2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Cheryl Altenburg (Q&A)

Store-Level Star
Kristin Laird
Cheryl Altenburg
Cheryl Altenburg

Cheryl Altenburg

Store Manager

How did you get your start in the grocery business?

I started working with Longo's 24 years ago when a friend of mine who worked there encouraged me to apply. I already had a passion for food and loved meeting new people, so it was a perfect fit for me. When I started, I didn't realize how much room for growth and development there was in the grocery industry, but once I saw all the opportunities that were available I knew it would be my career.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

I've faced a few challenges along the way, but I would have to say navigating through the pandemic was, by far, the biggest one. Everything was evolving and changing so quickly. Leading my team throughout that and ensuring they felt safe, valued and heard was my priority. They were showing up every day and without them, we couldn't have been there for everyone else. It wasn't only the most challenging time in my career, it was also the one I felt the most pride during. I was so proud of everyone I worked with and proud to be part of a company that put our safety and well-being ahead of everything else. It was a tough time, but it showed me just how resilient we could be and the learnings I took away from it were incredible.

What keeps you motivated at work?

In this industry, there's always something happening and no two days are the same. I love being challenged and learning new things, which I get to do in my role all the time. More importantly, I also get to challenge my team. Getting to come to work and help someone else on their career path is such a rewarding experience. Working with people who want to move forward and seeing them achieve their goals with your guidance is one of the best parts of my job.  

What do you like best about your job?

The opportunities I have beyond store-level operations. For example, I sit on our diversity, equity and inclusion committee, which has been the most rewarding experience. To be part of something that is bringing positive change, education and awareness to our teams is such meaningful work. Knowing I'm playing a role in our company's commitment to ensuring every team member can grow, learn and develop while feeling safe to be their true selves is incredibly rewarding.  

What is your best quality?

I think it's my ability to be empathetic. I always try to allow people to have a voice and be heard. I think there is a lot of value in taking the time to understand where someone else is coming from. When we do that, we can adjust our leadership to meet them where they are and help them work through things to be successful. When you show empathy, and take the time to listen and understand, you get to a place with people where they start to bring their best selves every day.

What do you like to do when you're not working?

I am an over-the-top dog mom! My children have moved away, so most of my free time is dedicated to my two fur babies, Charlie and Daisy May. I also love travelling with my husband, going on crazy adventures with my closest friend or just having a great chat with my mom over coffee.

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

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