2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Vicki Kinsella (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Sobeys Newfoundland, District 5, Howley Estates, St John’s
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I started my first job at the age of 16 (38 years ago) while attending high school. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career and at the same time trying to earn a few extra dollars for pocket money.
What are you proudest about in terms of your work?
I take great pride in being selected as a store manager trainer. It warms my heart to see the people that I have had a hand in training over the years learn, grow and succeed in their career.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Many years ago, in times where people were not educated on diversity and inclusion as they are today, I was promoted to grocery manager. It was when this department was predominantly a male role. At that time I didn’t know of any female peers doing the same job, so I really had no one who understood what I was going through. I faced many obstacles when men didn’t think I could do the job, and I felt that even though I had proven myself to my store manager and was deserving of the opportunity, I always had to work harder physically and mentally to earn respect and to prove to others that I was the right person for the job.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
When you’re leading a team it’s important to remember that your decisions are not understood by all. You will be judged, so don’t take things personally, it’s business.
What has been a career highlight or one of your greatest achievements?
When I was promoted to store manager and took ownership of my store. Another highlight is that I manage 150-plus employees and that I am looked at as a leader, mentor, delegator, communicator, developer and so much more. I love going to work everyday as there are never two days that look alike, and there are always challenges.
What do you like most about your job?
When I get to spend my time on the sales floor interacting with both customers and employees. I enjoy getting to know my people and focus on their strengths to help them learn and grow and to better serve our customers. I love it when I hear the sound of laughter and positivity in people’s voice. Having fun in the workday is good for the mind and soul. It keeps you grounded, alert and focused, especially in these challenging times where so much attention is required from the team to keep our store clean and safe for everyone.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I am so proud to be part of the Sobeys family as it has given me so many great opportunities over the years and empowered me to give back to our community. Giving back is so rewarding, and aligns with the company’s purpose of family nurturing families, so this is always a focus for myself and my team.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.