PHARMACY

DSN Women Leaders 2014: Joanne Leonardi, Ahold

BY Michael Johnsen

“It’s not just the goal that’s important, it’s how you get there.” That’s the compass that guides Ahold’s Joanne Leonardi, who identifies the direction for the grocer’s health-and-wellness offerings. “[It’s] the people that you influence along the way, and understanding some of the footprints that you leave behind,” she said. It was Leonardi’s father who instilled in her “the responsibility to be a leader wherever you are, from wherever you sit,” she said. 

Leonardi got her start in the restaurant industry in the late 1970s. “It was a different time for female leaders. There wasn’t a lot of them. There wasn’t a lot to mentor. And there wasn’t a lot to teach and train, so you kind of found your way on your own,” she said. "Women coming up through the ranks then had to be more assertive to succeed."   

 Leonardi now has almost 30 years of health and beauty retail experience between Rite Aid and Ahold. She currently is responsible for all aspects of the health and beauty department for Ahold. “We just went through a merchandising restructure here, so my role has literally, within the last two weeks, changed,” Leonardi said. “My chief area of responsibility is to drive health-and-wellness and health care across all of the different banners that we serve. What keeps me excited is change and the opportunities for growth … to change the dynamics of what your local grocery store can provide for you in the areas of health and wellness.”

In addition, Leonardi serves on the board of directors for the Global Market Development Center.

To view the full DSN Women Leaders 2014 report, click here.

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DSN Women Leaders 2014: Mary Kelly, Rexall Pharma Plus

BY Antoinette Alexander

There is only one thing you have full control of in your life — your own character. That’s one of the many important lessons Mary Kelly ever learned from her parents, she told DSN. And it clearly carries over into her leadership role today at Rexall Pharma Plus.

“I am fortunate to have had many mentors in my career. However, I am most fortunate to have had, and continue to have, a lifetime of mentoring and support from the very best parents one could ever have. They taught me core values and lived them every day. I aspire to carry that example forward,” Kelly said.

As EVP and chief merchandising officer of the Canadian pharmacy retailer, Kelly is responsible for category management, private brands, merchandising, supply chain, marketing, advertising and front-store strategy.

 It is a key role at Rexall Pharma Plus, and one Kelly finds especially interesting as the company reinvents its brand with a key focus on health, wellness and beauty, and  bringing the brand to life for shoppers with newly redesigned stores; fresh, new private brands; marketing; and in-store experiences.

With its reinvention of the brand, having successful supplier partnerships is especially critical, but it’s a challenge that Kelly believes can be the most rewarding.

“First, realize that we have the same objective: Winning our customers’ loyalty and purchase decision. Actually, nothing really stands in the way if you build transparent relationships, agree upon financial objectives and adjust when necessary. This is one of the most rewarding and fun parts of our jobs,” Kelly said. 

Kelly got her start in pharmaceutical sales at Eli Lilly before moving to retail. Prior to joining Rexall Pharma Plus, Kelly held leadership positions at Shopper Drug Mart, Target and Revco Drug Stores. 

To view the full DSN Women Leaders 2014 report, click here.

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DSN Women Leaders 2014: Eileen Howard Boone, CVS Health

BY Antoinette Alexander

CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo once told Eileen Howard Boone: “Never give up on success. Stay committed to winning, and don’t be deterred by obstacles. They make you stronger and more creative. Be persistent and do what it takes to win — the right way.” 

These words have proven invaluable in her professional development, Howard Boone told DSN.

While she has been in the consumer sector for her entire career, Howard Boone started in retail pharmacy in 2004 when she joined CVS/pharmacy as VP of corporate communications and community relations. Today as SVP, corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health, and as president of the CVS Health Foundation, she oversees the foundation’s charitable giving and strategic nonprofit partnerships.

What keeps her excited about the business? “Helping people on their path to better health is the foundation of our corporate social responsibility platform and serves as a guidepost for all of our programs, partnerships and the work we are doing to build healthier communities across the country,” Howard Boone said. “It is also wonderful to see the dedication of our CVS Health colleagues who are actively involved in their own communities through volunteerism and the commitment of our nonprofit partners who share in our mission to build healthier communities nationwide.”

Today, one of Howard Boone’s biggest areas of focus is the company’s “CVS Quits” initiative. The retailer, which pulled tobacco from its store shelves in September, is working with a number of tobacco control organizations and those providing cessation and prevention services. The initiative aims to reach not only those who smoke but also those who don’t smoke to help ensure they don’t start. 

There’s no denying that Howard Boone’s schedule can get a bit hectic, to say the least, and finding the right work-life balance is essential, but she points to a quote by Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, that she says struck her as a fundamental truth for leaders on balance, in general: “Balance becomes easy when you are passionate about something. Nothing feels like work.” 

To view the full DSN Women Leaders 2014 report, click here.

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