Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/689994
110 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | June 2016 Rising staRs tia Billups accounting Manager, spartannash Co./MDV spartannash In addition to leading the accounts payable and miscel- laneous billing departments that processed more than $2.1 billion of expenses for MDV, Billups managed the merger-related integration of office systems and processes for the entire SpartanNash military division. She designed and led as- sociate training, led MDV's migration to a content management platform, and headed the celebration and fun committee. Billups earned her MBA degree while working at MDV. ChaRity KoBRzyCKi Merchandising analytics Manager, spartannash Co. Kobrzycki led customer- centric merchandising, providing actionable business intelligence and innovative thinking about the consumer. She revamped the category business-planning process, implemented a set of data tools for category managers to better understand their busi- ness and translated the orga- nization's customer strategy into category-level goals. Kobrzycki took the initia- tive to create SpartanNash's first category budgets, and built them in accordance with its customer-centricity strat- egy, giving teams a clear road map to achieve comparable- sales and growth goals. alisha MuRRay Manager, Worksite Wellness programs, spartannash Murray led significant changes to SpartanNash's Choose Well. Live Well. pro- gram (available to 9,000-plus associates), such as including part-time associates, dou- bling the wellness incentive amounts and implementing a free Fitbit for completing program tasks. She enhanced program communications, which in- creased associate engagement in Choose Well. Live Well. from 1,518 participants to 2,294 in just eight months. Another of Murray's suc- cessful initiatives was creat- ing an opportunity for associ- ates to earn Vitality points for volunteering. ElizaBEth sChnEiDER Manager, Business- Military, spartannash Co./MDV spartannash As the single point of contact for the vendors and brokers doing business with MDV, Schneider continually looked for ways to make the company and its vendors more successful partners to the military commissaries and exchanges. She was a 2015 Top Performer in sourcing new business, with more than $20 million in increased sales. Schneider contributed to a 50 percent reduction of com- pany liability for nonsaleable inventory in 2015, and was instrumental in piloting new programs to provide customers with inventory data 24/7. JuliE lEogRanDE District Merchandising Manager and temporary District Manager, smart & Final Responsible for all fi- nancial, operational and associate-related issues within her assigned district of 19 stores, Leogrande managed the merchandising projects for five new stores in a six-month timeframe. She trained 200-plus as- sociates within Smart & Final's perishables departments in 2015, when her role as perish- able merchandising manager was expanded. Leogrande was promoted from store manager to perish- able merchandising manager, followed by a second promo- tion to temporary district manager last January. gEnEVa loCKE pricing Manager, smart & Final Locke was responsible for the quality of price execu- tion, including prices, data, systems and people, for more than 250 stores. Her ad ac- curacy rate was 99.92 percent for the entire year, and she achieved 100 percent accuracy for 39 weeks. She embraces teamwork, lives the banner's core values and emulates the philosophy of "see it, own it, do it." An active participant in the company's store "engagement" days, Locke visited stores to determine how she and her team could better serve them, while at the same time mentoring, developing and encouraging her team. REnéE REDChER purchasing Manager, smart & Final With 30 years of equipment- purchasing experience, Redcher enhanced Smart & Final's equipment offerings, helping to source and develop state-of-the-art fixtures for its stores. She created best practices for equipment to provide store personnel and end users with step-by-step instructions for installation, operation, main- tenance and housekeeping, as well as written procedures for every job function within her department. Redcher participated in and graduated from Smart & Final's Leadership Develop- ment Program. KiMBERly WaDE Manager, new store Marketing, smart & Final As manager of the new- stores team, Wade directly af- fected business customer sales penetration in new stores. She led the team to open 20 stores in 2015, driving new business customers to Smart & Final stores, as well as intro- ducing current business cus- tomers to the grocer's Extra! concept, and coordinated all in-store demos with suppliers and demo companies to ensure a great customer experience. In addition to her usual job duties, Wade took over all of the Smart & Final charitable foundation responsibilities until a manager was hired, and helped plan and execute community events.