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Sue Klug, SVP and CMO of Commerce, Calif.-based cooperative wholesaler Unified Grocers, was presented the Illuminators Educational Foundation 2013 Torch Award for her work in educating industry members both inside and outside of her company.
Klug was presented with the award at a dinner in her honor Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Hyatt Regency, Long Beach, Calif. The Torch Award is given to an individual in the grocery industry who advances education in his or her company and in the industry by example and leadership.
"The Illuminators does tremendous work in developing future industry leaders and I'm honored to receive such a prestigious award," said Klug. "I'm a firm believer in the value of continuous learning and professional development and I'm delighted to be recognized by an organization that shares my passion."
Throughout her career, Klug has dedicated herself to helping others learn and grow by initiating and actively supporting company and industry education and mentoring programs such as tuition reimbursement, the USC Food Industry Management and Executive programs and the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) Retail Management Certificate program. Her many leadership roles include co-founding the Southern California Chapter of the Network of Executive Women (2008), serving as Food Industry Executive in Residence at USC (2009) and establishing Unified Grocers' first ever Women's Resource Group (2013). She also serves as VP of the WAFC board of directors and is slated to become president in 2014.
"It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Sue on being named the Illuminators Educational Foundation 2013 Torch Award Honoree," said Vic Chiono, president, Illuminators Educational Foundation Board and VP of sales, West U.S., Coca Cola Refreshments. "Sue's passion for empowering people through education and ability to inspire higher levels of achievement has raised the bar for all of us and is making our industry and communities stronger every day. This is a well-deserved award."
Klug has been recognized numerous times for her accomplishments within the grocery industry. Among her recent recognitions were "Top Woman in Industry," Food Industries Sales Managers Club of Southern California (2012); "Top Women in Grocery," Progressive Grocer magazine (2011); "Bobbie O'Hare Award for Nation's Top Outstanding Regional Committee Member," NEW (2011); and "Humanitarian Award," California Conference for Equality and Justice (2007).
Founded in 1928, the Illuminators is an organization of vendors and suppliers serving the grocery industry through the California Grocers Association and WAFC. The group is dedicated to developing and enhancing key relationships within the grocery industry, providing opportunities for education and leadership, and supporting the Illuminators Educational Foundation. Each year, the Illuminators Educational Foundation offers scholarships to the most qualified and deserving high school seniors and college students with one or more years of undergraduate work remaining. To date, the Illuminators have provided more than $1.3 million in scholarships. The Torch Award Dinner benefits the Illuminators Educational Foundation.
Klug holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Industry Management and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She is also a 1984 graduate of the USC Food industry Management Program, and was selected by faculty and classmates as the "Student of the Year."