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The Women Grocers of America (WGA) has named four independent grocer women as recipients of its 2014 Mary Macey Scholarship. Jazzmen Simms, Nugget Markets; Alina Williams, Wakefern Food Corp.; Kaeley Latow, Nugget Markets; and Pamela Sprouse, Gerland's Food Fair, will each receive a $1,500 scholarship to further their education and careers in the food retailing industry. The scholarship was created to honor WGA's first president, Mary Macey.
"The choice was not easy," said WGA's Kathy Sweidel-Caton of the selection process. "We received applications from many extraordinary students who are planning careers with an independent food retailer. The students' accomplishments, as well as their passion for the industry, were very impressive. WGA remains committed to recruiting and retaining the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs with an emphasis on young women."
Simms is a senior at California State University, Sacramento and will graduate in December 2014 with a BS in communications. She's employed full-time as a manager in charge at a Nugget Market. She joined Woodland, Calif.-based Nugget in 2008 as a courtesy clerk and was named associate of the year after her first year. She has held a number of increasingly responsible positions and is known for her emphasis on servant leadership and strong initiative.
Also representing Nugget Markets, Latow attends University of California, Davis and plans to graduate with an MBA in May 2015. Latow, currently the director of bakery operations at Nugget, joined the company in 2008 as deli clerk and quickly became known for her positive attitude and strong work ethic. She now oversees all bakeries for Nugget Markets and plans to continue her career there.
Williams is a key member of the loss prevention department at Wakefern Food Corp., and is pursuing her doctoral degree at New Jersey City University. She maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is one of two women in the program. She’s been recognized for her active role in helping Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern continue to operate during recent weather challenges such as Hurricane Sandy and the tough 2013-14 winter, and was one of four chosen in 2012 for Wakefern's "Leaders in Training" program. Williams plans to continue her work in emergency management and food security at Wakefern.
Sprouse maintains a 3.98 average as a senior at the University of Houston, where she's pursuing a BS in organizational leadership and supervision. She started at Houston-based Gerland's in 1997 as a store associate in the courtesy booth. Currently, Sprouse is the AP supervisor at the Gerland's corporate office, and is appreciated for providing stability to the department during a time of transition, as well as for her outstanding work ethic. Additionally, Sprouse is a member of the boards of the University of Houston Student Ambassador program and her local animal shelter.
WGA's mission is to ensure long-term prosperity in the evolving industry of grocery by recruiting and retaining the next generation of successful individuals with an emphasis on young women through scholarships, awards and professional development opportunities.
The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry.