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2020 Star Women in Grocery winner Lisa Sparrow-Moellenbeck (Q&A)

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Rising star

Lisa Sparrow Moellenbeck
Food Safety Manager
Federated Co-operatives Limited

How did you get into the grocery business?
I worked for several years in the food-processing industry before getting into the grocery business. In 2009, there was an opportunity to join the Federated Co-op team as the food safety manager and I jumped at the chance. I was excited to join the grocery business, as it brought new opportunities to work on a wide range of areas, from regulatory to operations, and with a variety of different products. I was also excited for the direct connection to customers and the impact we can have on their lives.

What are your greatest career achievements?
One career achievement has been the development of various food safety programs over the years, including documented standard operating procedures and training programs to guide the operations for food safety practices. Another achievement was the development of crisis management manuals for handling various situations that may arise in the grocery and food business. Since I am lucky to be involved in many areas of our food business at Federated Co-op, another highlight was the work I did with the development of our sustainable seafood policy.

What is your proudest moment?
There are many things that I am proud of from my career, but most recently I am proud of the leadership I provided to our food team and grocery retailers through the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation was changing so quickly, sometimes by the minute, and I was able to provide meaningful information, guidance and recommendations to our teams during this uncertain time. Just knowing that what I contributed made the circumstances easier for our teams, makes me proud.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my career is creating a culture of food safety. Developing the mindset that food safety must be built into everything we do and that we must evolve programs to meet emerging issues can be challenging. By providing a relatable message and showing the overall benefit to the business, I have been able to overcome some of these challenges.

How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe my leadership style as collaborative. I believe in working together and considering the opinions, thoughts and feedback from all team members to achieve the final outcome with the best result. I also believe that a collaborative approach helps team members develop in their roles and can help create engagement and buy-in with all.

What is your best quality?
I think my best quality is that I am open-minded. This has helped me build trusting relationships with many of my co-workers, industry partners and government stakeholders throughout my career. I think this has also helped me develop practical solutions that work for all areas within our operations.

Click here for the full list of 2020 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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