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Diversity leaders honored at NEW gala

Former Walmart chief information officer and current HP executive Linda Dillman was among a group of 10 executives honored earlier this week as the inaugural class diversity difference-makers was inducted into the Network of Executive Women CPG Retail Diversity Hall of Fame. The inductees received the William J. Grize Award named after the late president and CEO of Ahold USA whose early support of NEW is credited with jumpstarting the organization, which now includes nearly 5,000 members and 400 companies. Grize died in January 2010 at the age of 63 after a short illness.

“Bill Grize was the first major retail CEO to support the Network,” said NEW president and CEO Joan Toth. “His heartfelt passion for people and talent development led to his constant drive to champion diversity both in his organization and throughout the CPG and retail industry. He was a vocal supporter of NEW and thanks to him, the Network was exposed to c-suite leaders who immediately modeled Bill’s activism. He was a personal mentor to many of us and is sorely missed by the industry and the Network.”

The Hall of Fame ceremony was held the evening prior to NEW annual leadership summit, which attracted more than 700 attendees. In addition to Dillman, others receiving the William J. Grize award included Jeri Dunn, the recently retired global CIO for her work at Tyson Foods; Tom Greco of PepsiCo; Don Knauss CEO of The Clorox Company, also recognized for his work at Coca-Cola; Jeff Noddle, retired CEO of Supervalu; Kay Palmer of J.B. Hunt; Judy Spires with Kings Super Markets, formerly with Acme Markets; and James Whites of Jamba Inc., honored for his work at Safeway, Delhaize America and Procter & Gamble.

After all of the inductees had been introduced and a brief video of their accomplishments was shown, a toast was offered by Michele Gloeckler, NEW board chair and SVP home at Walmart who served as emcee for the evening.

“A toast to those who got us here and to those who will take us where we want to go,” Gloecker said as she pointed to the audience with a sweeping gesture.

Her toast tied in with the overall theme of the summit: “The next 10 years.”

“We need to prepare for the next decade because it will be full of challenges and opportunities as well,” Gloeckler said.