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06/15/2022

2022 Top Women in Grocery: Senior-Level Executives

Progressive Grocer honors this year's awards program winners in Senior-Level Execs category

Progressive Grocer’s 2022 Top Women in Grocery awards program recognizes the integral role women play across all segments of the North American food retail and grocery industries. This is the 16th year for the food retailing industry's longest running program recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of thousands of women at all levels in the industry.

Females employed in all sectors of the grocery industry – from the retailer, wholesaler, supplier and solution provider communities – were nominated for above-and-beyond achievements in subsequent categories:

  • Senior-Level Executives (titles of Vice President or higher)
  • Rising Stars (titles lower than Vice President and Area/Region Director)
  • Store Managers (titles of Store Manager/Director/Leader and Assistant Store Manager/Director/Leader)

The following are the Senior-Level Executives honored in this year’s Top Women in Grocery awards.

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TWIG 2022 Senior

Anne-Marie

Roerink President, 210 Analytics

  • A big believer in giving back who frequently provided new food entrepreneurs with valuable insights to kick-start their businesses, Roerink authored various must-read industry studies, including “The Power of Meat,” “The State of Treating” and “What’s New in Produce.”
  • During the pandemic, she teamed with IRI and other association partners to provide the food industry with free performance reports in the areas of meat, produce, deli, frozen and more, which have been widely covered in the trade press.
  • Outside of work, Roerink volunteered at local elementary schools, where she held monthly sessions highlighting fruits and vegetables.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Karey Murphy

SVP, Operational Finance, Acosta

  • Murphy was successful in leading and transforming some of the financial planning and analysis team’s responsibilities and focus areas, and she created a top client profitability model to help the organization start to understand gross margin and provide high-level guidance in focus areas.
  • Though in her latest role for only a short time, she helped to lead the sales organization to achieve more than 100% revenue and EBITDA budget attainment, and she participated in several key client contract negotiations to drive not only Acosta’s margin, but also client goals.
  • Murphy is a volunteer youth sports coach active in her children’s school programs.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Amanda Tomek

VP, Business Intelligence, Acosta

  • In the single biggest new client win of 2021, Tomek provided all of the insights, analytics and tools demonstration for a Fortune 100 company, presenting the insights in a fact-based but interesting, thought-provoking and actionable manner that provided a clear growth vision for the client.
  • She worked with IT to establish a dashboard giving all business development sellers a one-stop shop for outreach intel, eliminating the need for data pulling for every outreach.
  • As well as serving as a mentor for several Acosta associates, Tomek was a speaker at the 2022 Western Michigan University Food Marketing Conference this past March.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Jennifer Renaud

VP, Data Engineering and Operations, Acosta/Mosaic

  • Renaud successfully delivered many key initiatives to drive revenue growth and streamline operations, including the reduction of operating costs and the simplification of complexity for foundational IT initiatives; the next-generation capabilities realized about $200,000 in annualized processing savings on the data platform.
  • She also facilitated a vendor partnership to fund $800,000 toward strategic projects.
  • Renaud launched the IT Engagement Council, executing a series of events, including monthly IT newsletters, lunch-and-learn events, culture celebrations, and an annual BIG (Building IT Greatness) award ceremony.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Lucinda Williams

VP, Retail Commerce and Experience, Acosta/Mosaic

  • With live events and retail activations on hold because of COVID, Williams revamped the entire business unit, launching direct-to-consumer and online grocery sampling to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.
  • She negotiated a new contract deal with Loblaws that increased the retail program’s profitability and kicked off the first post-pandemic large retail sampling and experience program for the Canadian grocer’s holiday Insiders programming.
  • Williams led the successful effort to remain the agency of record for Walmart Canada, expanding services to include more omnichannel programming.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Betsi Gijanto

EVP, People, Talent and Culture, Advantage Solutions

  • Gijanto launched an Ambassador program designed to train, engage and retain the highest performers across the company.
  • Her Opportunity Knocks and Talent Matters content pieces — consisting of a newsletter, podcast and talent spotlights — celebrating talent achievements both in the field organizations and agency/sales corporate teams, created cross-company awareness of high performers, career opportunities and cultural value systems.
  • Gijanto chairs the Enterprise Culture Crew, which, in partnership with the DE&I board, works on solutions to critical workplace challenges.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Kayla Nyce

VP, Client Services, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services

  • Nyce helped drive revenue growth of 26.5%, decreased bad-debt allocations by more than 30%, and created processes to ensure accuracy and timely submission for all contracts, resulting in a forecast variation within 8% of actual revenue for most months.
  • She led a team to test a new operations platform that grew from infancy to fruition in 100-plus locations in under five months; initial testing showed a 3% sales lift for customers and a 700% increase in data collection at the retail level, with success attributable to her management and training.
  • Nyce was promoted to her current role directly because of the results of her work in 2021.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Erin Zeller

VP, HRBP/Talent Solutions, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services

  • During SAS’ acquisition of TNG Retail Services, which had an incredibly short window to close, Zeller made offers to many of TNG’s 7,000-plus employees; of those who were offered positions, 97% joined SAS.
  • She built a talent development team from the ground up to future-proof the company for today’s talent war; the new-hire orientation alone has driven a 23% increase in new hires making it to stores on day one and doubled the overall retention of those new hires making it to day one.
  • In recognition of her efforts, Zeller was promoted from senior director — human resources to her current role.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Cindy Denton

VP, K-12 Sales, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint

  • Denton successfully realigned the business unit amid the loss of 20% of the team due to the Great Resignation, in addition to personnel loss to a former client; the realignment led to more a more effective and efficient operation through the elimination of positions that could be covered, without risk of loss, by an existing position.
  • She led the Waypoint K-12 execution team in 19% year-over-year growth — 5% over the annual business plan — for Land O’Lakes.
  • Denton developed various client advisory committees, providing insights, segment intelligence and guidance to clients for increased sales and connectivity within the K-12 segment.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Traci Mangiapane

VP, Client Teams, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint

  • While driving sales successfully in the Southeast region, Mangiapane, who brings to her current role extensive experience gained at Maple Leaf Foods, Smithfield Foods’ Farmland division, Starbucks and Ecolab, was able to onboard Waypoint’s largest client in 2021.
  • Her team leadership and management of client relationships resulted in the company’s Southeast sales division being responsible for 34% of overall revenue.
  • Apart from her demanding job duties, Mangiapane led the Waypoint Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, in addition to the Women’s Interactive Network Enrichment Committee at Advantage Solutions.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Marianne Shick

VP, Client Teams, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint

  • An accessible and supportive manager, Shick was recognized as a Top 5 Zone Director in the country for Land O’Lakes and selected to attend its annual award trip.
  • She created a national sales validation program — typically unheard of for brokers — to help her sales team members learn how to better serve their operator, sell a client’s core items, and ask for and validate the sale.
  • In addition to being chair of the Women’s Interactive Network at Advantage Solutions, Shick serves as a church elder and a volunteer at Maryland New Directions, a group changing lives through employment.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Brittni Furrow

VP, Health and Sustainability, Ahold Delhaize USA

  • Thanks to Furrow’s group, Ahold Delhaize USA companies launched a circular-economy strategy to reduce plastic impact and are on target to reduce total food waste by 50% by 2030.
  • In addition to partnering with HowGood to launch a digital environmental and social impact rating system for retail brands, her team joined with Flashfood to give customers access to more fresh food at reduced prices.
  • Under Furrow’s leadership, a proprietary nutrition guidance program to help shoppers choose healthier products reached 70 million people and generated 4 million impressions by parents.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Natasha Brinegar

VP of Category Management, Center Store, Food Lion

  • Brinegar’s team kept stores stocked during the pandemic by sourcing new products and suppliers while striving to keep prices affordable; she leveraged a deeper local assortment to increase center store local sales by more than 50% in 2021. 
  • As the lead in the Ahold Delhaize USA strategic cost and savings design initiative, she helped design and implement new commercial planning activities for all five Ahold Delhaize USA brands.
  • Her passion for eliminating food insecurity led her to become VP of the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation board of directors.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Karen Fernald

Fresh Category, Merchandising and Pricing, Food Lion

  • Fernald worked with teams across all Ahold Delhaize brands and their key suppliers to improve efficiencies, share knowledge and best practices, and drive improved outcomes for all; this led to a more than 17% uptick in fresh sales.
  • Focusing on bolstering local suppliers, she added local vendors across the state footprint and grew local sales by more than 20% in 2021.
  • Fernald’s aggressive plan to grow private-brand sales and units, as well as healthy sales, introduced many new items, reformulated ingredients, and built strong promotional and merchandising plans.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Valarie Wallace

VP, Communications, Food Lion

  • For the six months she held her comms role and headed up DE&I, Wallace used the opportunity to leverage synergies between the two roles, and built a multimedia communications campaign that showcased associates telling their stories of belonging at Food Lion.
  • She launched a series of three-minute videos that educated associates on key business initiatives while interviewees shared a few personal fun facts about themselves; the series was created to inform as well as to unite associates working apart during the pandemic.
  • Under Wallace’s leadership, Food Lion’s Associate Giving Campaign raised more than $100,000 to help local neighbors in need.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Glennis Harris

SVP of Customer Experience, The Giant Co.

  • Harris oversaw the opening of four stores, the launch of an innovative e-commerce center, and the reopening of the company’s flagship Philadelphia store after it sustained significant flood damage due to Hurricane Ida.
  • She provided the framework for identifying, assessing and mitigating the effects of any crisis event that could jeopardize the health and safety of employees or customers, or cause a disruption to critical services to customers. 
  • Harris and her team were responsible for expanding the Flashfood program, with more than 1 million pounds of food being diverted from landfills, and 80 stores achieving zero-waste status.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Julie Morales

VP of Finance and CFO, The Giant Co.

  • Morales has achieved four years of consecutive sales growth as well as strong comparable-store sales performance for the past four years, which led to her being named CFO of the Year by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
  • She also oversaw significant investments in e-commerce that led to 20% more sales growth in fiscal year 2021 and cycling sales growth by more than 150% over the prior year.
  • Morales serves on the board of the Urban League of Philadelphia; due to her focus on initiatives designed to feed families, develop the city’s workforce, and lead Philadelphia into the future, The Giant Co. received the league’s Community Award last year.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Stephanie Schepp 

Chief of Staff and VP of Portfolio Management, Retail Business Services

  • Schepp developed new portfolio management capabilities to partner with current project management organizations, including a stronger focus on where there are interdependencies, resource challenges and other key risks.
  • She also worked closely with Retail Business Services’ president, leaders of human resources and communications to establish a new operating model for the company’s leadership.
  • Schepp serves as the business resource group executive sponsor for Conexion, the Hispanic, Latino and allies group at Retail Business Services, and has donated many hours of pro bono consulting to local nonprofits in the greater Chicago area.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Christy Duncan-Anderson

President, Executive Director, Albertsons Cos.

  • Rather than buying holiday dinners for people in need, Duncan-Anderson revamped the company’s meal program to give families gift cards so that they could purchase the food their family needs and wants, while providing relief to nonprofits that struggle to manage inventory.
  • Her updated program design resulted in more money raised — more than $40 million — and doubled the meals provided: 4.7 million versus 2.2 million if the company had kept the previous program. 
  • Duncan-Anderson is vice chair of the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation and VP of philanthropy at the Pleasanton, Calif., chapter of the National Charity League.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Ramiya Iyer

SVP, Digital, Data, Merchandising and RX Technology, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Besides quickly implementing pharmacy technology solutions, Iyer led the acceleration of e-commerce fulfillment technology with the Acupick platform to improve the order hand-off process, add click-and-collect capabilities, and reduce picking time.
  • She led the large project of uniting multiple shopping and loyalty apps into one unified mobile application to provide a holistic customer journey across retail brick-and-mortar and digital.
  • Iyer developed a Women in Tech group at Albertsons to provide guidance and development on key growth areas; she also hosts high school internships for underprivileged kids via Oakland Promise while mentoring those hoping to pursue STEM careers.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Allison Jennings

VP, Food Safety, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • While sitting on food safety working groups for the Global Food Safety Initiative and the Consumer Brands Association, Jennings developed a strategy to validate e-commerce chill-chain models, including lab validation of the micro-fulfillment center tote and icepack staging process. 
  • She and her team standardized temperature-monitoring tasks across the company to help shift from manual temperature logging in stores to a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer-and-iPad solution.
  • Amid helping to improve food safety focus areas, Jennings led the analytics team to develop a customer feedback dashboard that filters complaints by food safety and quality topics to provide insights into operations’ controllable metrics. 
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Jennifer Jesser

VP, Finance and Analytics, Own Brands, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • In addition to Jesser’s full-time job, she was the project lead for the conversion of 27 newly acquired Balducci’s and Kings Stores, pulling together many cross-functional teams to integrate these two chains into the company’s operations.
  • She led a project to find the right cloud-based platform to migrate actions for Own Brands, which led to solving issues in such areas as project management, regulatory compliance, packaging specifications, quality assurance, item master files and product specifications. 
  • Jesser was instrumental in developing a plan to achieve sustainability goals for Own Brands, which included immediate action to add How2Recycle information to all packaged product labels. 
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Debora Steier

VP, Floral, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

  • Steier created the company’s first online store-level training tool and expanded its fresh local flowers footprint nationwide to encourage online sales. 
  • She was the driver behind the company’s “Life in Bloom” TV segments, a plastic reduction initiative for floral, and the development of the Debi Lilly brand. 
  • In addition to exceeding projections across various aspects of the floral business, Steier is the floral executive leadership chair at the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) and is on the committee for marketing the floral industry in partnership with IFPA and the Society of American Florists.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

LaDonna Hale

VP, Albertsons Cos./Manufacturing Sales

  • Responsible for sales of about $1 billion at 20 facilities, Hale developed sales strategies and data-based approaches to drive positive EBITDA at Albertsons’ manufacturing facilities. 
  • In the transition from a transaction-based organization to a data-based one, she led her team to capture 15 new customers, add nearly 4% volume growth in outside sales, boost net sales by $12 million and execute a liability improvement project that saved more than $1 million.  
  • Hale developed Wellness Recess activities for members of the Boise chapter of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network at Albertsons.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Teresa Whitney

VP, National Merchandising, Albertsons Cos./Merchandising 

  • Whitney oversaw national merchandising and strategy for dairy/refrigerated and frozen categories across 2,300 stores; this is Albertsons’ largest business unit, with $8.5 billion in annual sales.
  • She joined the new national merchandising team at its inception, taking the lead to grow market share and execute a new enterprise-wide marketing/merchandising campaign with a revenue target of $36 million.
  • Whitney is active in the Imagination, Diversity, Equity Awareness (IDEA) Council and NextUp, and is on the board of the Idaho Food Bank; she was also chosen to participate in the Cornell Food Executive Program.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Ronila Black

VP, Human Resources, Albertsons Cos./Southern California Division

  • With oversight of talent, culture, learning and development at the Southern California division, Black implemented a new talent acquisition partner to support staffing and created a tracking system that included hiring needs in one document; thanks to these and other efforts, the division lowered its average number of openings at stores by 40.
  • She also had a busy year launching the division diversity council and adding two resource groups.
  • Black is active in NextUp, the Women of Color Advisory Council, and the SoCal executive board of Albertson’s Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Michelle Larson

Division President, Albertsons Cos./Southwest Division

  • Larson led her team through the pandemic by ensuring that stores were clean and sanitized, and kept associates safe through temperature-gauging health kiosks before each shift, and team huddles dedicated to safety protocols.
  • She placed an emphasis on associate recognition through weekly team member spotlights, job promotion announcements and promoting the company’s Day For U initiative.
  • Larson helped build five highly productive associate resource groups for her division, including the Southwest Division Diversity and Inclusion Council and the African-American Leadership Council.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Carrie Quigley

SVP, Professional Services, Applied Data Corp. (ADC)

  • Quigley’s strong market knowledge and a background in grocery IT allowed her to work seamlessly with internal teams and ADC’s global customer base. 
  • Leading a team of more than 15 employees focused on supporting customers, she quickly established governance providing standard methodologies, processes and tools to effectively manage, schedule and measure the quality of service delivery for clients.
  • Away from work, in addition to her activities with the SpartanNash Helping Hands Day, Quigley serves as a board member for the technical advisory council of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Heather DeLuca

VP, Meat Merchandising, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG)

  • Managing more than $4 billion in retail sales across fresh meat, processed meat, frozen meat and seafood, DeLuca led the category analysis team, buying teams, vendor relations and program development.
  • Her keen ability to evaluate situations and develop strategies based on individual circumstances spurred her to shift from traditional meat and seafood merchandising to a strategy based on analytics, data insights and changing consumer needs.
  • Despite industry challenges, DeLuca maintained a calm demeanor and led with grace and humility.
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TWIG 2022 Senior

Stephanie Bazan

VP, Shopper and Trade Marketing, Avocados From Mexico

  • Thanks to the recent innovations and hard work executed by Bazan’s team, avocado penetration across the United States hit a record high and purchase frequency saw a 30% lift over the past five years.
  • She led the company’s first branded bag packaging program, as well as its first-ever cause-related initiative on a branded bag, and also spearheaded the first-of-its-kind  “2021 Shopper Journey Study.”
  • Bazan’s work in the Dallas marketing community was recognized by the American Advertising Federation, and she’s a volunteer on the International Fresh Produce Association’s Marketing Council.
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TWIG 2022 SENIOR

Cammie Chatterton

Owner, President and CEO, Bay Food Brokerage

  • One of the first women in the country to start a food brokerage, Chatterton led her company to achieve substantial growth in the past year — remarkable during a period including a global pandemic and major disruptions to the supply chain that have greatly affected the food industry.
  • Managing accounts for meat, seafood, dairy and deli clients, primarily in partnership with Publix Super Markets, she facilitated a 24.6% increase in annual revenue year over year from 2020 to 2021.
  • Chatterton is on the board of directors for the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce as well as the Get Live 45 Foundation, and works with nonprofit organization Feeding Tampa Bay.
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TWIG 2022 SENIOR

Lori Hall

SVP, Assortment Planning and Allocation, BJ’s Wholesale Club

  • Hall completed a major upgrade of demand-planning, replenishment and fulfillment capabilities to help enable higher planner productivity, better inventory management, and an improved understanding of demand drivers and customer behavior.
  • She also put all categories onto a planogram solution while keeping clubs well stocked, and rolled out curbside pickup to all stores amid the pandemic.
  • Passionate about talent development, Hall serves as one of the leaders for BJ’s young business professionals, having mentored several people throughout the organization, and has served on the Food Industry Council for the Greater Boston Food Bank since 2010.
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twig 2022 SENIOR

Sharon Brown

President and Co-Founder, Bonafide Provisions

  • In 2021, Brown created the first and only plant-based vegetable broth made from 100% organic vegetables, which helped persuade a leading national retailer to bring in the company’s shelf-stable broth innovation.
  • Bonafide Provisions hit 1 million views on social media, thanks to her unique approach to branded marketing, which reached beyond just selling products to also provide value-first content focused on total body wellness and on food as medicine.
  • Brown sits on the company’s board of directors and holds the controlling stake of the board, and her company’s new product was named among Progressive Grocer’s 2021 Editors’ Picks.
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TWIG 2022 SENIOR

Shannon Corbett

SVP, Sales, Bowery Farming

  • Building the go-to-market channel and customer strategy for Bowery, Corbett led the effort to identify white space and penetrate new customers and channels with a solution-oriented mindset.
  • She worked closely with her executive leadership team and senior peers as both a thought and business partner, playing an important role in the future growth and profitability of the business.
  • Corbett is a leader within the company’s career development program for women; a member of NextUp and the International Fresh Produce Association: Women in Fresh; and, outside the industry, a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Sarah Christiansen 

VP, Shopper Insights and Category Leadership, Campbell Snacks, Campbell Soup Co.

  • Christiansen instituted an integrated tactical planning process, redefined the customer and region sales communications platform, and developed the first-ever Campbell Snacks category reset scorecard, which provides a real-time executive summary of the reset changes for the company’s most strategic retailers.
  • She led the development of critical selling materials, including annual operating plan toolkits covering all key drive periods and sales communications.
  • Christiansen was a sponsor in the Black Resource Group and led a monthly mentoring circle of women from various parts of the the sales organization.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Nicola McGuckien 

VP, Sales, Direct Grocery, Meals & Beverages, Campbell Soup Co.

  • Under McGuckien’s leadership, Campbell executed its first joint business plan with H-E-B and implemented its first strategic joint-business plan framework with Ahold Delhaize USA; she later successfully achieved all joint-business planning targets with her respective customers.
  • She instituted significant game-changers, among them scorecarding, more frequent conversations with business partners, and a focus on cross-functional relationships beyond sales.
  • Outside of work, she helps lead her children’s youth soccer teams within the Philadelphia region and is an active member of the Colonial School parent teacher organization.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Leticia Espinoza 

Chief Legal Officer, Cardenas Markets LLC

  • Espinoza built a culture and structure of customer service to the departments she oversaw and fostered a true partnership with the operational departments throughout the organization, she also succeeded in her efforts to stay at the front of COVID compliance efforts in each community where the company operates.
  • Through her leadership, she aligned all regulatory compliance audits under one field team with a focus on compliance, prevention and training.
  • Espinoza is actively involved in, and sits on the board of directors of, the Cardenas Markets Foundation, a nonprofit organization noted for its charitable efforts that positively affect the lives of those living in Cardenas’ market area.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Darla Sebastian 

VP Special Projects, Cardenas Markets LLC

  • Sebastian introduced technology-driven projects to reduce costs and increase efficiency, such as automated supply inventory processing that resulted in cost savings through reduced labor hours.
  • She also rolled out a computer-generated ordering solution across all stores to reduce store shrink and improve inventory turnover, and a new business intelligence solution for reporting and analytics that provided the visibility and tools for the business to react to consumer behavior changes.
  • Sebastian served as a coach and mentor to her team, and was able to foster a strong partnership with other business areas to gain support for, and acceptance of, changes being introduced.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Shonna Lea Williams 

VP of Produce, Cardenas Markets LLC

  • Williams’ increased focus on floral sales and merchandising led to double-digit growth in that category and a complete reimagining of 100% of the store departments with a fresh merchandising layout and design.
  • She also revamped Cardenas’ quality control function with new leadership and discipline in this area, resulting in higher levels of freshness and product appeal that drove higher sales and reduced shrink.
  • Williams has served as the produce and floral golf chairman at the City of Hope Cancer Foundation for the past six years, raising more than $1.1 million for research, and sits on the board of directors for the Fresh Produce and Floral Council. 
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TWIG 2022 senior

Josey Chandler 

COO, Chandlers Inc.

  • During 2021, Chandler started up Chandlers’ online shopping program/app program, which has resonated with customers, and oversaw growth of the company’s retail sales by 4% over 2020.
  • She achieved this while overseeing all of Chandlers’ day-to-day operations, which included advertising, accounting, human resources, finance, retail sales, compliance, staffing, budgets and all business relations. 
  • Chandler is a strong supporter of RISE UP Christian services in Mississippi’s Choctaw and Webster counties, and during the holidays, she assists the county libraries in Clinton and Ackerman Miss., in decorating, as well as donating to their children’s programs.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Susan Stading 

VP, Customer Leadership, The Coca-Cola Co./North America Operating Unit

  • Stading guided her team to prioritize the order management process by facilitating tightly controlled monitoring routines with supply chain, commercial and network partners through implementation of price changes, promotional adjustments and SKU optimization.
  • She added natural channel responsibilities inside her team and led the consolidated portfolio transition to a single sales agency, which required an accelerated approach to education, network wiring and customer engagement.
  • Stading’s charitable endeavors include being a donor to, and supporter of, the Houston Children’s Charity and the Braveheart Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Christie Warren 

Group Director, Category Leadership, Kroger, The Coca-Cola Co./North America Operating Unit

  • Warren enabled delivery of $2 billion in sales for the Coca-Cola Kroger team, including $133 million in sales growth, which exceeded both the internal plan and the customer joint-business plan.
  • She dramatically expanded single-serve beverage cold availability, a critical Coca-Cola objective, and led the insights and planogram-writing process that resulted in the installation of 1,715 Coca-Cola beverage coolers at Kroger.
  • Warren elevated Coca-Cola’s thought leadership at Kroger by creating multicultural and Gen Z insights presentations; outside of work, she’s the co-chair for University of Cincinnati Student Outreach and a NextUp member.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Nawshi Williams

VP, Analytics and Insights, CROSSMARK

  • In July 2021, Williams led the company’s digital transformation with the creation of Accelerator, an advanced analytics platform that gives sales managers instantaneous access to necessary information related to clients and customers.
  • With data queries returned in seconds and usage rates in the 99.7% range, Accelerator is expected to create a 30% efficiency shift from non-value-added redundant reporting to high-value analytics; initial tests show a 2% to 4% improvement in sales profit, driven by higher incremental sales and better promotional efficiency.
  • In November 2021, Williams received the Path to Purchase Institute’s Women of Excellence Award for technology.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Dr. Theon Danet

CIO/Director of Information Technology, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

  • Charged with leading — and accelerating — DeCA’s global digital transformation, Danet worked to modernize the online platform, including the deployment of technology to support the next-generation digital shelf, dynamic order fulfillment and secure online payments.
  • By leveraging cloud technology and an industry-leading platform, she decreased rollout costs from an anticipated $51.7 million to $5.9 million, and the deployment timeline dropped from an estimated seven years to six months.
  • Danet tapped external U.S. Treasury partners to design an interim process until online-payment software was installed.
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2022 TWIG senior

Tracey Herrmann

SVP, Channel Innovation, Dollar General Corp.

  • Herrmann was responsible for overall leadership as it related to trends, competition and market share at pOpshelf, a concept billed as a “fun, alternative shopping experience,” with most items priced at $5 or less; she grew pOpshelf to more than 55 free-standing stores, and 14 store-within-a-store formats within DG Market locations.
  • She built a work environment fostering commitment, energy and execution.
  • Thanks to Herrmann, pOpshelf has exceeded expectations in sales and gross margin; the company plans to accelerate store openings, adding about 1,000 locations by the end of 2025, including 100 by the end of 2022.
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2022 TWIG senior

Jill Bommarito

CEO and Founder, Ethel’s Bakery LLC

  • Bommarito launched a new 19,000-square-foot bakery facility, increasing space by 600% and growing sales by 2.2 times during the first part of the year.
  • She recruited several seasoned bakery and food industry executives from large organizations, including a director of operations, a VP of sales, a quality control manager, a plant engineer and a director of HR; this enabled Ethel’s to complete American Institute of Baking certification and become Safe Quality Food Certified.
  • Despite COVID-related challenges, Ethel’s met 100% of orders on time, with an overall price decrease to the market, and is on track to double growth in 2022.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Kerry Farrell

SVP Sales and Customer Success, Eversight

  • Farrell helped to more than double Eversight’s growth; she assisted customers and prospects in navigating huge changes, including inflation, the rise of retail media, shifting shopper behavior and the omni-commerce explosion.
  • Leading a pilot program involving more than a dozen top CPG companies, she harnessed the combined powers of Advantage Solutions’ store-level execution and Eversight’s Offer Innovation Suite to accelerate trade promotion innovation.
  • Another partnership, this one between Eversight and SAP, allows retailers to leverage data in SAP’s Customer Activity Repository in combination with Eversight’s artificial-intelligence capabilities to “supercharge” revenue performance. 
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TWIG 2022 senior

Kathryn Tuttle

Chief Marketing Officer, Farmer Focus

  • Having transformed Farmer Focus from a regional supplier to a rapidly growing natural and organic chicken brand available in 2,500 stores, Tuttle continued to pursue a marketing-led innovation strategy and thought leadership-focused public relations, including influential placement in media outlets.
  • Her efforts caught the attention of President Biden, who invited Farmer Focus’ CEO to attend his roundtable discussion on competition in the meat industry earlier this year.
  • Tuttle also oversaw product innovation: A new pre-seasoned chicken line achieved placement at Harris Teeter, Kroger and FreshDirect, and also received two NEXTY Awards as an impactful organic product.
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twig 2022 senior

Jennelle Nystrom

Head of Product, Farmstead

  • Nystrom shone brightly during a difficult year, helping Farmstead penetrate four new markets: Chicago, Miami, and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; she was also instrumental in launching a new “starter pack” of fresh local SKUs whose basket ring is $60 to $70. 
  • Through reviewing, identifying and taking action on data and analytics, she adroitly navigated challenges and opportunities.
  • Nystrom led in researching, evaluating and managing Farmstead’s digital platform to create features that meet users’ needs; by developing a personalization function that lets customers suggest their favorite local products for consideration, she helped further grow basket size, and she also launched an Android app.
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twig 2022 senior

Carol Abel

VP of Education Program Development, FMI — The Food Industry Association

  • In the face of COVID-19, Abel created high-impact virtual events and interactive online forums that set an industry standard for these types of initiatives, and her work on a new vision for education programming at FMI was seen as a model for others to follow. 
  • She also collaborated with her team to reschedule the 2022 Midwinter program and relaunch the event for March 2022.
  • Thanks to Abel, FMI’s Future Leaders eXperience virtual platform engaged almost 250 up-and-coming leaders, with 200 participants earning a Food Retail Leader Certificate based on the skills that they gained through these sessions, which took place over three months.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Renee Dawson-Pilat

Regional Business Leader, Giant Eagle Inc.

  • In only six months in her current position, Dawson-Pilat played an important role in successfully promoting nine employees to team leader roles and had an additional 28 employees who were ready to enter the Team Leader Development Program.
  • She increased same-store sales by nearly 5% over last year and surpassed budgeted sales by more than 4%, beating her EBITDA budget by more than 100%.
  • Dawson-Pilat spearheaded the zero plastic bag initiative that was rolled out in the Bexley, Ohio, community and been instrumental in the company’s Flashfood pilot program in the Columbus area to sell close-dated foods at a reduced price.
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twig 2022 senior

Rochelle Seideneck

VP, Digital, Giant Eagle Inc.

  • Seideneck and her team launched a third-party marketplace with more than 100 sellers to add significantly more ship-to-home assortment options for customers; the company receives a percentage of each sale, and customers receive loyalty points.
  • She created dynamic site content, enhanced digital shelf management, and delivered more targeted, relevant content to drive up conversion rates, all of which contributed to more than doubling curbside pickup and delivery income.
  • The changes that Seideneck has made to the e-commerce platform have resulted in improved customer satisfaction when it comes to being able to find the items that they want.
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twig 2022 senior

Voni Woods

VP — Deli, Bakery, Prepared Foods, Giant Eagle Inc.

  • Woods’ passionate leadership led to double digit-growth in two of the categories that she oversees, and a strong gain of 6% in the third, which exceeded top- and bottom-line goals.
  • She developed a strategic plan to rebuild prepared foods after the pandemic closures, including an innovative and differentiated bakery product assortment and a new Deli in a Hurry program that resulted in double-digit sales growth of self-serve.
  • Woods was invited to Le Residence of the French Ambassador of the United States to be inducted into the Guilde Internationale Des Fromagers as a LeGarde Du Seau, and is permanently enshrined by number and signature.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Nora Schaper

President/Chief Growth Officer/Co-Founder, HiBAR

  • Schaper was recently promoted in recognition of her leadership, ability to rapidly grow the business, organizational skills and impact on all facets of the organization, which manufactures natural hair care products.
  • Under her guidance, HiBAR has become the best-selling solid shampoo and conditioner in the grocery market today, available in more than 11,000 stores across the United States, with plans to expand into Canada this year.
  • Schaper is a member of the Grove Collaborative Plastic working group, helping brands decrease their dependence on plastic, discussing and moving forward legislation to limit plastic pollution, and brainstorming and collaborating on ways that brands can eliminate plastic.
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TWIG 2022

Deanna Brady

EVP-Refrigerated Foods, Hormel Foods

  • Under Brady’s leadership, Hormel’s refrigerated foods group net sales grew to $6.4 billion in fiscal 2021, up from $5.3 billion the year prior, and the team also developed its food-forward strategy to help achieve key results.
  • She’s been instrumental in championing the company’s cultural beliefs and inclusion and diversity efforts as the executive sponsor for the HIRE (Hormel Integrating Relevant Experiences) employee resource group, which provides an internal network for new hires to learn about the organization.
  • As a registered dietitian, Brady led efforts within the organization to advance health, wellness and nutrition initiatives, including within the company’s product portfolio.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Elisa Sloss

VP, HealthMarkets and Dietitians, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • Sloss led the implementation of a virtual dietitian services platform in English and Spanish that expanded Hy-Vee’s reach beyond its traditional eight-state footprint, resulted in great engagement and return on investment, and is expected to continue growing well beyond the pandemic.
  • Her team worked closely with government entities to provide nutritional support to underserved populations, such as partnering with the Iowa Department of Aging to offer free nutrition counseling sessions to Iowans ages 60 and up.
  • Sloss oversees Hy-Vee’s participation in Iowa’s Double Up Food Bucks program, which connects low-income families with nutritious produce grown by local farmers in the state.
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twig 2022 senior

Georgia Van Gundy

EVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Hy-Vee Inc.

  • During one of the most tumultuous times in U.S. labor history, new benefits that Van Gundy and her team introduced to attract and retain employees have grown Hy-Vee’s employment by nearly 7% since April 2021.
  • She helped spearhead Hy-Vee’s new flex workforce, designed to attract employees on an as-needed basis; currently, more than 6,800 flex employees can choose their schedules based on the demand in their designated market.
  • Van Gundy’s team developed a pharmacy technician apprenticeship that provides on-the-job training to become certified to administer vaccinations while reducing the workload on Hy-Vee’s pharmacists.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Asha Sharma

COO, Instacart

  • Sharma’s team rolled out various features in the Instacart app to make online grocery more affordable, among them free delivery options, a Dollar Store destination, and a “Deals Tab,” a digital reimagination of the traditional grocery circular.
  • Under her leadership, Instacart has done much to digitize EBT/SNAP programs that make online grocery more accessible for needy families, with more than half of all federally approved retailers having received their EBT/SNAP online certification on the platform.
  • Beyond work, Sharma sits on the boards of Porch Group, a home-focused vertical software platform, and AppLovin, which enables developers to market, monetize, analyze and publish their apps.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Joan Driggs

VP of Content and Thought Leadership, IRI

  • In response to COVID-19’s profound impact, Driggs’ leadership reports addressed such subjects as vaccine adoption and mobility, changes to in-home care and self-care, the pandemic’s influence on innovation, and global economic trends and supply chain disruptions, identifying new growth opportunities and risk mitigation approaches while illustrating winning strategies. 
  • She also reported on larger CPG trends, including private brands, front end merchandising, New Product Pacesetters and understanding Gen Z.
  • Driggs is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago, which aims to elevate women in the food and beverage and hospitality industries.
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Barbara Connors

VP, Commercial Insights, The Kroger Co./84.51°

  • After the commercial insights organization had experienced several years of minimal growth, Connors returned it to strength, producing 10% growth, and led the business into new sectors such as agencies.
  • She helped bring innovative solutions to market through partnerships with the technology and science teams, including 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, a first-of-its-kind solution from 84.51° that has immediately reshaped its position in the market. 
  • Connors helped achieve net promoter score growth of 59 points for a flagship commercial product, 84.51° Stratum, and launch 12 new commercial solutions and four new tech offerings. 
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Kelli McGannon

Corporate Affairs Regional Director, The Kroger Co./Corporate Affairs

  • McGannon played an essential role in the healing process for associates and the community following a deadly mass shooting at a Boulder, Colo., King Soopers store, holding vigils and offering grief counseling.
  • As well as working to ratify five key union contracts, she and her team took on two more divisions, guiding them through government and media campaigns while helping to maintain associate morale and providing coaching and development.
  • McGannon worked with her teams to modernize outdated alcohol laws and build e-commerce distribution, and she supported the League of Minority Voters in Oregon to help safeguard voting rights.
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Rita Williams

Director of Economic Development, The Kroger Co./General Office-Tax

  • By meeting with government representatives, Williams negotiated $15 million in financial offsets to support new market projects while providing community support.
  • She collaborated with the city of Daytona, Fla., and Kroger Delivery on the first-ever food delivery service in the area, organizing local economic development teams to sponsor Kroger Delivery that resulted in brand awareness, increased sales, and a long-term partnership with the city and the Daytona 500. 
  • Williams provided the IT and Kroger DownTime teams with financial support for training initiatives by leveraging state reimbursements, leading to an annual savings of $600,000.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Emily Hartmann

Senior Director, Brand Marketing, The Kroger Co./Marketing

  • Since joining Kroger in 2018, Hartmann has overseen the development of several brand and sub-brand strategies, including the Fresh for Everyone creative campaign aimed at driving business growth; she also headed up the grocer’s social media team.
  • Among other accomplishments, she aided in a third year of increased marketing contribution to sales; propelled strong return on investment in marketing endeavors; debuted the company’s first brand icon, the Fresh Cart; and led a team that introduced the Kroger “Chefbot” on Twitter. 
  • Hartmann is a board member for Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation.
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TWIG 2022 senior

Shannon Toth

VP, Meat and Seafood, The Kroger Co./Meat and Seafood Merchandising

  • Recently promoted to guide strategic merchandising plans for the $12.5 billion meat and seafood group, Toth focused on innovation and partnerships with key suppliers. 
  • Before her promotion, she was VP of operations for Roundy’s, where she led the division to year-over-year improvements in fresh shrink; in her current position, she oversaw strategies that spurred new programs, products and line extensions, such as premium options and grab-and-go bowls. 
  • Toth established the Women’s Edge associate resource group as an executive sponsor at Roundy’s, growing the pipeline of female leaders in store management positions. 
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twig 2022 senior

Ashley Caldwell

Senior Director, Department Promotional Planning, The Kroger Co./Merchandising

  • Caldwell implemented an initiative to prioritize space in household cleaning sets, increasing in-store and promotional presence on key disinfectant items, which resulted in sales of all cleaning categories finishing 8.83% ahead of the budget.
  • She led an initiative to increase the importance of pet needs that resulted in pet department sales that were 12.12% above the budget.
  • Caldwell introduced new sales plan events, including the first Kroger gift card event and Buy 2 Save $10 events, to drive large-pack sales across the entirety of all merchandising departments; both event types drove significant increases in sales.
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twig 2022 senior

Jennifer Lien

Senior Director, Accelerated Delivery, The Kroger Co./Merchandising

  • Under Lien’s leadership, floral achieved a sales increase equivalent to the last five years of growth combined, and she helped grow all customer key performance indicators, which were driven by higher household engagement within the floral department.
  • She launched floral delivery, updated systems and processes to allow product to be sold online, partnered with social influencers and executed multiple tests in the space, including order-ahead and balloons for pickup.
  • Lien implemented labor solutions to support outdoor selling for additional weeks each year and created new selling events during non-holiday weeks.
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twig 2022 senior

Maggie Glacken

Director, Digital Experience, The Kroger Co./Technology and Digital

  • In recognition of her work to provide a seamless digital experience across all web and mobile platforms and ensure that front end digital platforms represent the brand, Glacken was promoted to a senior director in early 2022.
  • She effectively managed the retailer’s online digital presence as Kroger opened its first customer fulfilment center in Groveland, Fla., in a market without an existing physical store; she also visualized the concepts for the successful launch of a new partnership with Instacart and an e-commerce collaboration with Bed, Bath and Beyond. 
  • Under Glacken’s leadership, team members formed the Digital Experience Diversity Committee in 2021.
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twig 2022 senior

Lynette Ackley

VP, Fresh, Meijer

  • Due to be inducted into the Top Women in Grocery Hall of Fame this year, Ackley demonstrated leadership as she steered merchandising and financial operations for Meijer’s multibillion-dollar fresh division.  
  • Her team delivered a record year, with sales 10% over plan in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 alone; she successfully navigated supply chain upheaval and developed several long-term initiatives, among them launching a new premium own-brand label, expanding prepared food offerings, increasing offerings from local and diverse suppliers, and maximizing self-manufacturing capabilities. 
  • Ackley is a member of Meijer’s corporate engagement committee and focused insights team.
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twig 2022 senior

Jenn Martin

VP, Merch HBC/OTC Card, Meijer

  • Martin’s health and beauty group assisted the 89 new diverse-owned businesses that Meijer chose to partner with in 2021, and helped lead efforts on several initiatives, including a local art project and diverse and sustainable supplier events.
  • She led the development and strategy creation of a reflow of the company’s beauty department, which included the rollout of new fixtures to enhance the look and feel of the department.
  • Martin was selected to join the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation board and became a co-chair of the Women at Meijer board subcommittee, responsible for partnering and driving relationships with NextUp and Inforum.
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Amanda McVay

Group VP, Customer Strategy and Marketing, Meijer

  • McVay helped launch the private label Frederik’s brand, the first of its kind for Meijer; the brand has exceeded expectations and will expand to encompass even more items.
  • As chair of the board of Feeding America, she facilitated the purchase of an expanded distribution facility that will allow the company to aid more families in need and meet the national goals of distribution for the first time.
  • McVay launched a new team focused on retail media that delivered a 10% increase in revenues, as well as kick-starting purpose marketing efforts, which amplified brand purpose with TV/streaming video spots, community short-form videos and community social posts.
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Maureen Mitchell

Regional VP, Meijer

  • Known to always ask associates how she can help them, Mitchell envisioned her role as the voice relaying information from corporate to the stores, and her style was transparent at all levels.
  • Her region achieved 6.44% over planned sales in 2021, and her team exceeded regional targets by achieving a No. 2 ranking in all metrics across six regions.
  • Mitchell volunteered to speak on emotional intelligence and positive mindset to college students and community members, and she was an executive sponsor for the McKinsey Black Leadership program; outside of the industry, she participated in the Best Buddy program helping kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
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twig 22 senior

Renee Fuller

VP of Marketing, Milk Bar

  • After joining the company, Fuller helped make improvements in proactivity and management to innovation timelines, and also helped launch a gate process model for the channel. 
  • She led the commercialization process, launching 12 new products across three categories, and also guided the integrated marketing process for the rollout of the brand’s ice cream line, which was a major success, yielding more than 410 million earned media impressions.
  • Fuller volunteered with Urban Mentors, an organization that works to empower youth and families through leadership and service, and she also served on the advisory council for Bring Change 2 Mind, which aims to end the mental health stigma.
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twig 22 senior

Loree Mulay Weisman

Founding President and CEO, Mulay’s Sausage Corp.

  • A visionary who has opened new channels and growth opportunities for the natural sausage supplier, Weisman led Mulay’s record 25% growth last year while implementing significant technology changes.
  • Because of her strong relationship with small family farms, Mulay’s was able to fulfill orders throughout the pandemic; the company entered new relationships with Costco and Imperfect Foods, and secured national distribution with KeHE and Western Box through Harvest Foods, as well as with DOT Foods.
  • Weisman led development of a new website and a new sales platform, along with the implementation of Entrepreneur Operating System and Microsoft Teams for day-to-day operations.
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twig 22 senior

Jeanne David

CEO and Founder, Outer Aisle Gourmet

  • Through David’s leadership, Outer Aisle doubled year-over-year sales in 2021 and broke ground on a new production facility, while also gaining 2,270 new retailers on a course to increase its retail presence to more than 5,000 locations.
  • She is the founder of 100 Women Santa Barbara, a giving circle that contributes $500,000 annually to a local nonprofit, and also sits on the board of directors for AtEase International.
  • David launched an ongoing partnership with World Vision International to help children, families and communities take on poverty and injustice, and the company’s donations have helped create five deep-water wells in countries that lack fresh water.
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twig 22 sr

Melissa Kieling

Founder, PackIt LLC

  • The developer of EcoFreeze technology, which keeps items cool all day without needing ice packs and is used in lunch bags, and also of commercial refrigeration systems for online grocery order fulfillment, Kieling spent the past year improving food safety and sustainability through the final mile of food and beverage delivery.
  • The tote that she created was a first choice for retailers working on meeting consumer demand in a safe way for retail customers.
  • Kieling sits on the board of directors for the International Housewares Association and has brought PackIt’s products onto “Harry,” CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Martha Stewart Show” and QVC, among other TV programs.
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twig 22 sr

Jacqueline Freymark

Senior Director of Sales, PBNA-Sam’s Club Customer Team, PepsiCo

  • In her work with Sam’s Club, Freymark supported strong double-digit revenue growth on a two-year stacked basis, which helped the retailer deliver above expectations.
  • She helped develop creative supply solutions, keeping her customer engaged in discussions and developing new talent on the team, and worked closely with leadership and the customer to develop supply plans and set proper expectations.
  • Freymark is the PepsiCo office lead for Big Brothers Big Sisters events, co-chairs the NWA Ice Hogs varsity and JV hockey teams, sits on the Kendrick Fincher Foundation board, and works with Women with a Mission Program at Mercy Hospital.
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Christina Moses

VP of Human Resources, Presence Marketing

  • Moses created the company’s ONEPresence Counsel, made up of 21 cross-functional team members that focus on culture, partners and communities, and also helped launch the Presence Gives Virtual 5K, which raised more than $12,000 to build a Presence kindergarten in West Africa.
  • She restructured the recruiting process to make it more efficient for hiring managers and continuously worked to bring in excellent candidates in a tough hiring market.
  • Away from work, Moses is an active member of her child’s parent-teacher organization, is planning the annual Color Run, and has co-hosted two community Run for Ribs events.
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TWIG 2022 sr

Lisa Fasana

SVP, Strategic Marketing, Product Connections, a WIS International Company

  • Under Fasana’s strategic leadership, her company has seen year-over-year revenue growth of 178% in the past year, and delivered EBITDA above plan.
  • She took an active role in promoting employee growth and development, regularly mentoring employees one-on-one as well as on a department-wide basis, and led culture initiatives for the company.
  • In addition to her job duties, Fasana launched the first company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion committee; is an active member of the Chicago board of NextUp as part of the learning and events committee; and is also the co-founder and VP of Imprint Music.
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TWIG 22 SR

Renee Kelly 

VP of Information Systems Application Development, Publix Super Markets Inc.

  • Kelly and her team successfully implemented various technology solutions, including a new pharmacy digital reservation system that enabled Publix to administer nearly 7.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In a new parental leave program that she implemented, she ensured that mothers and fathers had time off with pay within the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. 
  • Kelly also rolled out a new program, Feeding More Together, which supports customer and Publix donations to food banks to help alleviate hunger in local communities, and has provided nearly 200 million meals since its launch. 
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twig 22 sr

Kim Anderson

VP of Store Operations Support, Schnuck Markets Inc.

  • During the past year, Anderson focused on new technologies such as Simbe’s Tally robot, which has reduced out-of-stocks by up to 30%, and anybody can view Tally’s product availability and location in the Schnucks Rewards app, thereby facilitating restocking and fulfillment and enabling consumers to shop more efficiently.
  • She spearheaded the implementation of Logile’s artificial intelligence-powered Workforce Management for improved workforce optimization.
  • Anderson co-led installation and expansion of new self-checkout units for more than half of Schnucks’ 112 stores; the initiative maximizes the use of labor time while augmenting customer convenience. 
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twig 22 sr

Deborah Alexander

COO, Shelf Engine

  • Alexander played a key role in Shelf Engine’s aggressive growth plans: She helped increase gross margin value fourfold, and the company was able to secure a $41 million Series B investment from venture capital firm General Catalyst.
  • She helped increase the number of data scientists sixfold, leading to improved monitoring systems and ensuring 99.99% system uptime for retailers, while the engineering team was tripled, permitting the company to automate 437,000 orders.
  • In under a year, the leadership team grew from six to 14, and Alexander’s emphasis on diversity resulted in 55% of those new hires coming from underrepresented communities; Shelf Engine’s total employees now number 200.
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twig 2022 sr

Rina Hurst

Chief Business Officer, Shipt

  • Under Hurst’s expert guidance, Shipt’s 2021 orders grew 252% compared with 2019, and Shipt Driven, Shipt’s delivery-only service, grew 150% over last year; she also launched partnerships with 7-Eleven and Walgreens, growing the number of store locations in Shipt’s market by more than 40%.
  • She spearheaded an exclusive benefit in which Visa consumer credit card holders were automatically eligible for free trial Shipt memberships, reaching a new consumer segment; Shipt/Visa members now order more often than Shipt’s pay-per-order customers, even after the free trial expires.
  • More than 25% of 2021 orders included unique insight-backed CPG partner promotions championed by Hurst.
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twig 22 sr

Monica Mahoney 

VP of Sales, Walmart and Sam’s Club, The Simply Good Foods Co.

  • Year over year, Mahoney grew Simply Good Foods by double digits at Walmart and Sam’s Club, fostering category growth; last year, she received an award for Top Sales Team of the Year due to her work with these retailers.
  • In select Walmart stores, Mahoney implemented health-and-wellness end caps featuring top-selling items and educational materials; the end caps drove traffic to Walmart.com, where shoppers could learn more about low-carb eating and additional products. 
  • Mahoney leads by example, training for Iron Man competitions and following a low-carb diet; she belongs to NextUp and is also active in local charities.
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twig 22 sr

Crystal Ackerman

VP, Meat and Seafood, Southeastern Grocers 

  • Ackerman led her team to exceed all financial expectations in 2021, including sales, gross profit, working capital and shrink.
  • She orchestrated a highly successful campaign with Certified Angus Beef for all stores, which included merchandising, promotions, in-store training and marketing; her team also achieved the highest own-brand penetration across the company.
  • Southeastern Grocers’ executive board invited Ackerman to be an active member of its first Advanced Leadership Program, which she successfully completed, and she was recently appointed co-chair of the FMI/North American Meat Institute Annual Meat Conference.
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twig 22 sr

Adrienne Chance

SVP, Communications, SpartanNash

  • Chance managed the SpartanNash Summit where the company unveiled its new brand identity and growth strategy; With 600-plus top leaders attending in-person amid COVID protocols, nimble logistics and flexibility were a must, but the meeting came off without a hitch.
  • She introduced SpartanNash’s new Circle of Excellence program for front-line employees, which recognized 79 associates in its first year with an activity-packed weekend in Orlando, Fla.
  • Chance teamed with community partners on fundraising and disaster relief initiatives, including tornado rapid response, milk fundraising drives, and a $1 million donation of food, medicine and supplies to Ukraine.
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twig 22 sr

Charisse Jacques

GM and Chief CCR Officer, Symphony RetailAI

  • Jacques unified customer-centric retailing client teams in the United States, Europe and Asia to accelerate efforts to leverage cross-client learnings and drive value for clients.
  • She spearheaded an effort to aggregate global grocery shopper purchase and loyalty data to provide unique industry perspective and thought leadership on several topics that were critical during the pandemic; the research delved into how price and quality motivate shoppers within particular categories.
  • Jacques’ strong leadership style and sense of authenticity played key roles in establishing a culture of trusted relationships, open communication and collaboration at her company.
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Cheryl Sullivan

Chief Product Officer and GM of Retail/CPG, Symphony RetailAI

  • Sullivan worked directly with one of the top five U.S. grocers on major product upgrade initiatives in 2021 that helped the retailer achieve record fourth-quarter and full-year sales while improving margins and reducing expenses.
  • Her efforts to upgrade Symphony RetailAI products were  instrumental in Hawaii’s largest grocer, Foodland, selecting the company’s broad portfolio of artificial intelligence-based solutions to automate and enhance its end-to-end retail practices. 
  • A Navy veteran, Sullivan volunteers for various military causes; she was also named one of the Influentials: Top 10 Movers and Shakers in Retail 2021 by Progressive Grocer sister publication RIS News. 
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Kindl Furtak

Director of Marketing, T.A. Solberg Inc.

  • Furtak led her team to receive five national awards in the past three years from the National Grocers Association’s Creative Choice competition; the awards recognized outstanding marketing and merchandising, digital advertising, and a full-store remodel/rebrand in one location that will serve as the foundation for store platforms going forward.
  • Her team’s events resulted in increased sales and brand awareness for store locations, and kept the stores relevant to their communities.
  • Furtak is integral to the company’s charitable events, specifically the Annual Golf Outing, which raised $197,000 in its first five years to address food insecurity, health care and support for law enforcement.
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Heena Rathore

President/CEO, TrueChoicePack

  • During the pandemic, Rathore launched a line of sustainably sourced napkins, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels made from panda-friendly bamboo fibers and sugarcane — two rapidly renewable resources with a low carbon footprint.
  • Under her leadership, True-  ChoicePack was listed on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America list for the third consecutive year, with 254% sales growth last year.
  • Due to her significant contributions to her community, Rathore was a recipient of the Woman of Distinction award from Girl Scouts of Southwest Ohio, and she has been included in the Xavier University Archives of the American Dream.
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Stephanie Soto

SVP, Human Resources, UNFI

  • Soto redesigned the human resources model with focus on agility and adapting to change; it’s designed to quickly build and deliver solutions that are responsive to business leaders and associate needs.
  • She centralized the talent acquisition function and grew the team from four to 50 recruiting employees during the past 12 months, an effort that was extremely difficult during the global pandemic and ongoing labor market challenges.
  • As well as those achievements, Soto developed an innovative flexible work model for distribution centers that’s designed to supplement the full-time workforce, reduce mandatory overtime and provide increased flexibility for the operation.
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Emily Takkunen

VP, FP+A, UNFI

  • Takkunen played a key role in UNFI’s efforts to transform the finance function from hindsight to insight to foresight; she implemented a new forecasting process to improve budgeting, with clearly defined drivers of expected future results and better-defined and -executed forecasting cadence.
  • As is her usual practice, she proactively reached out to each business leader to determine where the company might be able to benefit from opportunities and mitigate risks, leading to improved financial performance.
  • As the key finance leader for the productivity initiative program, Takkunen oversaw tracking scorecards and other reporting to ensure that the company was on track to meet or exceed UNFI productivity objectives.
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Theresa Motter

CEO, Van’s Kitchen

  • Motter led the company’s expansion into thousands of grocery stores across the country while still maintaining focus on the brand’s core product; she also spearheaded the move into c-stores with to-go products.
  • Since becoming CEO, she has rebuilt the team, implemented a strategic planning cycle, provided health insurance for reasonable rates and executed a 401(k) retirement plan for her employees. 
  • Motter developed Van’s Cares, a fund specifically dedicated to helping role models and vendor partners who are in financial, medical or personal need, and she uses her knowledge from her previous role as CFO of the company to teach employees crucial personal finance lessons.
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Melanie Bauman

Head of Industry, Grocery Vertical, Vericast

  • After a recent promotion where she went from $100 million revenue responsibility to $400 million revenue responsibility and a larger team, Bauman and her team grew total business by 4% and drove 61% growth in emerging digital business, despite ongoing pandemic challenges.
  • In her new position, she led her team to deliver new connected TV media to both English- and Spanish-language consumers, driving a higher-than-average conversion rate and a positive return on investment.
  • Passionate about helping team members grow to their full potential through coaching and mentoring, Bauman guided four of her team members to job promotions.
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Elizabeth Clifton

VP, Client Development, Vestcom

  • Clifton created a client supergroup to coordinate all members of the company who serve a particular retail client, regardless of whether they’re part of the dedicated client development team or functional experts indirectly supporting the account, which has improved team collaboration, accountability and customer service.
  • She traveled the country to build authentic relationships at all levels of the client’s company to understand their specific needs and tailor Vestcom’s solutions to meet them.
  • Clifton traveled to Argentina as a volunteer for Libertate, a female-led nonprofit focused on transforming businesses through consultation, training and support for people with disabilities.
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Anjali Nakhooda

VP, Marketing, Vestcom

  • Nakhooda launched a new social media campaign that significantly increased impressions with the targeted audience: 1.3 million impressions, an 800% increase over the prior year, which helped drive a 25% year-over-year increase in company revenue.
  • She recommended that the company add a project management team and oversaw the hiring of a four-member team that has already improved the value of the company’s solutions by designing a new software application and launching a major initiative to redesign support processes and tools.
  • Nakhooda helped launch the company’s first employee resource group for women and assisted with two events for it.
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Lorenza Pasetti

Third-Generation CEO, Volpi Foods

  • During a brand refresh, Pasetti created the Raised Responsibly program, which outlines more than a dozen criteria that farm partners must comply with to provide a better environment for animals and yield the best-quality product; the refresh also introduced first-of-its-kind paper-based deli packaging that reduces plastic consumption by more than 70% compared with standard deli packs.
  • She opened a fifth production facility, an 89,000-square-foot conversion facility that created more than 20 jobs.
  • Pasetti was recognized by the Specialty Food Association with the Business Leadership Award, which recognizes industry leaders who are actively advancing best practices.
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Ranjana Choudhry

VP, Advertising and Social Media, Wakefern Food Corp.

  • Choudhry increased Wakefern’s exposure to younger consumers by building on media trends; this included testing new platforms and placements and discontinuing underperforming tactics, all of which resulted in an increased impression share of Millennials by 10% across social platforms.
  • She built a new creative center of excellence for the organization to develop integrated marketing campaigns, leading to a cost savings of $1.5 million.
  • Serving on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Action Council, Choudhry participated in panels for women in leadership and embedded DEI work in her day-to-day job.

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