2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Naomi McLeod (Q&A)
Store Level Star
Save-On-Foods Pemberton Plaza, North Vancouver
How did you get into the grocery business?
At 16 years old, my brother in-law arranged an interview for me at a new grocery store being built in my hometown of Prince Rupert, B.C. I dug into my mom’s closet and borrowed one of her business suits so I could dress to impress. I got the job! I can still remember putting on that crisp polyester uniform and namet ag and feeling accomplished.
What is your proudest moment?
Reflecting on the past 10 years as a store manager, the proudest moments I’ve experienced are when the people I have worked alongside experience success. Recently, a former assistant store manager of mine was promoted to store manager. Knowing all the hard work she put in, I felt so proud of her.
What are some of your career highlights so far?
In 2015, I transferred back to my hometown where my grocery career had started, but I was now returning as the store manager. This was such a highlight because I was able to connect back to my Indigenous roots and improve store systems, supporting remote communities with reliable access to food.
Also in 2015, I was awarded the Anne Kidd Inspire award, which is given to one leader annually and is named in honour of the first female president of Overwaitea (now Save-On-Foods). This award recognizes a leader who exemplifies all the qualities that made Anne so successful: positive influence, communication, dedication and leadership.
In 2016, I completed an executive management and leadership certificate with Thompson Rivers University. That same year, I relocated to Winnipeg to open one of the three new Save-On-Foods stores. The opportunity to open a new store in a new market for the company was a great achievement and honour.
What is your leadership style?
I set the standard high and would never ask of my team something that I wouldn’t expect of myself. I make sure I always include everyone’s opinion and viewpoints. I encourage diversity of thought, so we can push creativity and vision. My philosophy is simple: Always put in an honest day’s work and have fun doing it.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I am passionate about my Indigenous history, culture and arts. My dad was a Northwest Coast Indigenous artist, and my mom hand-sews authentic Indigenous regalia.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to congratulate all the other Star Women in Grocery, past and present. I’ve always felt inspired reading their stories.
Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.