2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Karen White-Boswell (Q&A)

Rising Star
Karen White-Boswell
Karen White-Boswell

Karen White-Boswell

Director, External Communications

How did you get your start in the grocery business?

I am what you would call a COVID hire! I started with Sobeys the day everything shut down and haven’t looked back since. I honestly thought working in the grocery industry wouldn’t be exciting and challenging. I was proven very wrong. Working in this industry has created opportunities for me to learn and grow in ways I never imagined.

What keeps you passionate about your work?

There is never a dull day at Sobeys! But even more so, I am proud of the work I do here, I enjoy working with my team and I respect the principled leadership of the organization. I am continually impressed by the consistent alignment with our values and commitment to the community. It is unwavering. As a communications professional it always makes your job easier when you know that leadership is going to do the right thing by their people, their business and their community.

What is a career challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?

Honestly, being a Black woman in a leadership/spokesperson role. I never walk in a room without being concerned with how I will be received and perceived. I have attended events where I was a keynote speaker and the reception team would not accept me as the executive in attendance and questioned where my director was—I was the director! It is disheartening to feel that I need to always show proof that I should be at the table but I also know that I need to make sure I validate my right to be at the table so those that follow me do not have to.

What is the best advice you've received in your career?

If you are too comfortable then you aren’t challenging yourself enough. Women, in particular, are not encouraged to take chances and push the envelope. We have been conditioned to believe we have to be 110% ready before taking on new opportunities. We need to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable; however, we also need to be in an environment where failure is not a death sentence, but rather it opens a door to learning, growth and opportunity.

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

Travelling, spending time with family and friends, crafting and gardening.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am an avid gardener who likes to cultivate the very best canna lilies you can find from my special collection of bulbs!

Anything else you'd like to add?

I am a strong advocate for women and, more specifically, Black women, to give themselves grace. When in a leadership role, it truly is our role to pave the way for those who come after us. But this should not be done at the expense of our own mental health and wellbeing. We must give ourselves the space and time to be okay with not being okay and create that space for others.

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

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