We are proud to share that Tracy Cleaves and Melissa Van Gheem of our Green Bay Support Office have been named Rising Stars as part of the Top Women in Grocery Award, presented by the magazine Progressive Grocer.
Considered the retail industry’s premier women’s leadership awards platform, the award has been celebrating the great strides of women in the food industry for over 20 years.
Tracy, who joined Festival in 2007 as Front End Director, was promoted earlier this year to Front End Senior Director. Before coming to work for us, Tracy spent 17 years in various Front End roles at Roundy’s/Copps. She leads a team of more than 2,500 Front End associates — that is one-third of total associates at Festival Foods.
She has led our largest department through a period of tremendous growth; our store numbers have increased from 11 to 31 since she joined us, and much of that growth happened in the past two years. Over the past 12 months, Tracy initiated and coordinated the complicated process of updating our receipts to better serve our guests. She also created efficiencies that reduced labor by more than $400,000 during the past fiscal year.
Melissa joined Festival in 2014 as Regional HR Manager and has served as Human Resources Director since 2015. She has helped bring about a transformation of the reputation of the Human Resources division across the company.
Thanks to her efforts, HR is now recognized as a vital resource to the operations planning process. She did this by cultivating relationships with senior leaders and store leadership teams as well as with her team (HR Assistant Director and 31 in-store HR managers). Over the past 12 months, Melissa led a complete makeover of the Festival Foods performance management process, replacing performance ratings with career and engagement discussions. She also partnered with the Operations and Asset Protection teams to develop and roll out the Associate Empowerment Program last summer.
We're thrilled for both Tracy and Melissa on this significant honor, and watch for them to be featured in the June issue of Progressive Grocer. They will also be honored in November at the annual Top Women in Grocery awards event in Chicago.