May 23, 2014
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Bi-Lo Holdings Top Women in Grocery Award winners are, from top left, Lynn Boston, Nancy Chagares, Ora Esquivel, Cheryl Forehand, Anita Hedden, Mary Kellmanson, Donna Madere, Susan Moore, Ashley O’Dell and Misty O’Dell.​

A total of 10 Bi-Lo Holdings executives, store directors and “rising stars” will be announced as winners of Progressive Grocermagazine’s Top Women in Grocery award in the magazine’s June 2014 issue.

The award is recognized as the retail food industry’s premier women’s leadership awards program.

All of the winners were selected through nominations from supervisors and peers, and were narrowed to 300 finalists from about 500 qualified entries. The winners will receive an invitation to a celebration event Nov. 12 in Chicago.

Following are excerpts from their nominations.

Lynn Boston, vice president of HR and talent management, Senior Level --Lynn has led several teams through change management, integration and training. She has successfully coordinated multiple organizational restructurings across various support center departments. She has also integrated teams from three acquired companies and managed the realignment of human resources, talent, benefits and risk management. She recently has served as the interim Human Resources leader for the entire company.

Nancy Chagares, senior vice president of Fresh Foods, Senior Level – Nancy successfully led in recent store integrations. She established a new fresh quality specification guideline, which has driven sales growth. She led in the successful conversion of six warehouses supporting Winn-Dixie banner stores from internal distribution centers to C&S Wholesale Grocers.

Ora Esquivel, regional sales manager, Rising Star – Ora was instrumental in coordinating a very successful Valentine’s Day strawberry promotion for her region. She met with district directors, explaining the visual merchandising for store demonstration stations, and she secured necessary staffing for the promotion. She supported stores through a remodeling that added specialty cases, an enhanced bread program and Cuban cafes.

Cheryl Forehand, vice president of Bakery, Senior Level – Cheryl took responsibility for the department and soon delivered double-digit growth. She is the Executive Chair of First Coast Go Red for Women in Jacksonville, Fla. Since June 2013, she has also served as lead for the total fresh team (Bakery, Deli, Meat, Seafood, Produce and Floral) in the integration of 150 new stores and she has provided significant leadership in integration best practices.

Anita Hedden, regional sales manager, Deli/Bakery, Rising Star - Anita was assigned the key Deli/Bakery lead for 21 newly-acquired stores during November, 2013. She successfully guided associates in the conversions to successful openings and has developed a sustainability plan for the stores. She represents BI-LO stores on a food show that appears on an ABC television station in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Mary Kellmanson, senior vice president of marketing,Senior Level --In 2013, Mary led the integration of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie marketing and advertising organizations while exceeding key sales and marketing performance metrics. Mary re-introduced the iconic Winn-Dixie “Beef People” campaign, refreshed the BI-LO “Gold Star” beef program, launched Winn-Dixie eCoupons and pharmacy $4/$10 generic prescription medications at BI-LO, and promoted locally-grown and organic produce.

Donna Madere, operations excellence specialist, Rising Star -- Donna has worked as an interim district director in Baton Rouge for four months and as regional finance manager since December 2013. In these roles, she was instrumental in improving labor measurements to improve customer satisfaction and to increase sales. Donna’s achievements were recognized by the National Diversity Council in August, 2013 when she was the recipient of the Glass Ceiling Award.

Susan Moore, director, Family Care , Rising Star -- As a Category Manager during the summer of 2013, Susan was asked to step into the director’s role on an interim basis. She quickly demonstrated her ability to lead the team with confidence, reviewing the department’s strategic direction and financial productivity. Her early success led to a more prominent leadership role within the organization, and she was offered and accepted the director’s role in the fall of 2013.

Ashley O’Dell, director, Winn-Dixie store No. 434, Anniston, Ala. -- Ashley was promoted to store director after leading a crisis team in response to Hurricane Isaac. She worked to help the local food pantry to stock their shelves with products that they could only purchase at her store. She worked with a local "couponer" to provide customers with free coupon classes in the store. In 2014, she began a food drive to collect items for the military and local animal shelters.

Misty O’Dell, director, BI-LO store No. 5555, Greenwood, S.C. -- Misty has mentored and coached a number of associates who have since been promoted to manage their own stores. Misty's store was voted "Lakeland's Best Grocery Store in Greenwood" by her customers in 2013. Last year, with her guidance, her associates raised more than $12,000 for Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank of Greenwood. She served as tournament director for a local charity golf event that raised more than $5,400 in funds that were distributed back to the Greenwood community.

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