FISMC Honored Two Latinas at California Dreaming Event

The Food Industries Sales Managers’ Club (FISMC) honored Sally Hernandez and Bertha Luna at the California Dreaming 2024 Women In The Food Industry event.

On its 90th anniversary, the FISMC recognized Sally Hernandez, Vice President of Grocery for Superior Grocers’ supermarket chain, and Bertha Luna, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Stater Bros. Markets.

The event happened in Anaheim, California, on June 18, as FISMC is primarily in Southern California.

Kent McClain, back in 1993, was the FISMC president who had the idea to honor those women in the workforce who are making a difference.

“I think the ladies here not only broke the glass ceiling by being women but also by being Hispanic,” said Monica Abarca, actual FISMC President and Director at The Performance Group, to Abasto Media.

More than 330 attendees celebrated Sally Hernandez and Bertha Luna.

For women who are starting in the food industry, Abarca advised them to ”get involved in your industry network, be willing to give them the role and give back, get a mentor, and always give back to those who pull people forward.”

Sally Hernandez, VP of Grocery at Superior Grocers

Sally Hernandez started as a cashier at Amar Ranch Market and is now the Vice President of Grocery for Superior Grocers’ supermarket chain.

She has worked in the retail industry for 40 years.

Related Article: Challenges Set the Path to Success for Sally Hernandez, VP of Grocery at Superior Grocers

“I’m very honored. I’m so happy. I think it’s wonderful that they’re recognizing two Latina women today. That’s rare in our industry”, said Sally Hernandez, Vice President of Grocery for Superior Grocers’ supermarket chain, to Abasto Media.

When Hernandez started her career, there weren’t many females or Latinas.

“I think women need to continue to push. I think we’re finding more and more female leaders in our industry,” she said.

Richard Wardwell, president of Superior Grocers, emphasized Hernandez’s career in the food and beverage industry.

“In 2020, she came on board and immediately grew sales by 40%,” said Wardwell.

During the event, Stephany de Jesus, Hernandez’s daughter, emphasized her mother’s perseverance, selflessness, hard work, sacrifices, strong ambition, and leadership.

Hernandez advised other women in the food industry, “We all need to find good mentors. The next generation needs to see that there are women leaders and that they can.”

Bertha Luna, SVP Retail Operations at Stater Bros. Markets.

Bertha Luna started as a Courtesy Clerk at Lucky Stores and now is a Senior Vice President Retail Operations at Stater Bros. Markets.

She has 36 years of retail grocery experience.

Related Article: Stater Bros. Markets Promotes Bertha Luna to Senior Vice President of Retail Operations

“What it means for me to be honored today is the ability to have a platform to be able to tell my story, to be able to encourage others that maybe may be facing challenges professionally and personally and balancing their roles. And to be honest, to be able to educate decision makers in this room to be better support for those individuals that may have had different obstacles and may have had a different journey,” said Luna to Abasto Media.

Her biggest goal was to allow her sons to go to college to pursue their careers, things that she didn’t have options for.

She started her professional path after realizing that attending college was not an option, even though UCLA had accepted her when she finished high school.

Greg McNiff, President at Stater Bros. Markets, recognized Luna’s professional achievements.

“She leads our store supervision teams, and that’s really the biggest audience that we have in Stater Brothers.”

McNiff also highlighted her integrity, work ethic, hard work, compassion and perseverance.

During the event, her sons Jared and Jacob shared heartwarming stories about their mom, both as a professional leader and mother of two kids 20 months apart.

For women starting in the food industry, Luna said “I would encourage them to make sure that they lean inshe’sbe seen and their voice is heard. I think that they bring a very differethey’repective that is needed and the industry forward, so I would definitely say have perseverance because there are challenges and understand that that’s great to get back up.”