Director of Store Development
Farm Boy Company Inc.
How did you get into the grocery business?
Like many of my generation, I started working at a small-town grocery store while I was in high school. After working in other industries for a few years, I came back to retail knowing there would always be a job in my own community in the grocery industry. Once hired by Farm Boy in 1998, I was confident this was the company I would grow my career with. Farm Boy’s core values have always been very much in line with the small-town, community-driven values that I grew up on.
What are your greatest career achievements?
Throughout my 22 years with Farm Boy, there have been many personal highlights and achievements. I started as a meat wrapper and became a department manager after a year and half with the company. Four years later, I was a store manager. After managing several Farm Boy stores over six years, I moved on to become a retail specialist and procurement manager for our deli, cheese and kitchen departments. I managed to surpass company sales and profit targets in all three departments four years in a row. Six years ago, I was promoted to project manager of store development, a new position to Farm Boy that was created to assist with our rapid expansion across Ontario. In a matter of six years, I managed the opening of 16 new Farm Boy stores in the province. Now, as a newly appointed director of store development, I feel my greatest career highlights are still to come, and the next challenge will be my next achievement. It will always be out there ahead of me to go after.
What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moments have always been centred around the amazing people I have worked with and their successes, whether it’s working with new in-store staff who become managers or department specialists themselves, or training new store managers who go on to lead and build teams of their own. In my current role, I am proud to be a part of bringing the “Farm Boy Way” of grocery shopping to new regions across Ontario.
What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy that each day is different. Each new position, new project or new store opening has its own unique challenges to figure out and overcome. I truly enjoy working with, teaching and learning from all of our teams on every new store build. From designers and engineers, to purchasers and contractors, to retail managers and staff, all facets must work together to pull off the project from start to finish. To watch it grow from a simple drawing on a page to a full store on grand opening day and every step in between, I really do love it.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was “to pay attention, to listen and to care.” Whether it’s customers, staff, colleagues, suppliers, family or friends, if you pay attention, listen and care they will tell you what they need. I am not saying it is easy. But if you can really listen to what people need and then find a way to help them get it, you will be successful in anything you do.
What is your best quality?
Over my career, my best quality has been my ability to reflect on my own performance and hold myself accountable. Good or bad, we can always strive to do it better tomorrow. In my current position, I like to think my best quality is adaptability to any situation. I have a “we can figure it out” attitude. There is no “it can’t be done” in my vocabulary because I believe there is always a way!
Anything else you’d like to add?
As leaders in our industry, I want to say: “Remember to teach, coach and mentor the next generations. Let their success be your success and then let them teach you.” This is what I hope my next 20 years will look like.
Click here for the full list of 2020 Star Women in Grocery award winners.