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Giant/Martin’s women's conference features NEW panelists

Wednesday, September 28, 2011  
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More than 250 Giant Food Stores and Martin’s store leaders participated in a day-long program of personal development hosted by the Giant/Martin’s Female Leadership Advisory Council and supported by the Network of Executive Women.

The third-annual Women in Leadership Conference, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Harrisburg, Pa., on Sept. 14, included opening keynote remarks by Lynette Lewis, author of Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos, who encouraged the managers to focus on personal branding; a Network overview by NEW Client Services Director Nancy Krawczyk; a panel discussion on propelling a business forward through workforce diversity; and a closing keynote by Cam Marston, author of Generational Insights, who addressed managing and serving different generations in the workplace. The day’s activities were emceed by consultant and coach Vera Cornish, president of Cornish & Associates.

Panelists were Network veterans Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale, vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer for The Campbell Soup Co.; NEW Board member Margarita Rossi , senior director, global shopper, for Johnson & Johnson; Vincent Campana, vice president and general manager, every day spend, for American Express; Amy Hahn, vice president and general manager, Global Hershey Experience and Licensing, for The Hershey Co.; and Linda Strickler, associate director Northeast, for Procter & Gamble.

O'Neale, who acted as moderator for the panel, explained the difference between diversity and inclusion and shared the value of women’s networks in attracting, advancing and retaining talent.  

"Diversity brings together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, styles and approaches,” added Strickler. "The synergies of these remarkably different talents, perspectives and life experiences enhance all that we do. Inclusion inspires a culture where we leverage and celebrate the diversity that makes each of us unique. The two together -- diversity and inclusion -- create an environment where we can all thrive by bringing our 'whole selves' to work each and every day.”

Diversity calls for erasing traditional stereotypes and understanding people on an individual level, Hahn noted. "Applying this principle and forging a deeper understanding of shoppers -- what they value, barriers to purchase or engagement and motivating forces in their world -- retailers can develop compelling products, merchandising and communication programs to differentially increase both business performance and loyalty.”

The afternoon opened with Larry Stover, senior vice president of store operations for Giant/Martin’s, who said the event represented the company’s commitment to embracing diversity and inclusion. "Diversity is a business imperative and gives us a competitive advantage,” he said. "By fostering and encouraging a culture of diversity and inclusion, we become more effectively engaged with our associates, our customers, our communities and our business partners.”

Christine Bokunewicz, district director of Giant/Martin's, closed the afternoon, saying, "Understand as leaders of this organization, fostering diversity starts with us.”

Bokunewicz ended the program with a quote from poet Audre Lorde: "In our work and our living, we must recognize that the difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.”

Panelists at he Giant/Martin's event were (from left) Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale, The Campbell Soup Co.; Margarita Rossi, Johnson & Johnson; Vincent Campana, American Express; Amy Hahn, The Hershey Co.; and Linda Strickler, Procter & Gamble.

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