Special Events


Opening Keynote Session

Sunday, February 24, 5:00 PM
Ballroom 20

Dana Perino and Donna Brazile offer perspectives from opposite sides of the aisle on today’s hot-button political issues. These two trailblazing strategists make up a power duo that will provide analysis on issues that affected the 2018 mid-term elections and are currently shaping the political landscape. Both with larger-than-life personalities, will take an in-depth look at the Trump administration, the current state of Congress, and the current hot button topics, as they share behind-the-scenes stories and insight gained from high-level government experience and on the campaign trail.

Dana Perino

Dana Perino is a revered political commentator and journalist, New York Times best-selling author, and a former White House Press Secretary. She currently hosts The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, and is a co-host on the hit show The Five, both on the Fox News Channel. The Five has won its time slot every day since it started in July 2011 and last year finished as the fifth most-watched program in all of cable. Part of an ensemble cast, some viewers have nicknamed Perino “The Voice of Reason” on The Five. A Fox News political commentator, she also appears weekly on other Fox programs. 

Donna Brazile

Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. She is the former interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and the author of the upcoming book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House. Brazile is the founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates, LLC, a consulting, grassroots advocacy and training firm based in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by:
nga keynote

2019 CART Event

Sunday, February 24 1:00 PM
Room 28 ABC

CART and the NGA Show are partnering to create the biggest innovation event the industry has ever seen! Join us in making San Diego the Epicenter of Retail Innovation on Sunday afternoon February 24, 2019 in a special event kicking off the NGA Show 2019. The event is designed to give mid-market regional retailers and progressive independent operators a framework for navigating fast paced innovation while retaining a focus on the importance of people and physical stores as we move into the future.

• A discussion into the world of iRetail featuring industry thought leaders and retail executives sharing experiences and case studies 
• Dive into the five ‘i’ framework to evaluate existing capabilities and incorporate new technologies into your business
• How to develop an innovation culture within your company
• Showcase and demonstrations of the latest technologies transforming retail

Moderated by:

  • Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail & Technology
  • Sterling Hawkins, Co-Founder, Operations and Development, Center for Advancing Retail & Technology


  • Ron Bonacci, Vice President, Marketing and Advertising, Weis Markets
  • Chris Leevers, Owner, Leevers Supermarkets
  • Daniel McCarthy, Professor, Emory University and Theta Equity Co-Founder
  • Christie Frazier-Coleman, Vice President, Marketing, Lehi Valley Trading Company
  • John D'Anna, Executive Vice President – Chief Strategic Officer, Brookshire Grocery Company
  • Sylvain Perrier, President and CEO, Mercatus Technologies Inc
cart x nga

Presented by:


Mercatus Logo






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Opening Reception

Sunday, February 24, 6:45 PM
Ballroom 20 Foyer

The Opening Reception offers NGA Show attendees the opportunity to get a jump start in growing their network. Join industry peers and trading partners in a festive atmosphere with hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. The Opening Reception sets the tone for a spirited week of collaboration and connection. 


Student Case Study Competition

Sunday, February 24, 1:00 PM
Monday, February 25, 2:00 PM
Tuesday, February 26, 3:15 PM

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest living adult generation in 2019. Millennial growth is largely fueled by immigration, which is adding more numbers to their group than any other. The generation has been the largest in the labor force since 2016 and in a tight employment market, recruiting and retaining across all retailer positions is challenging. Students participating in the case study competition will explore how independent grocers can encourage millennials – especially those from diverse backgrounds – to join their ranks? Hear the two finalists present their solutions to a panel of industry judges and see which university will claim the title of 2019 champion.


WGA 5K Fun Run/Walk

Monday, February 25, 6:00 AM
Hilton Bayfront

A non-competitive, friendly walk/run, runner and walkers of all levels are welcome and encouraged to participate! Proceeds benefit the Women Grocers of America, which funds scholarships for students pursuing careers in the independent supermarket industry.

Student Mentoring Program

Orientation: Monday, February 25, 12:00 PM

The Student Mentoring Program pairs industry professionals attending The NGA Show with students participating in the Student Case Study Competition. The goal of this program is for students to establish a connection and engage with industry influencers for the purposes of networking at the show and beyond. In turn, mentors have the opportunity to pick bright young minds studying retail, supply chain and food marketing to discuss industry trends, issues affecting their business, and potential career paths.

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National Best Bagger Championship & Afterparty

Monday, February 25, 5:00 PM
Ballroom 20

Bagging has been an important step for many supermarket employees who have pursued long and rewarding careers in the grocery industry. The National Grocers Association Best Bagger Championship features retailers with infectious company pride and an enthusiastic commitment to customer service.

Cheer on your state's best bagger! Baggers from across the country will vie for the championship title and a $10,000 cash prize. 

Sponsored by:

“Party at the Park” hosted by the NGA Foundation

Monday, February 25, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
at The Loft inside Petco Park

Almost Sold Out!

Enjoy an evening in the outfield with the NGA Foundation on Monday, February 25 from 8:00-10:00 PM at The Loft inside Petco Park. Guests will enjoy baseball fare bites and brews, bar games, and behind-the-scenes access to VIP areas of the ballpark. Network with industry influencers at an event that is sure to enhance your San Diego experience!


Creative Choice Awards

Tuesday, February 26, 7:00 AM
Ballroom 20

Creative Choice Awards category winners feature a wide variety of marketing and merchandising campaigns spanning across retailer sizes and formats.  The competition honors and recognizes the best marketing and merchandising programs in the grocery industry.  Winners of the Creative Choice Awards Contest gain respect throughout the industry and receive national recognition at The NGA Show.

 For more information, visit www.ngacreativechoice.com.  

Sponsored by:
 Kelloggs websiteUnilever website


WGA Engagement Event: Navigating the Myths of Women in the Workplace

Tuesday, February 26, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Room 25C

Managers, political pundits, and the media consistently use gender and generational stereotypes to make decisions and predictions, presuming to understand the collective tastes, ambitions, values, and work habits of people based on one characteristic. This results in miscommunication among team members, lower productivity, and worse. In this session, learn seven steps to becoming an agent for change to bust stereotypes and work more effectively, plus how interpersonal dynamics contribute the most to business success. After the keynote, we’ll use the remainder of our time to networking and continue the conversation.


  • Jessica Kriegel, Managing Partner, OE Consulting Group

Closing Celebration

Tuesday, February 26, 6:00 PM
Hard Rock Hotel

Wrap up your NGA Show experience mixing and mingling with your industry peers and leaders at the Tuesday celebration. Informal but highly productive, the festivities will be a good time had by all. 

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NGA Store Tours

Wednesday, February 27, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Shuttle Pickup at San Diego Convention Center

Come hop on the tour bus and join us for a retailer only tour of local stores including Cardiff Seaside Market, Gelson’s and 99 Ranch/Tawa. Bus transportation, snack pack and water included. Please note, this event is only open to retailers.


With over 60 specialized educational workshops led by retailers for retailers and more than 400 companies on our EXPO floor showcasing innovative and game-changing products and solutions, The NGA Show provides countless opportunities to learn from your peers and other industry thought leaders. Bring your whole team to The NGA Show and bring home ideas that will drive profitable growth for your company.