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Snacks Retail Expertise

Hershey’s Top Women in Grocery Honorees offer Insights, Advice on the Evolving Industry

After being named Rising Stars in the 2023 Top Women in Grocery program, Hershey honorees share advice business leaders can use.
Marlene Creighton
Chief Sales Officer

Key Takeaways:

    • Two Hershey team members were named Rising Stars in the Top Women in Grocery Program.
    • The annual leadership initiative by Progressive Grocer drew more than 1,000 nominations.
    • We asked Hershey’s Rising Stars to share insights on the ever-changing state of grocery, and how to stay ahead.

November 21, 2023

Every year, Progressive Grocer honors women leaders making waves in the industry. This year’s Top Women in Grocery program (TWIG), which drew more than 1,000 nominations, recognized two women at The Hershey Company as Rising Stars: Stacey Simpson, a customer sales executive who has been working at Hershey for 16 years, and Wendy Weintraub, a team leader who is celebrating her third year at Hershey and has more than 21 years of experience in sales, marketing and category management.

Both women work tirelessly with retail partners to increase sales and display space. They were celebrated for their accomplishments at the TWIG gala and Leadership Development Program in early November as part of the Grocery Industry Week in Orlando, Florida.

I asked each honoree to discuss the evolving state of grocery and share insights on how business leaders can adapt.

Stacey Simpson, Customer Sales ExecutiveStacey Simpson, Customer Sales Executive

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in retail in the coming years?

Due to macroeconomic trends, shoppers have fewer dollars to spend within the snacking category, and it’s now more important than ever to be top-of-mind to continue to drive impulse sales. Retailers will make big changes to ensure their shoppers are engaged, including optimizing assortments by region and geography to provide them with the brands and items they like instead of a one-size-fits-all model. This also applies to the digital shopper, as consumer shopping behavior shifts from in-store to pickup. We feel we are positioned well to guide our retailers towards making enhancements and constantly seek to improve as our consumers shop differently. What can business leaders do to stay ahead of the curve?

Business leaders must lean into top-tier data and insights, know their customers, and be ready to pivot strategies to meet the ever-changing retail landscape. Doing this has led Hershey to be positioned as a trusted advisor while we partner with our retailers to grow the category.

What advice or motto has served you well in your career?

A wise manager once told me that even if you take a risk and it fails, we will still be making candy back at the plant. You may feel uncomfortable, initially, being stretched in a new role or trying to push the status quo, but continually learning through those situations will help prepare you for future roles and will ensure you have a depth and breadth of knowledge to share and help others along the way.

Wendy Weintraub, Team LeaderWendy Weintraub, Team Leader

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in retail in the coming years?

I believe that a shift back to pre-COVID trends will begin to emerge. I also think inflation and spending habits migration will cause more channel shifting as consumers reassess what value means to them. It will be fun to help with the evolution and work to drive solutions. What can business leaders do to stay ahead of the curve?

Stay curious, humble, hungry and dissatisfied with the status quo. Always understand that there might be a better “mouse trap,” but to find it, you must embrace change for progress and be open to new ideas from different sources. Thought diversification is key.

What advice or motto has served you well in your career?

Embrace change, exploit your individuality (be you), take risks, and learn.

Change is the only constant in life, and it’s something that we all need to get comfortable with, so take a risk, be your authentic self, and learn how to use it all for the growth and progress of tomorrow.

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