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This year, 49 female Kroger associates were chosen by Progressive Grocer to represent the Top Women in Grocery in three categories, Senior-level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Leaders.
We would like to congratulate our 2020 class of Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery honorees. Each of these women play critical roles within our company, their community and the retail industry. We’re proud of their accomplishments and feel honored that they chose Kroger for their career.
Meet this year’s Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery Senior-level Executive
As Senior Director of Supply Chain Transformation, Melissa is responsible for enterprise-wide Supply Chain transformation, aligning Supply Chain with overarching enterprise goals for maximum efficiency. Melissa is leading efforts to establish a best-in-class Supply Chain, delivering exceptional service and creating a competitive advantage for Kroger.
The Supply Chain is a critical part of our Restock Kroger commitment to Redefine the Grocery Customer Experience. Melissa is a leader with a passion for people and an ability to collaborate and drive results for the enterprise. In her role, Melissa’s main areas of focus include establishing a new, faster approach to delivering on our goals and refining performance, improving operations and allowing us to lead differently while driving measurable results and leadership behaviors, and establishing a culture with a bias to action, empowering our associates and leaders to make decisions quickly. Melissa acts as a thought leader bringing together people, process and technology throughout Kroger.
Her optimistic and confident personality fosters collaborative problem solving while ensuring accountability and ownership throughout the Supply Chain function.
Tameka Carr, Manufacturing
As Director of Corporate Food Technology, Product Development and Quality, Tameka oversees all technical, scientific and regulatory aspects of product design and development for Kroger’s $23 billion private label brand portfolio, known as Our Brands. Our Brands portfolio stretches from corner to corner in our stores, with over 10,000 items, including Simple Truth®, Kroger’s natural, organic and free-from brand, Kroger®, Where Awesome Meets Affordable™, and Private Selection®.
Tameka’s responsibilities span all facets of the product development and manufacturing processes. As such, she has played a critical role in driving the success of the Our Brands portfolio, which achieved record-setting growth over the last two years. Tameka sets the strategic direction for sensory evaluation and other market validation methodologies in support of launching new or reformulated product. Her team governs the ingredient and finished product specification program for all branded products, both manufactured and procured. Tameka also leads quality management programs for branded procured products, providing scientific direction to resolve and troubleshoot formulation and operational concerns across our 34 manufacturing facilities.
As Vice President of Operations for the Columbus Division, Erin is responsible for directing and coordinating effective Operations of all store locations and business units within the Columbus Division, with 116 locations and more than 19,000 associates.
She leads six district management teams to ensure the execution of business priorities and initiatives that will maximize sales and profits and improve each store departments’ contribution. Erin is tasked with achieving/exceeding targeted goals and financial savings plans for the Columbus Division.
Her role requires her to spend roughly half her time in stores evaluating Operations and working directly with store and district teams to improve execution, the customer experience and financial goals.
As Promo Planning and Marketing Director, Allison oversees a team of more than 80 associates who are responsible for the design, production and delivery of enterprise and division-specific print, marketing campaigns and in-store signage for Kroger. In her role, she partners with Marketing and Merchandising to strategically plan customer communications of merchandising, promo planning programs and sales events. She also works directly with retail divisions to create plans to support their business goals while tailoring enterprise collateral to reach local customers and fulfill their unique needs.
Allison is also hyper-focused on growing and empowering her team. She has designed and is leading her team through an intensive training program designed to empower her team to run their own lines of the business more efficiently, without delay waiting for approvals on the “run the business” side of the work. This empowerment has resulted in eleven of her employees being promoted during 2019 and a +11% increase in her team’s annual engagement scores.
Rachael leads the Product + Design function at 84.51°. In this role, she delivers end-to-end technology-driven products and services that drive value for our customers/partners, while supporting revenue growth and efficiency of the business.
As a Senior Vice President at 84.51°, Rachael directly manages and guides career development for 60 associates and is accountable for how 84.51° leverages development teams and technology budget. With a focus on user experience, Rachael has been leading a revamp of our product portfolio featuring the relaunch of 84.51°’s flagship products: 84.51° Stratum (our data intelligence product) and 84.51° Prism (our media enablement platform) in 2019. Both products have redefined the customer experience in their spaces, increased response times and scope, and supported shifts in our commercial models. Under her leadership, the Product + Design team also developed a new approach to delivering services (APIs) for Kroger category managers giving them the latest forecasting and scenario planning capabilities at their fingertips.
Rachael also serves as a business sponsor of the 84.51° Diversity and Inclusion Council and is an industry thought leader on product-related topics.
As Group Vice President of Product Experience for Kroger Technology & Digital, Jody is responsible for defining and driving our seamless experience that ensures the right solutions are built and optimized to best serve our customers, partners and associates.
Jody leads a team of more than 225 associates focused on Product Strategy and Planning, Product Management and Design, Digital Shopping Experience and Digital Analytics. Jody is also responsible for partnering with leaders across the enterprise to solve customer and associate business needs and ensure that Technology & Digital is at the core of everything as we continue to transform the grocery industry.
As Vice President of Merchandising for Health & Beauty, Jordan is responsible for ensuring Kroger offers products that differentiate us in the market and, most importantly, meet the needs of our customers. She knows our customers through our robust data analytics and helps us connects with the more than 11 million people who shop our stores every day.
Jordan and her team of 46 associates manage 81 categories and make decisions every single day that help make Kroger a Fortune 20 company and one of the largest retailers in the world. In addition, Jordan has been chosen to lead a workstream of associates, overseeing 22 initiatives aimed at redefining our Center Store business and finding new ways of working to streamline processes and provide customers with an experience that is second to none.
As Director of Grocery & Natural Foods Merchandising at General Office, Kate leads a team of more than thirty associates responsible for delivering over $16 billion in sales from 90 center store categories. She has additional oversight in Natural & Organic Strategy and Execution for the Grocery department across the enterprise.
Kate is responsible for sales, gross margin dollars and rate for all Kroger center store categories. Center store categories include Breakfast, Baking, Dinners & Sides, International Foods, Canned Goods, Household Needs and the Pet Department.
To deliver on sales and profit margins, her team develops strategic sales plans weekly and quarterly, as well as shelving strategies (layout and assortment) that align to customer needs and preferences. Her team also collaborates with our 84.51° partners to develop best in class communication platforms to reach our customers in the most relevant way.
As Director of HR for Kroger Technology & Digital (KTD), Paaras leads a team of 20 Human Resource experts (based in Cincinnati, Ohio and Boca Raton, Florida) who support the nearly 2,000 full-time Technology & Digital associates across the U.S. (including Cincinnati, Boca Raton, Charlotte, Portland and San Jose). With an annual budget of nearly $2 million, Paaras is responsible for the development and execution of all people-related activities within Kroger Technology & Digital.
Under her leadership, the HR team manages the entire associate lifecycle from recruitment to development to retention. Paaras has led her teams’ work to prioritize creating and executing HR programs that develop our internal talent. This has included additional training opportunities for new managers and new development opportunities for our associates to meet the ever-changing capabilities needed within the Technology & Digital space as Kroger continues to redefine the grocery customer experience. She has also focused on creating and growing community relationships, partnering with strategic organizations that will help accelerate our areas of focus.
Cara is responsible for the development and execution of the commercial and product strategies for Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), as well as the financial commitments of KPM to the Kroger enterprise. In this role, she defines the roadmaps and business plans that drive the development of KPM capabilities through data driven targeting and measurement.
As a vice president at 84.51°, Cara develops the careers and leadership skills of her team who include more than 75 sales, media planning and product strategy professionals and sets the strategy for a cross-functional team of over 200 to drive KPM development and growth. Cara and her team engage with more than 500 national CPG brands through their brand marketing, shopper marketing, media and ecommerce teams, executing top-of-funnel to point-of-commerce media campaigns. 2019 was a significant year of growth as KPM more than doubled in size and established itself as a leading national retail media platform. Guiding the industry to think differently about media investments and how brands connect with their customers, Cara was the driving force behind this growth.
Cara also led a redesign of the KPM sales team establishing new ways of working, creating channel and product centers of excellence, and embedding media industry experience to elevate the level of engagement with CPGs and agencies.
Mandy leads the Marketing function for Kroger. In this role, she is accountable for the company’s brand strategy, customer communication priorities, and the creation and execution of the annual marketing plan across channels. She leads a multi-disciplinary team, including brand strategists, planners, and the company’s internal creative agency.
Mandy spearheaded our 2019 brand transformation and led the selection of Kroger’s first-ever agency of record, DDB New York, while building a new, collaborative and high-performing brand building team of 120 high-performing associates. She has proven herself as a talented, driven leader with unique branding expertise who was promoted to Vice President of Marketing in August of 2019 to deliver a refreshed, stronger brand identity to support the company’s vision of serving food inspiration and uplift.
As Vice President of Retail Operations, Megan is responsible for leading our retail operations function and its transformation workstream. She oversees a team of more than 40 associates that work to achieve simplification, efficiency and digital innovation across all retail departments within Kroger.
Under Megan’s leadership, the retail operations team develops and implements solutions across the enterprise, directly impacting more than 350,000 in-store associates and the operations of more than 2,800 retail stores in more than 35 states. These improvements were instrumental in Kroger meeting goals for 2019.
As a senior-level executive, Megan is a vocal advocate for her team’s growth and professional development. With Megan’s enthusiastic support, her leadership team attended multiple professional development courses on change management in the past year. She also coordinates regular team-building and problem-solving activities with her team. As a direct result of her dedication to her team’s ongoing career development, all of Megan’s direct reports have received promotions in the past year and taken on more responsibility.
Meet this year’s Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery Rising Stars:
As E-commerce business manager-HBC, Holly aligned with brick-and-mortar leadership on a new path forward for digital merchandising, ensuring a sound foundation for Pickup, delivery and shipping, with the team refocusing on imagery, product detail pages and site content. In 2020, she created Kroger’s digital HBC strategy, co-created the Vitacost merchandising strategy and assisted in the fresh digital strategy. Outside of Kroger, Holly is active with the Network of Executive Women (NEW), where she volunteered as a panel member representing NEW and Kroger to speak with Miami University students about women in business and ways to manager their careers.
Misty is an innovative and dynamic leader for the Dillons Division. Her primary responsibilities are centered on directing and leading the effective operation of the division fuel department for 54 fuel centers. Under her leadership, the division has exceeded its goal verses budget and previous year in gross profit, contribution, EBITDA in fuel and fuel center kiosk sales in 2019, thanks to her time and talents. Misty models and inspires associates to deliver the very best customer experience. She maintains this high standard of customer service through engaging, coaching, and training associates. Misty passionately supports her division through her membership in Women’s EDGE and community volunteerism. She is the vice chair of the Reno County Food Policy Advisory Council and an elected officer position in the Daughters of the Nile organization. Misty serves on a grant review panel for United Way of the Plains in Wichita, KS.
For over three decades, Angela has served in multiple roles within Fry’s Food Stores, working her way up to adult beverage sales planner, a job she thoroughly enjoys and is passionate about. Angela is an innovative thinker, continually developing new sales strategies to increase product revenue and customer loyalty. In 2019, she developed a program to merchandise and sell 50 ml spirits which generated $1.7M in incremental revenue and gained 7% of Arizona’s total market adult beverage share. In her spare time, Angela enjoys giving back to her local community. She currently serves as an active member of the Arizona Food Marketing Association (AFMA) and volunteers with her children at local food banks.
In her current role, as district associate and customer experience coordinator, Chelsea led the district merchandising team through five major store remodels and grand openings. Recognizing a gap in meeting the needs of a loyal Indian shopper, Chelsea found a vendor who could provide expertise in such items for the Redmond, WA store, which subsequently experienced 420% growth in the category. QFC has reached out to the same vendor to do business as well. Dedicated to her own professional development, Chelsea was accepted into USC Marshall School of Business’ first-ever Food Industry Leadership Master’s Program.
As coordinator of beauty care, Becky partnered with asset protection to introduce new shrink policies for beauty and created cosmetic standards that rolled out to Kroger’s divisions as part of the company’s customer experience campaign. She also led the creation of our Fresh Beauty concept stores, which were built in three months and launched in select stores. Outside of work, Becky volunteers with Cinderella’s Closet, a ministry organization that provides formal wear to girls who couldn’t otherwise attend their proms; in 2019, through Kroger’s Wellness Your Way event, she raised $20,000 for the organization.
Jo Anne is a continuous improvement engineer 3 in the Kroger Technology and Digital department. She is being recognized for her many contributions assisting other teams across Kroger. On short notice, Jo Anne successfully planned and executed a workshop for 60-plus associates on the Cloud First program, involving the migration of applications to Microsoft Azure Cloud. She was also engaged by the corporate marketing team to facilitate best-in-class future-state process work and led the team to complete the work on a shorter timeline and with significant cost savings. Jo Anne was also selected to lead the annual ArtsWave and United Way fundraising campaigns for Kroger and worked with a local Adopt-a-Class program.
As vice president of Pharmacy, Stacy oversees clinical operations, pharmacy performance, patient interactions, and utilizes new and cutting-edge methods to grow the Pharmacy business within the Roundy’s division. She leads 107 pharmacies with 290 pharmacists, office support, field, and retail staff. Stacy lives up to the Kroger Health vision, “to help people live healthier lives.” By utilizing the Kroger Leadership Model, Stacy motivates and leads her team with a clear and strategic direction. Stacy coordinated the acquisition of the Shopko files, introduced suggestive selling to Pharmacy and led an RX Growth Plan. The recipient of several industry honors, Stacy is a current active member of the Kenosha County Opioid Task Force.
As chief financial officer, Ann manages the division’s finances, including financial planning, budgeting, management of financial risks, data analysis, and financial reporting. She is an advisor and strategic partner to the Roundy’s division president, helping to improve the financial performance of the division. Ann’s sphere of influence is comprehensive. She has budget oversight for both the Wisconsin market and the Illinois (Mariano’s) market with a multi-billion dollar net sales budget. Her financial management expertise and keen oversight led to a division identical-store sales increase of 4.87% versus the prior year, leading all Kroger divisions, while EBITDA without fuel showed the second-best improvement in the enterprise from the prior year.
As the division Health and Wellness merchandiser, Ban worked diligently alongside the United Food Commercial Workers union to provide more than 6,500 biometric health screenings to improve the health and wellness of Michigan Kroger associates. She surpassed the goal of 1,800 free cholesterol screenings by providing 1,813 such screenings to the public during February to support American Heart Month.
An immigrant from Iraq who is fluent in English, Arabic and Chaldean, Ban helps Kroger connect with the United States’ largest Chaldean/Arab American community in southeast Michigan.
Katy is the national coordinator of wine and spirits. Leveraging her planning, communication and leadership skills, Katy undertook the massive task of coordinating the launch of full-strength beer at King Soopers and Kroger stores in the states of Colorado and Kansas, respectively. She developed and implemented a customer-first beer-pricing program in the Ralphs division, which was able to move its sales, units and market share results from negative trends to growth for the first time in more than three years. Katy is a certified level 2 Cicerone in beer, one of only about 1,000 in the United States.
Marilyn is the assistant controller for the Houston Division. Promoted from a financial analyst to her role in 2019, Marilyn has contributed significantly to division-specific savings, leading to positive impacts towards EBITDA. The entire Houston Division management body has benefited directly from Marilyn’s fiscal acumen. Marilyn spearheaded several financial reporting classes to teach future leadership teams, in addition to being an inaugural member of the division’s Young Professionals Associate Resource Group. Marilyn spends much of her time volunteering with such organizations as the Houston SPCA, The Beagle Freedom Project, Souper Bowl of Caring, Komen Race for the Cure, Texas Children’s Hospital and Latinas in Leadership. As a bi-lingual speaker, she is often called on to promote the company to its multicultural/Hispanic demographic in the news media.
As director of data science – statistical learning, Nina overhauled the Customer Dimension Segmentations program and established the vision and methodology of the Household Segmentation Factory, while creating efficiencies through automation of code. Nina won the Kroger Extraordinary Contribution Award for developing the Agatha platform and the Kroger Equity Grant. Nina is also is highly involved in education in the community, volunteering at a library with STEM-based activities for children, developing the curriculum for a “night of learning,” acting as a member of the schools committee of her religious organization and petitioning the local district to reduce class sizes.
Amanda Martin, division sales manager, is an energetic, knowledgeable and passionate member of the Delta Division Merchandising team. Amanda is responsible for partnering with internal and external teams to coordinate a balanced marketing program and merchandising strategies for Delta’s six districts in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. Her passion for results is evidenced by how she adds market research to bolster her innate understanding of local market trends as well as customer lifestyles and needs. Amanda is especially passionate about caring for the health and wellbeing of young children. For two years, she partnered with a local candy distributor to provide a Halloween celebration for the children living at the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis.
As the Dallas Division talent and development manager, Andrea is directly responsible for the annual development and training budget for over 14,000 associates, based on talent needs and ongoing requirements. Andrea is innovative and constantly identifies process improvements, resulting in lower staffing needs in hourly roles across the division and increased retention rates. She created a more robust on-boarding process for pharmacy associates and re-designed the Management Training program. The division retained 97% of the trainees who graduated the program, a 6% improvement from prior year. Andrea is a member of the Marriott Foundation’s Bridges from School to Work Program, an advisory board member of the Western Association of Food Chains and a member of the Network of Executive Women (NEW).
What began as a part-time job to pay for college blossomed into a 23-year thriving career with Fry’s Food Stores for J.J., Deli & Bakery merchandiser. In this role, J.J. is responsible for managing merchandising, operations and strategic planning for the department at all 122 Arizona locations. Her focus in the past year to strengthen best practices, implement a strategic plan to drive sales and advocating for data-driven decisions enabled sales growth by 3% in addition to an improvement in shrink. Fry’s Deli & Bakery departments are ranked among the highest in the Kroger enterprise due to J.J.’s leadership. Community involvement is also a priority of J.J.’s. She remains committed to supporting Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan and encourages store teams to reduce waste by advocating for the company’s food rescue program.
As chief financial officer for the Atlanta Division, Michelle’s oversight is expansive, and she has a direct impact on the entire division, including all retail stores, operations, merchandising, facility and real estate. She is responsible for the division’s accounting procedures and serves as a key member of the division executive team. Michelle develops, maintains and executes the division financial plan and is responsible for administering the financial plan for the division’s sales and profit goals while also overseeing a five-person staff of three store auditors, a financial analyst and an administrative assistant. A member of the Network of Executive Women (NEW) Atlanta Chapter and the Georgia Food Industry Association, Michelle was also directly involved with the division’s Our Promise team.
As division Human Resources leader, Stephanie has worked diligently to create an environment of trust and integrity among the Michigan Division HR department. Under her leadership, she has been able to advance careers and promote countless associates. Stephanie’s responsibilities include improving associate retention, talent development and the implementation of Human Resources guidelines and procedures. She played a pivotal role in the seamless transformation and restructuring of the Michigan Division. Stephanie is a major supporter of giving back to the community and supporting Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Initiative. She led the Elite 7 Washtenaw County Kroger Stores to success by raising over one million meals with the Rockin’ for Hungry Families in Need Campaign.
Maria is a district manager for the Cincinnati/Dayton Division. Her oversight of 16 stores includes proper use of display space; training managers in proper ordering and execution of the sales plan; ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws; and supporting food safety and sanitation best practices. She began 2019 as district operations manager, and in August, was selected for a special eight-week assignment as district manager to engage with stores regarding merchandising plans; her district won. Kroger selected Maria for the District Leadership Academy, and she serves as the division chair for the African American Associate Resource Group.
In 2018, Sabrina accepted the Nashville Division expense, sanitation and sustainability manager position. Through her leadership in the Food Waste Recycling Program, the division collectively improved food rescue by 86% and food waste recycling by 170.8% compared to the prior year. In addition, the division donated over 99,000 pounds of food, gave more than 1.6 million meals to those in need and diverted 2 million tons of waste from our landfills. While she supports our company efforts to end hunger and eliminate waste during the work week, Sabrina continues pursuing this goal in her free time. She is an active member of Urban Green Lab which promotes sustainability in organizations around the Nashville area and volunteers with Horse Trails of Pennyrile to help maintain clean trails for community use.
As district center store coordinator, Stacey leads and directs store leaders, assistant store leaders and department heads in the planning, implementation and execution of merchandising and operating standards. Upon accepting the role, Stacey quickly developed her team and successfully executed the grand re-opening of two Kroger stores. Through her ability to gain trust and instill confidence in associates, her team was able to execute exceptional merchandising in these stores while simultaneously training associates. Both stores have shown an increase in sales and execution of all standards. In Atlanta, where the commercial exploitation of children is high, Stacey and members of her family volunteer for Street Grace as part of the effort to help eradicate sex trafficking.
Brenda is the associate and customer engagement (ACE) coordinator at Fred Meyer. As a member of the New Hire Experience pilot, she worked with cross-functional teams throughout Kroger and the Disney Institute. Through her influence, new hires led the Fred Meyer division in training assessment completions. Brenda has been identified as a high-potential leader, with plans to be district manager within the next three to five years. She was selected for the inaugural Kroger Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program. In the community, Brenda can be found doing volunteer work with children at Junior Achievement and at the Oregon Food Bank.
As senior talent acquisition manager, Diana created a talent acquisition community, the Careers with Promise marketing campaign, a partnership with Recruit Military, and The Big College Event at Duke Energy Center. Partnering with the Professional Diversity Network, she was able to increase candidate applications from 1,790 to 77,357 in only two quarters. A founding member of the Kroger Asian Associate Professional Group, Diana is a team leader for the American Heart Association fundraising event, a participant in Adopt-A-Class, and a board member of Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank.
As the district associate and customer experience coordinator, Tracy oversees the Human Resources functions for 21 stores in the Columbus Division. In this role she championed increased engagement with new hires and reduced the district’s annual turnover by more than 8% for the second year in a row. She held contract language training classes and helped improve employee relations through the discipline/grievance process to help decrease grievance payouts by more than $10,000. Helping build associate knowledge and leadership skills, Tracy aided the promotions of 10 assistant store leaders to store leaders and nine store leaders to higher-volume stores.
Shannon is the division e-commerce manager. Tasked with growing the division’s e-commerce business, Shannon improved fill rate without substitutions, decreased late orders and opened additional time slots to fill more orders, resulting in 31% sales growth. She improved retention in the e-commerce department by 24% versus the prior year and implemented successor planning for all potential supervisor and lead candidates. As part of the division’s Bench Program, she helped develop aspiring store leaders. During Kroger’s “no fee” promotion over the winter holidays, Shannon’s team achieved record-breaking sales.
Meet this year’s Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery – Store Manager Category
Highly motivated to achieve results, Anna drove her store to top sales, shrink and customer service scores in 2019. Under her leadership, Foods Co #387 finished among the Kroger Food 4 Less/Foods Co Division’s top 5 stores in 2019 in general merchandise sales, floral sales, QueVision performance (front-end service) and shrink. Anna also steered her store to 3% EBITDA for 2019. Anna also has a great passion for people and community, which is evident in the strong connection she has with her associates and the many partnerships she has formed between her store and local schools, charities and civic groups. With Anna leading the charge, Foods Co #387 has reached out to support the needs of the community by partnering with the Soledad Police Department on its National Night Out and Holiday Giving Tree events, made donations to help Soledad Medical Clinic’s “Harvest Fresh Prescription” event and supported the Salvation Army.
Andrea improved year-over-year sales by 3.5% and sustained a turnaround rate of 20.6%. Because of her success, Andrea was promoted to store manager at a flagship store near University of Kentucky in Lexington. Andrea communicates a vision to her associates, gains feedback from her team, and removes obstacles to accomplishing that vision. She checks in with every member of the team using “Stay Interviews,” which help in cultivating an emotional connection. She also focuses on rewarding associates for executing with excellence and exhibiting teamwork behaviors. All the while, Andrea supports the surrounding community. Last year, the store donated 6,100 pounds of food to the local food bank God’s Pantry. She is committed to fundraising efforts at the store-level for Muscular Dystrophy Association, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste and the local Animal Humane Society.
Cindy has a true passion for her customers and associates. After taking on her role as the store #684 leader, her team’s performance significantly improved within a short amount of time. This was all due to her strong leadership skills and her keen focus on thinking strategically to achieve positive results. Cindy is experienced in coaching, teaching, and setting expectations around processes and best practices. Her skills enable her to work with her associates individually to further develop their skills and encourage them to succeed. Cindy’s attention to detail, knowledge in standardized processes, communication skills and positive influence created a district learning site for training to help struggling or new assistant store leaders. Her store even had the highest percentage of talent promoted within District 4 in 2019. A supporter of several nonprofit groups in the Cedar Bluff community, Cindy was recently recognized by The Lions Club as the top retail partner in the area.
When Shelby assumed the role of leader at store #971 in Clintonville, Ohio, the 127 store associates were her priority. She is a great listener who builds trust, as evidenced by the Associate Insights score for her store which improved by 10 points vs. 2018 in the area of trust and integrity. Shelby’s focus on the associate experience also led to a 21% improvement in retention. Shelby led her team to win multiple selling challenges, including the Bowl Game Selling Challenge and multiple Saturday Selling Contents, with identical sales up in produce/floral, deli/bakery and pharmacy. As a result of her ability to lead and drive results (her store is the second-highest store in the Columbus Division for sales per square foot), Shelby was identified as a high-performing store leader and selected to serve on the Store Manager Bench Program where she mentors aspiring store leaders.
Amy is a passionate and motivated Store Leader within the Houston Division. Her energetic and engaging leadership is evident through her store team’s consistent achievement of all store metrics and standards. Her store is a top performer and always best in class in both selling initiatives and fundraising campaigns throughout the Houston Division. Amy was chosen to manage the test store for Houston’s first multicultural set. She worked tirelessly with our Merchandising team to execute the plan at a high level. Her continued leadership has led to an improved multicultural set, increasing the diversity in our product range and allowing us to cater to a wide demographic. Amy is a mentor for our Leadership Essentials management trainees and a graduate of the Kroger Leadership Academy. Amy enjoys volunteering with the La Porte Boys Baseball Associations and the Houston Food Bank. As an officer of the Deer Park Independent School District board, she led their fundraising campaigns to new heights, partnering with the local community to increase awareness and participation in school events.
Under Holly’s leadership, Ralphs #070 improved its sales, profits and customer service scores while also significantly reducing shrink loss in 2019. These achievements included setting three weekly sales records and earning two awards for customer service excellence during the year. Holly is an innovative manager with a great passion for people. Talented and driven to be the best, she motivates her store team to achieve results using team- and morale-building exercises, problem-solving activities and peer-on-peer mentorship methods. As a result, associate productivity, standards and morale have improved significantly in the past year. Holly’s leadership extends into the community her store serves. She and members of her store team regularly volunteer at area food pantries as part of Zero Hunger I Zero Waste. They also partner with several local schools. In 2019, Holly and her store were the recipient of a special community service award for their support of Taft High School, a Los Angeles Unified School District high school located across the street from the store.
As a store leader, Anna effectively drives sales growth by minimizing shrink loss and maximizing profits. Under her leadership, Anna’s store achieved positive ID sales for 2019 while minimizing shrink and realizing a 99 percent effective rate. In 2019, Anna implemented many solutions at the store level, which were a catalyst in achieving department-specific goals, such as the front-end Quevision goal. As a leader, Anna puts a strong emphasis and high focus on assistant manager training and coaching as well as hourly successor planning. Her effective, strategic implementation of successful solutions ensures the store’s success both now and in the future. As a direct result of her leadership, Anna’s store was selected as the champion store for the Atlanta Division to pilot a new in-stock project in 2020. Anna guided her district to raise $33,754 to support the fight against pancreatic cancer, leading to its designation as district champion for the Purple Pansies Campaign last September.
Celebrating 40 years with Kroger in 2020, Evelyn was appointed to run the Lebanon Marketplace last year. It was undergoing a major remodel at the time, and she turned around sales, improved the in-stock position and ranked No. 1 in the district on shrink reduction. Her passion for people led her to help promote seven department leaders in the past year alone, as well as holding daily huddles and one-on-one department leader connections. A member of the Terrific Women in Giving organization, Evelyn supports Dayton Children’s Hospital through fundraisers.
As a store manager for Kroger, Vanessa works every day to serve the community of Santa Fe, New Mexico, through food, inspiration and uplift by cultivating an environment where her associates love to work and customers love to shop. What started as a part-time position as a courtesy clerk in 2003 has led Vanessa to her current position as a store manager, allowing her to demonstrate her true passion for coaching and teaching others. Vanessa also demonstrates a passion for her work with the LGBTQ community. In 2019, Vanessa worked diligently with a committee comprised of district associates to create a float for the annual Pride Parade. Despite the sweltering Albuquerque heat, thousands gathered on Central Avenue in solidarity to celebrate. Vanessa and the Smith’s team proudly accepted the first-place recognition on behalf of the company at the second largest outdoor event in the state of New Mexico.
As a store leader, Kathie diligently leads by example and her commitment to her associates, customers and community serves as the foundation for operational success. Under her leadership, Kathie’s store improved identical sales growth versus prior year, while reducing store wages and exceeding the store’s labor goal for percent effective. With a passion for developing and promoting associates throughout the store, Kathie identifies talent early and fosters associate growth in ways that inspire them to progress in their career. Her effective leadership abilities are reflected in her store’s success, consistently ranking in the top third of their district for sales, EBITDA, labor and behavior reviews. Additionally, Kathie’s ability to make critical community connections is equally as important, and she partners with local schools and organizations to donate both product and time.
In 2019, Michelle led her team to identical sales growth of 3.66% on a budget of 3.28%. Under her leadership, her team has also improved produce freshness, Pickup fill rate, and consistently achieves 100% on backstock worked and truck completion. Michelle has held several roles within The Kroger Family of Companies but maintains the role of store leader is the most rewarding. She is passionate about leading people and helping them to see their full potential. In her short time at the store, she has promoted several department leaders and mentors assistant store leaders. Michelle’s energy is contagious. She radiates positivity and brings an upbeat attitude with her to work each day. It’s not uncommon to see her dancing through the front-end, coaching or problem-solving with associates. She has a passion for people and serves as an example to other store leaders.
As a new store leader, Meaghen led her store to the top 10 in the division in identical sales, before quickly being promoted to a new store, which would hold a grand reopening; she and her team have increased identical sales by an average of 25% there. She has developed a partnership with the county board of trustees, a community link previously missing in store feedback. Meaghen was selected to serve as a member of the division’s first President’s Council, recognized as part of the division’s Talent Day and acknowledged as a high-performing store leader.
As a store manager for Dillons Stores, Buffy Starkey works every day to serve the community of Garden City, Kansas. After overcoming an unusually challenging store renovation, Buffy has led her team back to the path of positive sales for the quarter and year, even achieving a 34% decrease in associate turnover to significantly improve retention. It’s clear to see Buffy’s influence and uplift in her efforts to cultivate an environment where her associates love to work and customers love to shop. These efforts were celebrated in 2019 as Buffy’s store received a prestigious award as the “Large Business of the Year” from the Garden City Chamber of Commerce during its annual banquet. Buffy’s passion for people also extends into her community. She has created a mutually supportive relationship with a nearby elementary school to support the company’s mission of Zero Hunger| Zero Waste by donating food items, collaborating with teachers and volunteering her time. She also is a “Big Sister” mentor and supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney County. Additionally, Buffy is active with the Young Professionals and Women’s Edge ARG’s.
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