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Celebrating Women's History Month: Meet Our Women Leaders

March is Women’s History Month, our time to commemorate and acknowledge the vital role of women in history. In honor of Women's History Month, our Women's Business Resource Group (BRG) is excited to highlight several of our talented women leaders all month long. 

Check back each week to meet more of our women leaders.

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The women of Giant Eagle came together to inspire one another with the Women’s BRG, which served as our founding Business Resource Group. Together, they offered us a platform to honor the many talented women who make our Company great and inspired us to continue down the path of inclusion and equity through all our BRGs.

Our Women's BRG's mission is to advocate for the success of women at Giant Eagle providing support and opportunities to network, to lead, and to give back to the communities in which we serve.

While leading with their mission in mind, our Women's BRG works to:

  • Have a positive effect on the Giant Eagle culture. The intent is to change the way women participate in Giant Eagle’s success, and how women are seen and understood within the organization.
  • Complement, reinforce, promote, and accelerate Giant Eagle’s success and strategic goals by leveraging women’s alternative and valuable perspectives, skill sets, attributes, and traits.
  • Provide support to women as they navigate the changes that occur throughout their careers, finding the balance between winning at work and winning at home.
  • Promote Diversity such as talented women moving into positions of influence, talented women having a voice and a comfortable seat at the table, talented women driving real business results, across the enterprise, and creating a culture where women want to advance and succeed.

GetGo Team Member Vanessa

Vanessa, GetGo Senior Store Leader

What does Women's History Month mean to you? 

Women's History Month is a chance to celebrate all the accomplishments that women have made. It reminds us to lift one another up and rejoice in each other's achievements.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is my relationships. I have been with the organization a little over 17 years, and I have been in quite a few locations. I build strong relationships with Team Members and guests alike.

Who has helped you develop into who you are today?

I lean on many Team Members within the Company. I love the fact that there is always someone to reach out to with an answer to a question or just support when I need it.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

My passion comes from teaching. I was one of the first Assistant Store Leader's to become a Master Trainer years ago. I enjoy developing others and helping them reach their goals. A success for them is a success for me.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I believe people would be surprised to learn that I am a grandmother to four.

What is your favorite quote?

"Remember, the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Be patient. Be humble."

Giant Eagle Team Member Kim

Kim, HBW Team Leader

What does Women's History Month mean to you? 

For most of our history, a woman had to be silent. I look forward to learning what happened before me that gave me the strength to be the woman I am today. I am proud to say that we, as women, are now not just heard, but looked up to, sought out and followed. To acknowledge, observe, partner and celebrate the role of women in history is long overdue. We all need the opportunity to reflect on women's achievements that have brought us to where we are today and continue to move forward in the roles that we play in society. Every step that has brought us to where we are will provide the road for our daughters, sisters, nieces and friends (and all women) to have a better tomorrow because of us. Knowledge is power!

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I did not always know what I wanted to do in life, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be to teach my daughters how to be strong, confident women. Their success in life IS my proudest accomplishment.

Who has helped you develop into who you are today?

My grandmother and my mother were such strong women in an era that did not condone that type of behavior and yet, they lived their life by having a voice. I come from a very "loud" family. We were always encouraged to express and live out our hopes and dreams (even if they were different) from the majority. My dad always said, I may not agree with your decisions, but I will always stand beside you in support. And he did! We had nothing really and thought we had everything.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

That's simple, it's the people. Whether it's a Team Member or a Guest or a stranger on the street, I can always find the good in someone. You may have to look a little harder and deeper in some, but it's there in every single human being. Finding your "thread" with them is the key. I am intrigued by peoples stories, where they've been, how they've gotten to where they are, the roads they've traveled. Every person is unique and no two are the same. That's where my passion comes in, I truly believe I can make a difference, big or small, everyday, to at least 1 person.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love music of every genre. While I am driving with the music playing very loudly, I sing like a ROCK STAR!

What is your favorite quote?

"In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND!"

Giant Eagle Team Member RaeLynn

Rae Lynn, Curbside Specialist

What does Women's History Month mean to you? 

To me Women’s History Month represents the truest and purest forms of strength, growth, and courage. Throughout our country’s history the contributions and influences of so many great women has truly impacted the world and society we live in today. March is not only a month to reflect on and admire these women and their accomplishments, but also a time to feel proud of how far our country has come because of them.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest and greatest accomplishments call me "mom". Motherhood has taught me so much; how important it is to be patient, what it means to have empathy, and that commitment is everything. I look forward to being the constant and consistent teacher in my children’s lives and am hopeful that I’ll be the go-to when things go astray. I feel like time is already flying by but I can’t wait to see who they become and the people they develop into later in life. My son will be 2 in April and I just gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the beginning of February. My children are the light of my life and I am so proud to be their mom.

Who has helped you develop into who you are today?

Every person I have met whether that be for a brief five minute interaction at the local watering hole, to coaches, bosses, and of course my beloved friends and family have impacted and developed the "me" that exists today. Life is full of lessons and I am grateful for all that I have learned along the way because of the people I have been fortunate enough to meet.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

I stay passionate in my career because I remain focused on serving others. I recognize and appreciate the value people place on having pleasant interactions and enjoyable experiences. Giant Eagle plays an important role in the communities we serve, and I take pride in my contribution to the company and the impact we have on customers and their families.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

People would be surprised to know that my karaoke skills are so terrible that I was once boo’ed off a stage at a karaoke bar in Boston. The worst part is the song was a “can’t miss” - Don’t Stop Believin' by Journey.

What is your favorite quote?

“Never regret a day in your life: good days give happiness, bad days give experience, worst days give lessons, and best days give memories.”

Giant Eagle Team Member Jenn

Jenn, Supplier Diversity Manager

What does Women's History Month mean to you? 

Women's History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of all women and a reminder to continue conversations around equity and inclusion for women around the world.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

After being unexpectedly laid off in Spring 2017, I had to quickly determine how I would proceed forward. I spent the next 3 years working as a Gig worker in various industries such as Entertainment, Print and Multimedia. This time was invaluable because I developed grit. As gigs came and went, I was always moving forward looking for opportunities and working really hard at the gigs I was blessed to find. This was also a humbling experience where I learned to be honest and ask for help when I needed it. Now that I am in a full-time position again I have a huge sense of gratitude for the security that comes in my position but I will use my refined entrepreneurial spirit to continue to grow in my career.

Who has helped you develop into who you are today?

There have been quite a few influential people who have helped mold me into the person I am today. Countless family members, mentors, managers, friends, etc., but the one who is top of mind is my Grandma Ellease Colston. She was the youngest of 11 children growing up in a rural town in Southeast North Carolina and became the first of her siblings to graduate from college. She was a working woman with a family but also a trusted friend and confidant to many. Her home was always filled with fun, laughter and delicious food! As an adult, I strive to follow in her footsteps by pursuing a career but not at the expense of my family and friends. Although she passed on over 10 years ago she has left a mark on myself, my family and many others.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

I believe my purpose in life is to serve people and build community! Throughout my career, having a strong community has allowed me to grow and flourish because of the strength of the relationships that have been built along the way. My current role is all about building community. Building community within Giant Eagle to work as a team to identify opportunities for diverse suppliers to fairly compete and help them develop their businesses. Building community with diverse suppliers by being an advocate for them and finding ways for them to work together to provide better offerings to their customers. Building community amongst my fellow Supplier Diversity professionals as we share best practices and support each other to continue to strive in the midst of challenges that arise. Building and being a part of a wonderful community keeps me going!

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I was a brewer for a start-up women-owned brewery in Philly and it was by far one of my favorite jobs! I loved being able to use my Chemical Engineering background to create something that my friends and family could enjoy.

What is your favorite quote?

"Feed your fears and your faith with starve. Feed your faith and your fears will." - Max Lucado

Giant Eagle Team Member Louise

Louise, Director of Own Brands Commercialization

What is your proudest accomplishment?

In a past role as a Buying Director, I set in motion the plan for one of the UK's largest retailers to lead the way in becoming 100% cage-free across all shell eggs and egg ingredients by 2025. While working with more than 15 vendors, farmers, activist organizations and internal colleagues, we developed a 5-year strategy to phase out eggs from caged hens and commit to production system changes that give hens a good quality of life in rich and stimulating environments.

Who has helped you develop into who you are today?

My first ever boss asked me in my interview 'tell me about a time where something went really wrong for you'. I was fresh out of school, so I told him about the time that I practically failed my second year of high school and had to re-take every single exam the following year, in addition to the final year's exams. In total, I sat through 18 exams back-to-back. At the time, my high school wouldn't give me the recommendation I needed to get into college. Eventually, I got the grades I needed and made it to college and into my first job interview. This boss told me I showed strength of character and gave me a chance to work for him. Over the following 6 years, he showed me that hard work could be fun and rewarding, and his commitment to integrity, responsiveness and transparency shaped how I am as a leader today.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

Understanding the impact of my role on the wider business, customers and colleagues has often helped me to stay passionate. In the grocery industry, where we are relied upon for excellent quality and value in the food in our community, the impact is great. Passion is often contagious, so inspiring my team to reach their full potential means staying present, engaged and passionate.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

During my college years, I moved to a remote Indonesian island with a biodiversity research group to study the Olive Backed Sunbird, a species of sunbird found from Southern Asia to Australia. The island was so remote that it was only accessible by boat and didn't have luxuries like cell service! We lived at 'camp' in the forest, woke up at 4am to catch birds in their early morning flight and learned about the rich Indonesian culture. We studied the birds' size, feathers and even their DNA to learn more about their behavior.

What is your favorite quote?

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin

Giant Eagle Team Member Jessica

Jessica, Director of IT Shared Services

What does Women's History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the past/present accomplishments and challenges faced by women. I approach this month like I approach ALL days of observance - with self-reflection. How has my personal journey/actions helped others? How am I lifting up others and removing obstacles? Am I doing enough to make a difference? This self-reflection truly empowers me to do more.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is my career. I will be celebrating my 25th Giant Eagle service anniversary and 25 years as a woman in the technology field.

Who has helped you develop into who you are today?

My dad! He is a retired steelworker and a recovered alcoholic. He has faced many challenges during his lifetime. His experiences taught me that the actions we take when facing adversity will influence outcomes. My dad owned his journey, he overcame his challenges, and through his experience, I learned perseverance.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

Quite simply, by living our Core Value "Respect All". I view every interaction as an opportunity for me to gain a new perspective. I strive to be kind, present, and to add value on every interaction. This is not just the role I play as an IT Service Management Director. This is who I am.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

My undergraduate degree was earned at a women’s university. I was the first in my family to graduate from college and I worked a half a dozen odd jobs to financially support myself. My college experience transformed me into an analytical, process-oriented, and driven professional.

What is your favorite quote?

"Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody." - Brad Montague

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