Simpactful Senior Partner, industry board director, and Kroger veteran Jill Valiton McIntosh has learned to embrace unexpected career opportunities, values the opportunity to build diversity in the next generation of leaders, and sees some clear trends ahead for 2024 as brands and retailers prepare for FMI and other upcoming shows.
What is the Value of Embracing Career Twists and Turns? Jill began her career as a corporate attorney before joining Kroger as in-house counsel. After five years within the Kroger Legal Department, she was tapped to take on broader responsibilities. Over the course of the next 11 years, she served in senior roles across Finance, HR, and, eventually, Merchandising. She is best known for her role as the Vice President of Natural Foods Merchandising where she accelerated Kroger’s quest to eventually become the top seller of natural and organic products in the US. Jill is extremely connected within the Food & Beverage space. Her broad leadership experience has made her a natural fit for non-executive director appointments on numerous boards. She marvels at how her career paths have crossed and re-crossed over the years. “If you allow yourself to explore new opportunities, put yourself out there, and be vulnerable, you never know where life can take you. I was on national television with the Dr. Oz Show when he did a segment on organic food, where I met Regina, a farmer from Organic Valley. Years later, I became a board advisor for the Coop and reconnected with Regina! I continually remind my mentees if you have an open mind, unexpected events in life can be opportunities to accomplish your goals in a different way.”
How is Jill Helping to Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders? As a mother to 3 strong young women, Jill has tirelessly worked to champion diversity, especially gender diversity. She led the Network of Executive Women Cincinnati (now known as NextUp) chapter for over eight years with a Procter & Gamble co-chair to help make it one of the most celebrated chapters in the country. For this work, she received the Bobbie O’Hare Impact Award, which is given to one out of 12,000 members for having the most impact on the mission of advancing women in business. Through her work with NEW/NextUp Jill has had the opportunity to interview leaders like Indra Nooyi, Daymond John, John Foraker, and Jennifer Garner in front of live large audiences of almost 1,000 attendees. The accolades aside, it’s Jill’s 1:1 mentoring work that Jill finds to be the most fulfilling.
How Has Family Kept Jill Grounded? Jill has been married to her husband, Scott, for 26 years. They have raised their daughters Kate, Jane, and Mary in the quaint Village of Mariemont within the City of Cincinnati. With three athletic children, Jill and Scott have enjoyed giving back with active coaching roles in the local lacrosse and tennis programs and have served in leadership with the local school Athletic Boosters Board. “No matter what work I have on my plate, Scott and I prioritize family vacations. This is more critical than ever as the girls are headed off to school and starting their professional careers. Our family is really close, and we love spending time together. Our dog, Oscar, is never far away.”
Why Simpactful? Joining Simpactful made intuitive sense for Jill. “I was first attracted to the people – they are so fun and fun to work with. Plus, the business model was so unique. After spending my career at a retailer and then serving on boards, I appreciated the practical perspective that comes from practitioners – people who have done the job, and I felt I could add value because the firm seeks talent from both sides of the desk, CPG and retail.” She enjoys the diversity of client work – from large CPG clients to small emerging brands and everything in between. This enables her to remain on the cutting edge of what is happening in the industry, whether product innovation or best business practices. Jill is able to apply both her Kroger and Board experience while chairing our Governance Committee, where she helps to set policy and recruit new talent to the Simpactful Team.
What are Jill’s Industry Predictions for 2024? Clients and retailers are focused on both navigating the sustained impact of inflationary pressure. Both must deliver real volume and unit growth – and not just growth from pricing activity. Supply Chain disruptions are less talked about post-pandemic. However, there will always be challenges with supply and getting our demand forecasting and inventory levels in check is critical in the world of omni-commerce as retailers look for ways to free up cash. Lastly, labor continues to be a challenge. Retailers are struggling with shortages and increasing wages, making it more critical than ever for brands to partner with buyers and factor store operation requirements into plans.
How will These Trends Impact Discussions at FMI? “I will be at FMI and suspect conversations around the above topics, plus how to optimize Gross-to-Net or Revenue Growth Management, build effective price brackets, and address fines and fees. Unfortunately, charge-backs aren’t going away, but Simpactful’s experts have proven time and time again that there are best practices for brands to minimize systemic inefficiencies that can quickly add up.”
Simpactful can help! If you are interested in working with Jill, our broader team of Retail and Food and Beverage Experts, or meeting with her at FMI, contact our team today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-234-6384.