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Yolanda Benitez Receives 2018 School of Management Distinguished Alumni Award

Published February 05, 2018

The Nazareth College School of Management (SOM) is pleased to announce that Yolanda Benitez ‘84 is the recipient of the 2018 SOM Distinguished Alumni Award. Benitez has served in various leadership roles at Wegmans Food Markets since 1990 and serves as a model for Nazareth students due to her service to others and the College. Benitez will accept her award at the SOM Business and Economics Honor Society Induction Ceremony on April 15th where she will speak to Nazareth students.

Benitez is currently the director of Priority Projects and Workforce Initiatives at Wegmans Food Markets. Wegmans has been named one of the '100 Best Companies to Work For' by FORTUNE magazine for 20 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2017.

In her current position with Wegmans, Benitez is responsible for leading collaboration with Store Operations, Marketing, and Merchandising areas to champion Knowledge Based Service (KBS) priority initiatives and events. She provides project management, and coaching support on four Disciplines of Execution (Franklin Covey) on select company priorities. She is also responsible for supporting Community Culinary Middle Skills Workforce Initiatives.

During her more than 27 years at Wegmans, she has held several positions: store manager, director of Training & Development, and director of Skin Care. Benitez also spent five years on special assignment as a Loaned Executive to Hillside Work Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) a program that Wegmans started in 1987 to improve graduation rates of students in the Rochester City School District.  Benitez served as Director of the Jobs Institute overseeing the strategic start-up and development of the HW-SC Jobs Institute Concept. She was responsible for creating a regional model for youth job readiness skills training, job placement, job development, career service, and contractual training services for Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo, N.Y., as well as Prince George's County, Md.

Benitez, a member of the Nazareth College Board of Trustees,  has a strong and long-standing commitment to serving the Rochester community on several other boards: Foodlink: Community Kitchen Institute Work Group Advisory Board, The Office of Adult and Career Education Services (OACES) Culinary Advisory Board, Borinquen Dance Theater Board, United Way Latino Leadership Development, and Council Member for Circulo Latino Leadership.

Prior SOM Distinguished Alumni Award winners:

  • 2017: Keith Woedy '84, President and Partner, Legalis
  • 2016: Ryan McDermott '98, Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
  • 2015: Bridgette Hobart Janecko '84, Founder and President, Paradigm Technology Consulting, LLC
  • 2014: Steve LaSalle II '83, Senior Vice President for Finance, Lifetime Health Medical Group
  • 2013: Mary Beth West '84, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, JC Penney Inc.
  • 2012: John Drain '83, Senior Vice President for Finance, Hearst Television
  • 2011: James Ockenden '83, President, IV4 Solutions


For More Information

Julie Long | Chief Public Relations Officer |

School of Management

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.

School of Management Distinguished Alumnae Yolanda Benitez