Skip to main content

2020 Star Women in Grocery winner Danica Parilac (Q&A)


Store level star

Danica Parilac
Store Manager
Longo’s Walkers Line, Burlington, Ont.

How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I began working for a small independent in Oakville, Ont. at the age of 15 as a deli clerk. I instantly enjoyed the attention I received just from providing great service, and the relationships I developed with customers and my fellow peers was addictive. I continued to work with another grocer throughout high school and university, and my contributions and work ethic were acknowledged by one of my senior leaders, who encouraged me to explore management. After graduating university I began working as an assistant store manager, and my career quickly progressed from there, eventually leading me to my Longo’s family.

What are you proudest of in terms of your work?
The most gratifying part of my career is helping people achieve their personal and professional goals. I’m also a strong supporter of giving back to the community. Being a leader is truly a gift that should never be taken for granted. Helping someone on my team reach their full potential truly brings me joy. Influencing a team to raise funds for worthy causes and to help those in need gives me purpose. I’m very fortunate that I can do those things daily, and work for an organization that not only supports me but encourages me every step of the way.

What do you think is your best quality?
Honesty. I truly believe the only way to grow and succeed is by being honest with ourselves and each other. It’s good for people, and it’s good for business.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Take care of your people, and the rest will take care of itself. Motivate them, challenge them, understand them, listen to them, learn from them, empathize with them, hold them accountable, and recognize them. In short, show them you care.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
Humility. Not being the best all the time and not being right was a real challenge. I quickly learned being humble is about being honest, and people respond better to someone who isn’t afraid to admit to mistakes and learn from them. As a new store manager, I had lost the trust of someone on my team. I asked my leader at the time how I could fix this. His response was to be honest with my team, meet with them in small groups, and humbly tell them what happened and ask them for their help. The honest feedback I received in those mini sessions with my team would shape and mould me into the leader I am today. I learned that humility is one of the most important and valuable traits of any good leader. It takes courage and strength to be humble, and what you can learn in the process is priceless.

What do you like most about your job?
Seeing people smile, do better, and get better every day. I also enjoy accomplishing tasks, building displays, overcoming obstacles, exceeding goals, and having fun in the process.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to take this opportunity to applaud and recognize everyone in the industry. To say this year was unexpected and challenging would be an understatement. I’m extremely proud of the job that I do, the people that I work with, and the communities we serve. Our vendor partners, supply chain, drivers and front-line team members have had to adapt by the minute, change and remain positive in the most difficult of situations, and they did so with grace, courage and strength. Lastly, I’d like to thank my team at Longo’s for nominating me—I am truly honoured and humbled.

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

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds