PHOENIX, ARIZ. – January 12, 2014 – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) last night awarded its most prestigious award in government relations, the Glen P. Woodard, Jr. Public Affairs Award, to Hy-Vee’s recently retired, Vice President, Education and Governmental Affairs, Rose Mitchell. Mitchell accepted the award at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference. 

Mitchell has been a long-time mentor, advocate and educator in her home state of Iowa, in addition to her tenure serving as an industry representative on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. At the start of her career path, Mitchell taught high school English at Valley High School in West Des Moines, but soon opted for a career with Hy-Vee in 1979 as their first in-house corporate trainer, traveling to the company’s numerous retail locations across seven states. In fact, Mitchell is well regarded as responsible for launching Hy-Vee into the 21st Century through her new technology training efforts.

Her career moved through several promotions, and in 1992, Mitchell was elected by the Hy-Vee Board of Directors to vice president of education and training, making her the first woman appointed to the position of vice president. In 1996, she added public policy to her role, and in 2005, she was promoted to senior vice president, education and governmental affairs.

FMI Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Jennifer Hatcher remarked on Mitchell’s tenure, saying, “In government relations, Rose epitomized the ideal lobbyist for the industry – someone with a solid reputation in both the substance of the issues and access to key elected officials, which made a difference over and over again for FMI and the industry as we tackled priority issues in Washington and in the state capitols.”

Mitchell was active in federal and state politics and policy through her participation in the Food Marketing Institute’s Government Relations Committee for nearly two decades. She rounded out her career guiding those policy decisions and plans as the chairperson of the committee.  

Hatcher continued, “Rose and Hy-Vee have been critical to FMI and the industry on a host of issues big and small, legislative and regulatory, and federal and state. We would not have had the achievements we did without the skillful work of Rose and the Hy-Vee colleagues she enlisted on three issues in particular: swipe fees, front-of- package labeling and hours of service.”

Hy-Vee Chairman and CEO Randy Edeker remarked in a video testimonial, “Rose has been such an integral part of the governmental affairs portion of our company. She’s a leader, she’s known around the country; she’s someone that politicians recognize and know and respect. And she has a clear voice of the industry.” 

Further demonstrating her tenacity and diplomatic approach representing the food retail industry on Capitol Hill, Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) recalled, “It was fortunate for me that we always agreed on issues; I would hate to have Rose on the opposite side of an issue.”

Mitchell was the president of the Hy-Vee Foundation for 25 years, which awards $80,000 in educational scholarships yearly. She is chairperson of the Hy-Vee Political Action Committee (PAC) and oversaw the distribution of PAC funds yearly to state and federal candidates. She served for many years as a member of the Cornell University Advisory Board (Ithaca, New York), which had oversight of the Cornell Distance Education Program. She also served on the business advisory committees of the American Institute of Business College (AIB) in Des Moines, Iowa, and still serves on the same committee for her alma mater, Simpson College.  

In 1991, Mitchell was awarded the Hy-Vee Director of the Year, and in 1995, she was named as the first woman officer to serve on the Hy-Vee Board of Directors. Mitchell also earned her name on the roster of the 2010 Progressive Grocer “Top Women in Grocery.” 

View Rose's multimedia profile here.