NAME:
Dan Brody

CURRENT POSITION:
Vice President, Category Leadership, Walmart/Sam’s

COMPANY:
Conagra Brands

TENURE WITH CURRENT COMPANY:
12 years

YEARS OF INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE:
30 years

GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR CAREER.
I began my retail career unknowingly with my first job at the local A&P supermarket in high school. There I learned about the industry and a chance meeting at the store led to my next position working for a food broker while in college. Since then, I’ve held various roles in retail, trade marketing, business development, sales director and category management. I held positions with Naked Juice, Pinnacle Foods and Conagra. I’ve always come back to category management, as this is where we can have the most objective conversations with our retail partners, and I enjoy that level of engagement.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE OF YOUR CAREER?
Moving to Bentonville to work with Walmart was my biggest learning experience. Working directly with Walmart forced me to think differently than I have before. On a Walmart team, you typically have more resources to dig deeper into issues, while still retaining a perspective on the broader marketplace.

WHY ARE YOU EXCITED TO BE PART OF THE CMA BOARD?
It’s an amazing group of industry talent. The board has a passion for excellence in our field, I share that passion and am excited to participate in setting the direction for the industry going forward.

WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE THE CMA PLAYING IN CPG AND THE OVERALL RETAIL INDUSTRY?
I think the CMA plays a role in education, setting standards and establishing what “good” looks like in the industry. On the education side, it’s getting a curriculum set and making sure future talent is prepared coming out of school. Elevating excellence overall through webinars and share groups is another key role that the CMA plays in the industry that we don’t get elsewhere.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE CATMAN DISCIPLINE GOING FORWARD?
I believe we have two opportunities that need to be addressed simultaneously, as they are connected. First, we need to continually educate and develop the talent we have today. Secondly,  we must integrate the omnichannel experience – the online and in-store experience – into the category management process.

HOW ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT 3-5 YEARS IN RETAIL?
We’re thinking about it first and foremost from an omni-channel perspective – both the online and store experience. Walmart’s new store concept is certainly one way. As the ‘new normal’ means adoption and loyalty to new ways of shopping, more frequently used channels, increased penetration for brands and categories, etc., we will all need to adapt. My focus is to ensure my team and organization are prepared to adapt and find opportunities as we progress through the post-COVID environment.

WHAT DEVELOPING THEME ACROSS RETAIL TODAY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
Consumer behavioral changes resulting from the acceleration and adoption of online grocery – through both pick-up and delivery. Specifically, how that will change so much about how we approach category management today. How are the retailers evolving with it? What makes me most excited is how it could enhance our level of partnership.

WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST PAUSE?
COVID and its impact on the economy. Whether that be a recession or prolonged period of inflation in 2021, a lot is very uncertain.