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Executive Leadership Development Program Delivers Intense Instruction

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The National Grocers Association Foundation has completed its 2021 Executive Leadership Development Program, a four-day event that included a mix of interactive leadership instruction and personalized coaching.

Held June 6-10 at Cornell University, the program is a high-impact learning opportunity encompassing intense instruction presented by respected academics and industry leaders. This year’s session, which hosted 31 participants from a variety of companies and titles, marked the return of the in-person program after virtual leadership training in 2020.

Program topics included leadership theory and practice, leadership assessments, one-on-one coaching, leadership vs. management, leveraging human assets, reconnecting with strategy, a leadership case study, group think exercise and development action planning. Attendees said they considered the program to be an incredibly valuable experience.

“It was inspiring to meet and connect with so many diverse leaders from across the country, and I look forward to following the members of this year’s class as they progress in their leadership journeys,” said Maggie White, NGAF director. “The combination of faculty, industry leaders, coaching and interactive exercises is well designed to make you think and give you actionable feedback and ideas.”

Among the attendees was Charles Choi, the recipient of this year’s PepsiCo Diversity in Leadership Scholarship. NGAF partnered with PepsiCo to create the Leadership Endowment following the completion of the virtual 2020 Head Start program.

The son of Korean immigrants, Choi is driving the growth of his family’s independent supermarket business, Long Island, New York-based Fruit Tree Farm, affiliated with the Associated Supermarket Group (ASG).

“The 2021 NGA Executive Leadership Development Program at Cornell University was an impactful and memorable learning experience for me,” said Choi, managing director of Fruit Tree Farm. “Through a combination of interactive lectures, self-assessment and peer networking, the program provided a framework to become an effective and successful leader. I enjoyed how the program offered the opportunity to learn and interact amongst a group of supermarket industry professionals from different parts of the country. Although our roles and experiences vary, it was clear to me that we all shared the same leadership challenges as well as the desire for improvement. I believe the insights, perspectives and tools gained from this program will prove to be invaluable in my leadership journey.”

The program was the first to be held at Cornell’s Statler Hotel since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We could not have asked for a better group to welcome in-person learning back to campus,” said Dan Hooker of the Cornell Executive Education team.

To be notified when nominations open for the 2022 ELDP, click here.

These are the 2021 ELDP Graduates:

  • Sara Baldwin, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (dba Food City);
  • Kimberly Cates, Associated Wholesale Grocers;
  • Johnny Chapman, Harps Food Stores Inc.;
  • Charles Choi, Fruit Tree Farm (Associated Supermarket Group);
  • Peter Coborn, Coborn’s Inc.;
  • Kimberly Eggler, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. Inc.;
  • Kate Favrow, Associated Wholesale Grocers;
  • Christopher Gibson, Ravitz Family Markets;
  • Justin Gulla, Ravitz Family Markets;
  • Hydie Hale, Harps Food Stores;
  • Josh Hamill, Woodman’s Food Market Inc.;
  • Christina Henry, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.;
  • Kevin Holland, Brookshire Grocery Co.;
  • Jay Holmes, Brookshire Grocery Co.;
  • Tanisha Jones, Associated Wholesale Grocers;
  • Rob Jones, Charley Family Shop N Save;
  • William Meyer, Wakefern Food Corp.;
  • Katie Penny, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (dba Food City);
  • Molly Pfaffenroth, National Grocers Association;
  • Lori Price Abrams, Wakefern Food Corp.;
  • Doug Ringer, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.;
  • Drew Saluga, Columbiana Foods Inc. dba Giant Eagle;
  • Chelsea Stanton, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.;
  • Chris Sturdevant, Woodman’s Food Market Inc.;
  • Ayana Summerville, Wakefern Food Corp.;
  • Sarah Thacker, Harps Food Stores;
  • Justyne Uribe, Certco Inc.;
  • Justin Wallschlager, Sendik’s Food Market;
  • Seth Wertz, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.;
  • Maggie White, National Grocers Association; and
  • Alex Yanuzzelli, Wakefern Food Corp.

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