Throw Your Hands Up for Independents’ Women

June 18, 2020

By Maggie White, Director of the NGA Foundation

Since 2007, Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery program has celebrated and advocated for workplace diversity at all levels of the grocery industry.

TWIG honorees not only go over and above in their jobs, they devote their time and talents to improving their communities and serve as mentors to the next generation of leadership.

We know this firsthand, because these are the individuals who embody the mission of Women Grocers of America, NGA’s career development network for active female professionals as well as students interested in pursuing independent retail grocery careers. That mission is to promote the recruitment, growth, development and empowerment of women within the independent grocery industry.

It’s no secret that independent supermarkets are particularly attuned to the pulses of the communities they serve, which is why it should come as no surprise that 52 of this year’s 350 Top Women in Grocery award winners hail from NGA member companies.

These women – serving our industry as senior-level executives, store managers and what PG calls “Rising Stars” – are devoted to enriching the lives of everyone around them, consumers and colleagues alike.

Here are just a few examples of independent grocery leaders that achieved Top Women status this year and excerpts from their achievements:

Pamela Burke, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Grocery Outlet: Burke played a pivotal role in the company’s transition from a private company to a publicly traded entity. She helped launch the company’s Working with Outstanding Women Network, an internal mentorship group.

Jessica Gasser, VP of Human Resources and Chief Compliance Officer, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.: Gasser helps the company focus on the strategic use and deployment of human capital. She’s also the executive sponsor for ShopRite’s Women’s Leadership Development Group.

Yvonne Trupiano, EVP, Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs and Communications Officer, SpartanNash: Under her guidance, SpartanNash introduced a talent acquisition client relationship management system; she also launched a diversity and inclusion program focusing on veterans, women and people of color at SpartanNash.

Ashleigh Endicott, Banner Supervisor, Brookshire Grocery Co.: Endicott’s Taste of Italy event, featuring an Italian chef, sommelier and dining events, received an NGA Creative Choice Award. As strategic director for BGC Racing, she coordinates two annual races that have raised more than $1 million for charities.

Tricia Hay, Store Director, Cooley Street Big Y World Class Market, Springfield, Mass.: Hay served as a best practices peer group coach and mentor, leading her team to more effective problem solving, improved efficiencies and increased sales. She works closely with local food banks and serves on the grocer’s scholarship committee, which distributes 350 awards annually.

Erin Russell, Store Manager, Food City #620, Vonore, Tenn.: Russell and her team credit their success to community involvement, including with the county chamber of commerce and local school health advisory council. As a participant in K-VA-T’s Empower initiative, Russell helps develop future female leaders in the grocery industry, and she works closely with her associates to develop their abilities through cross-training and coaching.

These fine leaders are among the growing list of role models to whose achievements all independent grocery workers, male or female, should aspire. Congratulations to all the 2020 Top Women in the NGA family!

Read about all of this year’s TWIG honorees here:

And be sure to support the education, recognition and other programs of Women Grocers of America. To learn more about our Woman of the Year Award, WGA Mentoring Circle, Mary Macey Scholarship Award and other programs, contact or visit