By: Angelyn Pinter, Senior Manager, Education, FMI

CoachStriving for success is a thorny process. You must confront your weaknesses and do the diligent work of overcoming them. In addition, you must dedicate yourself to long hours of training and practice in order to sharpen your skillset and gain higher-level insights. Throughout this process, one can easily falter in motivation – a phenomenon I’ve witnessed countless times over my many years as an educator. That’s why it’s so important to have a support system that cheers you on and helps guide you in the right direction.

Fortunately, all participants of FMI’s Future Leaders eXperience are provided with this invaluable support in the form of Future Leaders coaches. These are the unsung heroes of the program who deserve much praise for their critical contributions to participant success. Future Leaders coaches are program alumni who volunteer to be a helpful guide to their peers in food retail by answering questions about the curriculum, offering motivational feedback and fostering collaboration among their assigned cohort.

Future Leaders participants consistently rank their coaches highly on the list of resources that helped them learn and grow during the program. One participant, Victoria Ball, explained, “Our coach made the time to do breakout sessions with us and check in. I know if I needed anything I could always reach out and hear back.” Another participant, Jason Hoffman, shared, “Our coach did an excellent job preparing us for each meeting. I felt she was very engaged throughout the process.”

Coaches themselves are equally enthusiastic about their participation in the program, seeing their role as a great way to meet new people while solidifying their knowledge of session learnings. One of the 2022 Future Leaders coaches, Jazmine Francis-Burton, had this to say about her experience, “Serving as a coach at this year’s Future Leaders eXperience was so invaluable. It provided me an opportunity to connect and collaborate with industry professionals from around the globe that I would have never had the chance to meet otherwise.”

We want to thank all our 2022 Future Leaders coaches for uplifting their fellow food retail professionals and inspiring participants to greatness. We want to give a special thanks to:

Stacy Leeton, Category Manager Health & Wellness, Associated Wholesale Grocers/Valu Merchandisers Company

Bakary Darboe, Operations Manager, The Kroger Co.

Rebecca Ruffino, Meat/Seafood Sales Merchandiser, Schnuck Markets, Inc.

Jazmine Francis-Burton, Human Resources Business Partner, Wakefern Food Corp.

Robert Kerr, Night Manager, The Giant Company

Lisa Mellema Sr., National Account Executive-Costco, Kellogg Company

Tarrah Bottone, Director of Category Management, Kellogg Company

Jon Becker, Key Account Executive, Kellogg Company

Meredith Breitenbach, Key Account Executive, Kellogg Company

Jasmine Reeds, Advanced Operations Portfolio Manager, The Kroger Co.

Andrew Brown, Manager of Member Program Sales and Marketing, FMI

Melissa Fica, Store Support Product Manager, Meijer, Inc.

Bill Hughes, Director of Infrastructure, SpartanNash

Crystal Betancourt, Manager Talent Management, Meijer, Inc.

Kristi Roberts, Customer Vice President, Campbell Soup Company

Natalie Jablonski, Director, Communications, Schnuck Markets, Inc.

Anthony Smith, Director of DSG Decor and Design Source Group, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.

Learn more about this empowering program and how you can supercharge your leadership potential at FMI’s Future Leaders eXperience webpage.