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More than 210 of Progressive Grocer’s 2015 Top Women in Grocery honorees flocked to Orlando to relish their accomplishments and accept engraved awards before a contingent of more than 450 industry luminaries, special guests and family members, all of whom came out to celebrate with and support the event’s recognized guests of honor.
Hosted by Jeff Friedman, brand director and Stagnito Business Information VP, and PG's Chief Content Editor Meg Major at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Top Women in Grocery marked its ninth year of recognizing the invaluable contributions of women from all walks of the retail food industry in three categories – Senior-Level Executives; Rising Stars; and Store Managers – with a dedicated daytime learning platform and gala evening awards celebration.
During the evening program, Meg Ham, president of Food Lion, accepted the 2015 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer Award, which recognizes a single executive whose leadership, vision and influence have helped break new ground for women in the retail food industry.
At the gala event, PG's Meg Major also bestowed the first-ever Top Women in Grocery Torchbearer Tribute – in recognition of a single company or brand that excels at building awareness for gender bias while offering relatable solutions to impart change – to P&G's Always brand's powerful #LikeAGirl multimedia campaign.
Produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, #LikeAGirl, originally launched online in the summer of 2014, set out to spark a viral fire about the power of words, and how the commonly used phrase, “like a girl” – often used as an insult – can have a significant effect on young girls’ self-confidence.
In her message to this year's Top Women in Grocery, who were chosen from a pool of more than 500 applicants, Major led the applause for the recipients who "are making a huge difference – not only in our industry – but also in the lives of the many people you serve on a daily basis. I recently heard someone say: 'Service is leadership; leadership is service.' And it's a fitting message to ponder tonight as we take time to celebrate the exceptional leadership and service abounding in the retail food industry, as evidenced by our special guests of honor."
As PG prepares to commemorate Top Women in Grocery's 10th anniversary in 2016, Major conveyed special appreciation to the program's stalwart retailer supporters from the outset, including The Kroger Co., Hy-Vee, Safeway/Albertsons, Ahold USA, Delhaize America, Giant Eagle, Supervalu and Tops Markets. "We're extremely proud of how far our program has come in the last decade, thanks to these forward-thinking industry leaders."
Noting the timeless adage – "Many are called; few are chosen" – Major said, "The same can be said for our past and present Top Women in Grocery recipients, who epitomize the defining traits of our platform, whose founding mission depicts that gender diversity isn’t merely just a nice thing to have, but is instead a strategic advantage on all fronts in an ever-competitive retail landscape."