Progressive Grocer Names 2018 Class of GenNext Award Winners

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New award honors outstanding emerging leaders in the grocery industry

Progressive Grocer GenNext Awards
“As the industry moves into a new age, these next-generation leaders are bringing a fresh perspective and innovative thought to their companies and influencing the industry at large," said Jim Dudlicek, editorial director of Progressive Grocer.

Progressive Grocer is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural GenNext Awards program, recognizing emerging grocery leaders under the age of 40 who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in either the grocery or consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

Honorees were recognized for innovation through their work; leadership, including the capacity to inspire and lead others, and a commitment to learn from others; and a commitment to getting involved in the industry – such as through associations – and helping through charities or in the community.

Out of more than 160 nominations that underwent a rigorous selection process, 25 honorees were selected who meet the award criteria. The winners are truly representative of today’s grocery industry – coming from retailers and CPG companies, as well as suppliers, associations, agencies and even finance.

“The 2018 GenNext Award winners are a diverse and exciting group that points to the evolution we’re currently seeing in grocery,” said Jim Dudlicek, editorial director of Progressive Grocer. “As the industry moves into a new age, these next-generation leaders are bringing a fresh perspective and innovative thought to their companies and influencing the industry at large.”

The winners will be honored with profiles online at and in the December 2018 issue of Progressive Grocer.

The 2018 GenNext Award winners are as follows:

Lizzi Ackerman, Co-Founder and CMO – Birch Benders

Akin Akanni, Division CFO – The Kroger Co.

Darrell Anhel, Division Ecommerce Manager - The Kroger Co./Fry’s

Jenna Arkin, Vice President of Innovation - Earth Friendly Products

Abby Ayers, Manager, Retail Partnerships – Fair Trade USA

Justin Comparetto, President/Owner – Just Ryt Foods

Julie Divis, Quality Manager – Pre Brands

Beth Faught, Director of Retail – Crossmark

Seth Fridley, Assistant Director, Health, Wellness & Home – Hy-Vee

Jessica Harris, Senior Marketing Innovation Manager – Earthbound Farm

Diana Haussling, Director, Shopper Engagement and Activation – Campbell Soup Company

Vincent Kitirattragarn, Founder & CEO – Dang Foods

Daniel Knox, Category Analyst II – Giant Food

Lindsay Koch, President – Koch & Associates

Jill Lester, Health & Wellness Pharmacy Practice Coordinator – The Kroger Co.

Patrick Mateer, Founder and CEO – Seal the Seasons Inc.

David Mell, Managing Director – RBC Capital Markets

T. Bliss Pierce, Global Consumer Insights Expert – General Mills

Jordan Poff, Division Ecommerce Manager – The Kroger Co.

Cara Pratt, Vice President Customer Communications, Product Strategy & Innovation – The Kroger Co. / 84.51

Kevin Schnell, Store Director - Skogen’s Festival Foods

Abdelhaq Serine, Division Front End Manager - The Kroger Co./Fry’s

Bo Sharon, Founder and CEO – Lucky’s Market

Amy Souers, Area Sales Manager Combo – Coca-Cola Consolidated

Stacy Vossberg, Vice President of Innovation – Insignia Systems

About Progressive Grocer:
Progressive Grocer has been the #1 media brand in the US grocery industry since 1922. Through its balanced editorial approach and industry leading reporting, Progressive Grocer is the most trusted resource in retail business media, providing the industry trends, consumer insights, and data needed by grocery retailers. Top executives look to Progressive Grocer for guidance in navigating this fast-paced, ever-changing industry, accessing this information across its digital platforms, print magazine, proprietary research, award programs and informative events.

About EnsembleIQ:
EnsembleIQ is the leading business intelligence platform serving the retail, consumer goods, health care, foodservice, pharmacy and hospitality industries focused on helping customers solve big problems and inspiring bold ideas. EnsembleIQ operates an integrated network of media brands across all retail sectors and leverages its scale to inform, connect and provide actionable marketplace intelligence to help clients achieve growth.

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