CMA Awards Gala 2019

Sandra Sanderson

Recipient of the CMA 2020 Marketer of the Year Award


As Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sobeys Inc., the second largest national grocery retailer and food distributor in Canada, Sandra Sanderson oversees marketing across a broad portfolio of banners including Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland and FreshCo.

A strategic marketing leader, Sanderson was tasked with transforming Sobeys Inc.’s banner brands when she joined the company in 2018 and since then has established a strong brand strategy and integrated marketing model including insights and analytics, loyalty, sports partnerships and community investment. Core to Sandra’s work has been a brand reinvention strategy that revitalized the company’s retail and private label brands and set the foundation for deeper customer engagement.

Before joining Sobeys, Sanderson was the Senior Vice President of Marketing at White House Black Market in the United States, where she led marketing across more than 400 North American fashion boutiques, outlets and the company’s website Prior to that, Sanderson was Chief Marketing and Quality Officer at Walmart Canada, where she led the development of the new prototype store design and the marketing efforts on the fresh food re-launch. She also launched Walmart Media Group and drove growth of Private Label through thoughtful innovation. Earlier, Sanderson served as Senior Vice-President of Marketing at Shoppers Drug Mart, where she oversaw the growth of the Optimum program, the relaunch of Beauty Boutique and the brand’s digital transformation efforts.

Professional accomplishments

Sanderson’s accomplishments include:

  • Leading her team to create a new communication platform for sustainability and creating the “Say Goodbye to Plastic Bags” campaign after Sobeys announced its plans to remove all plastic bags from 255 locations across Canada by the end of January 2020.
  • Crafting a new marketing vision and making significant investments in training to elevate her team, including the development of Sobeys’ Digital Marketing Academy to inject a new way of thinking into the organization.

Sanderson and her team have been successful in pivoting key campaigns and initiatives to engage with customers during COVID-19 including:

  • A Family of Support
  • Community Action Fund
  • First physically distanced drive-in concert
  • FreshCo 2.0
  • Compliments Re-launch

Her work has not gone unnoticed as she has been recognized with industry awards, including:

  • Marketer of the Year by Strategy in 2012
  • Canadian Grocer's Star Women Award in 2015
  • Canada’s Top 20 Online Marketers in 2009

Additional details

For five years, Sanderson was the Chair of the Retail Council of Canada's Senior Retail Marketing Committee, where she demonstrated her passion for retailers of all sizes across Canada. Sandra was a member of the Advisory Board of the Shopper Marketing Forum and Dx3, and has also participated as a judge for the CASSIES Awards, Shopper Innovation Award, Media Agency of the Year Award and the Marketing Hall of Legends Award. She was recently designated to be on the Most Trusted Brand panel, along with the Gustavson School of Business, to speak to Sobeys’ strong rating on the Gustavson Brand Trust Index.

Sanderson’s support for the Canadian Marketing Association runs deep. She was a member of the Board of Directors for four years and recently held the position of Vice-Chair of the Board. In this role, Sanderson served on multiple committees and contributed to the organization’s launch of the Chartered Marketer program. She was Co-Chair of the CMA Awards, overseeing 200+ judges from across the country to recognize the most innovative marketing work in Canada. She also served on the selection committee for the CMA’s Marketer of the Year for two years.

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