2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Di Foley (Q&A)

Rising Star
Di Foley
Di Foley

Di Foley

District Manager, Food Basics

You previously worked for retailers like Zellers, then Target and Hudson’s Bay. When you did make the switch to grocery?

I joined Food Basics in 2019 and was given the opportunity to help open a new store as an assistant store manager. After a few short years, I was given the opportunity to run my own store and was recently promoted to district manager, where I now oversee 15 Food Basics locations in Ontario, from Hamilton to Brantford to Sault Ste. Marie. 

What is the best advice you have received?

“We are in the people business.” Throughout my entire career, I have had the chance to manage retail locations selling everything from hard goods (everything needed in the house) to soft goods (fashion), but the one true constant is dealing with people on a personal basis. No matter if we are dealing with fellow employees, senior management, third-party vendors or, of course, customers, how successful we are all depends on how we go about dealing with people. 

What attributes contribute to your success?

I had the benefit of wearing many hats while working for Zellers. We were truly responsible for all aspects of the business from accounting to human resources to loss prevention to property management. Managing all these tasks gave me the opportunity to learn the inner workings of the business on a day-to-day basis that some larger companies would normally have entire departments dedicated to. I feel that this ability to see and manage many different problems at the same time helped me achieve my new position.

What keeps you motivated and excited?

Getting an opportunity to put someone in a new position or title and seeing that person succeed even past his or her own expectations has always been very rewarding for me. We all have to take a chance on people from time to time. It is our job to try and put the best people in the best situations and give them the proper tools to succeed. 

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a Disney fanatic. I have been on more than 35 Disney-themed trips and any chance I get to get away is spent on a Disney-related vacation either visiting one of their parks or enjoying a Disney Cruise.

Anything else you would like to share? 

I have been very fortunate to work with many great people and been part of some amazing teams over the years and I would not be where I am today without each and every one of them. Retail management can be very frustrating, but also a highly rewarding experience when you see a group of people, from all walks of life, come together in the pursuit of a common goal. Every setback is another opportunity to grow individually, and you are never too old or too experienced to stop the learning process.

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

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