Top Women in Store Brands 2021: Winners Announced

Nine deserving women from various facets of the industry to be recognized virtually Nov. 4 and in the upcoming October print edition of Store Brands.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
Dan Ochwat profile picture

Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence (WISE) and Store Brands magazine have named winners of the 2021 Top Women in Store Brands (TWISB) recognition program.

This year’s event includes nine women across different areas of the private brands industry, as it has done since the program began eight years ago.

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The Top Women in Store Brands program was created to provide well-deserved recognition to female executives who have achieved exceptional success and bring a passion for store brands to their day-to-day activities. The categories cover six functional expertise areas, as well as three achievement areas not linked to a specific function.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Samantha Hein, senior category merchant, exclusive brands, Whole Foods Market — a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award;
  • Heather Corkery, senior director of CVS Store Brands, CVS Health — Innovation  Award;
  • Alison Gregas, private brands manager, Weis Markets — Sparkplug Award;
  • Shanaz Ahmed, regulatory affairs manager, Albertsons — Functional Expertise: R&D/QA Award;
  • Mary Conwell, senior director of sales, Sofidel America — Functional Expertise: Sales Award;
  • Pam Ofri, director of product development and operations, Wakefern Food — Functional Expertise: Operations Award
  • Katherine Renn, vice president, commercial finance, Refresco — Functional Expertise: Corporate Services Award;
  • Erin Shirkey, director of supply chain operations, Great Lakes Cheese — Functional Expertise: Supply Chain/Procurement Award;
  • Emily Taylor, EVP, chief merchandising officer, Dollar General — Functional Expertise: Marketing/Merchandising Award.

To select the TWISB honorees, a committee consisting of representatives from both Store Brands and WISE reviewed nominations submitted by representatives within the store brand industry. The committee carefully evaluated the nominations, assessing each nominee’s accomplishments to determine the honorees in all of the categories.

The TWISB honorees will be recognized during the WISE annual meeting on Nov. 4, and it will be presented virtually this year. Registration is open for the event.

This year's keynote speaker at the WISE meeting is Colonel Merryl Tengesdale, USAF (ret.), the first and only African-American woman U-2 pilot of the U.S. Air Force's U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. To her credit, Tengesdale has more than 3,400 flight hours, including 330 combat hours in six different rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

She has been deployed all around the world for the military, and since her retirement has been a sought-after motivational speaker on diversity and leadership, applying lessons learned during her time in service. 

The TWISB honorees also will be featured in a special story in the October/November 2021 issue of Store Brands.