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Members 'stay relevant' at Mid-Atlantic event

Friday, December 5, 2014  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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"It is never too late to reinvent yourself. You are never too old," Michele Murphy, executive vice president of human resources and corporate communications for SUPERVALU, advised more than 175 Network members at the NEW Mid-Atlantic fall learning event, Dec. 3, 2014 in Hyattsville, Md.

Murphy joined Marla Thompson, senior vice president of strategy for Catalina, and Gordon Reid, division president at Giant Food, for "Staying Relevant in a Changing World." Judy Spires, president and CEO of Kings Super Markets, moderated the discussion.

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"Listen to [your] team's expertise and take that and help the team deliver objectives," Reid advised. "Understand the customer. Talk to people to understand what makes them tick. Be inquisitive."

Thompson encouraged NEW members to stay open to new ideas and experiences. "Try any one thing once — get in and figure it out. Surround yourself with people who are experts."

"Find people to support you and learn tricks," Murphy added. "Work with mentors. Teach yourself to get up to speed with your peers."

Avoid career derailment

For Reid, self-awareness is an asset, particularly in times of stress. "You can say outrageous things — but it all depends on how you say it. Control how you present things when you get frustrated. Determine how to voice your frustration."

"It takes years to build credibility and one second to destroy it,” Thompson noted.

Murphy warned against succumbing to "the jerk" factor:" wearing ego on your sleeve, only managing up and only thinking about your own career advancements. "Make sure you spend time with the people you spend the most time with: Your peers and the people under you."

Communication is the most important skill to develop in a changing world. "Learn how to listen with intent and where the other party is coming from," he said. "You have two ears and one mouth. Make your point clearly."

Thompson urged attendees to plan on, and practice, being uncomfortable. "It is a muscle. The more you practice, the better you are when you are uncomfortable. If I can do this, I can do that."

"This is not rocket science — nobody is dying," Murphy added. "If you are afraid, you let someone down you need to lose defensiveness and own up that you made a mistake."

The executives characterized their own unique leadership styles: "Never intentionally offend anyone," Reid said. "Be honest and say what you think and move on."

Murphy likes to have fun, but push her team hard. "Have courtesy, dignity and respect," she added. Thompson emphasized putting people first. "Take care of your people, then they will operate well as a team and everyone is successful. View people as an investment."

Organizations sending large groups to the event included Farm Fresh, Giant-Landover, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Utz Quality Foods Inc.

NEW's Robbie Solomon greets Christina Eanes of Mindspring Metro DC,
Denise Minor of FBI and Jan Hice Smith of Heart's Joy Consulting at the
NEW Mid-Atlantic fall event.

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