MCAS Cherry Point News


Cherry Point commissary director recognized for excellence

17 Jun 2014 | Lance Cpl. Grace Waladkewics

The Cherry Point commissary director was recently named one of the Top Women in Progressive Grocery by the supermarket industry’s leading magazine. Commissary director Phyllis Black was recognized by Progressive Grocer Magazine, a monthly publication that keeps readers up-to-date and knowledgeable about the grocery industry top trends and information, reaching nearly 38,000 readers per issue. Black earned the 2014 Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery Store Manager Award for her achievements as a store manager within the Defense Commissary Agency.

The Top Women in Grocery Awards is the only nationwide industry media awards program of its kind and recognizes women who are helping advance their businesses, the industry and the communities they serve. Retailers, suppliers and wholesalers are recognized in senior-level executive, rising star and store manager categories.

“With a record number of 311 watch-worthy women, our 2014 judging panel poured over hundreds of applications in search of candidates who went above and beyond their core responsibilities to deliver exceptional results,” said Meg Major, chief content editor for Progressive Grocer Magazine. “The incredible achievements of our 2014 Top Women in Grocery honorees provide an enduring portrayal of our program’s founding purpose: to celebrate the continuing progress the previously male-dominated grocery industry is making to close the historical gender gap while prominently recognizing the vital roles women serve in their companies, communities and the industry at large.”

Those who were nominated were judged on their achievements between Jan. 1, 2013 – March 1, 2014. The nominees were critiqued based on their ability to illustrate innovative corporate initiatives, extraordinary financial and strategic accomplishments, astute problem-solving techniques, exceptional performance benchmarks, selfless charitable participation and an array of other attributes beyond their normal duties.

“I am overwhelmed to have won this award,” said Black. “Only three women in the Defense Commissary Agency have ever been selected for this award so this is truly an honor.”

Black was chosen from a pool of hundreds of nominees who displayed the highest levels of teamwork, professionalism and innovation across the country in supermarkets and grocery stores at every level and every facet of operation including store managers, retailers, suppliers, wholesalers and senior level executives.

“For winning this award, I owe a lot of credit to the people I have worked with,” said Black. “Without their support and them doing all the crazy, out-of-the-box things I ask them to, I wouldn’t ever have been able to come this far. I always have so many people willing to support me. When I ask them for anything, they don’t ask how, they say ‘Why not? Let’s do it.’”

Throughout her 34-year commissary career, Black has accomplished many notable achievements. She was named the DeCA’s first woman store director of a commissary in Japan in 1994. Black exceeded the Department of Defense’s goal of using the Schedule A Hiring Authority to integrate those with targeted disabilities into at least two percent of the staff. In 2010, Black received an award from the Vocational Rehabilitation Department for exceptional service through the program. Today, 15 percent of Cherry Point’s commissary staff are those with disabilities because of her efforts through that program.

Additionally, Black was named the DeCA’s Equal Opportunity Leader of the Year in 2009. She led Cherry Point’s Commissary team in hosting its 10th Annual Special Olympics event here where she was recognized by the North Carolina Special Olympics Committee and a senior executive from Proctor and Gamble for her unwavering efforts.

According to Black, it is her desire to maintain community involvement and continuously provide an outstanding commissary experience for all active duty, guard, reserve and retired military service members and their families that have put Black a step in front of her peers. Her ability to maintain an efficient, effective and diverse workforce within the commissary has left her peers frequently calling upon her for guidance and understanding of various challenges that come with working in a military commissary.

“I am retiring from the commissary in January 2015 and this award has been kind of a lifetime achievement award for me,” said Black. “This award is surely a feather in my cap, and I hope it opens a lot of doors for opportunity and advancement toward the Installation Excellence Award for Cherry Point and this commissary.”

Black is scheduled to receive her award at the 8th Annual Top Women in Grocery Awards dinner in Chicago in November.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point