Activate Group hosted the annual Joe Berry Award Presentation Ceremony at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney on 15 June to announce the 2023 Award winner.

The Awards are designed to celebrate the best of the retail industry and recognise the talent and innovation of young executives. The evening was filled with inspiring stories, industry insights and the opportunity to connect with retail leaders and peers.

There were 50 nominees for this year’s Joe Berry Award, which were narrowed down to six finalists including SC Johnson customer marketing manager, Samantha Corrigan; Woolworths category manager, Karolina Trofiniak; The Arnott’s Group director of public relations and customer experience, Amy Wagner; 7-Eleven chapter lead for better buying and pricing, Anthony Venuto; One Harvest senior national business manager, Melissa Sharwood, and Coca-Cola national business manager, Sofia Kailis.

Bernie Brookes AM, the inaugural winner of the Awards in 1986 and former Myer managing director (2006 to 2015), announced Karolina Trofiniak as the 2023 Joe Berry Award winner (both pictured below).

Commenting on the recognition, she said: “Putting your hand up for the Joe Berry Award opens doors but also your mind for conversations that would not have happened. Getting to the Joe Berry Award Finals unlocks a totally different level of exposure both internally and outside your own business. Winning the Joe Berry Award, while it still sounds a bit unreal, was quite liberating in shifting my mindset and perspective on what is possible.”

The Joe Berry Award was launched in 1986 by the Queensland Grocery Industry Association. The first winner was Bernie Brookes AM, who was Woolworths buyer at the time.

Joe Berry was involved with Claude Fraser, founder of Brisbane Cash & Carry (BCC), which later became the backbone of Woolworths’ growth in the Australian grocery market. Many practices, such as the supermarket trolley, were initially introduced and trialled by Berry in the early 1950s. Open front refrigeration was first commissioned by Berry, along with pre-packed fruit and vegetables and the ‘twist-tie’. He later developed self-serve wholesale warehouses also.