Women of Excellence, Community Impact Winners

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2021 Women of Excellence, Community Impact:

Deanna BehrensSenior Manager, Client Leadership, Customer Development, The Mars Agency

Deanna Behrens has a passion for service, and she didn’t waste any time making an impact in her current post at The Mars Agency. The company’s mission is to make a positive impact across what it calls the “Triple Bottom Line,” consisting of its clients, the agency and its communities.

Behrens, who holds a degree in communications from Miami University and an MBA in marketing and international business from Xavier University, began her career in human resources but quickly realized that the marketing world was where she wanted to be. After stints at a local marketing arm of Grey Global Group and Empower MediaMarketing, she moved to Chiquita Brands and then Perfetti van Melle, where she was first introduced to shopper marketing. She also spent three years at medical device company AtriCure before joining The Mars Agency in April 2019.

Once there, Behrens took on leadership of its Start Small committee, first in its Cincinnati office with monthly give-back opportunities and then at the corporate level. The agency’s community volunteer initiative, Start Small, focuses on giving back to local communities through small acts of kindness. Behrens has organized and led volunteer efforts across offices more recently. In her new role on the Start Small Executive Committee, Behrens helps coordinate and plan initiatives across the entire company (15 offices and 600 people), ensuring that all office-level leads are equipped to be successful.

In addition to her service work at the agency, she is an active volunteer at the Cincinnati Zoo and Ohio Alleycat Resources Clinic, has volunteered at Big Brothers & Big Sisters and the St. Rita School for the Deaf, and serves as a mentor at Xavier University.

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Derisa BetheaManager, Marketing Planning & Strategy, Family Dollar

Derisa Bethea was the driving force for the first-ever Black History Month shopper program at Family Dollar in 2021. Propelled by a large donation that she negotiated from a key vendor partner for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the program drove awareness of influential black leaders in communities around the country using Family Dollar’s partnership with the BGCA. It also created incremental sales with a positive return on investment and return on ad spend during the month of February.

Bethea attended Longwood University for three years and then graduated from The Art Institute in Tampa, Florida, with a degree in merchandising. She started her career at Belk in 2012 on the e-commerce team. From there she moved into merchandising and marketing/advertising roles, spending five years with the company. In 2017, she joined Lowe’s on its digital team and, in 2018, moved over to Family Dollar as a marketing specialist and a marketing planner before being promoted to a marketing planning and strategy manager, her current post, that same year.

Her colleagues say she is always pushing to integrate more diversity into each of Family Dollar’s shopper programs, using visual representation and activations that speak to the diversity of their shoppers and team members. Internally, she is a liaison between marketing and the diversity, equity and inclusion team, making sure that what is being planned at a marketing level has synergies with what the company is trying to achieve.

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Tekisha BooneShopper Marketing Senior Manager, GE Appliances

As the shopper marketing senior manager for GE Appliances, Tekisha Boone is tasked with creating digital marketing campaigns that drive shoppers to GE’s dealer stores and websites. Especially during the pandemic, Boone’s leadership played a crucial role in the success of its dealer partners, using disruptive GE creative assets to drive shoppers to independent dealers online versus national retailers. She was also instrumental in increasing co-op reimbursement to GE’s dealers for digital advertising, providing 100% reimbursement to support dealers’ efforts moving toward digital.

It became imperative for dealers to offer selling sites and be more digitally savvy. While offering digital support for dealers when they were forced to stay home and operate via mobile and websites, Boone found ways to also support community outreach programs. She was also active in the company’s partnership and investment in “Together We Rise” — an initiative to support children in foster care.

Boone graduated from Bellarmine University with a degree in communications and English. She started her career at Nestle as a sales representative before moving into category roles. She then held roles at PepsiCo as a SuperValu account executive, Alberto Culver, General Mills, SC Johnson and Abbott before joining GE Appliances in April 2018.

Outside of work, Boone is an avid volunteer. She and her family sewed more than 200 masks for essential workers and the homeless while also raising money to provide N95 masks with nonprofit Sew Masks for Columbus at the start of the pandemic. She also spends more than 700 hours each year mentoring and inspiring students to believe in themselves and love their differences as the co-founder of ACT Against Bullies, a community service group for students.

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Kate ClarkeE-Commerce Merchandising Manager — Non-Perishable, Giant Food

Kate Clarke knows how to be successful inside the workplace as well as in cooperation with those in the community around her. She led a ground-breaking partnership between Giant Food and Union Kitchen, a local food and beverage incubator based in Washington, D.C. Through this program over the past year, more than a dozen small business entrepreneurs have been able to sell their products via Giant’s e-commerce channel.

Clarke’s leadership in developing and expanding the relationship helped these startups succeed in the community and provided Giant shoppers with more locally sourced options. Across the country, customers’ desire to shop small and shop local was elevated since the start of the pandemic, making Clarke’s efforts and this partnership even more successful in their ability to create jobs, build community and celebrate diversity.

Top-performing products from Union Kitchen are now starting to expand beyond e-commerce into Giant’s retail stores, and Clarke’s support is turning the business into a powerful pipeline of innovation.

Clarke graduated from James Madison University with a degree in communication and media studies. She began her career at Custom Ink as a sales and service manager before moving into merchandising for the custom apparel company. After 14 years, she joined The Home Depot as manager of online category experience, flooring and paint, a position she held for nearly two years. In February 2020, she moved to Giant Food and assumed the position she holds today.

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Diana SternVice President, Marketing, National Retail Solutions

National Retail Solutions (NRS) was founded with a mission to help small, underprivileged and underbanked independent retailers survive and thrive. Diana Stern has helped it grow since she joined in 2017, contributing toward the development of new products and services consistent with its commitment of helping the underserved retail community.

Recently promoted to vice president of marketing, Stern has worked to expand the company’s offerings far beyond its primary baseline POS product, with the addition of multiple premium features to help retailers be more efficient and generate revenue. She has provided the leadership to build and market, from the ground up, new products and services — all aligned with the NRS mission of helping mom-and-pop stores compete with large-chain operations.

The NRS point-of-sale ad network is in more than 15,000 retail locations across the U.S., directly impacting and influencing consumers’ paths to purchase. As of October 2021, the company now offers point of sale-eWIC integration, which helps its merchants incorporate the government assistance program for low-income households. This is “a game changer,” Stern says, because NRS offers eWIC at the most affordable pricing in the industry. “We’re helping our retailer customers better service their communities and bring in more foot traffic, while keeping our program extremely affordable.”

Stern’s training and background was primarily in marketing-focused graphic and web design, with a bit of sales mixed in. She started her career at The Voice & Opinion newspaper, managing advertiser relationships, as well as covering events and contributing as a journalist with the New Jersey Press Association.

She then led the creative team at Gold Mark International, coordinating marketing initiatives for political campaigns and organizations and, in 2012, co-founded 3Media Marketing, leading marketing and creative ventures on behalf of an assortment of clients, including venture capitalists, nonprofits, political sectors, businesses, organizations, schools and more.

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Jennifer TinkerVice President, Client Leadership, TwinOaks Integrated Marketing

In less than two years at TwinOaks, Jennifer Tinkerhas defined excellence in client leadership with her strategic and growth-focused mindset, while imprinting on the agency’s culture, setting the standard for humility and servant leadership.

Still new to the agency when she took the reins of one of its largest and newest clients, Bimbo Bakeries, she helped grow the business 30% in the first year.

A graduate of Colgate University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and interdisciplinary writing, Tinker has worked in the agency space for more than 10 years supporting clients such as Bimbo Bakeries, PepsiCo, P&G and Walmart.

In 2017, she took a multi-year hiatus from shopper marketing and teamed up with clinical psychologist, Dr. HaeSung Han, to co-found POETIC, an intensive aftercare program to break the cycle of victimization for girls who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and
sex trafficking.

Her experience in business management, client services, partnership-building and storytelling, and her award-winning skills as a grant writer have been instrumental to POETIC’s success in gaining the community support it needed to grow. She led a luncheon event in Dallas that raised a record-breaking $1 million-plus in net proceeds for the organization.

In 2019, POETIC was named Social Innovator of the Year by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Nonprofit Team of the Year by D CEO magazine. Later that year, Tinker transitioned into her current role as chair of POETIC’s board of directors and returned to her career in shopper marketing.

Tinker was also appointed to the Mayor’s Star Council, a volunteer organization made up of civically minded young professionals who work in tandem with city government to educate emerging leaders about the challenges facing Dallas and enlist their aid in finding solutions.