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Chain Store Age unveils the 2024 Retail’s Top Women Awards honorees

CSA Retail's Top Women Awards

Chain Store Age celebrated outstanding 28 female executives at its 2024 Retail’s Top Women Awards event, which was held virtually on June 13. 

The awards highlight the crucial role women play in key areas of retail operations while also helping to move the industry forward. The program, which drew nominations from across all sectors of the retail industry, recognizes individuals in five categories: technology, finance, supply chain, store development/facilities and marketing. Four 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 Chain Store Age 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 2024 Retail's Top Women Awards are listed below.


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Women of the Year:

Ericka Ayles
Ericka Ayles, CFO, Yesway
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As CFO of fast-growing convenience store chain Yesway, Ericka Ayles led the successful integration of the 304-store Allsup’s Convenience Stores chain, achieving an estimated $24 million in initial cost synergies with a further $14 million projected for subsequent years.

Ayles also spearheaded risk management initiatives and secured upgrades to Yesway’s corporate and credit facility ratings from both Moody’s and S&P, and managed the seamless integration of updated back-office and point-of-sale systems, optimizing operational efficiency across Yesway's entire portfolio.

Shirley Gao
Shirley Gao, chief digital and information officer, PacSun

As a digital and technology leader, Shirley Gao has been instrumental in shaping PacSun’s digital and enterprise technology strategy, driving innovation and transformation across the company.

Under Gao’s leadership, the retailer has enhanced its digital customer experience, resulting in improved customer satisfaction, increased revenue and reduced fulfillment and operational costs.

Kim Lefko
Kim Lefko, chief marketing officer, Ace Hardware

A marketing veteran, Kim Lefko has spent the last six years leading global marketing, advertising and digital initiatives for the world's largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative.

Most recently, in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary, Lefko led the development of a highly-praised mini-documentary series, Heartware Stories, that highlight the many different ways individual Ace store owners across 50 different states have assisted their local communities. The videos have generated more than 1.6 million views across various platforms.

Kelly Dilts
Kelly Dilts, executive VP and CFO, Dollar General

Kelly Dilts develops and executes the financial strategy of one of the industry’s most expansion-minded retailers. Her strong financial acumen and leadership capabilities, honed during 30-plus years in the field, elevate not only the finance team but the Dollar General brand.

Dilts and her team provide colleagues with the business intelligence and analytics tools necessary to foster Dollar General’s expansive growth in both scale and profitability.

Retail’s Top Women in Supply Chain:

Richele Chituck
Richele Chituck, VP, IT, supply chain, Dollar Tree

As VP of IT and supply chain at Dollar Tree, Chituck delivers IT solutions and capabilities for all aspects of the retailer’s supply chain, including inventory management, distribution operations and transportation.

Managing a team of over 50 people, she currently is running multiple transformation projects at the company, including an enterprise-wide rollout of a warehouse management and transportation management solution.

Anna Peckhart
Anna Peckhart, VP, supplier operations, Ulta Beauty

Anna Peckhart leads a dedicated team responsible for managing relationships and operations of Ulta Beauty’s 600-plus brand partners. She also manages supplier compliance and performance, and identifies opportunities for improvement in the retailer’s supply chain, including technology and infrastructure investments and the implementation of best practices.

Rebecca Powers
Rebecca Powers, VP, distribution, Dollar General

As Dollar General’s first female VP of distribution, Rebecca Powers takes pride in mentoring and advocating for other female distribution and logistics leaders. Beyond leading her teams, Powers, a former U.S. Army logistics offer, oversees five distribution centers serving stores across four states, ensuring products are available to stock shelves and are delivered to stores for customers on time, every time.

Retail’s Top Women in Finance:

Tiffany Kanaga
Tiffany Kanaga, VP, global investor relations, Walgreens Boots Alliance

Since joining Walgreens Boots Alliance in late 2021, Tiffany Kanaga has transformed the company’s investor relations function, laying the foundation for significant shareholder value creation. She is at the helm of Walgreens’ investor relations during the most turbulent years in the company's history, navigating a prolonged, complex turnaround with structural challenges in a very tough macro backdrop.

Ashley Randolph
Ashley Randolph, senior director, finance and accounting, Genesco

Ashley Randolph has spent a majority of her 25-year career managing finance and accounting for Genesco. With responsibilities that include SEC filings, internal control and annual external audit compliance, quarterly earnings releases and more, she plays a crucial role in Genesco’s finance organization.

Ashley has also been a valued business partner for human resources in evolving the company's incentive plan.

Melissa Snyder
Melissa Snyder, director of financial planning and analysis, Rutter’s

Melissa Snyder promotes collaboration and synergies in her oversight of the capital expenditures team as well as the treasury and financial analysis teams at Rutter’s. She spearheaded the establishment of company-wide standards for efficiency and controls within the finance and accounting departments, identifying areas for improvement and implementing robust measures to enhance operational effectiveness and compliance.

Retail’s Top Women in Technology:

Ronda Boutcher
Ronda Boutcher, director, IT, retail systems, Tractor Supply Co.

Boutcher leads retail technology strategy, software development and retail infrastructure for the nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer. Among her most notable achievements: leading the team that developed the concept for Tractor Supply’s first-ever generative AI associate selling tool, which went from ideation to proof of concept in less than three months and is now live in all stores.

Lisa Carter
Lisa Carter, director of IT applications, Rutter’s

A veteran IT professional with over 20 years of experience, Carter works across multiple departments in at Rutter’s, driving innovation, efficiency and alignment between technology while ensuring those initiatives are aligning with overall business strategy.

Krystyna Kostka
Krystyna Kostka, senior VP, retail fuel and operations, BJ’s Wholesale Club

Krystyna Kostka has pioneered the adoption of industry-leading technology at BJ’s, heading up a number of transformative initiatives that have advanced operations and helped position the company at the forefront of technological advancement in the retail industry. One of her primary responsibilities — and passions — is spearheading BJ’s robotics strategy. Under her leadership, BJ's became the first wholesale club to deploy retail robotics at scale.

Sara Larson
Sara Larson, VP, retail technology, Whole Foods Market

Sara Larson leads a team of over 400 tech team members who develop, deploy and sustain the technology used for Whole Food Market’s approximate 540 store locations and its corporate offices. Her leadership and expertise have helped the company implement ground breaking technology such as Amazon One payment devices, Dash Carts and Just Walk Out technology in Whole Foods Market stores.

Neelima Sharma
Neelima Sharma, senior VP, digital commerce and technology, Lowe’s

Neelima Sharma oversees a wide variety of technology solutions at Lowe’s as she continues the multi-year process of transforming the retailer’s technology infrastructure to the cloud. With areas of responsibility that include omnichannel commerce, AI- and ML-based personalization, merchandising and price promotion, Sharma also continues to find unique ways to recognize her team’s accomplishments while providing opportunities to develop professionally.

Steph So
Steph So, senior VP of digital experience, Shake Shack

Since joining the casual-dining chain in 2019, Steph So has grown digital sales dramatically, supported integrated marketing campaigns in new digital channels and driven loyalty, frequency and brand engagement with guests. She is leading the development of Shake Shack’s marketing technology and capabilities, focusing on how marketing automation tools help brands personalize content and offers at scale.

Barbara Stoyko
Barbara Stoyko, senior VP, mobility, Americas, Shell

A veteran executive of Shell since 1997, Stoyko currently leads Shell’s mobility business in the Americas, where she oversees the financial, strategic, and organizational delivery of the consumer mobility and retail business. This includes thousands of Shell-branded gas stations, a growing footprint of company owned and operated convenience stores and an expanding network of public electric vehicle charging stations.

Brianna Wells
Brianna Wells, divisional manager, e-commerce marketing & merchandising, Do it Best

In her role at Do it Best, Brianna Wells works to ensure the retailer’s e-commerce platform meets and surpasses customer expectations. Responsible for sourcing and maintaining product content on the website, she has more than tripled the available content from 100,000 visible products to well over 350,000 items since joining the company in 2022. Under her leadership, the company launched a pickup locker system that allows customers to order items and pick them up at a nearby location.

Retail’s Top Women in Marketing:

Monica Feathers
Monica Feathers, director of marketing, Providence Enterprises (DBA Ashley & Star Furniture and Mattresses)

With more than 30 years of media and marketing experience, Monica Feathers made the transition to the retail world 10 years ago when she joined Providence Enterprises, a licensee of Ashley. As the leader of the marketing team, she oversees media buys, organic and paid social media, reputation management, graphic design, and local special events.

Leann Fowler
Leann Fowler, senior VP, academic marketing & communications, Follett Higher Education

Overseeing both internal and external communications at the campus retailer, Leann Fowler works closely with colleges and universities across North America to secure and grow partnerships that elevate the campus brand and support student success. As North America’s largest campus retailer, Follett is constantly seeking new ways to support its primarily Gen Z audience throughout their collegiate experience, and beyond.

Becky Gomez
Becky Goméz, assistant VP, director of marketing & e-commerce, Half Price Books

In a role she had held for four of her 20 years at Half Price Books, Becky Goméz manages the strategy, communication, creative production and execution of multi-channel marketing promotions and campaigns for the retailer. Since joining the company in 2004, Goméz has risen through the ranks, demonstrating her leadership and marketing expertise.

Barbara Hagen, VP, sales and marketing, Thrift Books
Barbara Hagen, VP, sales and marketing, Thrift Books

As the VP of sales and marketing at ThriftBooks, Barbara Hagen is tasked with “supporting all who love books,” and creating the best book-purchasing experience possible. She manages the retailer’s operations, which includes over 19 million new and used books, by leveraging a loyalty program and customer service team.

Julia Metaxas
Julia Metaxas, VP, growth, Lulu and Georgia

Julia Metaxas is passionate about optimizing new avenues for growth for online retailer Lulu and Georgia. Adopting an approach that puts customer-centric metrics at the heart of the marketing strategy and emphasizes customers with the highest potential for incremental growth, she and her team use the metrics of identification rate, first-time buyer rate and repeat purchase rate to inform channel strategies and deliver profitable growth for Lulu and Georgia.

Retail’s Top Women in Store Development & Facilities Maintenance:

Christy Allen
Christy Allen, senior project manager, minor projects & programs, construction, Foot Locker

Christy Allen is responsible for open store remodels across Foot Locker’s portfolio of approximately 2,500 retail stores. She credits her rapport with landlords and property developers as being vital to ramping up projects quickly and completing them successfully.

Sara Iverson Smith
Sara Iverson-Smith, senior director, real estate, facilities, and construction, Blain’s Farm & Fleet

Sara Iverson-Smith’s affinity for building, fixing and creating, as well as work with contractors, have served her well during her 25-year store development career. She is most proud of her role in Blain’s Farm & Fleet’s expansive recycling program — an initiative that has offset over 9 million pounds of waste from landfills in 12 months.

Jennifer Judd
Jennifer Judd, director of store maintenance, Gap Inc.

As Gap Inc.’s senior director of store maintenance, Judd leads “a small but mighty’ team of 15 responsible for repairing and maintaining approximately 2,500 stores across North America. She also oversees the company’s capital and expense investment planning and execution, and will manage about 500 projects this year.

Tiffany Ko
Tiffany Ko, head of construction, Specsavers Canada

Ko heads Specsaver’s s ambitious store expansion strategy, leading a team responsible for opening 110 stores in two years. She also oversees the company’s facilities and maintenance strategies.

Kristine Murphy
Kristine Murphy, senior VP, real estate & store development, Knitwell Group

Throughout her 20-plus-year career, Murphy made real estate deals for iconic retail brands including Talbots and Gap. She is doing it now for the nearly 3,000 store fleet of the Knitwell Group, a holding company comprised of Ann Taylor, Loft and Talbots. Murphy is most proud of her role in rolling out Ann Taylor’s new prototype, which has brought the brand back to premier U.S. malls.

Alison Roede
Alison Roede, VP, store planning, construction, Americas, Christian Dior

Alison Roede creates new project schedules and projections, and oversees the construction lifecycle through Dior’s elaborate store openings. She counts building a team and processes where none existed at Dior — and doing it during the company’s strongest growth and development era — as one of her proudest accomplishments.


CSA’s 2024 Retail’s Top Women Awards were sponsored by Melissa.

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