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Industry executives offer leadership insights at NEW Florida event

Thursday, November 17, 2011  
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Tough times have created more compassionate leaders who embrace and leverage diversity, according to a panel of industry leaders who shared their insights with 400 Network members and supporters at the NEW Florida fall event in Tampa, Nov. 10, 2011.

Catherine Lindner, vice president, retail marketing for Walgreen Co.; Chuck Roskovich, senior vice president, product business development for Publix Super Markets; Thom McElroy, principal, human capital, retail sector for Deloitte Consulting; and Meg Levene, vice president, field sales organization, Johnson & Johnson, shared their strategies for leading in an ever-changing environment. The event, held at the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida, was moderated by Lucia Romanello Crater, vice president of retail sales for Cardtronics and a NEW founding member.

"All employees are being asked to do more with less,” Levene said. "Effective leaders have learned to prioritize and streamline.”

In this economic environment, especially, leaders need to be disciplined and compassionate, the senior executives agreed. "Take time to understand individual circumstances,” McElroy advised, adding good leaders understand the value of people and are leveraging their human assets.

Walgreen’s Lindner agreed, suggesting NEW members "adjust your style as a manager to each individual. The same approach does not work for everyone.”

Overseeing today’s multigenerational workforce, Roskovich added, requires leaders to remember where they came from. "It will help you stay connected to all associates.”

Noting that the percentage of males at the event -- about 15 percent -- was similar to the percentage of women that hold top roles in the cpg/retail industry, Roskovich told the group Publix has increased its number of female managers from 22 percent 15 years ago to 34 percent today.

While many companies are working to close the leadership gender gap, Levene said her passion for mentoring others stems from "remembering what it was like to be the only different voice in the room.”

Among the companies attending the event were local sponsors Bimbo Bakeries USA, Catalina, Dole, Effective Marketing Solutions, Melitta, Nestlé USA, Pepin Distributing and Publix Super Markets, plus representatives from University of Florida and University of South Florida. Other companies well represented at the event were Acosta, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Sweetbay Supermarket and Walgreen Company.

More than 380 members and guests attended the
NEW Florida event in Tampa.

Thom McElroy of Deloitte Consulting, Catherine Lindner
of Walgreen Co., Meg Levene of Johnson & Johnson and
Chuck Roskovich of Publix Super Markets offered insights
on leading in a changing marketplace.

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