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    Kroger’s Marmer Named to List of Retail's Future-Shapers

    NRF picks corporate affairs VP as a ‘Giver’

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    A top grocery industry executive is among the names on the latest List of People Shaping Retail’s Future from the NRF Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation.

    Lynn Marmer, group VP for corporate affairs at The Kroger Co., was one of six retail leaders named to the Washington, D.C.-based group’s list as a “Giver.” The NRF Foundation describes these individuals as “inspirational change-makers and big-hearted optimists who make retail shine as a force for good. They see a need and use their skills and resources to fill it to the brim, bringing joy and new opportunities to their companies, communities and the whole wide world.”

    Marmer leads philanthropic and sustainability initiatives for the Cincinnati-based grocery giant, in a position that encompasses community engagement, sustainability, media relations and external communication. “Great companies are companies that people are inspired and proud to work for,” she told Progressive Grocer in October 2013, when Kroger was honored as PG’s Retailer of the Year. “We try very conscientiously to do things that inspire that pride, whether that’s a cancer walk or supporting the military. Those things that are really most important to our associates and customers help to make Kroger a place that people are proud to shop and work at.”

    In addition, Marmer is “really proud of what our company does in purchasing from women- and minority-owned businesses,” noting that Kroger has steered in excess of $1 billion in business toward such vendors. An added bonus, she said, is that doing so helps boost the communities in which these businesses operate through added jobs and buoyed local economies.

    Marmer was honored in 2012 as the first-ever recipient of the Trailblazer Award from Progressive Grocer and the Network of Executive Women, and has been recognized as one of PG’s Top Women in Grocery. “I get to touch in a positive way millions of people’s everyday lives. It’s very humbling,” she said. “I’m honored to be part of an industry that does that.”

    Others named to the Givers list are Greg Buzek, co-founder and donor trustee, Retail Orphan Initiative (also president of IHL Group); Michael Levy, founder and president, Pet Food Express; Johnny Morris, founder and CEO, Bass Pro Shops; Shawn R. Outler, group VP, leased businesses, vendor collaboration and multicultural business development, Macy’s Inc.; and BG Gary M. Profit, U.S. Army (Retired), senior director, military programs, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

    Power Players

    The 25 individuals selected to the overall list, ranging from a United States Senator to a teenage fashion designer, represent power players, disruptors, givers, influencers and dreamers in the retail industry. All honorees will be recognized during the NRF Foundation’s Inaugural Gala on Jan. 11 at Pier Sixty in New York City. The Gala will bring together industry leaders and executives, students, and The List honorees to celebrate the imagination, inspiration and innovation at work in the retail industry today.

    “The List is about recognizing the power players, disruptors, givers, influencers and dreamers who are changing the face of retail – many doing so behind the scenes,” said NRF Senior VP and Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis. “Unlike in any other industry, people interact with retail every single day, and these 25 individuals are making today’s innovative, customer-centric and unique shopping experiences possible, collectively making up one of the most impressive groups of professionals in retail.

    “We are thrilled to be able to welcome The List honorees at our Gala to celebrate the incredible contributions they have made to our industry,” Davis continued.

    The other category honorees are as follows:

    Disruptors: True originals who rock the boat with ideas so crazy, they just might work. These are the people who make you rethink what you thought you knew about retail, opening you up to new possibilities for your customers, your business and your world: Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks; Rick J. Caruso, founder and CEO, Caruso Affiliated; Darrell Cavens, CEO, Zulily; Julia Fowler, co-founder, Editd; and Jeffery R. Sears, co-founder and CEO, Pirch.

    Dreamers: Rising stars who might be light on experience, but their heart, energy, and passion inspire everyone around them. They’re already making waves in their store, company or hometown with their fresh ideas, big dreams and sky-high goals—and lucky for us, they’re just getting warmed up: Kirsten Blowers Stuckey, owner, designer, buyer, ShopRiffraff.com; Jane Dailey, president, co-founder and fashion fairy godmother, Hollywood Fashion Secrets; Casey Gerald, co-founder and CEO, MBAs Across America; and Isabella Rose Taylor, fashion designer, artist and entrepreneur, Isabella Rose Taylor Fashions.

    Influencers: Champions of retail bridge the gap between the industry and the rest of the world. Whether they are a journalist, an activist, an innovator or a business leader, these nominees don’t work in retail—but they’re helping it evolve. They’re passionate, persistent and intelligent, and their work is paving the way for innovative retailers everywhere: Tom Buxton, president and CEO, Buxton Co.; U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, (D-Ill.); Tonian Hohberg, founder, president and CEO, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; David Moin, senior editor, retail, Women’s Wear Daily; and Deena Varshavskaya, founder and CEO, Wanelo.

    Power Players: Fearless leaders never shy away from what others may see as insurmountable challenges. These top retail executives have more than just elite status—they have vision, passion and heart. Their forward-looking decisions have a ripple effect across the industry, but they’re not afraid to take risks or push boundaries. They guide, inspire, and, most importantly, challenge us to move beyond the status quo: Margarita Arriagada, chief merchant, Sephora Inc.; Sona Chawla, president of digital and chief marketing officer, Walgreen Co.; Jim Gold, president and chief merchandising officer, Neiman Marcus; J. Paul Raines, CEO, GameStop; and Melissa Reiff, president and COO, The Container Store.

    The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail. 

     

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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