Turning innovation into sales

Lawrence Aylward
Editor In Chief
Lawrence Aylward profile picture
Lisa Eatherton: "What I focus on is building trust."

The women being honored for the 2019 Top Women in Store Brands epitomize what every company in America wants in an A-list employee, no matter the gender. They are diligent, industrious, committed and conscientious, among other superlatives that could be used to describe them.

Each year, Store Brands and Women Impacting Store Brand Excellence (WISE), a professional development organization, solicit nominations from the private brand industry to identify and honor a select few of these women through the Top Women in Store Brands program, which was created to provide well-deserved recognition for female professionals who have achieved exceptional success and bring a passion for store brands to their day-to-day activities.

For the next few days in Store Brands Today, we will continue to profile the nine winners of this year’s Top Women in Store Brands. Today, we profile Lisa Eatherton from John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., winner of the Functional Expertise: Sales Award.

IN JANUARY, LISA EATHERTON celebrates 10 years at John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., where she is the business manager for the Elgin, Ill.-based processor and distributor of peanuts, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds and other nuts for private brands and brands. It will be a happy anniversary, considering Eatherton’s latest year at the company has been her best ever in terms of sales and increased business.

Eatherton is responsible for growing snack and trail mix sales for her customers’ own brands and the company’s brands. In the company’s fiscal 2019, Eatherton, whose clients include some of the top private branded retailers in the country, increased those sales by a whopping 39%.

For that, she is being honored with this award, given to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through her accomplishments in sales.

“They are a lot of fun to work with,” Eatherton says of her accounts. “They are leaders in innovation and quality.”

Eatherton was nominated for the award by two of her co-workers: Polly Rowland, senior director of sales, and Christopher Gardier, senior vice president of consumer sales.

“Lisa has successfully taken programs that were performing poorly and turned them into growth programs for her retailers,” Gardier commented in nominating Eatherton. “The innovation she has introduced to her retailers, whether it be in product, packaging or merchandising programs, has brought new shoppers to the category — all having had a positive impact on store brands.”

Rowland said in nominating Eatherton that she is known for her attention to detail, her ability to anticipate and solve potential problems, and her commitment to the success of her customers.

Eatherton says her favorite part of her job is working with her customers to help them grow their businesses.

“My job is to make things go smoothly for them,” she adds. “What I focus on is building trust so we can plan together and achieve goals together. It’s about collaboration.”

During her 10 years at John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., Eatherton has watched and played a part in the growth of private brands.

“Private brands are no longer just viewed for their opening price points or just as value items,” Eatherton says. “They help retailers differentiate. They drive loyalty.”

Incidentally, Eatherton is a big fan of what she sells.

“I love nuts and trail mixes. It’s fun to go out to different places and see what’s in the market,” she says.

Eatherton says her achievements would not have happened without the support of others, including the company’s cross-functional team, its leadership team and her retail partners.

“It is a team effort,” she adds.

Other 2019 Top Women in Store Brands profiles:
• Angela LePore of Simmons Pet Food
• Julie Jevins of Albertsons' Cos.
• Lisa Schechterman of Great Lakes Cheese Co.
• Jill Truitt of TreeHouse Foods
• Hope Schoeffling of Camerican International
• Anitra Farmer of Topco Associates LLC

Sarah Fair of Daymon

Editor’s note: To select the Top Women in Store Brands honorees, a committee consisting of representatives from both Store Brands and WISE reviews nominations submitted by representatives within the store brand industry. The committee carefully evaluates the nominations, assessing each nominee’s accomplishments.

The award winners will be recognized during WISE’s annual meeting and luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Ill. The event coincides with the opening day of the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Private Label Trade Show. For more information about the meeting, click here.