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2020 Star Women in Grocery winner Brenna Gillespie (Q&A)


Rising star

Brenna Gillespie
Manager of E-commerce Operations

How did you get into the grocery business?
My first jobs were in the food/beverage/restaurant industry—to make ends meet, I took a job as a cashier in a grocery store. I had no idea that my decision to take that job would lead me to store management, merchandising, human resources, labour relations, communications and now, Ecommerce. I thought it was just a job; little did I know it would evolve into a career that I absolutely love.

Proudest moment?
Although I have regular moments that give me this innate sense of pride, such as seeing one of our delivery vans in action, receiving a customer compliment or having a member of my team advance their career, I can’t say that I have a single proudest moment. I am incredibly proud to be part of an organization that is about more than just putting food on the table for Western Canadians. When Jimmy Pattison donates money to build a hospital, I know that we played a part in making that happen.

Your best quality?
I try to live in a state of constant continuous improvement, to do so you need to be very self-aware and brutally honest with yourself; and then of course, resilient. I have a mantra that I review at the end of every day: “Did I disappoint my family, my team or my customers today? If yes, how can I fix it and do better tomorrow? If no, it was a great day, how can I do even better tomorrow?”

Biggest challenge faced in your career? And how did you overcome that challenge?
COVID-19 was a challenge like no other. I’m very fortunate to work with an incredible group of highly committed individuals that all pulled together under difficult circumstances and they absolutely knocked it out of the park! In a few short weeks we increased our fleet, hired and trained well over 100 drivers, and revamped all our processes and procedures to ensure the safety of our team, customers and the communities we serve. Going back to the proudest moment question—I am very proud of the amazing work our team has done to ensure that we were and are able to get groceries to people in our communities when they needed it most.

Career highlight/greatest achievements?
This award is definitely a personal highlight in my career, but I think my greatest achievements have been helping individuals grow in their leadership skills and advance their careers.

What do you like most about your job?
Whether it was increasing sales, margin, productivity at retail, reducing grievances and resolving conflicts in labour relations or finding efficiencies in ecommerce operations, I love the sport of the job and the art of coaching the team to be more satisfied, productive and profitable.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Anyone can serve food, but I love the meal, the event. It’s what brings us together as human beings. Whether it's family, friends, neighbours or perfect strangers, the meal—although an everyday occurrence—involves sharing and gratitude. It’s rewarding to know that in a small way, we help to make that happen for the people we serve. With the current state of affairs in the world today, we could all use a good meal.

Click here for the full list of 2020 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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