Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/689994
78 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | June 2016 Rising staRs Wendy ZahRadka- Welch district director, ahold Usa/giant carlisle When Zahradka-Welch took over her current role, sales were down 1.01 percent; by year end, she had raised sales 6.6 percent by leverag- ing many talented associates throughout the division to deliver best practices, and providing training for and executing an enhanced mer- chandising initiative. Elevating succession planning to put the right people in the right roles, she promoted eight managers to their next assignments within six months, achieving a 19.5 percent increase in EBIT per- formance identically. Zahradka-Welch encouraged collaboration and the sharing of ideas between stores. cindi aleaRdi taB sales Manager, albertsons cos./ acme Markets Aleardi championed product innovations, most notably in Acme's new Frosted Mug beer stores, making it a priority to ensure that customers could enjoy a superior product selection, and redesigning the entire procurement process to enhance vendor relationships, produce placement, pricing and promotion. Responsible for Own Brands throughout most of 2015 as well as the total alcohol beverage (TAB) category, she launched a successful new Own Brands campaign. Aleardi ran the tent at the NASCAR race at Dover Downs, in Delaware, and took part in many philanthropic efforts, including the Walk to Defeat ALS in Philadelphia. dione BaiRd Floral sales Manager, albertsons cos./ tom thumb Baird successfully merged two major competitors, creating double-digit increases while turning an unprofitable ban- ner into a turnkey profitable organization. Aiming to identify with the local clientele, her team has expanded partnerships with local professional teams and charities, and worked with the bakery team to enter the wedding-planning arena. Baird completed a suc- cessful training class for 106 floral managers on balloon upgrades and candy ar- rangements, implemented order-writing classes for the continual education of man- agers and supervisors, and developed a hands-on design and upgrade class. kiM conneRy liquor sales and Merchandising Manager, albertsons cos./ Jewel-osco Connery joined forces with three winemakers to develop a line called The Three Thieves, exclusive to Jewel-Osco. The line generated such strong sales for the banner that it was eventually picked up by two other national retail- ers; following on the initial product rollout's success, Con- nery went on to develop two additional varieties. With Millennials in mind, she created and implemented the Be Your Own Bartender program, which distributes monthly recipes and ingredi- ents for popular cocktails. Connery spearheaded the Northern Illinois Food Bank's A Taste That Matters culinary event in May 2015. kRistin skoviRa Manager, Merchandising trade Relations, ahold Usa Skovira established a process for Ahold USA to use a joint business-planning practice effi- ciently with top vendors to drive key metrics; she also helped to drive year-on-year increased spend with diverse suppliers and to put in place a strategy for better visibility and sustained growth in this area. She managed the vendor council, allowing key partners to share feedback with senior leadership to help facilitate best practices. Skovira facilitated Supplier Di- versity Day to align vendors with merchandising to bring in new assortments, and helped reduce Ahold's carbon footprint by mov- ing Own Brand soup packaging from steel cans to aseptic cartons. diana soRaFine Manager, not for Resale, ahold Usa Responsible for the develop- ment, management and tracking of category strategies to minimize not-for-resale cost structures while ensuring delivery against the strategic needs of the com- pany, Sorafine saved $8.6 million annually in floor care expenses for Ahold USA's four divisions, which also resulted in quality and service improvements. She worked on the sourcing of the company's entire facilities and maintenance portfolio, which led to savings of more than $4 million. Sorafine received recognition because of her role in support- ing Ahold's Better Place to Work Promise and also volunteered regularly for the Boy Scouts, to which her son belongs. taRa sUllivan engineer ii solutions, ahold Usa As part of the Ahold-Delhaize merger, Sullivan worked closely with the global collaboration team to upgrade the video meeting facility rooms, thereby bringing unsupported systems under support and allowing system software to be upgraded to facilitate new features; this massive undertaking required the coordination of all equipment de- liveries, installations, testing and training for the new hardware. Overseeing a team of interns, she revamped the global collabo- ration portal, making it easier for associates to navigate for self-service help. Sullivan planned, created and managed Ahold USA's Google Apps training, including a sum- mer collaboration training series. natalia toRRes-FURtado Portfolio lead, ahold Usa Torres-Furtado's team estab- lished a significant ethnic/kosher offering within six weeks at 25 former A&P stores converted to Ahold USA's Stop & Shop banner, resulting in specialty/ethnic sales that accounted for more than 20 percent of total new store revenue, with 1,000-plus new items added; she also moved specialty/ethnic to a dedicated weekly ad spot, elevating the portfolio to exceed all 2015 sales targets. She formed a synergistic relationship with a high-end food manufacturer to create a best-in-class offering as a destination for the categories. Torres-Furtado completed the Cornell Food Executive Program and was a speaker at Ahold USA's diversity fair.