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2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Brooke Nelson-St Dennis (Q&A)

Store-Level Star
Brooke Nelson-St. Dennis
Brooke Nelson-St Dennis

Brooke Nelson-St Dennis

Store Manager, Save-On-Foods Brocklehurst, Kamloops, B.C.

How did you get started in the grocery business?

I started working when I was 14, and moved through several jobs including a Chinese restaurant, dishwashing for a local eatery and a woodworking apprenticeship before realizing I needed something more engaging. I noticed an opening for a reline clerk within our local Overwaitea Foods [now Save-On-Foods] and applied in-store. A week later I had started with our company and was nervous as heck! Being an introvert, I instantly regretted having gotten into a people business, but after a few months, I started to see myself opening up and growing in ways I never thought I would. Save-On-Foods provided me with a plethora of different jobs and tasks that kept me learning and growing. I have always appreciated this about our company. I had hoped to be many things, one of which was an RCMP officer; however, I continued to be offered opportunities within our company that really challenged me to be a better person. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and am so happy I stuck it out despite my nerves!

What is your proudest moment?

When I was first promoted to assistant store manager in Victoria, I was having a rough day. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong, and so naturally (in any new position) I was running around like a mad woman panicking and wondering if I was even meant for this job. I went to turn a corner and ran into my dad who had tears in his eyes. He had come to surprise me, and after seeing me determined to handle the chaos around me, was so proud he began to cry. Seeing him like this, I started to cry. He said I looked so calm and collected, and that he was so proud of me for taking the leap and moving from home to take this opportunity. My dad passed away several years ago. During moments of impostor syndrome, chaos and impossible feats, I always remember his perspective on how proud he was of me. This carries me through every day of my career, and I know he’s watching over me when things get tough and telling me to suck it up and push forward!

What do you like best about your job?

Our company provides a lot of autonomy to be who we want to be and run our stores how we see best fit. This is my favourite part about my job, as it pushes me to always challenge myself and be better than I was yesterday. I am not conformed to a box of how someone wants me to be, I get to be me!

What is your leadership style?

I am a hands-on leader. Whether jumping into departments when they are struggling, dusting down an aisle, or working freight, I enjoy continuously moving and working alongside the team.

What is your best quality?

I have an extreme attention to detail. I always seem to notice and observe things that 90% of the people around me do not see. This both comes in handy and drives me mad! In addition, my wife will tell you that I am an impeccable goal setter. When I set goals for myself and my team, I will go to the moon and back to ensure we meet those goals. I hold myself to a very high standard and always set challenging, yet realistic goals.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

My homelife is everything to me, and my wife is a large part of that. When not at work, we are usually spending time playing video games, exploring the town, or taking our dog for a walk. We have recently gotten into skiing, which has been an adventure in itself! I have also been a golfer for more than 14 years and take any opportunity I can to get out onto the course.

Click here for the full list of 2023 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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