27 Rising Leaders in the Wholesale Tier Participate in WSWA’s 2024 Women in Leadership Executive Education Program

May 07, 2024
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America announces the graduation of 27 women wholesale leaders from 10 member companies at capstone event in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., 05/07/2024 – Last week, 27 rising wholesale leaders graduated from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA)’s 2024 Women in Leadership (WIL) Executive Education Program designed and taught by prominent Columbia Business School professors.


Over the last month, women from ten WSWA member companies successfully completed the WIL curriculum in a hybrid model utilizing a virtual classroom format with an in-person, two-day capstone session in Washington, D.C. The program consisted of an intensive three-week, fully live and virtual curriculum designed to accelerate the advancement of women leaders in the wine and spirits industry – enabling them to navigate the business landscape, develop and leverage their talents, and step into roles of greater influence and leadership. 


The program culminated in two days of in-person programming in Washington, D.C. beginning with a rooftop reception overlooking the White House hosted by the Las Vegas Convention Visitor’s Bureau with Special guest Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) welcoming the 2024 graduating class and ending with a graduation ceremony on Thursday evening. The women also had an exclusive opportunity to visit the U.S. Capitol and view the U.S. Senate’s opening session from the gallery.


“This was an amazing opportunity to learn from extraordinary women in the industry from all over the country, and from all different backgrounds and experiences. The sessions were impactful and engaging.  I feel much better equipped and excited to put learning into practice. I now have the tools to be a better communicator, identify and empathize with different perspectives, be more vulnerable and to be a more inspirational leader,” said Director of Human Resources at M.S. Walker Lindsey Allan.


“What an incredible experience this past month has been. I have been in the industry for almost 23 years, and this is by far one of the BEST training classes I have gone through,” said Senior Director of Operational Effectiveness at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Ashley Shastid.


“WIL is a powerhouse of wisdom and empowerment. It has been an honor learning along this amazing group of female leadership," said Vice President of Sales, Fine Wine at Republic National Distributing Company Kate Ramos.


The curriculum for the WIL program was designed exclusively for WSWA by facilitating Professor Adam Galinsky, the Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics and Vice Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Columbia Business School. Course topics included soft and tactical business skills like Inspiring Negotiation Excellence, Inspiring Difficult Conversations: Apologies and Feedback, Inspiring Innovation, and Inspiring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Cultures. Galinsky was joined by professors Modupe Akinola, Director of Bernstein Center for Leadership and Ethics and Barbara and David Dalaznick Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and Sandra Matz, David W. Zalaznick Associate Professor of Business and Co-Director of the Leadership Lab at Columbia Business School.


The WIL Executive Education Program has celebrated 146 graduates during its six-year history. Of those who completed the program, 75% of participants report tangible benefits in the form of promotions and advancements.


“This program is helping to build a brighter future for the wholesale tier,” said WSWA Senior Vice President of Member Advocacy and Director of WSWA's Women's Leadership Council Catherine McDaniel. “The incredible women that make up this year’s graduating class now have the skillset to thrive and succeed in a widely male dominated industry. They are paving the way for more diverse voices and ideas that in turn will drive innovation and growth. It’s amazing to watch year over year!”


Congratulations to WSWA’s 2024 WIL graduating class!


Stacy Rosales, Allied Beverage Group

Danielle Houston, Breakthru Beverage Group

Stephanie Kvidera, Breakthru Beverage Group

Sarah Brick, Breakthru Beverage Group

Courtney Calia, Columbia Distributing

Megan Chester, Fedway Associates

Lindsay Allan, M.S. Walker

Nikki Inkpen, Horizon Beverage

Carina Sarbaugh, Republic National Distributing Company

Kate Ramos, Republic National Distributing Company

Arlin Morales, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Ashley Curfman, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Ashley Shastid, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Cassie Marmas, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Crystal McCovery, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Cynthia Ray, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Elisonia Valle, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Erin Witt-Pollock, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Jeri Rippon, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

JoAnna Fonk, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Kathleen Guzman, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Katie Fazio, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Kim McClaskey, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Melissa Epp, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Sarah Diehm, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Jenny Brown, United Distributors

Linda Harlow, Winebow