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NEW awards $20,000 in scholarships

Wednesday, June 15, 2011  
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The Network of Executive Women has awarded $20,000 in scholarships to seven college students pursuing careers in the cpg/retail industry.

Scholarships for 2011 were awarded in June to graduate students Katie Childress, attending University of Colorado, Boulder, and Jennifer Stellmacher Rheault, of California State University, Long Beach. Undergraduates receiving scholarships were Trang Ayers of Portland State University in Portland, Ore.; Katelyn Harvey and Colleen McDonnell of Philadelphia’s St. Joseph's University; Kari Lazarski of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Tamera Pumphrey of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. The scholarship awardees will be recognized at the NEW Leadership Summit 2011, Sept. 19-20, in Orlando.

Katie Childress will graduate in 2012 from the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business, with a master of business administration degree. Among her accomplishments is her promotion at age 25 to forecast manager at the North American Wholesale division of Patagonia, managing the inventory team for Canada, the United States and corporate sales. Childress said she is pursuing an MBA to advance her career, specifically in the apparel or organic food industry.

"In over 18 years of working in the apparel industry, I have had the opportunity to work with many talented individuals and Katie is among the very best,” said Elisabeth Mast, director of sourcing for Patagonia. "She has demonstrated to me on many occasions her ability to execute solutions and produce high quality results with an extraordinary degree of intellect, creativity and determination.”

Jennifer Rheault expects to graduate from California State Long Beach in 2012 with a master of business administration degree. She has served as a marketing professional at Valassis for the past 11 years, working with Nestlé, Unilever, Kellogg Company, Johnson & Johnson and other cpg companies.

"I have developed a strong interest in collaborating with brand managers to develop creative marketing solutions,” Rheault said. "More specifically, my interest in the cpg industry lies in designing in-home, interactive, and in-store promotion plans, to help educate consumers on meal solutions, health remedies, and lifestyle tips while simultaneously increasing sales for my clients and my company.”

Outstanding undergrads

Trang Ayers, a native of Vietnam and mother of six, is pursuing a degree in finance, with a minor in food industry management at Portland State University. She earned an undergraduate degree in information technology in Vietnam prior to moving to the United States in 2004.

"I am interested in working in the food industry because I can see the potential of an exciting career,” Ayers said. "I believe we are on the verge of tremendous innovation in the food business. I see increased worldwide trade of food types, food growing efficiency and ways of preparing food. I also see a tremendous growth in the health consciousness of consumers around the world. These all lead to new dynamics in food advertising and delivery to the consumer.”

Katelyn Harvey, a food marketing major at St. Joseph’s University who expects to graduate in 2013, participated in a co-op program at Johnson & Johnson, Sales & Logistics Company in Skillman, N.J. last year. She will participate in a Neutrogena Cosmetics sales strategy co-op in New York City beginning in the fall.

During her eight months at Johnson & Johnson, Harvey said she was "blessed with a team of successful and knowledgeable individuals, many of whom were female and demonstrated how much opportunity and success is possible for women in the cpg industry. These women have continued to act as leaders, mentors, and role models for whom I wish to emulate as I advance my career.”

Also a food marketing major at St. Joseph’s University, Colleen McDonnell spent last summer working as a management intern at Wegmans Food Markets in Harrisburg, Pa., and will spend this summer as a Wegmans merchandising intern at the supermarket chain’s Rochester, N.Y. headquarters. She expects to graduate next May.

"Colleen has all of the tools needed to be a great leader in the food industry,” said George Latella, professor of food marketing, Saint Joseph’s University. "I use the term ‘I.D.’ with my students to help them understand the kinds of things I look for in people. The ‘I’ stands for intensity, intelligence and integrity. The ‘D’ stands for discipline, dedication and desire. She has shown all of these traits.”

Kari Lazarski is majoring in food and cpg marketing and integrated supply management at Western Michigan University. The mother of a three-year-old, Lazarksi will graduate in 2012.

"I have had the opportunity to select, train, develop and promote many young people during my 30 year career,” noted Phillip T. Straniero, retired vice president, sales development, Kellogg Company. "Kari has the talents, skills and drive to succeed in the food marketing industry.”

Tamera Pumphrey, who is majoring in accounting and business administration, expects to graduate in 2013 from Gonzaga University. While pursuing her education, she has worked her way up from courtesy clerk to supervisor at the Shadle Center Safeway in Spokane, Wash.

"It is not often that one comes across an employee who has the enthusiasm, drive and passion for the retail grocery industry that she displays,” said Nancy L. Williams, regional human resources manager for Safeway Inc. "Not only has Tamera eagerly accepted every new challenge that has been presented to her but she has taken the initiative to seek out opportunities that allow her to learn more about the retail grocery industry while mentoring others and challenging them to do the same.”

The scholarship winners receive a free one-year membership in the Network of Executive Women, the consumer product and retail industry’s largest diversity organization.

The Network has awarded $90,000 in scholarships since 2005. "NEW has not only aided me in financing my school but it has provided me with great networking opportunities,” noted Lashawndra Lawrence, a Tuskegee University graduate student who received a scholarship in 2010. "NEW has given me new insight regarding my role as a woman in industry and shown me that it is possible for women to be successful.”

Trang Ayers

Katie Childress

Katelyn Harvey

Tamera Pumphrey

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