AFS Vice President Part of Panel Focused on Empowering Women
KeHE Distributors®, Associated Food Stores’ (AFS) partner for natural, organic, and specialty products, held its holiday show on June 15-16 in Chicago, Illinois. As part of the event, Mindy Rich, vice president of analytics and consumer insights at AFS, was invited to be a featured guest in a panel discussion about empowering women in the workplace.
Mindy participated in the panel with three brand owners as well as Laura McCord, KeHE’s executive director of sustainability and corporate responsibility. AFS team members Bill Price, Ryan Barnes, Danerish Root, Fedra Chappell and Brian Simonson also attended.
As part of KeHE’s diversity, inclusion and equity efforts, the company has an initiative called Women Empowered (WE) for women in management. The group has an annual meeting for women and their male allies, and monthly webinars supported by the Network of Executive Women (NEW), an outside organization.
“The topic I was asked to address was how to be our best selves even when we might be the only woman in the room,” said Mindy. “I relayed a story about when I first started working at a ski resort. I was the only girl working on the park crew and was initially apprehensive about how I might be received. Rather than leaving me out, the crew embraced me. I think often, many of us have a little demon on our shoulder telling us to hesitate. As hard as it can be sometimes, there’s value in doing just the opposite. We all bring a unique perspective and need to not be afraid to share.”
Mindy is one example of many women in key positions throughout Associated Food Stores having been promoted to vice president in December of 2021. Mindy got her start in the grocery industry working in the delicatessen at Albertson’s where she worked in several departments including general merchandise, produce and floral. She joined the AFS team as a grocery manager working at the Fresh Market in East Ogden before becoming an assistant store director at Dick’s Market in Bountiful. After working at Dick’s Market, she became a category manager at the AFS corporate office before serving as the director of center store. As the vice president of analytics and consumer insights, Mindy leads the company’s efforts to identify and utilize data to better understand shopper needs. She and her team are working towards providing tools and insights that help category management, rewards, marketing, and others to drive additional sales and shopper relevance.
“Mindy is a wonderful representative of Associated Food Stores,” said Bob Obray, president and CEO of AFS. “As a company, we benefit tremendously from the contributions of women throughout our organization and recognize that any success we have is a direct result of their active participation, counsel and leadership.”