Meet the 2022 Leadership Development Program Speakers

*LDP must be added to your ticket for a fee to gain access to this 2 day speaker series.

Sarah Alter
Sarah Alter
President & CEO
Allyship
Sarah Alter is President and CEO of the NextUp (formerly Network Of Executive Women), a nonprofit learning, leadership and gender equality advocacy organization of over 14,000 members (representing nearly 900 organizations), over 300 national and regional corporate partners, and 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. NextUp advances gender equality and diversity across many industries, including retail, consumer goods, financial services, and technology. Alter joined NextUp in 2017 and has wide-ranging executive leadership experience in the markets NextUp represents. During her tenure, Sarah successfully expanded the scope of NextUp’s mission to include Advancing ALL Women. Under Sarah, NextUp has focused on supporting women of color, building male allyship, the new generation coming into our workforce, and, more recently, how Covid-19 has impacted women in the workplace. NextUp’s memberships and partnerships have grown significantly since she joined the organization. Using cutting-edge business practices and powerful DEI solutions, NextUp has created real impact and has been recognized by news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal as a voice of authority. NextUp’s robust board includes executives from Target, P&G, Walmart, Google, Visa, Accenture, Coke, PepsiCo., and Deloitte, who provide the diverse perspectives and financial support needed to go further, faster. Sarah is a regular speaker at NRF, ShopTalk, National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), and EnsembleIQ events such as Top Women in Grocery and Top Women in Convenience. She has also served on a number of non-profit boards and is an accomplished fundraiser. She now serves on the Illinois State Advisory Lottery Board and the Maverick Digital Advisory Board. She is an organizer of Chicago’s annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JRDF) Gala, which has raised millions of dollars for Type 1 diabetes. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a Harvard MBA.

Jenny Applegate
Jenny Applegate
Director, Integrated Marketing
Topco
A Topco associate for 4 years, Jenny Applegate serves as Topco’s Director of Integrated Marketing Solutions. In this role, she is primarily responsible for marketing innovation that helps to bring Topco own brands to life. This includes leading the Integrated Marketing team in creating strategic campaigns and assets to meet shoppers wherever they are in their purchasing journey, including In-Home Pre-Shop, In-Store, In-Aisle and In-Home Post-Shop. Ultimately, Jenny’s team is responsible for unifying all aspects of marketing by identifying and aligning to the right channels that will target the right audience with the right messaging, including advertising/PR, social media management, websites/search engine optimization and partnerships/sponsorships.
Prior to joining Topco, Jenny served in a variety of Marketing and Brand roles for True Value, Ace Hardware, and McDonald’s Corporation. Jenny earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Illinois Wesleyan University and then attended Parsons, the New School of Design in New York City, where she received an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Fashion Marketing. Jenny also holds a certification in Digital Marketing Strategies from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Ranjana Choudhry
Ranjana Choudhry
Vice President Advertising & Social media
Wakefern Food Corp.
Ranjana Choudhry is Vice President- Advertising & Social Media, at Wakefern Food Corp (which at $19 billion is the largest Retail Co-op in the US). She is leading the development of marketing and digital content strategies that harness the brands’ iconic promotions builds new campaigns across advertising and digital channels.

Ranjana has more than 25 years experience as a global marketing and communications leader She began her career with Grey Advertising, a global marketing communications agency. She relocated to New York while working for WPP, a multinational advertising agency where she led more than 400 team members in 220 countries across Asia, India, Africa, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, and North America for Colgate-Palmolive’s brands. She is also an adjunct Professor at NYU SPS teaching Integrated marketing and Digital strategy to the next generation of Marketers.

Brittni Furrow
Brittni Furrow
VP & Lead Sustainability Officer
Ahold Delhaize USA

Bridget Goldschmidt
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Progressive Grocer/EnsembleIQ
Bridget Goldschmidt is Progressive Grocer's managing editor. With nearly two decades of experience at PG, Bridget has covered major food industry developments on key topics, including government affairs, mergers and acquisitions, category trends, e-commerce, health and wellness, corporate responsibility, and the ongoing transformation of the world of food retailing and foodservice. She has been quoted in The New York Times and other prestigious publications nationwide for her observations on the grocery business. Bridget is also instrumental in planning and executing PG’s long-running Top Women in Grocery (TWIG) event.

Meg Ham
Meg Ham
President
Food Lion

Rina Hurst
Rina Hurst
Chief Business Officer
Shipt
Rina Hurst is the Chief Business Officer at Shipt, leading the company’s Business Development, Partner Success, Consumer Packaged Goods, and Digital Site Experience teams. In this role, Rina helps spark connections by delivering an easy-to-shop digital site, launching new and innovative partnerships, and building creative strategies alongside retailers and consumer packaged goods brands to continually meet their unique needs for success. Rina joined the company in early 2020, bringing a decade of national retail experience to Shipt. At Target, she held various leadership roles across Merchandising, Strategy & Innovation, and Business Partnerships & Negotiations. In addition to her deep retail experience, Rina spent nearly a decade as a management consultant specializing in healthcare and financial services.Rina serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foundation of Alabama and the Virginia Samford Theatre. She received her MBA from Georgetown University and her B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Nietra Jaquette
Nietra Jaquette
Director, Human Resources
UNFI / Cub Foods

Alexa Langona
Alexa Langona
Sr. Director Product Management, Own Brands
Albertsons
Alexa Langona is a Sr. Director of Product Management, Own Brands at Albertsons Companies, and a three-time TWIG winner. She directs innovation, portfolio strategy, and category management for Meat & Seafood across Albertsons’ leading lineup of brands. Her team is responsible for driving growth by delivering quality, value, and loyalty with exclusive products shoppers love. Alexa is passionate about Fresh, and the unique opportunities and challenges the Perimeter presents. Prior to making the leap to retail, Alexa spent more than 5 years in CPG, holding progressive shopper marketing and brand roles at the Clorox Company. She began her career in the economic consulting industry. Alexa earned a B.S. in Marketing Management, with a minor in Economics, from California State University, East Bay.

Cara Mercil
Cara Mercil
Director of Sustainability
Giant Eagle
Cara Mercil is the Director of Sustainability for Giant Eagle Enterprises and is leading the change to achieve sustainability goals in the areas of carbon reduction, plastic elimination, zero waste, and expansion and improvement of sustainable product offerings. Cara embeds a sustainable mindset throughout the organization and thought leadership around constantly evolving sustainable issues. She acts as the expert across sustainable packaging, animal welfare, critical commodities, and product impact on the environment and social concerns; and institutes best practices that align with the company’s brand across the enterprise. She is also key in defining the organization’s sustainability storytelling, helping to shape and define the way the Giant Eagle’s impact story is delivered. Cara enjoys a life with her two boys and husband in Oakdale, Pa.

Myrna Rexing
Myrna Rexing
Manager, Talent Management
The Kroger Co.
Myrna Rexing, senior brand manager at Kroger, oversees the brand strategy and go-to-market operations for Kroger’s Our Brands portfolio, a nearly $28 billion dollar business. She believes that every impression Our Brands makes is crucial towards earning customer loyalty. Myrna’s passion to grow brand affinity and making product packaging as good as the product itself is what fuels her and her team to keep raising the bar.

In her role, Myrna spearheaded the evolution of the Our Brands Marketing strategy, introducing a consolidated opening price-point brand into the portfolio and repositioning the Kroger, Simple Truth® and Private Selection® brands to better meet customer needs. She also values inclusivity and led the launch of Our Brands’ newest soft drink line, appealing to Hispanic customers.

In 2020, Myrna received the “Long Neck” award from the Our Brands leadership team for her work driving innovation on how Our Brands go-to-market.

Myrna holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s in business from Xavier University. In her free time, she enjoys challenging herself, friends and family to create new recipes using only Our Brands products.

Anne-Marie Roerink
Anne-Marie Roerink
President
210 Analytics LLC
Anne-Marie Roerink is a Principal at 210 Analytics, LLC — providing customized research with a specialty in food retailing for clients such as the North American Meat Institute, Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association, International Deli, Dairy, Bakery Institute and many others. Through countless consumer studies, Anne-Marie has developed an excellent perspective on the ever-changing wants and needs of the grocery shopper in a one-size-fits-no-one world. Additionally, Anne-Marie offers a diverse and in-depth view on food retailing strategies, financials and operations. She understands the challenges and opportunities in the food business today as well as the drivers of success tomorrow. Prior to founding 210 Analytics, Anne-Marie was the Head of Research for the Food Marketing Institute. Anne-Marie designs and authors the annual Power of Foodservice at Retail study, along with similar studies in meat, produce, frozen, SmartFood, bakery, candy and other categories.

Pam Seivert
Pam Seivert
Store Director
Hornbacher's (Coborn's)
Pamala Seivert was born in Central America and lived a life as an Air Force brat; living in multiple states until she moved to ND to live with her father. She developed a deep passion for people while living in New Mexico with her grandparents who lived this emotion in all that they did. This passion grew into what would become her driving factor. She took her first job in retail at the age of 16 and that set the tone for what would become her calling. She began a role in management at the age of 18 and she knew that’s what she was meant to do. The ability to touch people, teach them and develop them became her true focus. Working through many different fields from fast food to a retail buyer, to her current role as a Store Director for Hornbacher’s where she has remained for 17 years. The Grocery Industry has become her true obsession. Having the ability to touch so many lives from customers to employees has been a genuine joy to her own life. She remains focused on developing associates, having become known as one who maintains a high retention rate with her staff. She strongly believes in giving associates the tools to be successful by having a strong training regimen for them to follow; clearly outlining the requirements of their role. She and her leadership team are also very focused on development; always thinking of the what ifs, and the next “up and comers.”

Outside of work, you will find Pam enjoying her life as a wife to her high-school sweetheart, the love of her life, Brad, mother to her twin boys (Joshua & Justin- both married), her beautiful daughter (Jordyn) and being a grandmother to her 5 grandchildren and one granddog. She loves, adores, and appreciates her family and knows that she is blessed in having and building the family that she and Brad have. She pays a lot of kudos to her husband who has always been her rock, her biggest supporter, her biggest fan. He has encouraged her in all that she does and drives her to be the best that she can be.

Liangxiao Zhu
Liangxiao Zhu
Vice President of Engineering
DoorDash
Liangxiao Zhu is DoorDash’s Vice President of Engineering. She joins DoorDash to build upon its existing products such as DashMart and Pickup while also leading the company into new verticals. Prior to DoorDash, Liangxiao spent 10-year careers at both Meta and Microsoft where she most recently led efforts around Payments at Facebook. She also launched Facebook Pay to empower everyone around the world to participate in the digital economy. Before leading on Payments, she spent nearly seven years building out the Meta ads product platform. This included building products that helped SMBs to connect with their customers online to supporting large enterprises in measuring and tracking global campaigns.