By: Amanda Bond-Thorley, Director, Education, Food Marketing Institute
Future Leaders Certificate

Lakeisha Hall is a traffic manager for Associated Wholesale Grocers in Kansas City. Christina Caratura is a human resources specialist for ShopRite in Lawnside, N.J. Scott Kaverman is a category manager for Schnuck Markets in St. Louis, a company he’s been with for 18 years.

What do these three individuals have in common?

First, they all work in food retail, an industry that requires unique skills across a wide range of disciplines.

Second, they have all been inspired by the words of great leaders of the past, such as former U.S. President John F. Kennedy who said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Finally, Lee, Caratura and Kaverman all participated in the 2018 Future Leaders eXperience and earned the FMI Food Retail Leader Certificate, which gives them recognition in the food retail industry as qualified and committed food retail leaders.

Like President Kennedy, these individuals appreciate that to become successful leaders they must embrace the importance of lifelong learning. It is with this in mind that, together with 90 of their peers, they embarked on a series of on- and- offline learning activities to earn the Food Retail Leader Certificate and elevate their careers to the next level.

Now entering its second year, the certificate demonstrates that completers have the right food retail industry knowledge, skills, personal attributes and competencies to excel at leadership positions in the food retail industry. At the same time, it addresses the widely recognized imperative that the food retail industry must arm itself today with talented leaders who will guide it through the challenges and opportunities of the future.

There are several paths to achieve the certificate, including the Future Leaders eXperience, scheduled May 14-16 in St. Louis, and the Future Leaders Direct Program, both of which are the foundation of the certificate program.

The impact of the program is evident in the testimonials we received from the committed individuals that participated.

“I took away so many leadership behaviors that I’ve already been able to apply to my team,” Hall said. “I feel as if this process has helped me grow professionally as well as personally.”

The 93 individuals who earned the certificate in 2018 invested their time not only to benefit themselves, but also to bring back new skills and knowledge to the 18 retail and CPG companies that have invested in them:

  • Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
  • C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Dillion Companies, Inc.
  • Food City
  • K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.
  • Kellogg Company
  • Lowes Foods, LLC
  • Lunds & Byerlys
  • Meijer, Inc.
  • Merchant Distributors, LLC
  • Schnuck Markets, Inc.
  • Smart & Final Stores, LLC
  • SPAR International
  • Somerset Stores, LLC
  • SpartanNash Company, LLC
  • Wakefern Food Corp.
  • Weis Markets, Inc.

Congratulations to the 93 certificate recipients and to the 18 companies that invested in them.

For more information on the Food Retail Leader Certificate, please visit