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Nearly 150 of Progressive Grocer’s 2013 Top Women in Grocery winners converged at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, Ill., to accept engraved awards before a record-setting crowd of more than 330 industry luminaries, special guests and family members, all of whom came from across the country to celebrate with the event’s recognized guests of honor.
During the gala celebration, Larree M. Renda, EVP of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, was honored as the recipient of the distinguished Trailblazer Award from PG and the Network of Executive Women (NEW). Established in 2012, the Trailblazer Award recognizes a single food industry executive whose leadership, vision and influence have had profound influences on blazing new trails for women in the retail food industry (see related story).
PG’s 2013 Top Women in Grocery awards program – hosted by PG publisher/Stagnito Media VP Jeff Friedman and chief content editor Meg Major, and emceed by Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin – marks the seventh year the leading grocery trade publication has recognized the invaluable contributions of women from all walks of the retail food industry in three categories: Senior-Level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers.
“As I look around the room this evening, I can’t help but marvel at the caliber of extraordinary women in the house,” Major said in her remarks to honorees. “The inspiring journeys that brought them here this evening for public recognition of their unique and very impressive contributions give us an up close and personal look at the many ways that remarkable women get things done.
“Until we have multitudes of women in positions of power and leadership in every business and industry,” Major added, “it will continue to be essential to recognize the important strides and firsts other women have reached, so that we can remain inspired and continue to forge ahead.”
Jane Hilk, EVP for enhancers and snack nuts at Kraft Foods Group, provided a special message to Top Women in Grocery winners on behalf of her company, the event’s Platinum Sponsor, whose products were prominently featured in the evening’s meal.
Other event sponsors included:
• Gold Sponsor/After-Dinner Dessert Party Sponsor: The Hershey Co.
• Gold Sponsor/Beauty Lounge: Procter & Gamble
• Gold Sponsor: Anheuser-Busch
• Trailblazer Award: PepsiCo
• Gold Sponsor/Wine: E&J Gallo Winery
• Silver Sponsor: Wahl Home Products
As the retail food industry’s premier women leadership awards program, PG’s Top Women in Grocery this year evolved from a dinner-only function to a value-added learning and networking experience for its guests of honor.
The afternoon sessions began with influential speaker Harold Lloyd, who delivered his insightful “Am I the Leader I Need to Be?” presentation. The second half of the Top Women in Grocery learning platform shifted into peer circle breakout discussions. Led by Mitzi Short, co-founder/managing partner of New Season Coaching & Consulting Group, the breakout discussions featured specific themed topics for participants to exchange top-of-mind issues with six leading women executives from some of the food industry’s most admired companies:
• Larree M. Renda, EVP, Safeway
• Judy Spires, President & CEO, Kings Food Markets
• Lynn Marmer, Group VP of Corporate Affairs, The Kroger Co.
• Michele G. Buck, President, North America, The Hershey Co.
• Jane Novak-Cook, Manager, Customer Business Development, Procter & Gamble
• Jan DeLyser, VP of Marketing, California Avocado Commission
Now in its seventh year, PG’s Top Women in Grocery awards program recognizes the integral role women play across all areas of the dynamic retail food industry.