2,000-plus scenarios to prepare 600 retailers for interaction with a new customer solution, increasing engagement by about 10%; and onboarded 600 new customers onto a portal.
  • Beyond her job, Martell was a member of C&S’ women’s employee resource group.

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Katie Murphy

Senior Manager, Business Continuity, C&S Wholesale Grocers

  • Murphy managed and led 300-plus leaders in learning to respond to more than 50 disruption events; these ranged from weather hazards and natural disasters to external supply chain issues such as a West Coast port stoppage.
  • She formalized C&S’ Cyber Incident Response Plan based on industry standards and case studies, and she was a panelist at three industry events focused on food safety and cybersecurity, supply chain disruptions, and post-disaster food resilience.
  • Murphy served on the Emerging Leaders board of the New Jersey Community Food Bank; Emerging Leaders is a group of young professionals dedicated to fighting hunger in New Jersey.

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Margaret Orciari

Manager of Merchandising, C&S Wholesale Grocers

  • Facing volume fluctuations that affected inventory predictions, Orciari worked with IT to ensure that proper forecasting recommendations were populating its systems, and reviewed forecasting models to guarantee that all inputs and recommendations were accurate.
  • She successfully integrated strategic workflows that created opportunities for C&S and a particular customer, and she also worked cross-functionally with a new acquisition, taking the lead in determining how certain activities could potentially benefit from regional versus corporate management.
  • Orciari was instrumental in securing participants for C&S’ 2023 Charity Golf Outing.

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Anna Ritchie

Supervisor of Procurement Decision Science, C&S Wholesale Grocers

  • Ritchie was instrumental in developing and implementing RELEX, a software that provided solutions in forecasting and replenishment; its benefits included the flexibility to evolve with supply chain needs, improved service metrics, a reduction in unsaleable inventory, and operational efficiency.
  • She also created a Google site for procurement that was used as a training platform when software was deployed; it consolidated essential terminology and logic to cross-functionally simplify the process for all team members.
  • Despite her busy work and home lives, Ritchie maintained a 4.0 GPA while working on her MBA degree.

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Hilary Kouch

Customer VP Sales, North Regional Grocery, Campbell Soup Co.-Snacks

  • Kouch and her team outpaced snacks year to date and forecasted full fiscal-year growth of 50%; they drove category growth for all reporting customers of 20 to 40 basis points ahead of total snacks, and the team drove share growth of all customers, outpacing the retailers’ share by up to 130 basis points.
  • Kouch was a leader in Campbell’s Diversity and Inclusion Sales Council, which fostered learning opportunities to drive diversity and inclusion culture among the sales team.
  • Following their baby’s 2022 cancer diagnosis, Kouch and her husband launched The Buddy Fund for others in similar situations who need help with food, housing and transportation.

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Samantha Simmons

Director Operations, District 5, Coborn’s Inc.

  • With several years as a store director and merchandising leader under her belt, Simmons drew from her real-life “in the aisles” experiences, coaching her team on how these affect customers.
  • Post-COVID, retailers faced economic upheaval and unprecedented inflation; despite her youth, she navigated those challenges with her even-keeled, focused nature, driving sales growth that outpaced the industry as a whole and delivering bottom-line results that outperformed both the company and the industry.
  • Simmons sat on the board of directors for the Fargo, N.D., Salvation Army, in which capacity she coordinated Hombacher’s annual holiday ham donation.

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Sarah Hart

Director of Revenue Growth Management-Walmart and Sam’s Club, The Coca-Cola Co.

  • Hart developed custom dashboards for new items, allowing bottling partners to track execution and performance by club and bottler territory; this led to the establishment of three new club packages and an expanded limited-time offer assortment, generating $42 million-plus in incremental revenue for Sam’s Club’s sparkling water business.
  • She structured the 2024 business plan involving the company, bottlers and the customer, enabling strong volume and revenue growth; this involved coordinating plans and commitments among 33 bottlers.
  • Hart was an active member of NextUp and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

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Gabriela Velasco Arana

Senior Sales Director-Sam’s Club, The Coca-Cola Co.

  • Velasco Arana grew Sam’s Sparkling Business by $100 million (11%), gaining more than 0.2 points of category share within the chain and gaining upwards of 0.3 share points versus the rest of the market; this made Sam’s the fastest-growing retail customer in volume for Coca-Cola.
  • She commercialized three new club packages, generating $17 million in incremental sales for Sam’s, and she successfully sold an expanded limited-time offer assortment, for an additional $25 million in incremental sales.
  • Velasco Arana volunteered with the Rogers, Ark., Chamber of Commerce, where she shared her journey as a Latina professional with high school students.

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Sara Herring

Customer Development Director, Club Channel, Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc.

  • Herring experienced a banner year in 2023: She exceeded budget revenue by $4.2 million (2%) at Sam’s Club, her largest customer; she delivered total club revenue of $283 million, growing sales by 18%; and she reintroduced co*ke de Mexico.
  • She also expanded core club packages at BJ’s Wholesale and Costco; along with her partners, she drove more than 80,000 incremental cases and permanent expansion on sparkling soft-drink mini cans, PET bottles and glass imports across 49 outlets.
  • A passionate believer in servant leadership, Herring volunteered with the Johnston County, N.C., Special Olympics, acting as an awards presenter.

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Elizabeth Sepinski

Senior Director of Sales, Critical Mass Group (CMG)

  • Having developed a retailer customer network of 27 accounts, Sepinski grew her team to four account managers and a sales operations support coordinator; the number of divisions she led more than doubled, from 13 to 31, and her division was the company’s fastest-growing.
  • She was instrumental in launching CMG’s leadership share group, whose objective was to identify, discuss and disseminate best practices that could be leveraged across the organization by harnessing the collective expertise of the company’s top leaders.
  • As a member of the Point Association, Sepinski organizes neighborhood cleanups and community events.

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Abby Larsen

Director Client Success, CROSSMARK

  • Managing Target for the retail solutions division, Larsen delivered a 67% increase in new and organic client growth and grew core continuity client by 124%; meanwhile, overall portfolio growth was 26%.
  • She created an artificial intelligence (AI) training video that enabled reps to watch instructions on their phones instead of reading 20 pages of information, prompting the company to take a deeper look at AI by forming a steering committee on the topic; she also worked on Target’s store-within-a-store Kendra Scott launch, a wildly successful venture that sold out within the first week.
  • Away from work, Larsen worked with local food pantries to alleviate food insecurity.

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Doris Koepp

Acting Chief Resale Financial Execution (Europe, Pacific), Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • Koepp identified the opportunity to improve the monthly financial close-out and formalized standard operating procedures, positively affecting the ability of the 33 stores in her region to meet sales goals and promote shrink visibility.
  • To improve recruitment and retention, she upgraded the branding of announcements, expanded the geographic radius of recruitment and promoted internal incentive programs, resulting in a 5% decrease in workforce fluctuation.
  • Koepp is a member of the Innovations IDEAS Panel and a winner of five DeCA awards, as well as a youth swim coach and soccer team event coordinator.

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T’Londa Lawson

Commissary Management Specialist, Defense Commissary Agency Headquarters and Support Center Store Operations Support Team, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • Lawson implemented a comprehensive cost-saving initiative that resulted in a 20% reduction in operational expenses across all DeCA commissaries.
  • She spearheaded a strategic initiative to enhance supply chain efficiency and reduce product waste, resulting in a 30% reduction in product spoilage.
  • Through a new online ordering and delivery system, Lawson expanded the customer base and lifted online sales by 50%; she also led the development and implementation of a customer loyalty program that increased customer engagement by 40%.

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Michelyne LeBlanc

Deputy CIO, Defense Commissary Headquarters IT, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • After DeCA rolled out its online shopping capability, Commissary CLICK2GO, in fiscal 2023, LeBlanc worked closely with the COO to drive prices down and stock rates up by 90% to 95%; her efforts to build confidence in CLICK2GO helped drive sales from $13 million in Q4 2022 to $49 million in Q2 2023.
  • She aligned with DeCA senior leadership to automate a manual process for using government assistance funds, raising morale among needy active and retired service members.
  • LeBlanc helped to establish a working group to share information across Department of Defense retail organizations.

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Monique Salley

Chief Overseas Budget and Manpower Liaison, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • Salley took the initiative to review the agency’s personnel services agreement after hearing complaints about inadequate services received at DeCA locations; her efforts saved the agency $2 million-plus, and she took over the assignment, which wasn’t originally in her purview.
  • She instituted new procedures to ensure that DeCA will be ready to comply with the Department of the Treasury’s mandated G-Invoicing system by October 2025.
  • Salley received the Superior Civilian Service Award and the Defense Finance Accounting Service Director’s Coin, and she was active in the American Society of Military Comptrollers and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising Stars, Part 1 (145)

Maren Lewis

Field Operations Manager-Kroger/Albertsons West, fairlife

  • Having started her new role in July 2023, Lewis brought in net revenue of $80 million from Kroger and Albertsons and secured permanent distribution and execution of incremental displays for Core Power high-protein shakes across her territory.
  • All nine of her Albertsons divisions grew space/share of visual inventory; seven divisions topped $1 million in Core Power sales, including two with more than $3 million.
  • Lewis received the ‘One of a Kind’ Kind of Teammate Award from fairlife after taking on the responsibilities of director of sales for the West region after her manager left the company, while also keeping up her own job responsibilities.

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Heather Beshears Sigmon

Senior Franchise Operations Manager, fairlife

  • Sigmon led the company in facing and share gains: With Food City, for example, she gained 1,280 facings and 10 points in share, while with Harris Teeter, she gained 75% off-shelf availability, leading to more than 50% volume growth.
  • She implemented a 52-week shipper strategy with Lowes Foods, which resulted in a 48% increase in volume, and she also grew warehouse brands by 4.1 share points.
  • Among other distinctions, Sigmon was a key contributor to fairlife’s Women’s LINC, which aimed to lead, inspire and connect women in the industry; she’s also an enthusiastic supporter of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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Becca Bellino

Category Manager, Harris Teeter

  • Bellino was critical in the merchandising transition to scan-based trading (SBT) in the commercial bakery category, working with suppliers to reallocate funds from receiver scan methodology to SBT while ensuring category growth.
  • Creating a best-in-class plan for the future of snacking, she led a total snack aisle reinvention project that redesigned the snacking aisles in each store to enhance the overall shopping experience for customers.
  • Bellino led analytics training and developed negotiation tools for margin and price increases; these tools equipped merchandising team members with the necessary skills to navigate category reviews and negotiate with vendor partners.

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Brooke Cash

Regional Asset Protection Manager, Harris Teeter

  • Cash’s management, training and collaboration with business partners resulted in reaching No. 1 in counterfeit avoidance, being below the worker’s compensation accident frequency goals, and doubling the number of internal theft resolution investigations over the prior year.
  • She proactively educated stores on cash-handling procedures, which led to a significant decrease in cash loss across the region, and she worked with stores to reduce worker’s comp and general liability claims, along with overall company costs.
  • Cash was instrumental in a departmental restructure, reassigning direct reports to new job responsibilities on the department’s organizational chart.

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Sarah Durham

Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Harris Teeter

  • Durham engaged with brands and suppliers to enhance Harris Teeter’s quality standards and specifications; she implemented such effective new quality control measures as product testing protocols, supplier audits and documentation requirements.
  • She spearheaded a complete overhaul of an existing pest control system, not only vastly improving pest control measures, but also providing real-time data and analytics to identify trends, anticipate risks and take proactive measures to prevent future pest infestations.
  • Durham implemented a customized quality assurance dashboard that streamlined the audit process and provided a holistic view of assessing risk.

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Diann Fulp

Operations Support Specialist, Harris Teeter

  • Fulp spearheaded a project to introduce a new online shopping method for store teams; the initiative aimed to boost efficiency and productivity among shoppers, ultimately creating more available time slots for customers and driving increased pickup/delivery sales.
  • She resolved cash control issues in a store that consistently ranked No. 1 in unfavorable cash over/shorts, resulting in the store’s removal from the top 20 opportunity list.
  • Fulp implemented pickup and delivery verification procedures, which led to her area of responsibility having the fewest complaints in the company; additionally, she initiated the “Sunday Funday” weekly newsletter to motivate and educate her stores.

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Jamie Osborne

Senior Director, Advertising and Creative, Harris Teeter

  • Osborne crafted the company’s first holistic brand strategy, developed a new marketing campaign, reinvented the company logo for the first time in 20-plus years, led creative development of the brand’s first direct-to-home delivery business, and overhauled media planning.
  • Her efforts led to 6% growth in brand consideration, a 5.5% increase in brand favorability, a 7.4% jump in purchase intent and a double-digit increase in digital brand engagement.
  • Osborne supported local initiatives in partnership with Feeding America, packed food bags for local families in need at the Second Harvest Food Bank, and participated in meal distribution events and fundraising events.

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Lauren Porter

Pharmacy Operations Manager, Harris Teeter

  • Porter helped launch the company’s pharmacy residency program, which provided a pipeline of highly trained pharmacists, developed a more skilled pharmacy workforce, and expanded indirect and direct pharmacy revenues through increased service capacity and resident projects.
  • She led the implementation of the Pharmacy Technician National Standards Program in Virginia, developing dozens of documents, establishing experiential sites and developing coursework to meet the accreditation commission’s requirements.
  • Porter held a customized event to re-energize pharmacy managers, enhance the patient experience and reignite pharmacists’ passion for people development.

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Michelle Rupertus

Manager of Learning and Development, Harris Teeter

  • Rupertus helped ensure a robust certification process to address leaders’ skill gaps, resulting in better demonstration of business acumen, increased analytical competency and strategic planning skills, and higher-level leaders overall.
  • She created a website providing comprehensive training materials in support of the company’s new financial modernization process.
  • Rupertus developed a digital library offering 150-plus resources for associates interested in leadership development, and she instigated a comprehensive meet-and-greet program that facilitates relationship building by connecting retail leaders with corporate leadership.

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Liz Arickx

Assistant VP, Executive Assistant to the Executive Chairman and CEO, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • In addition to helping the CEO stay organized, Arickx helped other executive leaders align with their goals by compiling and sharing detailed daily reports on the latest news, events and trends from around the world as a way to help guide company decisions.
  • She handled the creation of all top-level company presentations for stockholders’ meetings, internal service award recognition ceremonies, external supplier meetings, board meetings, store director meetings, industry conferences with top executives, and industry events.
  • Arickx won Hy-Vee’s Chairman’s Above and Beyond award for her commitment to the retail industry and her impact on the company’s day-to-day activities.

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Deirdre Magrane

Senior Director of Product, Instacart

  • Responsible for product development, Magrane oversaw a team that created core horizontal platforms supporting all Instacart apps and services.
  • She overhauled the payments platform to lower costs, driving millions in savings and supporting the accurate and reliable processing of tens of billions in payment volume; with her guidance, Instacart expanded EBT/SNAP payment to new retailers to cover all 50 states, and she also steered her team to develop a platform that quickly integrated new retail loyalty programs.
  • Magrane managed Instacart’s Associate Product Manager (APM) program, an 18-month rotational program for recent graduates and, outside Instacart, served as a mentor to others.

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Tara Adams

Senior Sales Manager, JBS Beef USA, Beef Division

  • The only female sales field professional on the JBS team, Adams developed, maintained and grew business with multi-unit retail operators and distributors, and led customer contract negotiations to drive engagement in the beef and meat categories.
  • She was the top sales volume growth team member in 2023, growing full-year beef volume by 30% in a year, boosting branded program volume by 56% and closing 100% of her contract renewals; she also developed new customized ground beef private label programs.
  • Owner and operator of a cow-calf operation with wheat and milo production, Adams additionally volunteered for city beautification and anti-human trafficking projects.

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Misty Kern

Director of Training, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. d/b/a Food City

  • Kern oversaw the training and food safety department spanning 152 retail locations in addition to a distribution center.
  • She directed the development of training programs for 32 salaried and 58 hourly members of store leadership and management, and implemented 70 new and updated computer-based learning courses; additionally, she facilitated the corporate and retail management internship programs.
  • Kern sponsored the retailer’s sustainability committee, organized a partnership with a local university to provide a tuition discount for company associates and their dependents, and was a founding and participating member of Food City’s EMPOWER program for female associates.

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Hayley Berkshire

VP Commercial Strategy, Frozen Foods, Kellanova

  • Tasked with the development and deployment of the national commercial strategy for Eggo and Morning Star Farms, Berkshire managed more than $1 billion in sales across the United States.
  • She successfully led her team through the company’s structural changes while delivering against annual business, created an innovation strategy on Morning Star Farms to deliver top- and bottom-line results, and launched Year of the Pancake to deliver $20 million-plus in incremental sales; moreover, she revamped customer innovation sessions.
  • Beyond her demanding job duties, Berkshire found time to involve herself in employee resource groups and Kellanova’s culture committee.

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Colleen Callahan

Customer Team Lead, Ahold Delhaize, Kellanova

  • Callahan worked across all five Kellanova snacking brands to drive loyalty, win trips and score share wins for grocery within a business worth $400 million in sales.
  • She guided her team through the transition that spun off the cereal business to WK Kellogg, rebuilding her team without disrupting the business; thanks to her efforts, Kellanova was chosen as one of only five CPGs to be a strategic partner with Ahold Delhaize.
  • In her spare time, Callahan participated in NextUp of Philadelphia and the Women of Kellanova business employee resource group, as well as helping lead ESG initiatives for Kellanova’s grocery channel.

Related Topics

  • Top Women in Grocery
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