2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Lori Bodden (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Senior Director, Store Solutions Delivery Loblaw Technology
Loblaw Companies Ltd.
How did you get into the grocery business?
As they say, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. When I was 18 years old, I was eagerly searching for a summer job opportunity and my father, who worked for Loblaw Companies Limited as a truck driver, was able to connect me to an exciting role within the Chatham, Ont. warehouse. The overnight role in the shipping and receiving office was truly an insightful experience for me, as I learned to balance receiving documents, input inventory into legacy systems, and run overnight jobs in the computer rooms. It became that defining role that started my legacy here with Loblaw.
What's your proudest career moment?
As someone who is very passionate about people and teamwork, I was incredibly proud and humbled to receive the Loblaw Technology Most Collaborative Team Award for two years consecutively. My genuine belief is that when business and technology teams collaborate with each other, the strength, success and outcome achieved is unparalleled. In 2019, this passion and belief was evident in my team’s partnership with Loblaw Digital and the business through the automated micro-fulfillment centre (MFC). Driven by my amazing team and our success, I was able to translate that energy into a major project in 2020, where my team and I helped many other teams across Loblaw Technology by aligning them to a new program that helped us become more accountable for monitoring and managing support tickets. This accountability and transparency made more money and time available for new initiatives that benefited the business, our colleagues, and our customers.
What would you say is your best quality?
I would say my best quality is being an influential leader. What I mean by this is I lead by example, I honour my commitments and I am transparent with every action I take. Being this type of leader is important to me, as it allows me to develop and manage strong and trustworthy relationships with my team, my peers and our business. Ask anyone—when I commit to taking on a task or challenge, I will be sure to deliver on it. You could say my best quality is being a people person, but I would say it’s a lot more than that!
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
Being a woman in what has been a traditionally male-dominated field has intimidated me for a long time. As a woman, I have had to figure out how to carve a space for myself while always adhering to my principles and beliefs. I struggled for many years with feeling confident enough to state my position in meetings, as there were always few woman and many confident men. It took a combination of great mentors and supporters to recognize my value, and I now proudly take my seat at the table and speak up when I have an opinion or thought.
What are some of your biggest career highlights/greatest achievements?
I am happy to share that my biggest career highlight has been my current role, being the senior director of store solutions for Loblaw Technology. This role has granted me the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people I have ever met while leading crucial initiatives to their fullest success. But what’s really brought everything together to make this the greatest achievement is the relationships that have been built while in this role, resulting in winning the Loblaw Technology Most Collaborative Team Award for two years in a row and receiving the largest group of summer students and interns to manage.
What do you like most about your job?
There are way too many factors that make me love my job, but at the end of the day it’s the fact that I get to work with people and solutions that matter to me. The innovative technology solutions that I get to lead with my team are able to help Canadians who shop in our stores live life well. Developing a project from concept to implementation, then watching it change lives, is the best feeling in the world.
Anything else you would like to add?
I am an open-minded woman with an open-door policy. This means that any individual who would like to discuss their personal or professional goals can always count on me for support with their growth aspirations. These conversations give me the opportunity to gain a new perspective so I can grow while learning and understanding the pressures and aspirations of the next generation of leaders. I enjoy leveraging my strengths and insights to help guide, develop and nurture them.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.