Chain Store Age 2023 Retail’s Top Women Awards: The honorees are…

top women logo 2023

Chain Store Age celebrated 25 outstanding female executives at its 2023 Retail’s Top Women Awards event, which was held virtually on June 21. The awards are designed to highlight the crucial role women play in key areas of retail operations and their overall contributions to the industry at large. 

The program recognizes individuals in four categories: technology, supply chain, store development/facilities and real estate. And three of the most senior leaders were honored as Women of the Year.

“The recipients of our Retail’s Top Women Awards are leaders in every sense of the word,” said CSA editor-in-chief Marianne Wilson. “Along with keeping their companies at the forefront of innovation, they are helping to advance the presence of women in senior decision-making positions across the industry.”

The recipients of CSA Retail's Top Women Awards are listed below.



Women of the Year:

Prama Bhatt  ULTA
Prama Bhatt — chief digital officer of Ulta Beauty

Managing a team of digital experts across a wide variety of technology areas, Prama Bhatt and her team have transformed the beauty experience at Ulta, deploying technology to create innovative, reimagined and personalized experiences at every touchpoint of the customer journey, both in-store and online.

Bhatt’s strategic vision and penchant for innovation have fueled e-commerce growth at Ulta, turning the company into an online powerhouse.

Marie McCarthy — COO of L.L. Bean

As COO of the legendary retailer, Marie McCarthy oversees a roughly 3,000-employee (at peak season) operation that fulfills all direct customer orders, manages the customer returns process, supports the retailer’s customer service delivery and oversees the production of made-in-Maine goods.  

A 30-year veteran of L.L. Bean, McCarthy has played a crucial role in the company’s long-term success. She started out as a compensation analyst, moving on to hold a variety of leadership roles across the organization, including leading the company’s multi-million dollar investment to add robotic automation.

Fiona Tan
Fiona Tan — CTO of Wayfair

Fiona Tan oversees a global team responsible for the online home furnishings giant’s e-commerce platform, supply chain technology and omnichannel experiences.  

Tan has played a critical role in driving the growth and success of Wayfair’s technology organization, setting the strategy for the development of systems and technologies that shape both the customer and supplier experiences.  She is overseeing a technology transformation at the company, taking its existing legacy infrastructure and applications and modernizing them into cloud native micro-services.


Retail's Top Women in Technology: 



Kate Baily
Kate Baily— VP, e-commerce, Journeys (a division of Genesco)

With a proven track record of building relevant e-commerce brand strategies from start-up commerce to established brand experiences, Baily manages web operations, product photography, email/SMS marketing and personalization functions for teen footwear brand Journeys, both for the U.S. and Canada. She also oversaw the website redesign of Journeys’ websites.

Anshu Bhardwaj
Anshu Bhardwaj — senior VP, technology strategy and commercialization, Walmart

From leading the product team that created Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go technology to deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning in ways that improve both the customer and employee experience, Bhardwaj has been among those at the forefront of driving the technology-led digital transformation across Walmart.  

bhatia shweta
Shweta Bhatia — senior VP, IT applications & base engineering, Dollar General

With more than years of retail, technology and leadership experience, Bhatia leads her teams in rolling out new digital tools to better serve Dollar General’s customers as well as its employees and field leaders of its 19,000-plus stores.

Angie Brown
Angie Brown, senior VP —Technology, The Home Depot

The 24-years plus Home Depot veteran has a successful history of enabling the modernization of existing platforms, deploying time-saving management systems and integrating successful POS systems at the home improvement giant. Brown encourages innovation throughout the company and helps cultivate a team to bring those visions to life.

Maria Fidelibus
Maria Fidelibus — divisional VP, technology — QuickChek

Throughout her 19-year career at QuickChek, Fidelibus and her team have led the industry in several areas, including the early adoption of self-checkout registers.  Since the acquisition of Murphy USA and QuickChek in 2021, she has played a major role in the adoption of new processes and procedures and in merging the two companies infrastructures.

dawn iezzi
Dawn Iezzi — senior IT director, stores & services, PetSmart

An experienced director with a history that includes a focus on POS systems, workforce management systems, order management and more, Iezzi leads high performance teams by mentoring them to achieve objectives to enable them for success. She is dedicated to creating the best customer experience and creating an environment for stores to succeed in.

Jena Rand
Jena Rand — VP, retail operations, Warby Parker

With 20 years of retail (field and operations) experience in both domestic and international businesses, Rand leads a fast-paced retail operations team at Warby Parker supporting 200-plus locations.

Debra Sell
Debra Sell — director, e-commerce, DICK’S Sporting Goods

Sell commands a versatile team whose responsibilities range from site-wide campaign management and live shopping execution to content management system ownership and product page design. She has taken on project after project, all with the goal of growing Dick’s e-commerce experience for consumers as well as internal stakeholders.

Nicole West
Nicole West — VP, digital strategy & product, Chipotle Mexican Grill

West, a 16-year Chipotle veteran and a champion for driving opportunity and visibility for women in tech, oversees the development and execution of the chain’s integrated ‘customer-first’ digital strategy. Her innovations have been key to Chipotle’s digital success — under her leadership online sales have grown to nearly 40% of total sales.

Retail's Top Women in Supply Chain:

Stacey Furey — director, supplier performance, Ace Hardware

Furey, who joined the hardware cooperative in April 2016, has skillfully migrated Ace’s supplier performance program from infancy into maturity. She integrated new technologies and functionality to scale across 2,000 suppliers, focused on on-time shipments and load quality.

Kim Ramsey
Kim Ramsey — VP, inventory management, Family Dollar

Joining Family Dollar in 2019 several months before the pandemic began, Ramsey helped the retailer navigate the subsequent supply chain constraints to ensure availability during times of scarcity for customers. She strives to build a strong sense of company culture for her team of approximately 60, and strives to create an inclusive atmosphere for her team members and the company overall.

Lisa Wittman-Smith
Lisa Wittman-Smith — senior VP, planning, replenishment & supply chain optimization, Joann

Wittman-Smith, who arrived at Joann in November 2021, is credited with driving new levels of efficiency and insights that will help keep the company at the forefront of retail for another 80 years. The retail veteran and her team have led many efforts to optimize inventory levels and the timing of inbound goods appropriately to ensure product would be in stores when customers wanted it — at a time when unprecedented global supply chain challenges were affecting movement of goods for companies worldwide.

Top Women in Store Development/Facilities:

Theresa Fisher — senior VP, visual merchandising & brand development, CCA Global Partners

The 20-year CCA veteran, who heads up store design, visual merchandising and private branding, is leading the company’s ambitious “Retail 2.0” project, which is designed to transform and elevate the the customer journey in purchasing flooring. It’s currently launching in Carpet One Floor & Home member showrooms throughout the U.S. and Canada, Flooring America and Flooring Canada.

Danni Gallagher
Danni Gallagher — VP planning, design and construction, CVS Health

With a team of 117 members, Gallagher leads CVS Health’s capital planning, design and construction teams across all of the company’s business units, including CVS pharmacy, Aetna, Caremark and Specialty. In 2022, she lead the execution of over 6,000 projects that included more than 1,000 store resets and refreshes.

Laura Gross
Laura Gross — senior manager, facilities, American Signature

Along with overseeing American Signature’s repair, maintenance budget and capitol expense projects and work orders for more than 120 stores, Gross negotiates new contracts with all facilities management and technology partners. She also oversees lease management/landlord responsibilities throughout all of the company’s markets.


Lauren Kruse — VP, store creation/store development, Sephora: Kruse leads

Kruse oversees Sephora’s store concept, design, procurement, construction, new store opening and facilities teams, as well as the beauty retailer’s sustainability group.  She is spearheading an aggressive expansion strategy as the company opens 50-plus stores per year and invests millions in upgrading its existing fleet.

Amy Ochoa
Amy Ochoa — VP of facilities, Salon Lofts

In addition to leading a group of facility professionals tasked with providing best-in-class maintenance services, Ochoa is responsible for future-proofing the Salon Lofts’ expanding business with technology solutions that include computerized maintenance management systems and leveraged preventative maintenance programs.

julie starzynski
Julie Starzynski — director, construction & design, Floor & Décor

Starzynski oversees the construction and design department for the retailer’s North, Southwest and Western regions. Adept at managing multiple projects simultaneously, in multiple jurisdictions with differing permitting requirements, she has played a key role in the growth and success of Floor and Decor's store expansion efforts.


Retail's Top Women in Real Estate:

Shannon Letts
Shannon Letts — senior VP, real estate, procurement and sustainability, Big Lots

The 23-year Walmart veteran (13 of them in real estate) joined Big Lots at the start of 2021 to help aid aggressive expansion that involved 58 new projects last year. A member of the executive committee, Letts leads real estate, construction, property and facilities management, sustainability and procurement.

Rita Siegel
Rita Siegel — director of real estate, North American Retail, New Balance, Athletics

Siegel, a veteran of Brookstone and Eastern Mountain Sports, arrived at New Balance nearly 16 years ago as the controller for its retail division. She was promoted to her present position in April 2016. She believes that success in specialty retail requires ardent collaboration.

Jennifer Sorrells
Jennifer Sorrells — senior manager, retail real estate, T-Mobile

Sorrels’ team oversees the 9,000-door portfolio for T-Mobile and Metro, responsible for all non-corporate real estate ranging from new store target areas to renewals and relocations. She believes that striving to be better is making space for women and minorities in retail real estate that did not exist a few years ago.

Shannon M Yeakel
Shannon M Yeakel — senior director of real estate development, Dick’s Sporting Goods

The 15-year veteran of the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer manages the company’s national development team, but directs the South and the Southeast as her personal territories. Yeakel was involved in the site selection and development of the first three locations of Dick’s new Dick’s House of Sport experiential store concept.

CSA’s Retail’s Top Women Awards were sponsored by Melissa (presenting sponsor), T-Mobile and NEST.

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