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NGA Foundation Wraps Up 2024 ELDP Conference

NGA Foundation ELDP

The NGA Foundation has completed its 2024 Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), a four-day conference offering personalized coaching and interactive leadership instruction.

Held June 2-6 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and sponsored by PepsiCo, the program provides hands-on, lecture and group activities for high impact learning. This year’s session included about 40 participants from companies across the grocery industry, including retailers, wholesalers and distributors. Two of them received scholarships from PepsiCo and the NGA Foundation’s Women Grocers of America.

PepsiCo is a multiyear sponsor and supporter of ELDP and its scholarship program, designed to invest in leaders at critical stages in their careers to provide them with skills needed to advance through the executive ranks. The partnership provides rising professionals with more access to networking and leadership development.

“This event continues to educate, uplift, encourage and inspire talented individuals committed to driving growth and innovation in an industry that’s so essential to the well-being of the communities they serve,” said NGA Foundation VP Chelsea Matzen.

The program offered participants the opportunity to assess their interpersonal needs and the impact of their behavior in the workplace, receive guidance in conflict management, review benchmarks for managers and sit for one-on-one coaching sessions. 

ELDP’s agenda explored the challenge of leadership in today’s business climate, strategies, decision-making case studies, management team leadership, attracting and inspiring a changing workforce, making effective connections and personal development plans.

A new learning session this year was a ropes course, a series of outdoor group initiatives and challenges that required groups to brainstorm, plan, implement, evaluate and improvise in a team environment. These low- and high-elements courses were designed to promote trust, communication, collaboration and leadership among participants, with the opportunity to stretch personal comfort zones and engage mentally and physically.

In addition, this year’s diversity, equity and inclusion session, “Creating a Culture of Inclusion Through Conscious Allyship,” covered  indicators that impact workplace culture and dynamics and the effect on the organization and people. Participants looked at their own mindsets and learned about unconscious bias in an effort to bring about change, enhance their ability to recognize and negotiate social dynamics in the workplace and become allies by building a more equitable and inclusive workplace.

[RELATED: NGA Salutes 2023 ELDP Graduates]

There were also a variety of evening events, including a dinner titled “Ithaca is Delicious” sponsored by Instacart. The party hosted by the e-commerce solutions provider featured local food and beverages.

Javier Zaragoza, a 20-year veteran of Chicago’s seven-store Fairplay Foods, received the 2024 PepsiCo Diversity in Leadership Scholarship.

A new active learning session this year was the ropes course, a series of outdoor group initiatives and challenges that required groups to brainstorm, plan, implement, evaluate and improvise in a team environment.

Misty Kern, who oversees training and food safety for 139 supermarkets operated by K-VA-T’s Food City banner in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, was awarded the 2024 Women Grocers of America Scholarship.

Here is the complete list of 2024 NGA ELDP graduates:

  • John Mostler, Allegiance Retail Services
  • Thomas Horne, Associated Foods Stores
  • Stephen Acosta, Associated Grocers Inc.
  • Thomas Weaver, Associated Grocers Inc.
  • Reena Mathew, Associated Wholesale Grocers
  • Cole Painter, Associated Wholesale Grocers
  • Candy Sittig, Associated Wholesale Grocers
  • Tenneille McFarlane-Smart, Big Y Foods
  • Kraig Gibson, Certco Inc.
  • John van Dorsten, Certco Inc.
  • Samantha Johnston, Clark’s Market
  • Dusty Kerssen, Coborn’s Inc.
  • Kris Roberts, Coborn’s Inc.
  • Javier Zaragoza, Fairplay Foods
  • George Balderaz, G.E. Foodland Inc.
  • Brendon Garrett, Garrett Enterprises Inc.
  • Reagan Haynie, Garrett Enterprises Inc.
  • Corrine Stowe, Harmons Grocery
  • Burrel Book, Harps Food Stores Inc.
  • Shannon Clark, Houchens Food Group Inc.
  • Misty Kern, K-VA-T Foods/Food City
  • Hannah Smith, K-VA-T Foods/Food City
  • Marissa Smoyer, Lipari Foods 
  • Mike Winnick, McCaffrey’s Markets
  • Bobby Watkins, Merchants Distributors Inc.
  • Marc Huber, Ravitz Family Markets ShopRite
  • Daniel Poussart, Ravitz Family Markets ShopRite
  • Joel Edwards, Roberts Company Inc.
  • David Anthony, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
  • Nicholas DeSetto, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
  • Diana Fritz, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
  • Steve Rich, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
  • Phillip Penta, Three Guys From Brooklyn
  • Keith Marsh, Wakefern Food Corp.
  • Rebecca Gottlieb Adam, Wakefern Food Corp.
  • Eric Bone, Wayfield Foods Inc.
  • Tyler Ellis, Woodman’s Food Market
  • Alex Rice, Woodman’s Food Market
  • Brandon Sanwick, Woodman’s Food Market

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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