10:00 AM - 5:30 PM


1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Welcome Remarks and Setting the Stage

David Smith, President and CEO, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
Jim Frusciante, Head of US Sales, The Kraft Heinz Company

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

The Canyon

Understand the critical role managers play in driving culture and strategy execution.

  • Recognize the canyons that often exist in organizations and how they affect results.
  • Understand the critical role that leaders play in accelerating strategy.
  • Identify issues leaders face as they connect their people with the strategy.
  • Have a navigation system - a Compass - to guide you through the challenges of your role.

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM


2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Know My Role

Put people first. Make your team your top priority.

  • Describe the impact leaders can have when people are their #1 priority.
  • Identify what keeps you from making your people your #1 priority and determine strategies to overcome those obstacles.

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM


4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Keynote: The Lens of Leadership

How we view things changes how we do things. Leaders often make changes to organizational structure, strategies, and personnel without addressing the one thing that can radically transform their lives and their leadership: perspective. The Lens of Leadership will change how you see your role, your relationships, and quite possibly the rest of your life. Discover how making a strategic shift in four pivotal areas of leadership – priorities, people, positioning and progress – can elevate you, your team, and your organization.


5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Celebrating Our Store Managers

Sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company

6:15 PM - 6:30 PM

Buses Depart to Anheuser-Busch Biergarten

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

An Evening at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour of the Brewery

We'll be celebrating the industry at one of the largest and oldest breweries in the nation. From the history-rich architecture – including three National Historic Landmarks – to cutting-edge brewing technology, you will witness first-hand the heritage and timeless tradition Anheuser-Busch employs to brew beer. 

-Special 20% discount on merchandise in store for all FLEX participants 
-Live Band 
-Photo op with the world famous Clydesdales 
-Tours of the Iconic Brewery 
-Innovation Bar 
-Beer School 

Sponsored by Anheuser-Busch

8:30 PM - 9:15 PM

Buses Return to Marriott St. Louis

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Breakfast: A Toast to the Store Manager Awards Finalists

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Know My Industry

Understand the big picture and know how your team impacts it.

  • Review critical areas of change in the food retail industry: competitive landscape, changing consumer behaviors, trends impacting customer expectations, and different perspectives from industry stakeholders.
  • Recognize the influence leaders have in setting their organization apart from others in the industry.

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM


10:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Connect My Team

Connect daily work to why it matters.

  • Recognize the business impacts of engagement.
  • Give perspective on the big picture of the organization.
  • Inspire purpose with a team story that tells what your team does and why it matters.

11:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Keynote: The Potential of Personalization at Food Retail

Future success in food retail rests upon grocers’ improving ability to help customers find their best answer to the fundamental question, “What’s for dinner… and beyond?” Each shopper’s answer to that question is personal and requires customized guidance that is helpful without feeling “creepy” to customers.  Join Leslie Sarasin as she presents highlights from the 44th FMI U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, research focused on helping food retailers achieve success in the area of personalization by knowing what shoppers want, expect and find helpful.   


12:15 PM - 1:15 PM


1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Build Relationships

Focus on developing a great team; the business results you want will follow.

  • Ask the kinds of questions that build strong working relationships.
  • Recognize the positive effects of investing in the emotional bank accounts of your team members.
  • Strengthen your relationships by using behaviors and actions that enhance communication and increase trust.

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM


3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Be Clear

Avoid performance issues that stem from unclear expectations.

  • Recognize the importance of being clear as a way to maintain engagement and efficiently achieve results.
  • Consistently follow six steps that ensure you are clear about your expectations.

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Leadership Lessons for Today and Tomorrow

Future Leaders Co-Chairs, David Smith, President and CEO, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and Jim Frusciante, Head of U.S. Sales, The Kraft Heinz Company, will chat with rising leaders from the food retail industry about the people, attitudes, and experiences that have helped them succeed and what they see as the most important characteristics for leaders in the new retail realities of the next five to ten years.

  • Carolyn Littlefield - Senior Director Ecommerce, North America Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC
  • Jake Lane - Manager, Merchandising C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
  • Adrian Moore - Manager, Strategic Planning Schnuck Markets, Inc.

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM


6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Open for Company Group Dinners

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Coach and Develop

Drive individual and team performance.

  • Improve team members’ performance by providing timely, honest feedback.
  • Conduct more effective coaching conversations through preparation.
  • Better identify the root causes of performance issues.
  • Use a guiding framework for a coaching conversation.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:15 AM


Take steps to sustain what you've started and maintain engagement.

  • Recognize the importance of celebrating wins.
  • Determine opportunities and ways to celebrate and appreciate.
  • Understand how to maximize the impact of celebrating and appreciating others.

11:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Leader GPS & Next Steps

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote: Unlock Your Hidden Genius

As competition, speed, and change in the food industry are increasing at unprecedented levels, driving peak performance in both individuals and teams is critical to propel growth and outperform competition. Internationally acclaimed Performing Artist Victoria Labalme reveals how to tap into and apply your hidden genius using proven strategies to harness the innate talents that currently lie dormant inside you. Through gripping stories, comedic moments and invaluable performing arts principles you’ll be primed, inspired and prepared to tackle your most pressing challenges and achieve remarkable results.