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Judith A. Spires, chairman and CEO of KB Holding, Inc., a Delaware-based investment firm that owns Kings Super Markets and Balducci’s, has been chosen as the 2016 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer from Progressive Grocer and the Chicago-based Network of Executive Women (NEW).
Spires will be recognized at the upcoming Top Women in Grocery gala celebration on Nov. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, in Orlando, Fla.
“In appreciation and well deserved acknowledgment of her accomplished record of advancing and advocating for women leaders, not only at her company, but also across the industry, we are extremely proud to honor Judy as our 2016 Top Woman in Grocery Trailblazer,” said Meg Major, Progressive Grocer’s chief content editor.
“Judy's demonstrated dedication to develop and build the next generation of women leaders in the retail food industry is underscored by her inspired leadership, evangelized love of the industry and contagious enthusiasm, all of which are unmistakable," Major continued. "Her track record of success and admirable lead-by-example style, coupled with her commitment to spearheading talent advancement and charitable initiatives on behalf of the company, as well as those close to her heart in the local community, make Judy overwhelmingly deserving of this very special recognition as our 2016 Trailblazer.”
NEW President and CEO Joan Toth concurred: “Judy has exemplified the true meaning of ‘trailblazer’ during her storied career dedicated to the grocery industry. She serves as a role model and mentor and never hesitates to give back and share her wisdom. Judy has been a true supporter of the NEW community and was a driving force behind the launch of the NEW Greater Philadelphia region in 2006. Those are just a few of the reasons we were thrilled to honor her with the William J. Grize Diversity Hall of Fame Award in 2011.
“On a personal note," Toth added, "Judy inspires and energizes me like few other leaders do. I’m grateful for all she has done – and continues to do – to advance women’s leadership and for the career-changing support she’s given me and countless others.”
In her current role as chairman and CEO of KB Holding, Spires – who has spent her entire career in the supermarket industry – is leading an extensive growth effort for both the Kings and Balducci’s banners, anchored by a “Three B Strategy: Build, Buy and Better.”
Spires began her career as a part-time cashier at Malvern, Pa.-based Acme Markets while she was in high school and college, and subsequently discovered her passion for the retail service industry.
Prior to KB Holding, Spires held positions of increasing responsibility in all facets of the business throughout her career, including as president of Acme Markets after leading Albertsons’ DFW and Rocky Mountain divisions as president.
Spires is highly active in the industry, as well as the community. A past Top Women in Grocery honoree, she was honored with a Gold Stevie Award and Female Executive of the Year for Consumer Services in 2012 and in 2011, and was also inducted into NEW’s CPG Retail Diversity Hall of Fame. Additionally, she was named NEW’s Outstanding Champion and inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2010.
Honored in 2010 with LaSalle University’s Leadership Award, Spires also received the prestigious Paradigm Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
She holds a BA and MBA from LaSalle University and is also a graduate of Cornell University’s Food Executive Program. In addition to serving as chair of both the New Jersey Food Council and the Academy of Food Marketing at St Joseph’s University, Spires is on the executive board of Food Marketing Institute, a trustee for LaSalle University, a board member of the Cancer Treatment Center of America, and a member of both Comcast’s and NBC Universal’s Joint Diversity Council.
Spires and her husband, Bob, live in New Jersey and have one son. In her spare time, Judy enjoys yoga, hiking, biking, reading and fueling her HGTV obsession.
Established in 2012, the PG/NEW Trailblazer Award recognizes a single executive whose leadership, vision and influence have helped break new ground for women in the retail food industry.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of PG’s Top Women in Grocery awards program, which recognizes the invaluable contributions of women from all walks of the retail food industry in three categories: Senior-level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers.
Additional details about the Top Women in Grocery gala event and daytime leadership program, including registration and program information, hotel accommodations, and a list of current and recent winners, can be found here.