Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence Awards Howell Volunteer of the Year

Steven Howell, director of business development at private brand solution provider S4RB Inc., has been named Volunteer of the Year in the Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence (WISE) Awards.

WISE was founded by women, and is a non-profit professional development organization. It celebrates and promotes diversity and inclusion within the store brands industry.

Steven has given his time to serve on the foundation’s committee since its inception, and was instrumental in developing the strategy for the WISE Resource Center. With a strong strategic focus, Steven’s talents were instantly put to excellent use on the SLRP committee, of which he remains an active member.

With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Steven has held various senior marketing positions at household names such as Walmart and Nestle Purina, before moving into consultancy for a number of large US brands. It was during this time that he was introduced to the team at S4RB and joined the business in January 2015.

“I am honored to have been selected to receive this prestigious award,” said Steven. “I volunteer with WISE because I truly believe in the aims and ethos of the organization, and want to invest in its success.

“Working with the committee over the years has been extremely productive, not less enjoyable too, and I look forward to supporting WISE in the years to come.”

Kieran Forsey, CEO of S4RB Inc., adds: “I am proud of Steven’s achievements as a committee volunteer, and delighted that he has been recognized in this way.

“It was a straightforward decision for S4RB to support WISE from the outset, as many of its principles align with ours, such as the belief that companies with diverse workforces perform better.

“Steven brings structure and strategy to his projects within S4RB, and I am not surprised that his organized, forward-thinking approach has also delivered tangible benefits to WISE.”

Audrey Jakel Hlavin, Vice Chair and Talent Development Committee Chair at WISE, says that the judges praised the value and direction that Steve brought to the business, and applauded his positive attitude and commitment.

“Among the nominations that the WISE Executive Committee reviewed, Steven’s stood out as he’s been a strong supporter and contributor to the WISE organization as a whole and to the Professional Development Committee he serves on,” she explained.

“As this is our 5-year anniversary, it was also only fitting for Steven, who has been a member of WISE from the beginning, to receive this award.”

The award presentation took place at WISE’s annual meeting in Chicago on November 11th, which showcased the top Women in Store Brands honorees selected for their achievements in eight categories from among the nation’s leading store brand retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and brokers.



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.