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Larree M. Renda, Executive Vice President, Safeway Inc., was honored with the prestigious Trailblazer Award from Progressive Grocer and the Network of Executive Women (NEW), at the 2013 Top Women in Grocery gala celebration on Tues., Nov. 5, at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, Ill.
As a natural extension of its Top Women in Grocery awards program, PG launched the Trailblazer award in 2012 in tandem with NEW to recognize a single food industry executive whose leadership, vision and influence have had profound influences on breaking new ground for women in the retail food industry.
Renda has overall responsibility for a broad range of Safeway functions, including information technology, real estate, human resources, retail strategy, labor relations, public affairs, government relations, communications, health initiatives, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, philanthropy, and industrial engineering and re-engineering.
She also is a member of the board of directors of Casa Ley, Safeway’s joint venture in Mexico, and chairwoman of the board for the Safeway Foundation. Under Renda’s leadership, Safeway annually contributes more than $200 million to a range of charitable initiatives, including food banks, education, and breast and prostate cancer awareness and research, as well as other health services and organizations supporting people with disabilities.
Renda accepted her award from PG’s chief content editor Meg Major; NEW president/CEO Joan Toth; and Deanna Jurgens, VP/sales, PepsiCo.
“As Safeway’s first female EVP, Larree Renda personifies the essence of a Trailblazer,” Major said in presenting the award. “Credited as a pioneering champion of diversity within the company, Larree embarked her Safeway career at age 16, and remains an integral ingredient at the company nearly four decades later. As one of our industry’s top female executives and a Top Woman in Grocery in every sense of the word, Larree Renda has been instrumental in blazing new trails at both Safeway and the food industry.”
Added NEW’s Toth: “Larree epitomizes leadership and vision. The path that she has led has made the Safeway organization an employer of choice and a Catalyst award winner for excellence in programs for senior women.”
During her keynote acceptance remarks, Renda expressed profound gratitude for being chosen as the recipient of the PG/NEW 2013 Trailblazer award, which she accepted “on behalf of the countless women who blaze trails each day in the supermarket industry and throughout the business world. And what an absolutely amazing industry we are in. With this many fantastic women in this room tonight representing our industry, all I can say is, it’s about time this industry got it right!”
Noting that the food industry represents “the largest consumer base….day in and day out,” Renda said, “This industry is an absolutely natural place for women to work, advance and be incredibly successful. We are gaining in numbers. We are racking up awards and accolades and we are here to stay . . . there is no stopping us now.”
Renda expressed pride in following last year’s inaugural Trailblazer recipient, Lynn Marmer, group VP of corporate affairs at The Kroger Co.: “No one is more deserving, nor better personifies the spirit of the award, than Lynn.”
In closing, Renda congratulated “all of the Top Women in Grocery, who are in their companies, their communities, their families and, most importantly, in their own eyes, true Trailblazers. And I’d like to thank Progressive Grocer, for being the visionary organization that has made a significant investment in the future of our business and knows where our industry is going. The future is us.”