First job in the business? I started my full-time career at A&P in September 1979 as a produce clerk. However, I also spent seven years prior to that at Loblaws as a part-time produce clerk while going to school.
What do you like best about the industry? The people. Many of those whom I had the pleasure to work with have become lifelong personal friends. I also enjoyed the challenges, the fast-paced environment, and adding creativity to drive results.
What can the industry do better? Retaining and promoting part-time youth to develop future leaders. There is a great pool of talent to work with. I also think the pool of talent in the stores should always be considered first for new office job openings, especially in merchandising roles. In my era, we were encouraged to build relationships for the betterment of the business, and great respect amongst peers and competitors evolved as a result.
A memorable career moment? Two really resonate. First, being part of the leadership group driving the expansion of the Food Basics banner. It was a ton of work, it was extremely challenging, and the success we enjoyed was a once in a lifetime experience. The other was leading the second generation of Aurora Importing & Distributing with the founder Nunzio Tumino by my side. Walking trade shows all over the world with that man was like walking the floor with the Pope. I was in my mid-50s when I joined Aurora, and was learning something new every day. It was an amazing experience.