Dawn Haig preferred._150

Category D: (International), Finalist

Dawn Haig

Chilliwack, B.C. (Canada)

How’s this for graduation? Right around the time she completed an executive leadership and management program, Dawn Haig was moved up to manage a new Save-On-Foods store in Cottonwood, B.C.

Her on-the-job “schooling” began 18 years ago when she was a service clerk. As she has taken on more responsibilities and roles over the years, Haig has earned high marks for her leadership and her commitment to Save-On-Foods and to the grocery industry at large. She received a special achievement award from the company in 2012 and was recognized as a “Star Woman in Grocery” by Canadian Grocer magazine, among other distinctions.

Dawn took on the teacher and administrator role when opening the brand new location in Cottonwood in March 2021. Given the fact that many employees were new to the chain – and some to the industry – she took the opportunity to engage the approximately 160 associates and provide them with a clear vision for the store. By holding regular huddles and weekly meetings and often working with them side by side running a register or sanitizing baskets, she inspires the team to set and reach their goals.

Her steady guidance and support of innovative offerings like made-to-order burritos, custom cakes and an in-store poké bar at the new location paid off quickly. The Cottonwood store achieved positive sales growth in its first nine months of operation – a rare feat with new stores.

The strong and immediate results at the new location follow her previous outstanding efforts as a manager. When the store she managed in Mission, B.C. underwent an extensive remodel in 2018 and 2019, she and her team stayed competitive while minimizing disruption. At another location in Abbotsford, B.C., she led her team to a 45% increase in sales over the previous year.

Her drive for continuous improvement is reflected in her work to better the community as an ambassador for Save-On Foods. She supports a variety of organizations and schools in her region, including nonprofit groups that provide food security and a children’s hospital that relies on fundraising. In 2019, she was recognized for her community contributions with a service award from a local Rotary Club in Mission, B.C.

Today, as she enters her second year managing the Cottonwood store and engaging associates, shoppers and community members, Dawn is applying many lessons she learned in her previous stores and, more recently, from the Thompson Rivers University's leadership program where she earned her certificate. Both student and leader, she is constantly seeking to learn and achieve more.

“Dawn was not looking to simply hire clerks and cashiers. She focused on hiring and training customer service representatives who pride themselves on taking care of their customers and offering the Always Customer First service that Save-On-Foods is known for.”