Home » NGA Salutes 2023 ELDP Graduates
Association News National

NGA Salutes 2023 ELDP Graduates


The National Grocers Association Foundation has completed its 2023 Executive Leadership Development Program, a four-day session that included a mix of interactive leadership instruction and personalized coaching presented by respected academics and industry leaders.


The program, held June 4-8 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and sponsored by PepsiCo, welcomed 43 participants from a variety of companies.

“For the second time in 10 years, the ELDP exceeded 40 participants, signaling the grocery industry’s focus on investing in its future leaders,” said Chelsea Matzen, NGAF director. 

“All of these graduates are now primed with leadership skills to contribute to their companies and the industry into the future.” 

New to the ELDP program lineup this year was unconscious bias training, reflecting the NGA foundation’s commitment to incorporating elements of diversity, equity and inclusion into its programs. Other topics included management team leadership, storytelling, decision making and personal leadership development.

Returning this year as a presenter was Nick Nickitas, founder of Rosie, an Instacart Company. He spoke on attracting and inspiring a changing workforce and served as host of the Thursday night reception. In addition, participants enjoyed a vineyard tour, hiking and a NASCAR experience, along with ample time for networking. 

“ELDP’s wide-ranging program is designed to deliver actionable insights for rising executives aiming to push their respective businesses forward,” Matzen said. 

“Being able to connect with so many forward-thinking leaders from across our industry was truly inspiring.” 


Among the attendees were this year’s ELDP scholarship winners: Edwin “Nino” Vazquez, district manager with Wakefern’s Price Rite Marketplace banner, who received the PepsiCo Diversity in Leadership Scholarship; and Margarita “Maggie” Rivera, perishables manager with Ravitz Family Markets, the recipient of the Women Grocers of America Scholarship – WGA operates under the NGA foundation.

“The ELDP provided great content and invaluable opportunities to network with industry peers facing similar challenges in a competitive marketplace,” Vasquez said. 

“I appreciated the emphasis on diversity, which is so important for connecting with the diverse communities served by our stores.” 

Rivera also relished the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and “meet with others like me from across the country.”

“Being able to hear so many different perspectives makes this program an essential resource for anyone seeking advancement in grocery management,” she added.

Here are the NGA foundation’s 2023 ELDP graduates:  

  • Allegiance Retail Services – Srini Iyer;
  • Associated Grocers Inc. – Chris Brangenberg and Richard Mule;
  • Associated Supermarket Group – Barbara Arria;
  • Big Y Foods Inc. – James Billingsley and Amanda Pereira;
  • Buehler’s Fresh Foods – David Cleckner;
  • Certco Inc. – Kyle Adams, Amanda Broan and Adam Kristiansen;
  • Coborn’s Inc. – Christie Schulte and Troy Vosburgh;
  • Columbiana Foods Inc. – Justin Graff and Michael Wrightson;
  • Delaware Supermarkets – Michael Fetrow and William “Bill” Sell;
  • Fresh Foods IGA – Jeet Brahmbhatt;
  • Harps Food Stores Inc. – Will Baker and Derrick Kelly;
  • Hugo’s Family Marketplace – Allison Conway and Elizabeth Savage;
  • K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. – Derek Adkisson and Misty Deskins;
  • McMenamin Family ShopRite – David Watson;
  • Merchant Distributors Inc. – Buddy Jones and Melissa Rasmussen;
  • Orcas Island Market – Israel Guilford;
  • Price Rite Marketplace – Edwin Vasquez and Jon Wiltrout;
  • Ravitz Family Markets – Matthew Maiore and Margarita Rivera;
  • Roche Bros. Supermarkets – Artie Kroese and Caitlin Roche; 
  • Sendik’s Food Market – John Mulgrew;
  • ShopRite Supermarkets – AJ Faber, Charles Sladek, Alina Svizzero and Nick Valdez;
  • Sissonville Piggly Wiggly – Justin Workman; and
  • Woodman’s Food Market – Sarah Bin, Courtney Frazier, Evan Kutzleb and Kyle Meeham.

To be notified when nominations open for the 2024 ELDP, click here.


Featured Photos

Featured Photo ROFDA Spring Conference
Renaissance Esmeralda
Indian Wells, CA