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Progressive Grocer includes eight Publix associates in 2021 list of honorees

LAKELAND, Fla., June 15, 2021 — Progressive Grocer today named eight Publix associates to its annual Top Women in Grocery list. The honorees span three categories: Senior-Level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers.

“We are honored to see our leaders recognized for their dedication and achievements,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “They’ve each played a critical role within the company and helped develop their teams. We’re proud of their accomplishments, especially during the pandemic, and know they will continue to lead our company to further growth and success.”

Senior-Level Executives honoree
Marcy Benton, Vice President of Human Resources
Benton provides strategic leadership and oversight over all human resources operations, impacting more than 225,000 Publix associates. Her leadership was instrumental in responding to the pandemic and expediting the hiring and onboarding of tens of thousands of new associates. Benton also oversaw a recognition program that awarded associates for their hard work with Publix gift cards and accelerated pay increases.

Rising Stars honorees
Maria Brous, Director of Communications
Brous is responsible for the company’s media and internal communications strategy and serves as the corporate spokesperson. Throughout the pandemic, she worked closely with leadership to quickly develop and coordinate communications to respond to current events effectively and efficiently. Under her leadership, Publix successfully shared critical information in a constantly changing climate with associates, customers, community partners and media.

Lillian Cook, District Manager
Due to the pandemic, many of the organizations Publix supports could not hold their regularly scheduled fundraising events in 2020. To support the Special Olympics, Cook inspired associates to participate in a virtual event where they set a fundraising record of more than $40,000.

Cindy Roberts, Business Development Director of General Merchandise and Health and Beauty Care
Over the past year, Roberts worked creatively with suppliers and quickly onboarded new suppliers in order to provide customers the health and wellness products they needed. She also led the effort to add digital coupons to an electronic ad, helping customers go paperless during the pandemic.

Marsha Singh, Regional Director
Singh is responsible for the southwest region of the Lakeland, Florida, division, which comprises more than 10,000 associates who support 89 stores across five counties. During the pandemic, she delivered a virtual three-part leadership series to equip her managers with the skills and confidence needed to keep business running efficiently.

Store Managers honorees
Tiena Davis, Store Manager, #561, Marietta, Georgia
Amid the pandemic, Davis led her team to work more collaboratively, resulting in increased employee satisfaction and a 50% reduction in her store’s turnover rate. Her store is also consistently recognized for going above and beyond to provide premier service to Publix customers.

Elesha Prince, Store Manager, #723, Decatur, Georgia
In 2020, Prince met with each associate at her new store individually to learn about their career goals. Over the course of her career, she’s seen 15 of her associates promoted to management roles. In addition, she leads a mentorship program for newly promoted managers in her district and can always be counted on to participate in projects that support her community.

Abbie Van Wagner, Assistant Store Manager, #1111, Gainesville, Florida
Last year, Van Wagner implemented an informal mentorship program, perpetuating the Publix culture. She’s also developed skills in understanding and communicating with diverse populations and spends her personal time tutoring children from all over the world in the English language.

Progressive Grocer celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of thousands of women at all levels in the North American retail food industry through the Top Women in Grocery awards. The 2021 awards recognize women for their overall excellence and continued achievements, such as leading innovative corporate initiatives, executing strategic objectives, achieving exceptional performance benchmarks and showcasing insightful problem-solving between April 2020 and February 2021.

This year’s Top Women in Grocery award recipients are featured in the June 2021 issue of Progressive Grocer magazine and will be honored at a special celebration in November. The complete list of recipients can be found at