OPI's 50 most influential women
The 50 most influential and inspirational female leaders in the business and workplace supplies sector.
Sara Armbruster became President/CEO of Steelcase in October 2021, bringing with her more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy and business innovation. Since joining the company in 2007, she has held global executive leadership roles in multiple businesses, including Steelcase Education, Steelcase Health and PolyVision Corporation. Armbruster has a proven track record of delivering growth and innovation through strategic, results-oriented leadership. Her diverse responsibilities have included leading global design research, new business initiatives and the company’s COVID crisis response team. As CEO, she has continued Steelcase’s legacy of excellence in environmental, social and governance issues.
EVP/President North America, ACCO Brands
Roxanne Bernstein began her career as an officer in the US Army, rising to the level of Captain. She is currently EVP/President of ACCO Brands North America, the $1 billion geographical segment of this global vendor. In her role, she has responsibility for 2,000 employees in a broad range of functions, including global product innovation, manufacturing, sourcing and supply chain. Bernstein describes herself as an energetic leader, culture creator, commercial strategist and P&L owner. Before joining ACCO Brands in 2021, she was President of Crystal Farms Dairy Company, a subsidiary of Fortune 500 firm Post Holdings. Prior to this, she served as SVP/CMO at Post Consumer Brands where she grew market share for four consecutive years against deeply entrenched competitors.
CEO, ADVEO France
Anna Bordes is a newcomer to the business products industry, having spent much of her career in the retail sector. An ex-Amazonian (she was there for two years – 2017 to 2019 – as a Retail Senior Manager), Bordes joined ADVEO from leading French chain Optical Discount in July 2022. Following a transition period with Group CEO Dominique Bernard, Bordes is now implementing her own vision for ADVEO France, backed by a refreshed executive management team and continued investments from private equity owner Sandton Capital. A key focus is putting the needs of the wholesaler’s approximately 600 Calipage and Plein Ciel members first and leveraging their strong local presence.
Managing Director, Office Friendly
When Jeanette Bresitz joined UK dealer group Office Friendly in 2021, she already had 25 years of industry experience under her belt – in a variety of reseller and wholesaler environments that included first Viking and Office Depot and then Spicers and SPOT Group. Bresitz has long been a very active participant in our sector, supporting market insight as well as mentoring, coaching and people development in all its forms. She is a firm advocate of the can-do school of thought, of people recognising their talents and having a positive mindset of “Yes, I can do that”. At Office Friendly, Bresitz has been urging dealer members to throw off the shackles of a restricted core offering and diversify with a consultative approach.
President, Canadian Workplace Solutions
Changes are afoot in the Canadian business supplies industry and Angie Bukta is right at the centre of them. On 1 January 2023, she became President of newly formed buying group Canadian Workplace Solutions, following the coming together of Basics Office Products and CIS Office Plus. Canadian Workplace Solutions is a national organisation that represents 42 shareholders, one of these being Guild Stationers, a 58-member group that was affiliated with Basics. Previously with CIS, Bukta has been a fervent supporter of the independent dealer channel for over 25 years and will be focused on delivering long-lasting and profitable synergies for all stakeholders in the combined group.
Managing Director, EVO Group Ireland
Ashley Burke is what you may call an EVO expert, having spent all her professional life at the Irish component of the group, currently as Managing Director of EVO Group in Ireland. The past few years – think COVID-19 and Brexit – have certainly been tough for Burke and the team she is intensely proud of. During the pandemic, EVO needed to remain open for business while at the same time maintaining staff welfare. Burke focused on adapting to new consumer patterns, facilitating online transactions and deliveries to peoples’ homes. Brexit was a different challenge as the free flow of goods into Ireland was so impacted. Burke dealt with it through the launch of a new 3PL solution, a strategy which has since delivered considerable growth for wholesale component VOW.
General Manager & Managing Director, Avery Australia/NZ
Anne Cashman knows all about office products. She first joined Avery in the mid-1990s, a time of huge change in the Australian market. After stints of running Viking in Australia and the US, and a relocation to the US East Coast with Office Depot, Cashman returned to Australia and worked for Lyreco for a number of years. She has been in her current role of General Manager and Managing Director of Avery Australia and New Zealand since 2018. Cashman is excited about what the future will bring for the company and digitisation is definitely a big part of the journey. The 2019 acquisition of kids label business Stuck on You certainly fast-tracked the vendor into new customers and markets and exposed it to become a more digital organisation.
Margaret De Francesco
General Manager, Dynamic Supplies
Another candidate from down under is Margaret De Francesco. With a career in the industry spanning 31 years, she has worked for many organisations across the IT distribution, wholesale, manufacturer, retail and buying group sectors. De Francesco currently serves as General Manager of Australian print supplies, technology and OP distribution company, Dynamic Supplies. Appointed to the role in November 2019, she leads the sales, marketing and operations functions for the business. She was responsible for the recent diversification of this 28-year-old organisation into new categories and channels while maintaining the customer-centric foundations and supply chain excellence that makes Dynamic Supplies a valued distribution partner for independent resellers in Australia.
Kelly de Silva
Group Marketing Director, OT Group
Kelly de Silva was appointed Group Marketing Director of OT Group in 2019. She joined the new entity from SPOT Group following the acquisition of several of its components by Paragon. She has since led the successful rebranding of nine separate companies into the single OfficeTeam identity. In July 2022, she led the re-launch of the Spicers brand back into the wholesale channel. De Silva is responsible for all communications for both end-user and wholesale channels, advancing innovative propositions through to commercial success. She’s passionate about transforming OT Group’s marketing strategy from a traditional model to a data-driven, technology-led programme and developing her teams to become revenue drivers rather than just support functions for sales.
SVP & Managing Director North America, HP Inc
A 23-year HP veteran, Stephanie Dismore is SVP and Managing Director of HP Inc in North America, directing market strategy and managing the multibillion dollar P&L for the company’s largest geographic region. She also oversees direct and indirect sales engagements across HP’s portfolio of products and services for commercial, consumer and public sector customer segments for the region. Committed to advancing women and supporting broad diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace, Dismore believes that encouraging people to operate within their strengths will allow them to shine. She helped found HP’s Global Diversity Advisory Board and serves as an Executive Sponsor for the company’s Racial Equality and Social Justice Task Force.
Chief Customer Officer, Lyreco
As Chief Customer Officer of Lyreco, Isabel Ehringer is on a mission. She is laser-focused on shaping every part of the customer’s journey to provide an experience with true value at each and every contact. Ehringer has several areas of responsibility. She drives the communications, marketing, compliance, supply chain, customer experience, sales operations and digital commerce functions – all facets that directly engage with the customer. Prior to joining Lyreco, Ehringer was part of the executive leadership team at Staples Solutions, serving as CIO and Head of Customer & Sales Enablement. In her last position as COO, she was instrumental in the acquisition of Staples Solutions by the France-based reseller in 2021.
VP of Marketing, Independent Suppliers Group
Janet Eshenour at Independent Suppliers Group (ISG) lives and breathes marketing and has done so for over 25 years. She’s also pretty passionate about business supplies, having been in the US dealer group space for the past 18 years. Most recently, she’s been working as VP of Marketing of ISG, having come from the Independent Stationers component of the historic group merger in 2019. Eshenour has been instrumental in the successful launch and the second instalment of Industry Week powered by ISG. This annual event as a concept had been bandied about for some time and now – with Eshenour’s expert direction and execution – brings together the various channels of the US business supplies space which serve the IDC.
SVP Sales, S.P. Richards
After a hiatus of five and a half years, Kimberly Fulford rejoined US wholesaler S.P. Richards (SPR) just over two years ago as VP Strategic Accounts. She was promoted to SVP Sales in February 2022. Fulford had previously spent nine years at SPR between 2006 and 2015 in a number of senior roles. During her time away, she had spells at Regency Franchise Group and promotional products organisations AIA and Proforma. A familiar face in the US business products space, Fulford describes herself as a lifelong learner who always seeks new opportunities to expand her knowledge and skill set. She’s won several awards for positive and effective leadership and is a fierce proponent of women’s advancement in our industry.
CEO, Viking Europe (RAJA Group)
When RAJA Group bought the European Viking business, Christa Furter was the candidate of choice to lead the reseller and “redefine the commercial organisation and processes necessary to the development and profitable growth of Viking”. With a strong background in both B2C and B2B, Furter is a complete all-rounder, with wide-ranging expertise in the areas of start-up management, new business development, M&A and restructuring. She initially cut her office supplies teeth at Swiss reseller iba, first in a marketing role and then, as of 2011, as CEO of the organisation. Her roles have broadened ever since and Furter is now a highly visible figure in the European business supplies space.
President, Kimberly-Clark Professional North America
Susan Gambardella joined Kimberly-Clark Professional as President North America in February 2020. In that role, she is responsible for spearheading a transformational growth strategy that accelerates the vendor’s financial, strategic and operational results. Gambardella is well versed in big business – and in being an icon of outstanding female leadership. Having started her career at Procter & Gamble, she worked for Coca-Cola for 27 years in a number of senior leadership positions. Last year, she was named one of ‘The Top 50 Women Leaders of Georgia’ for her significant achievements. She was also honoured at the Atlanta ‘Women of Influence’ awards for being a proven leader and business builder.
Managing Director, Mondoffice (RAJA Group)
When European reseller RAJA Group acquired Italy’s Mondoffice in 2019, Managing Director Irma Garbella had already been with the company for 25 years. During that time and in varying capacities, she had led the firm through many key organisational changes, all the while keeping a keen and focused eye on business development, market expansion and brand evolution. Mondoffice currently has 320 employees. Unusually, 67% of this total are females. Atypical as well, 50% of the middle management team comprises women. Garbella’s leadership style is participatory and consultative, with teamwork and people at its very core. It’s also adaptive and flexible, traits needed more than ever before.
Nathalie Gaspard, granddaughter of Lyreco founder Georges-Gaston Gaspard, has been a leading figure within the group for the past 20 years. She first joined the company back in 2003 as a sales representative, having attended the renowned ESCP Business School and then spending two years at Editions Atlas learning about marketing. She went on to work as a manager in Lyreco’s marketing and finance departments, before moving to the position of Group Communications Director in 2017. Gaspard has been serving as President of the board at Lyreco since 2020. She maintains a largely invisible role at the reseller, with the commonly acknowledged assumption that she will be her grandfather’s successor at some stage.
Managing Director, Beaverswood
Stephanie Gentle’s career began at Office Depot UK in what was, in the early 2000s, still very firmly the traditional OP space. After 12 years at the reseller in numerous sales and marketing roles, she joined Banner UK as Marketing Director before taking a short career break to, as she says, “just be mum” for a while. In 2016, Gentle set up her own company which provided marketing strategy services to SMBs across a plethora of industries in both the B2B and B2C sector. She refers to it as a hugely valuable learning curve that expanded her skill set way beyond marketing and into business strategy. It stood her in good stead when she became Managing Director of Beaverswood, part of IWS Group, which she had joined in 2019.
VP International, Printus
Vicky Gerardi-Schmid is one half of the power couple that runs Germany’s dominant online and mail order reseller Printus. To say that Gerardi-Schmid is the ‘international’ half who complements the operational excellence of her husband Hans Schmid would be no exaggeration. Printus does not have a global presence, but with 29 years of marketing experience, Gerardi-Schmid is acutely aware of the importance of keeping an ear to the ground. She is as familiar with the competitive landscape around the world as she is with new initiatives, evolving priorities and the broadening definition of workplace solutions. This knowledge feeds back into shaping an operator which, in 2022, smashed through the €1 billion ($1.07 billion) barrier for the first time.
Global VP Post-It and Scotch brands, 3M Consumer Group
Heather Green is currently 3M’s Global VP responsible for the business and portfolio development of the Post-it and Scotch brands which serve the stationery and office channels. She boasts over 25 years of sales and marketing experience of increasing responsibility, driving growth and expanding categories in several of the vendor’s strategic brands. Recent new product launches in the portfolios Green oversees include the award-winning Scotch Cushion Lock protective wrap and the Post-it app for Microsoft Teams. As regards leadership style, Green believes clear strategy sets the stage for strong execution, but she maintains that culture still trumps strategy.
Simone Hindmarch attributes her blend of steely determination and creativity as the key aspects which have taken her from being a teenage Commonwealth Games swimming champion to today’s international business stage. As Co-founder and Managing Director of UK-based reseller Commercial, Hindmarch has forged an innovation path which is always closely aligned with social and environmental responsibility. Her passion for and commitment towards sustainability has delivered wide-ranging impacts that extend to Commercial’s customers, supply chain partners and all the communities the organisation serves. Hindmarch’s leadership style expertly unites her extraordinary teams, enabling Commercial to be a challenger and disruptor across the business supplies sector.
Managing Director, Officeworks
Sarah Hunter was appointed Managing Director of Officeworks in January 2019. Prior to this, she had worked across many areas of the Coles Group in positions including Financial Controller, General Manager Workplace Strategy and most recently Demerger Program Director, overseeing the group’s implementation of the demerger from Wesfarmers and the listing of Coles Group. Since joining Officeworks, Hunter has expertly led the growth – and transformation – of the business. She has championed data and digital to improve the customer experience, supported the launch of new team values and a brand refresh, and steered the modernisation of the organisation’s systems, processes and supply chain to deliver improved efficiency and increased capacity.
CEO, BOSS Federation
Industry associations sometimes need a breath of fresh air and a metaphorical facelift to catapult them into renewed relevance. Amy Hutchinson offered exactly that when she was promoted to CEO of UK trade association BOSS in 2019. She was no stranger to the association when she joined, having been Marketing Director at the British Printing Industries Federation beforehand, which has close ties with BOSS. There’s been no shortage of challenges during her tenure. First it was Brexit and COVID-19, now an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis that’s putting businesses – BOSS members – at risk. ‘Better together’ is Hutchinson’s mantra as she continues to engage, educate, support and bring together the UK business supplies sector.
Pooja Jain Gupta
Managing Director, Luxor Group
Pooja Jain Gupta worked in the family business – India’s Luxor Group – from a very young age, first after school and then during college. She immersed herself in every single department of the company, learning from the ground up. That comprehensive knowledge, her strategic vision, determination and passion for the business stood her in good stead when, in 2014, Luxor founder and her father DK Jain, suddenly passed away. Jain Gupta, VP at the time, became Managing Director of the writing and stationery segment of the by now hugely diversified Luxor Group. After further strengthening the foothold of Luxor Writing Instruments in India with over 15% market share, she expanded internationally to more than 90 countries.
President/CEO, GOJO Industries
Carey Jaros brings real passion to GOJO’s mission of ‘Saving Lives and Making Life Better Through Well-Being Solutions’. Her focus at all times is on continuously extending GOJO’s position as a market-leading, growth-oriented company that cares about the health and well-being of people. Jaros joined the vendor in 2014 as a board member, then held executive roles as Chief Strategy Officer and COO before becoming President/CEO in 2020. She has been involved with 50 organisations as an operator, investor, board member or volunteer (or combination thereof), giving her a very broad outlook on business. Prior to GOJO, Jaros was President of Walnut Ridge Strategic Management Company and VP at Dealer Tire.
CEO, RAJA Group
Danièle Kapel-Marcovici needs little introduction to readers of OPI. Her company RAJA Group, which she has led since 1982, has taken the European business products market by storm in the past few years. It first acquired Bernard, JPG, Kalamazoo and Mondoffice from Staples Solutions and then, in 2021, snapped up Viking from Office Depot Europe. In addition to her expansive business interests, Kapel-Marcovici has been a longtime activist for gender equality and, in 2006, established the RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation. Since then, over €13 million ($15 million) in funding has been provided for some 600 projects in almost 60 countries – benefitting more than 110,000 women and girls.
Senior Director Core Categories, Viking (RAJA Group)
As mentioned above, previously Office Depot Europe-owned Viking was bought by RAJA Group in 2021, making Andrea Kenna the fourth female senior executive in this list under the broad RAJA umbrella. In an industry not known for boasting about its exciting products, it’s refreshing to encounter an executive who is wholeheartedly enthusiastic about them. Now Senior Director Core Categories at Viking, Kenna looks back on 21 years at Depot/Viking in UK, Irish and pan-European roles. All of her positions have revolved around merchandising and procurement in increasingly senior capacities. Products aside, Kenna has always been passionate about people’s professional development and has mentored and assisted many individuals over the years.
Kim Leazer is CEO of FSIoffice, one of the largest independent office supplies dealers in the US. Like so many children growing up in a family business, she was immersed in all things OP from an early age, learning from her father, company founder Jimmy Godwin. Playful childhood interest grew into a passion and a natural ability for sales, a skill perfected over the next 40 years. Leazer leads FSIoffice by ensuring the dealership always stays focused on its motto: ‘You will appreciate our service’. Responsible for overseeing the long-term direction of the organisation, she drives this mission of dedicated customer engagement alongside several other family members – her sister, brother and daughter – who are involved in its management.
Amie Lyone is one half of the leadership duo at Australia’s COS, having taken over from her father – company founder Dominique Lyone, now Chairman – with her sister Belinda (see right) in 2021. Having started her career in professional services, Lyone has been working in the family business for the past 20 years. Her interest in people, diversity and philanthropy has fundamentally shaped COS’ culture which, in turn, has been instrumental in the success of the company. Lyone’s biggest personal passion is sustainability, something she’s increasingly incorporating at COS. She has spearheaded its solar farm programme, an electric vehicle trial and is working to phase out single-use plastic across the reseller.
Joining the family dealership in 2006 after spending five years as a Brand Manager at Suntory, Belinda Lyone comes with an enthusiasm for procurement, sourcing and strategy. The latter has resulted in a raft of acquisitions over the past few years, most notably Lyreco Australia and Quick Corporate Australia. The combination of their interests made for the perfect complementary fit when she began sharing the CEO role with her sister. High moral and ethical values are evidently hugely important at COS and Lyone brings these to her specific role. Her mission is to constantly deliver customer advantage by protecting the quality of the supply chain, pursuing social procurement and supporting minority-led businesses and social enterprises.
Segment CEO, Learning & Development, Newell Brands
Kris Malkoski has been an international business leader for more than 30 years in a number of public and private companies, including Procter & Gamble, World Kitchen and Arc International. She is highly regarded as a strategic change protagonist and has successfully grown, transformed or integrated brands and organisations to drive meaningful revenue and profits. Having joined Newell Brands in 2020, Malkoski is currently Segment CEO, Learning & Development at the vendor, managing global iconic brands such as Sharpie, Paper Mate, Expo, Elmer’s Glue, Graco and NUK. She has driven significant (+30%) sales and income growth, despite COVID headwinds including inflation, labour and supply challenges.
Global Sales Director, Bi-silque
As Global Sales Director, Perpétua Malta is responsible for the sales, planning, pricing and customer service departments at Bi-silque. Having been with the Portuguese visual communications manufacturer for the past 22 years, Malta has been described as the backbone of the company. Aside from impeccable and extensive product knowledge and an unrelenting customer focus, she is known for consistently creating synergies between all the different functions to achieve Bi-silque’s objectives. A strong leader with a hands-on mentality, Malta has become a valuable resource for the vendor’s EMEA as well as US sales and customer service teams, and a highly regarded individual across the global business supplies community.
COO, Fellowes Brands
A long-time team member of Fellowes Brands – she joined in 1996 – Kathleen Noe has held a variety of leadership roles across several disciplines at the manufacturer, including VP Sales Finance and VP of Corporate Development. With a degree in accounting from Michigan State University and pursuing CPA certification, she began her career at KPMG, where she worked for just over three years in the Audit section. Noe was promoted to COO a year ago, a role that comprises responsibility for operations, finance, IT, legal and corporate transactions. One of several female members in Fellowes’ senior management, she is a growth-minded leader who strives for strong cross-functional collaboration to achieve record business results.
Andi Owen has a demonstrated history of leading complex customer-focused businesses, among them clothing retailer Gap where she worked for 25 years in various divisions. As President/CEO of MillerKnoll, she is passionate about using design thinking to solve complex problems, leveraging innovation to improve people’s lives and using business as a force for good. Owen was instrumental in brokering the deal that brought Herman Miller – where she served as President/CEO for the prior three years – and Knoll together to create MillerKnoll in 2021. She is now responsible for leading the company’s worldwide operations, which encompasses nearly 11,000 team members, with revenues of $2.47 billion in fiscal 2021.
Chief Sales Officer, Staples Inc
Michele Parzianello has been a thought leader in the evolving role of e-commerce and digital in B2C and B2B operations for more than 20 years. Her experience ranges from establishing entirely new digital capabilities to completely transforming existing businesses. Parzianello joined Staples Inc in 2019. She has since served the reseller in a number of roles. Prior to her current position of Chief Sales Officer, where she is responsible for all of Staples’ B2B sales, she was Chief Transformation Officer. In this capacity, she had led a multi-year transformation effort that spanned Staples’ B2B digital, supply chain, information systems, customer service, and merchandising functions.
VP of Strategic Business Development, Avery
When Allison Phillips joined Avery 35 years ago, major technology transformations had begun to happen in the industry and the print space in particular. She saw an opportunity to disrupt the status quo and facilitated a new way of designing and printing labels. It has since grown into a multimillion dollar business. Recognising that partnerships with leading software and printer companies were key, Phillips helped establish early relationships with Microsoft, Adobe, HP and Xerox which led to Avery products being tested and approved for use with their emerging desktop printers. More recently, she has been spearheading the company’s acquisitions, bringing nine complementary entities into Avery’s North American business.
VP Marketing & Sustainability, Clover Imaging
As VP of Marketing & Sustainability at Clover Imaging, Keli Posch drives the marketing and ESG strategies for its global portfolio of companies. For the past 20 years, Posch has worked across multiple industries to help organisations align their vision and brand, and develop marketing approaches that drive revenue, profitability and market share. Notably, over the last two years, she has led the rebrand of Clover’s product line to leverage its sustainability value proposition. She acts as the company spokesperson and works with the C-level suite on thought leadership, business development and diversification. Passionate about shining the light on the reman sector, Posch currently serves on the board of directors for the International Imaging Technology Council.
With a solid background in finance and a strong history of mergers and acquisitions, Elina Rahkonen was what European business products reseller Wulff needed a few years back. Appointed as CEO in 2019 – following a previous stint as CFO between 2014 and 2017 – she has certainly made her mark on the company, internationally speaking perhaps mostly so with the purchase of Staples’ Finnish operations in 2021. Rahkonen is expertly placed to execute Wulff’s ‘buy and build’ strategy which envisages exceptional revenue expansion. The ambition is to reach €200 million ($214 million) in sales by 2026 – more than doubling current revenues of €90 million and equating to an annual growth rate of 15-20%.
VP of Merchandising, WB Mason
Carissa Ryan’s love for this industry and the company she works for is evident. She began her career at US mega dealer WB Mason in 2006 and has been there ever since, steadily ascending through the ranks in various marketing and merchandising positions. Expecting it at first to be a mature sector, she refers to the journey as “a fast-paced adventure of growth, adaptation and digitalisation”. As VP of Merchandising, Ryan is regarded as highly knowledgeable by her business partners. Her leadership style is based on compassion and kindness. It follows on from what she experienced herself in her 17 years at Mason: outstanding top management guidance, colleagues and mentors to lean on, and a team of talented and motivated individuals who constantly challenge each other.
Head of European Marketing, Fellowes Brands
Louise Shipley has been with Fellowes Brands for 21 years. As Head of Marketing, she has built the Workplace Health Solutions division for the vendor in Europe. She began by focusing on ergonomic accessories, always with an eye on countering ‘ergo washing’ in our industry. In line with Fellowes’ emphasis on education around health and well-being in the office environment, Shipley launched ‘Professor Ergo’ to help communicate the benefits of using the correct equipment in the workplace. Other achievements include the ‘4 Zone Approach’, demystifying European display screen legislation, plus ‘Emma the Work Colleague of the Future’, which so starkly demonstrates the detrimental health impacts of poor working habits.
Managing Director, Lyreco Norway
Coming from a background predominantly rooted in grocery retail, Nina Skramstrad’s career in the business supplies space dates back nine years when she joined Staples Retail in Norway. That company was acquired by Lyreco in 2021, with Skramstad now in charge of the combined entity and driving the global reseller’s operations in this geography. Her areas of expertise are wide-ranging and comprehensive, with a clear focus on innovation, change and turnaround. Skramstad is a results-driven leader with strong communication skills who loves to work in collaboration with her colleagues.An energetic, cooperative and positive company culture is hugely important to her, with her striving to constantly lead by example.
Managing Director, Banner (EVO Group)
Viv Slater’s career in the business supplies industry started at Guilbert UK, followed by several years at office2office. She left the sector for a while, amassing significant experience in a range of consulting and project management roles. Slater came back to the OP space in 2015 when she joined EVO Group-owned Banner as Corporate Sales Director. In this position, she delivered considerable growth and managed the successful acquisition/integration of Staples UK in 2020. In February 2023, she was promoted to Banner Managing Director. In the next phase of her Banner journey, Slater will be focusing on driving excellent customer service and profitable sales growth, cementing its standing as a first-choice partner for public and private sector clients in the UK and Ireland.
Head of Purchasing, Soennecken
Bärbel Sorgler is an experienced professional with a passion for brand and product development. As Head of Purchasing of German dealer group and wholesale operation Soennecken, she brings over two decades of knowledge to the table, most of it accrued at department store chain Galeria Kaufhof (now embattled Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof). Sorgler is equally at home in the area of private label positioning and differentiation as she is with brand strategy and development. She joined Soennecken in 2021 and over the past couple of years has played a core part in maintaining the group’s stability in the face of unprecedented macroeconomic headwinds and ever-intensifying industry transformation.
SVP of Sales, Essendant
As SVP of Sales, Renee Starr is responsible for all of Essendant’s sales channels which include jan/san, IDC office products and foodservice, e-tail, retail, MRO and healthcare. Before joining the US wholesaler in 2015, she spent 16 years at Newell Brands, honing her skills in the areas of finance, sales and marketing. Most recently, Starr led a holistic effort to change how Essendant organised its customer base. From there, she developed a sales organisation model to more effectively serve that customer base and capture new revenue. A keen advocate of advancing and retaining women in the cleaning industry, Starr serves on ISSA’s Hygieia Network Council and is the Chair of its Recruitment and Onboarding Committee.
Anne-Marie Sutton is an execution-focused individual with a proven track record of optimising and growing complex manufacturing businesses in New Zealand and Australia. Her sales and operations credentials were sharpened in the labels industry when she worked as part of the supply chain for Australasian manufacturers and exporters. Sutton is currently the CEO of NXP, a significant and thriving privately-owned business supplies entity in New Zealand. Preferring to fly under the radar and concentrate on the job at hand, operational excellence, customer first and impeccable manners are her bylines. She strongly believes that how you act along the way is just as important as the end result.
Amy Steel Vanden-Eykel
CMO, Staples Inc
A longtime Staples team member, Amy Steel Vanden-Eykel is a marketing executive at the reseller in the US. She most recently progressed through the ranks to become CMO – which includes Staples.com and the B2B Staples Business Advantage – in 2021. In this role, she is responsible for brand and creative strategy, customer acquisition and development, the loyalty programme, and marketing activation channels such as field marketing, email and direct mail. Prior to this, she honed her business expertise as SVP of Merchandising & Marketing, while beforehand she spent almost a decade in positions of increasing seniority in merchandising for Staples.com, Staples Advantage and Staples Retail.
VP E-commerce, Essity Professional Hygiene
Denise Vivas is responsible for expanding Essity Professional Hygiene’s e-commerce business across North and Latin America and Europe. She is leading the company’s digitalisation agenda towards a fully-integrated omnichannel model; building the strategy, organisation and capabilities needed to advance the Tork brand positioning on the digital shelf and ultimately win customers in the quickly evolving B2B market. Vivas is a visionary e-commerce executive who has been providing decisive and transformational leadership to top-performing organisations for nearly 20 years. Before joining Essity, Denise held positions with Wilton Brands, The Hershey Company, Woodstream Corp and Ryder Logistics.
Chief Commercial Officer, Fellowes Brands
One of the most visible women in the business supplies industry thanks to a truly international career, Beth Wright has been immersed in all things OP almost her entire life, initially through her parents’ dealership in South Boston, Virginia. Starting her professional life in a Daisytek recruitment programme, she has since been – with just a short gap – a prominent player in the vendor community. Always with a highly commercial outlook – and a keen eye on the independent dealer channel, a lasting by-product of her upbringing – she’s dynamically driven the sales performance of the organisations she’s worked for. First Cardinal Brands, then Bi-silque and currently Fellowes Brands.
Elena (Sirpolaidis) Wuchner
CEO, EON Office
Elena (Sirpolaidis) Wuchner ‘grew up’ in the office supplies business. Her parents, Vass and Lynne Sirpolaidis, were the owners of Mile High Office Supply, a dealership they sold to US Office Products (USOP) in 1996. She set up EON Office – now one of the largest independent dealerships in the US – in 2000, bringing on board several of the former Mile High employees. Denver-based EON prides itself on providing the savings and capabilities of a large supplier, combined with the personal, flexible service of a small company. Wuchner is deeply involved in her local community, has tirelessly spearheaded the cause of women in our sector and won a series of awards for outstanding leadership and civic engagement.
Maria Zesch joined European and North American MRO and business supplies group Takkt in 2021 when she became CEO. Zesch came to the job with 25 years’ experience, 15 of them in senior, customer-facing functions where she accrued extensive sales, service, marketing and digital knowledge. Previous employers include two large telecoms organisations – Magenta and Deutsche Telekom – which she worked for in Austria, Croatia and the Czech Republic. Zesch is regarded as a digital innovator and influential leader who drives agile transformation in the companies she serves. At Takkt, she is targeting considerable growth, aiming to almost double sales by fiscal 2025, to €2 billion ($2.1 billion), both organically and through acquisitions.