PHARMACY

DSN Women Leaders 2014: Jody Pinson, Walmart U.S.

BY Antoinette Alexander

Jody Pinson started her career with Walmart 24 years ago. Her father was in the retail industry as well. So, you could say it’s in her blood.

Pinson’s journey began as a cashier at Sam’s Club while she was in college, and today she serves as VP of beauty for Walmart U.S., with responsibilities that include developing merchandising strategies, managing supplier relationships and maintaining operational alignment for more than 4,000 stores, and managing a team of six buyers. 

The beauty universe and retail landscape are constantly evolving, but one of the biggest and newest projects to hit Pinson’s desk is the recent launch of the Walmart Beauty Box, a seasonal collection of sample-sized products that customers can receive by paying only the $5 shipping fee.

Clearly, Pinson plays a vital role within Walmart’s beauty business, but with strong values and the right work-life balance, Pinson has shown that one can, as they say, have it all. 

“In my opinion, the key to finding the right balance is understanding what works for me and my family, which will be different for everyone,” Pinson told DSN. “I love to wake up my kids in the morning and get their day started with a hug and kiss. I’m also lucky to have a true partner in my husband, Greg. He’s supportive of my career and understanding when I have to travel or work later than planned. One of the greatest compliments he’s given me is for being present in the moment when I’m at home.”

 What’s the secret to her success? Pinson admits that she has a curious spirit and a fierce competitive streak — she loves to win — but she’s quick to give credit to the many mentors she’s encountered throughout her career.

“Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work with a great store operator, Gary Rains, [who] taught me how to be an operator. He also taught me how to challenge people to reach their full potential [and to] believe in others. I still try to walk the stores with him once a year, and I’m still learning from him. In merchandising, I worked for Theresa Barrera-Shaw. The most important lesson she’s taught me is that perceptions are people’s reality. If it’s not the perception I wanted, work to change it! Don’t complain, and be a problem solver. It’s in your control,” Pinson said.

“[And] John Westling Sr. was very instrumental in my career development. He was a great teacher about the Walmart culture, the everyday low price strategy and P&L management.” 

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

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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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