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Progressive Grocer Honors Three Inspiring Leaders from Shipt as Top Women in Grocery

Jul 1, 2024
Jul 1, 2024

Progressive Grocer Honors Three Inspiring Leaders from Shipt as Top Women in Grocery

This is the fourth year in a row that Progressive Grocer has honored Shipt leaders with this recognition and its 2024 recipients are Alia Kemet, Chief Marketing Officer, Khadijah Abdullah, VP of Economic Development and Social Impact and Jessi Keegan, VP of Cyber Security

For the fourth year in a row, Shipt is proud to have three of its top leaders be recognized by Progressive Grocer’s esteemed Top Women in Grocery award. A big Shipt congratulations to our own Alia Kemet, chief marketing officer, Jessi Keegan, vice president of cyber security and Khadijah Abdullah, vice president of economic development and social impact! These inspiring leaders have received the distinguished honor of “Top Women in Grocery” by leading industry media outlet Progressive Grocer for the work they’ve delivered across the business, their involvement in their communities, and the ways in which they’ve served as role models to the next generation of industry professionals. 

To pay tribute to this industry recognition, we sat down with Shipt’s three honorees to hear all about their accomplishments and learn more about what this award means to them.   

The last year has been a big one for Shipt, the industry as a whole and the communities that we reach. What are you most proud of achieving in this time period? 

Alia: I’m so proud of Shipt’s marketers. This year we did a ton of meaningful work that gave us a rich understanding of our customers and all the ways we can add even more value to their lives by serving them the most relevant content and savings. Our customers crave high-touch tech, are caring, helpful, and genuinely care about the community. They don’t just live a good life; they give it to others in return. We also launched several beautifully crafted, culturally relevant campaigns, one of which being my favorite, our Back to College campaign featuring the amazing Issa Rae and four wildly talented Howard University students, which we built to accompany the launch of Shipt’s first-ever student membership. 

Khadijah: There are so many things I am proud of from the last year. If I had to give it a headline, it would be that Shipt Showed Up In Partnership With Our Communities Last Year. From launching the “Magic City Mentorship” program in partnership with Birmingham Promise, an organization that provides last-dollar tuition, career readiness and coaching as part of our 1 million gift to the organization. To kicking off our inaugural eight-week LadderUp small business accelerator program, aligning with Shipt’s White House commitments. And most recently, bringing SNAP/EBT online, allowing Shipt to inevitably provide SNAP/EBT nationwide this year to Meijer and Target customers. This accomplishment is significant because families can now leverage these benefits within the Shipt Marketplace to access much-needed fresh food and resources.

Jessi: There is so much to be proud of, I can’t choose just one! Initiatives that have a social impact like the launch of SNAP EBT will always reach the top of the list for me.  Within the Cyber Security team, it has been a transformational year.  We brought in several new technologies in support of programs like Target Circle 360, launched enterprise campaigns, and stood-up new teams to better serve the organization.  I’m incredibly proud of what we have been able to deliver and what’s to come.

Being a leader at the level you all are encompasses a lot of responsibility, but also the opportunity to nourish the next generation. What’s your leadership style like and what are some ways that you support your teams to propel strategy? 

Alia: I believe in building courageous teams where everyone feels empowered to share ideas and be a part of building innovative campaigns. Marketers are always looking to explore trends and chart new paths, so I see my chief responsibility to keep my team healthily challenged and create a culture that celebrates learning and growth. I do this through a 70/20/10 approach – 70 percent of the work should be meticulously planned, 20 percent for innovation and the last 10 percent for those unexpected opportunities. Sometimes, it’s that last 10 percent that leads to a remarkable breakthrough. I’m also deeply committed to active mentorship, but specifically in both directions! My team inspires me every day. The most creative and collaborative environments are ones where true connections are built, and we are eager to learn from and with one another.

Khadijah: Early in my career, a mentor shared a powerful quote with me: "Give me the freedom of a tightly defined strategy." It perfectly encapsulates the importance of clarity. A well-defined strategy provides the framework for innovation and, ultimately, freedom of execution. I lead with this mindset daily and orient my leadership to provide clarity on WHY our work matters (research, insights, community focus), WHAT we need to accomplish (a deep understanding of our business goals), and then provide space for my team to creatively decide HOW THEY will execute on our work with my coaching and support. I’ve discovered that this “freedom and space” enables creativity, authenticity, and innovation. 

Jessi: I would describe myself as high-energy, collaborative and someone who leads with empathy. I instill a lot of trust in my leadership team, which requires a high degree of transparency and confidence in their abilities. We talk a lot about owning your space; what it looks like, what it feels like and why it’s important. Spending time discussing what are the glass balls (what’s critical and cannot drop) versus the rubber balls (things that can bounce) in delivering our strategy has been empowering.   

Speaking of strategy and achievements, what are you all most excited about this year? Whether it's projects at Shipt, projects in your local community or even projects in your personal life, what’s driving you right now? 

Alia: I am most excited about how well-positioned we are to serve consumers in a distinctly Shipt way in 2024! Our customers are up against so much - fuller, busier lives and rising prices, just to name a few. It’s on us to ensure we’re serving them the most relevant content and the best savings to enrich their lives. And we’re doing just that! We’re laser-focused on increasing customer engagement on and off Shipt’s platform. 

Khadijah: Professionally, last year was such a big year for our team and this year is all about refining our practices in three key ways: grant-making, community partnerships and team member engagement. We have evolved our Shipt Serves volunteer program, and this year, in honor of Shipt’s 10th Anniversary, we are upping our goal to amass 10,000 volunteer hours among our team. The value of authentic “care” is core to our company and we want to make sure our communities experience that. Personally, this year marks a milestone birthday for me, and similar to my work at Shipt, this year is all about sharpening my saw and broadening my outlook. I love to travel and discover new places, and I hope to add at least three more passport stamps by the end of this year. 

Jessi: This year I joined the Shipt Serves Cabinet which is a leadership collective of team members across Shipt who meaningfully contribute to our company’s social impact. I’m excited about the opportunity to influence the organization on topics and issues that are important to me, such as volunteerism. Outside of work, I’m in a busy stage of life at home with one seven-year-old and one five-year-old on summer break. I’m looking forward to a Minnesota summer filled with time at the lake, camping and of course, smores!

After this conversation, many of us would like to know more about how you were named one of Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery. What’s something we don’t know? 

Alia: I am fiercely devoted to helping girls and young women tap into their own personal superpowers. I have been the troop organizer of a multi-level Girl Scout troop for nearly 14 years! I also have a passion for coaching and mentoring young women in their careers. As someone who married and had children young while growing my career, I want to help other women navigate the challenges of having a family and a fulfilling career. 

Khadijah: I owe a great deal of my passion for community and my focus on clarity to my time as a high school STEM educator. I taught in East Baton Rouge Parish after Hurricane Katrina. My students were ultimately the best teachers because they taught me that when you narrow your focus around a goal (clarity) and rally as a community with tightly defined benchmarks, you can literally do anything. Their goal was to pass the high school graduation exam, which at the time, less than 40 percent of students were accomplishing. Within three years, nearly 80 percent of our students passed the science portion of the exam. I carry my students and this lesson with me as a constant reminder of the power of purpose.

Jessi: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve had from a mentor was to say ‘yes’ more.  Throughout my career, I have kept that motto on the front burner and it has not only propelled my career, but more importantly, the experiences I get to have and who I get to have them alongside. I have been fortunate enough in my professional journey to have great advocates that push me outside my comfort zone, lend a hand when I need it, and aren’t afraid to give critical feedback. So, being nominated for Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery award by a mentor who has done exactly that for me, well, that’s just the cherry on top!

Fostering a culture where women leaders can flourish, innovate and inspire is core to Shipt as a company, so we extend our largest congratulations to these three women for living out these values every day! 

To see the complete list of this year’s recipients, visit: or check out the 2024 June issue of Progressive Grocer magazine 

About Shipt

Shipt is a retail tech company that connects people to reliable, high-quality delivery with a personal touch. Through the power of technology, Shipt connects customers to the things they want from the stores they love, workers to new earning opportunities, and retail businesses to more satisfied customers. Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt brings people the flexible solutions they need with the above-and-beyond service they expect. Shipt is an independently operated subsidiary of Target Corp. and available in more than 5,000 U.S. cities. For more information, please visit Shipt’s Newsroom.

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