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Grocery Veteran, DE&I Trailblazer Wins NGA Foundation’s Diversity in Leadership Scholarship

Grocery Veteran, &I Trailblazer Wins NGA Foundation’s Diversity in Leadership Scholarship

A 29-year employee and role model for diversity at Brookshire Grocery Co. has been selected to receive this year’s PepsiCo Diversity in Leadership Endowment scholarship from the National Grocers Association Foundation (NGAF).

Latasha Woodard, a vice president and district manager at the Texas-based supermarket chain, was selected to attend the foundation’s annual Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) at Cornell University, scheduled for June 5-9. The $5,000 scholarship will cover the cost of program registration ($2,850), with the remaining funds available as a travel stipend.

Woodard is one of Brookshire’s first women to become a store director and went on to become the retailer’s first diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) specialist, a role in which she furthered the company’s efforts to promote diversity, said Rosemary Jones, Brookshire’s executive vice president and chief people officer/legal, who nominated Woodard for the scholarship.

“She was recently selected as the second woman in our company to serve as a district manager, leading 13 retail stores in the Louisiana market,” Jones noted. “Latasha serves as a role model for our female and diverse employees. Her leadership reaches thousands of employees and people within the communities she serves. Continued development of her leadership skills will only further Latasha’s positive influence, impact and reach.”

In addition to her leadership within the company, Woodard is engaged in civic leadership through participation in local organizations including chambers of commerce.

“Latasha’s success and nontraditional career path demonstrates to others that setting goals and working hard to achieve them can lead to great leadership opportunities,” said Chelsea Matzen, NGAF director. “We are honored that this scholarship will help her advance her professional development efforts.”

NGAF partnered with PepsiCo to create the Leadership Endowment following the completion of the 2020 ELDP program. This endowment will award one scholarship each year to a deserving woman or minority ELDP candidate that covers the cost of attending the program. The first scholarship was awarded in May 2021 to Charles Choi, managing director of Long Island, N.Y.-based Fruit Tree Farm, affiliated with the Associated Supermarket Group (ASG).

The partnership with NGAF is another step in PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey, which in 2020 saw the company announce commitments of more than $570 million over the next five years dedicated to Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S. These commitments comprise a holistic effort for PepsiCo to help address the need for systemic change with speed and purpose.

“Diversity and inclusion is one of our top priorities at PepsiCo, which is why we’re so honored to support this award in partnership with NGAF,” said Kent Montgomery, head of Industry Relations for PepsiCo North America. “Latasha embodies everything this program stands for, and her passion and commitment to the industry is clearly unparalleled with 29 years of service. PepsiCo congratulates Latasha on this award and her future success.”

Scholarship recipients are selected by a diverse committee made up of members of the NGAF Board of Regents, the Women Grocers of America, a representative from Cornell University’s Executive Education program, and PepsiCo leadership.

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