Meet Canadian Grocer’s Star Women of 2013


These 16 winners of Canadian Grocer’s second annual Star Women awards have all managed to conquer obstacles and shape the grocery industry in their own, unique ways. From marketing to merchandising to running a store, our winners (nominated by the industry and chosen by our editors and experts) have their hands in every part of the supermarket sector.

This year, eight winners are from retail and the other eight from the vendor community.

They were chosen for their leadership, innovation and dedication to the grocery business.

Here is a complete list of the winners:

Cheli Rivers, store manager, Sobeys: Since opening the Sobeys Taunton Road store, in Ajax, Ont., two years ago, Cheli Rivers has focused her efforts on customer service and quality leadership.

Josée Minoto, director of merchandising (Super C), Metro: Josée Minoto a 25-year veteran of the company, was among the first at the company to use category analysis and household data to understand and meet consumer needs.

Margaret Hudson, president, Burnbrae Farms: Margaret Hudson, who got her start in the family egg business at the age of 12, has led the development and launch of several award-winning products.

Toby Greig, lead front-end specialist, Sobeys Ontario: As the lead front-end specialist, Toby Greig is responsible for providing coaching, training and development.

Bettie Lye, VP of research for North American and emerging markets, McCain Foods: Bettie Lye began the foundational research for McCain’s “It’s All Good” initiative, which took the simple notion that consumers wanted food made with real ingredients.

Michele Hardinge, SVP fresh foods, Walmart Canada: Michele Hardinge as SVP of fresh foods, her job is to ensure Walmart Supercentres have the right assortment of quality, availability and price on fresh.

Sylvie Cloutier, president and CEO, Council of Food Processing and Consumer Products: Sylvie Cloutier has worked to rally industry partners ensuring the council is recognized as the leading representative of the food processing industry in Quebec.

Linda Cavasin, senior director of produce merchandising, Metro Ontario: As senior director of produce, Linda Cavasin was behind Metro’s push to improve the quality of produce by setting strict specification standards for every SKU.

Jennifer Carlson, founder, VP of branding and innovation, Baby Gourmet: Unhappy with the quality of baby food on the market, Jennifer Carlson saw a chance to create baby food that parents could feel good about serving their little ones.

Judy Bennett, public relations manager, Colemans: With 28 years at Colemans stores, Judy Bennett has successfully positioned Colemans as an advocate for healthy eating, especially for children.

Suzanne Blanchet, president and CEO, Cascades Tissue Group: In the 16 years that Suzanne Blanchet has headed up the Cascades Tissue Group, the company has grown into a billion-dollar company through acquisition, expansion into the U.S. and solid management.

Erin Rooney, former VP of sales, SC Johnson: While Erin Rooney dedicated herself to her sales role at SC Johnson, her proudest accomplishments are programs she created for the advancement and support of women at the organization.

Pam Smith, district manager of national grocers franchise, Loblaw: Pam Smith acts as a partner to 16 Valu-Mart and Your Independent Grocer franchisees in central Ontario, providing support for everything from marketing and merchandising to business strategy.

Laurie Schild, VP of marketing and member relations, Calgary Co-operative Association: Laurie Schild was behind a massive brand refresh for the Co-op last year to make it more contemporary and appealing to new people to Calgary as well as to a younger demographic.

Susan Adams, managing director, Bevendale Enterprises (The Grocery Store): Susan Adams, co-owner in Whistler, B.C. of Whistler’s The Grocery Store, has spent much time spent developing programs to motivate people and help them succeed.

Leslie Chester, chief marketing officer, Nestlé Canada: In 15 years, Chester grew Nestlé Canada’s frozen food business to $180 million, from $30 million.

To read more on the Star Women of 2013, pick up the June/July issue of Canadian Grocer, out now.

On October 29, there will be a Star Women breakfast at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd. in Mississauga. More details to come. To purchase tickets, go here.


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