NEW Atlanta debut features powerhouse panel
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Nearly 350 cpg/retail industry leaders attended the first-ever NEW
Atlanta networking event, October 18, 2011 at world headquarters of The
Coca-Cola Company in downtown Atlanta.
A roundtable of senior executives shared their thoughts on how to
manage change in today's marketplace. Patricia H. Mueller, vice president and chief
marketing officer for The Home Depot; Horace Hamilton, vice president of
merchandising for The Kroger Company; Karen Brewer-Edwards, regional general manager for Walmart Stores; and Ramin Eivaz,
chief marketing officer for Acosta, engaged in a lively discussion moderated by
Jeffery Tobias Halter, president of YWomen.
Asked what skills and key competencies are needed to lead now and
in the future, Brewer-Edwards pointed to the willingness to ask questions to
understand people’s thought processes, before making decisions. Eivaz advised
the group to communicate and network effectively and clearly to all --
regardless of age group or gender.
Effective leadership stems from listening to the
people who work for you, peers and customers -- not just your boss, Hamilton
noted. "Also learn to follow your own lead and don't wait for someone to tell
you were to go,” he said.
Taking risks and being accountable for your
decisions are key attributes of good leaders, Mueller said. "Broaden your skill
set, add value and articulate your contributions,” she added.
Diversity is the catalyst
"Diversity is the catalyst for innovative thinking,
entrepreneurial spirit and new ways of building our communities,” Mueller
noted, adding that women have been an invaluable part of Home Depot’s workforce
throughout its 30 years in business.
Kroger’s Hamilton said the retail chain has long made developing a
diverse and inclusive workforce and supplier network a business priority. The
retailer partners with nearly 1,000 women-owned and minority companies and has
launched a fast-track leadership and development program for its our highest
potential associates and managers.
"We are thrilled that the Network of Executive Women is opening a
chapter in Atlanta, one of our most important market areas, and we look forward
to the education and networking benefits and tools the Network will bring to
our Kroger associates and colleagues," Hamilton said.
Brewer-Edwards of Walmart said the Network's values are consistent
with the retailer’s Global Women's Initiative to help more women live better. "It's
a pleasure to participate in leading education and leadership platforms for
women managers and suppliers in the Southeast region," she said.
Eivaz commented on the significant demographic shifts happening
among today’s shoppers, noting that Baby Boomers are spending less, giving way
to a younger generation of shoppers that are more ethnically diverse and
influential. "At the same time, digital is advancing rapidly, making today’s
shoppers smarter and better informed,” he noted. "Shoppers hold far more power
than ever before, and to engage them we as marketers must become even more
targeted with our efforts.”
More than 350 members and guests attended
the inaugural NEW Atlanta networking event.
Karen Brewer-Edwards of Wal-Mart Stores (left), Ramin Eivaz of Acosta, Horace Hamilton of The Kroger
Company and Patricia H. Mueller of The Home
Depot related their experiences.