Advantage leaders honored as Top Women in Grocery for 2024

Michael Browne

Nine Advantage Solutions leaders have been named by Progressive Grocer in the 2024 Top Women in Grocery (TWIG) awards, which honor the vital role women play across the food retail industry.

TWIG, in its 18th year, is the industry’s longest-running program recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of thousands of women at all levels in the industry.

“Women lead at Advantage, and we’re especially proud of those honored this year,” says Advantage CEO Dave Peacock. “This group of amazing women, and all of our women leaders, drive excellence for our CPG and retail clients every day.”

He adds, “As a people-first business, we celebrate the diversity of our people, and we’re proud of the fact that more than 60% of our employees at Advantage are women and just under half of our leadership positions are filled by women.”

This year’s Advantage Solutions Top Women in Grocery (TWIG) honorees are:

Senior-Level Executives

Denise Garcia, senior vice president-international, CDS

“Denise is an extraordinary commercial leader, innovator and an advocate for the consumer and supporter of her team,” says Amy Lang, executive vice president at Advantage Solutions’ Club Demonstration Services (CDS), a global sampling and demonstration powerhouse for Costco.

Garcia “has deep knowledge of the business, as she has built her career moving across the Advantage CDS enterprise from sales to operations, to country manager and now to international leader. Her expertise allows her to understand the details and nuances that have impact on the business, while her natural leadership allows her to balance that with high-level, strategic thinking.”

Kelli Hammersmith, chief communications officer

Since Hammersmith joined Advantage in March 2023, she’s built the company’s communications function into a powerhouse. Her strategy to revitalize storytelling efforts resulted in 2,300 earned media mentions last year and 30,000 additional followers of Advantage’s LinkedIn account. Among other changes, Hammersmith hired the company’s first head of Belonging and Impact.

“Kelli brings incredible energy and impact to our connectivity as a company and our external narrative through her leadership of our communication strategy,” says Peacock. “She has made a notable difference in our company’s culture and in our perception by ensuring that we communicate with transparency and clarity.”

Rising Stars

Angela Barrett, director of operations

In her capacity as an operational leader, “Angela sets high standards for performance and accountability,” says Jeff Duquette, senior director of client services. “She fosters a culture of excellence, where operational objectives are clearly defined, and performance metrics are rigorously monitored and evaluated. Through her leadership, she instills a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members, empowering them to execute tasks with precision and efficiency.”

Amanda Paim, senior director of operations

Managing retail clients with stores across 22 states west of the Mississippi while overseeing financial and other business metrics to ensure her unit meets its targets, Amanda Paim’s focus is on defining measurable results for the organization.

“She works toward aligning the operational capabilities of the organization with its business performance goals,” says Miguel Torres, senior vice president of retail operations. “Overall, Amanda’s sphere of influence encompasses strategic territory management, financial stewardship, exceptional achievements and a commitment to operational excellence and employee welfare.”

Diane Belvedere, district manager, CDS Canada

Diane Belvedere is considered “an ambassador, a role model and mentor whose expertise and operational excellence touches not only her region but all regions,” says Stephanie Hewitt, senior director of business operations-international at CDS.

Outside of her daily workload, Hewitt has dedicated her time to launch CDS’s campaign to support the Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research, organize and edit the Annual CDS Canada Cookbook, and led the company’s involvement in the Costco Charity Golf Tournament, which raises millions of dollars for Children’s National Hospital.

Jeanne Williams, director of operations

Jeanne Williams’ role encompasses the comprehensive management of end-to-end in-store execution, payroll and billing, staffing coordination and talent development initiatives for her divisions and colleagues. But that’s only the beginning.

“Jeanne assumes a diverse set of pivotal responsibilities crucial to our ongoing success,” says Jacob Jackson, senior vice president of operations. “In addition to her operational duties, she is tasked with cultivating and nurturing client relationships, ensuring satisfaction and fostering enduring partnerships.”

Hannah Fair, director of client services

Bryan Strong, senior director of client team services, says, “Hannah’s strategic prowess shines as she targets growth opportunities, actively contributing to the development of winning proposals and driving initiatives to expand client revenue. She maintains a keen focus on gathering and monitoring client intelligence, fostering executive relationships and ensuring that the team is fully prepared and aligned for successful execution.”

Jennifer L. Harris, retail supervisor

As a retail supervisor, Jennifer Harris oversees various facets of operations, including managing projects for clients, ensuring regional continuity services and supervising the regional demonstration program.  

“Through her multifaceted role, Jennifer exemplifies dedication, strategic acumen and effective leadership,” says Scott Diosy, vice president of operations, Midwest. “Her role encompasses a diverse range of responsibilities crucial to the smooth functioning of the organization.”

Not pictured above:

Amanda Albert, senior manager

Albert recently joined the R2 Solutions team at Advantage as a senior manager, following her successes with the Advantage Experiential Services team. During her tenure, she led the initial sell-in, development and implementation of year-to-date digital programming, resulting in $1.4 million in incremental revenue for the business, as well

as launched targeted e-commerce shopper programs.

“We are excited to welcome Amanda to the R2 team, where she will bring her wealth of retail experience to our convenience store business,” says Michael Davis, senior director of sales.

All TWIG winners will be recognized at an awards gala dinner on November 8, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla., during Progressive Grocer‘s Grocery Impact conference.