Encore Associates is a strategic advisory and solutions firm that helps companies address critical operational, sales and marketing needs in the food and consumer goods industry. We provide clients with access to experts who have developed knowledge, experience and relationships in every facet of the industry. Our advisors have held senior management positions with many of the country’s leading companies and understand the diverse challenges companies face in today’s highly competitive consumer marketplace.

The Encore team includes ExecuForce®, a proprietary network of nationally recognized industry experts, and Encore Solutions, a select group of businesses representing unique value propositions for the industry.


What differentiates us? Our people. Averaging over 25 years of experience in the Food, Drug, Mass, and CPG-related industries, the Advisory Group includes former CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors and a full-range of functional subject matter experts.

Linda Nordgren
Proprietor, CEO & President

Linda Nordgren is the CEO and President of Encore Associates.  In April 2016 Linda acquired Encore Associates, now a Women Owned Business serving the Food and Beverage Industry.  Encore Associates, established in 2001 is a strategic advisory firm, sales and marketing organization and solutions provider to the national food and consumer goods industry.  Linda’s transformational Leadership has redefined the focus of Encore’s Mission to identify Industry CPG companies, Retailers, and Small Business start-ups that demonstrate great potential and can benefit from the industry experience, network of relationships and insights of the Encore team to achieve their greatest potential. Linda, as sole proprietor has assembled a team of industry experts with talents spanning Retail and Manufacturing Operational Excellence, Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Supply Chain and Global Sourcing, Sales and Marketing Excellence and Linda’s passion, Identifying and Advancing Women Leaders in the Food and Beverage Industry.

Linda excels at defining direction for growth and is a master at change management.   She is an experienced international executive and powerful negotiator specializing in strategic sourcing having successfully conducted business in Asia, South America and Europe.  Prior to Encore Associates, throughout her 28-year career at Safeway, Linda progressed from Director of Marketing Business Processes in Information Technology, to Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, to VP of Supply Chain and Group VP of Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Strategies.  Linda most recently held the position of VP and GM of Home Care and General Merchandise responsible for a +$2.0 Billion P&L and Strategic Global Sourcing.  She is a 2017 Top Women in Grocery honoree, 2016 Women Led Business of the Year and Mentor/Coach of the Year Stevie Award Recipient and 2015 Grocery Industry Women of Influence honoree and 2014 Top Women in Grocery Honoree. Linda is on the BOD of OCHO, Organic Chocolate Candy and is a Committee Chair of the Network of Executive Women, Northern California.

Mayosh Barton
Sourcing Principal

Mayosh Barton is a results-driven, innovative problem solver with a proven track record of driving strategic negotiations and developing successful relationships in both the retail and wholesale sectors.  She has a passion for leadership, cross functional collaboration and process improvement.  Trained in the IDEO methodology for rapid idea generation and problem solving, Mayosh has successfully led and facilitated cross functional and cross company teams across multiple industries.  She has engaged participants from entry level positions to senior level executives in her collaborative and interactive sessions.  Mayosh also has 20+ years of experience in Strategic Sourcing and Category Management in the retail apparel, grocery and pharmaceutical industries.

Most recently, Mayosh was the Senior Director of Product Management for Generic Pharmaceuticals at McKesson Corporation, one of the largest pharmaceutical wholesalers in the US.  In that role, she helped lead a team that was responsible for managing McKesson’s proprietary generic drug formulary with revenues of $11 billion spanning 7000+ drugs and 150+ suppliers.  Mayosh led key initiatives and worked closely with cross functional peers in Analytics, Procurement, Supply Chain, Accounting, Finance and Program Management to streamline, standardize and improve sourcing and supply chain processes.  She was also responsible for managing the operational formulary management relationship with McKesson’s largest generic drug customer, Rite Aid.

Prior to McKesson, Mayosh was a Category Director at Safeway for four years where she was responsible for managing the P&L for the Cereal/Breakfast aisle ($680M in annual revenue) and General Merchandise & Seasonal categories ($250M in annual revenue).  Highly skilled at leading cross functional teams, she worked closely with her suppliers, cross functional peers, as well as colleagues from Safeway’s ten operating divisions to implement and execute marketing initiatives that optimized sales and profit for her categories.

While at Safeway, she also spent eight years in Strategic Sourcing in a variety of roles including Global Sourcing Director where she served as a liaison between the Safeway business units and the Global Sourcing office in Asia.  In her role as Strategic Sourcing Director, she led teams responsible for working with internal Safeway departments to drive aggressive cost savings initiatives across both direct and indirect spend categories.

Mayosh graduated Cum Laude from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Minor in Retail Management.

Howard Befort

A 44 year veteran of the retail food industry who is an Accomplished and Results Driven Senior Marketing Executive with a proven record of leadership, strategic vision and sales growth for Safeway, Inc. one of the nation’s largest food retailers and Nash Finch one of the largest Food Wholesalers. Highly effective in mobilizing all levels of the organization to achieve objectives and goals.

A passionate and innovative leader, with extensive experience in category management, merchandising strategies, supply chain, collaboration, utilization of customer loyalty, change management, process re-engineering and strong analytical abilities. Global experience working with RFID and Customer Loyalty platforms

Graduate of Regis College in Denver Colorado

Bruce Hunt

Bruce Hunt has more than 30 years’ experience in the retail industry.  He is an accomplish leader with a unique blend of Operations and Technology expertise with a demonstrated passion as a relationship builder with experience in navigating through matrixes organization.  His cross-functional partnerships have delivered successful results for multiple established initiatives.

Most recently Bruce has been running a Customer Loyalty/Mobile Marketing start-up.  Accountable for new business development, establishing sales forecast and targets and for creating marketing programs that increase sales and brand equity.

Prior to the startup, Bruce was with Safeway for 19 years.  As a Vice President of Operations for Safeway, he was responsible for leading strategic initiatives and sales efforts centered on fuel operations.  Key initiates included, developing fuel marketing promotions, improving customer/brand loyalty, enhancing price execution, implementing inventory control metrics (for merchandise and fuel), identifying maintenance cost reductions, upgrading payment systems and executing customer and employee safety programs.

He has multiple years of technology experience as a IT Project Manager and Business sponsor.  He has collaborated with technology to solve multiple business problems: retail POS systems, loyalty marketing, transportation, web-page design, payments (EMV).  He has also managed disperse testing teams (U.S., Canada, Philippines, and India) for multiple business units: Supply Chain, Pharmacy, Infrastructure, e-Commerce and Payments.

Crystal Butler
Director of Category and Product Development

Crystal Butler is a passionate and innovative leader with 26 years of experience in the retail and food industry. Most recently with Safeway, she progressed through varied positions providing a unique skill set and extensive knowledge in category management, product development and merchandising, sourcing both international and domestic, establishing strategic vision, trend and competitor research, inventory management, as well as retail store operations.  She is passionate about program and assortment planning and product development with specialized knowledge in GM/HBC and Seasonal categories.

Crystal is a results driven individual with a reputation for delivering a strong overall performance in meeting business objectives and sales goals.  She influences teamwork and thrives in a cross-functional environment successfully leading teams towards completing set goals within the given timeframe.  She is forward thinking, embraces change, and has been instrumental in identifying areas of opportunity and implementing solutions for process improvement throughout her career.

Positions field during her 23 years with Safeway include Category Manager, Manager Corporate Operations –General Merchandising, Safeway.com Operations Manager (online grocery delivery service), Schematic Supervisor, Non-Perishable Field Merchandiser, as well as several years of retail store experience in varying positions.

Crystal leads the Project Management Office for Encore Associates, leads Product Development and Global Sourcing Innovation Projects.

Beth Webb

Beth is a Marketing Professional with in-depth experience in process re-engineering. She’s held many Leadership positions in Supply Chain, Pricing, Private Label and Category Management. Also, lead and developed teams in grocery, wholesale and drug chain stores. She specializes in merger and acquisition transformation and on-boarding.

While at Albertsons Eastern Division she held the Private Label Sales Manager position. She trained all employees on the Marketing System and processes. They launched over 1,000 new products; developed key strategies to improve profit, price impression and drove loyalty. She educated the Category Management Team on trends and opportunities and led multiple projects to grow sales and market share.

Beth was also Pricing Director at Safeway Stores, Inc. which, lead, developed and trained +50 employees while providing strategic competitive insights and recommendations for +1,200 stores. She collaborated on requirements, design and implementation of multiple pricing and tag systems.

Beth also held the Supply Chain Director position. Her many responsibilities included Forecasting promotional needs for +1,200 stores; negotiated vendor funded allowances to optimize profit; developed shipper programs to drive impulse sales and provided analysis to the marketing team to identify opportunities.

Marion Martinez

Marion Martinez is an organized and efficient professional providing thorough and skillful administrative support to executives, directors, and managers. She performs assignments of a confidential nature, applying sound judgment and strong attention to detail. She practices self-development by taking professional classes; enhancing skills and performance. She uses knowledge to solve problems and contribute toward achieving team results. She is adaptable in an ever-changing role and values diversity. She sets priorities, coordinates schedules and recommends solutions for routine and complex situations. She’s proactive in dealing with ambiguity by providing clearly-defined responses and results.

She oversees logistics, menus and food services, office supplies, audio visual support, room set-up, event planning, travel arrangements, multi-calendar management, etc.

Education: Associate of Arts in General Education Chabot College, Hayward CA

Brooke Fan

Brooke Fan is a Supply Chain Executive with a proven track record of developing and implementing innovative supply chain solutions to achieve significant cost savings, improved service and efficiency. Her experience spans both the retail and healthcare sectors with expertise in forecasting, inventory optimization and replenishment planning, emergency preparedness and supplier collaboration, dual strategy development and score carding.

Most recently, Brooke was the Executive Director, Supply Chain Demand Planning and Inventory Management for Kaiser Permanente. She led the multi-year Supply Chain Transformation Initiative which built operational fundamentals through standardized operating procedures, technology implementations and organizational change.

Prior to KP, Brooke was the Vice President of Procurement at Safeway Inc. responsible for the procurement of grocery, GM/HBC, frozen and bakery items. Her team maintained optimal inventory levels across 13 Distribution Centers servicing 1500 stores nation-wide. Prior to becoming VP at Safeway, she held a variety of Director roles partnering with Safeway's top 100 suppliers to joint performance improvement, innovative retail in stock solutions, promotional forecasting and display allocations, supplier score carding and logistics efficiencies.

Brooke has a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics from UC Davis and is a graduate of the USC Food Industry Management Program.

Mariela Oetinger

Mariela Oetinger is a Principal, Strategic Sourcing Services at Encore Associates.  Mariela has a successful history in Food Retail and Global Strategic Sourcing.  She is a former Group Director at Albertson’s /Safeway one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. She led the Strategic Sourcing Department as well as the Corporate Merchandising Sourcing Solutions team. She has extensive strategic sourcing experience in Organic Food products, Manufacturing Raw Materials, Ingredients and Indirect Materials.  Mariela launched the Strategic Negotiations Process Strategic Category Optimization Review (SCOR!) for Albertsons/Safeway which focused on delivering strategic long-term supplier relationships while negotiating the best cost value for the company’s shareholders.  Mariela’s SCOR! Team delivered over $200 M in cost savings under her leadership.  She is a sourcing professional with over 20-years of experience in Private Label Food development and has held other Leadership positions in Target and Guess, Mexico.

Mariela is also the Founder of Vaca Jump Brokerage, a Hispanic Women Owned Business that works with innovative Hispanic suppliers in launching their food products in Food Service Distributors and Restaurants.

She has served on several non-profit boards such as: The National Society of Hispanic MBA’s, the Bay Area Latino Network, a network of Corporations’ Affinity Boards, and the Hispanic Advisory Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Mariela Oetinger was born and raised in Mexico. She holds a BA in Textile Design and an MBA in Finance from Philadelphia University. She has leveraged her heritage, creativity and financial acumen to bring to life some of the industry’s finest Private Label Food brands.

Shaila Garde-Lester
ExecuForce, Consumer Sales & Marketing

Shaila Garde-Lester has over 25 years of experience in the consumer-packaged goods industry with a focus in marketing, strategy, innovation and general business management.  Her work experience spans branded and private label as well as foodservice and QSR’s.  Shaila has extensive experience in new product strategy and development having launched hundreds of products across multiple grocery categories.

Most recently, Shaila held various roles at Jamba Juice including VP of Marketing and Strategy where she managed social, digital, website, paid media, loyalty programs, the app, store merchandising and the in-house design group for the brand.  Prior to that Shaila was the VP of Product Marketing where she led product innovation for the 800+ domestic Jamba Juice store portfolio.

Before joining Jamba Juice, Shaila ran her own consulting practice for 16 years providing marketing leadership to a variety of Bay Area companies including consumer packaged goods, foodservice, restaurants, wineries and QSR’s.  Her clients included: Safeway, Sunsweet Growers, Del Monte Foods, Specialty Brands, Napa Valley Kitchens, Sutter Home Winery, Jamba Juice, Calio Groves, PacBell, The Learning Company, Bowl ‘a Granola, Tri Valley Growers, Premier Roasters, Mary’s Pizza Shack and Basic American Foods.

Shaila began her career at Del Monte Foods where she held various roles including innovation and new product development.  Shaila received her MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business and her BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Hudock

Laura is an experienced Sales leader with more than 30 years of new business development and integrated sales success for Fortune 500 companies in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry across all channels of trade with a concentration in Grocery.  She is passionate about collaborating to drive aggressive business development initiatives, build new market presence, cultivate business alliances, and develop key account relationships.

Laura started her career at Gerber Product as a Sales Representative and progressed through various Sales positions at Gerber, Rexall Sundown and most recently spent over 13 years at Kimberly-Clark. Her roles include; Team Leader, Customer Operations Manager, National Account Executive, Business Development Manager, and Sales Manager.

Her varied positions have given her many years of experience in Strategy Building, Joint Business Planning, Marketing Event Planning, P&L Management, Cross-Functional Leadership, Category Management and Analytics, Broker Management, Retail Operations, Innovative Problem Solving, Process Design, Recruiting, Coaching, Mentoring and Team building.

Laura was designated as the Ambassador for Kimberly-Clark Corporation to the Network of Executive Women and served as Executive Board Member on the Kimberly-Clark Women’s Employee Resource Group. Laura was Committee Lead for Sponsorship for the Network of Executive Women’s Northern California Chapter for several years. Laura has received numerous recognitions over her career including Sales Person of the Year and Vendor of the Year Awards. Laura has a B.A. and M.B.A.  from John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, CA.  She is an adjunct Professor at Ohlone Community College teaching Business Management.

Charles (Chuck) Rodgers

Chuck Rodgers has over 40 years of experience in the retail food industry. He has a passion for bridging and connecting diverse groups to expedite the assessment, creation and implementation of Marketing business solutions that align and drive a company’s strategic goals and objectives. Key attributes include mentoring and managing cross-functional teams to be innovative, embrace change in retail based organization, and execute marketing plans and processes that transform as business and market needs evolve.

Chuck’s most recent position, Manager of Division Operations at Safeway in Northern California, include responsibility for Non-Perishable sales and profits with focus on merchandising solutions. He worked closely with Operations, Marketing and the Vendor community to develop marketing plans both global and specific to Northern California Division. Other key accomplishments include his position as the Corporate Brands Manager, Fuel Station Operations Manager and Category Management. In 1999 Chuck received the prestigious Donald J. Smith Outstanding Achievement Award for his leadership in the rollout of Safeway’s Merchandising End Display Solutions.

Greg Sparks

Greg leads our Private Equity and Mergers and Acquisitions Practice. His Strategic Leadership, Financial Acumen and deep understanding of Operations is leveraged by PE Firms and Bankers. Greg's illustrative career spans over 30 years in the retail industry. His last three years as Executive Vice President of Store Operations at Dollar General he oversaw the opening of over 2000 new stores and over 2500 remodeled or relocated stores. He had direct responsibility for 12,000 stores and 105,000 retail employees. He implemented a STAR Customer Service Program and led the reengineering of shrink and in-stock processes as well as upgraded operational training programs.

Prior to Dollar General, Greg served 33 years at Safeway with the last eleven years as Division President of the Seattle Division. Greg's tenure at Safeway included multiple positions in Merchandising and Marketing to include Vice President. His accomplishments in Seattle included the successful acquisition and integration of Carrs Supermarkets and the development of a market leading Fuel program. He also had an assignment in Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the company's international operation.

Greg has served in leadership positions on multiple boards and industry associations to include the Western Association of Food Chains and Northwest Grocery Association. He is currently a board member of POP Gourmet Foods.

Cheryl Stark

Cheryl Stark is an innovative thinking Supply Chain Executive and leader with a proven track record in sales, supply chain logistics and people management. With her experience at IBM and Kraft Foods, Cheryl brings a unique skill set with her area of expertise focused on utilizing technology to accelerate sales and reduce costs from finished goods to consumption.

Her experiences include sales at IBM, Customer Service, Shopper Marketing, Supply Cain Strategy and Development at Kraft foods. From sales quotas to operation budgets Cheryl has consistently over delivered results. In 2015, she delivered over $4 million in incremental sales and cost reductions through “customer facing” supply chain collaboration and innovative initiatives.

Key to Cheryl’s success is her excellent relationship building skills and the ability to establish and maintain collaborative and profitable relationships with vendors and internal and external customers. Cheryl’s are of expertise is eCommerce focusing on streamlining the supply chain to enable and accelerate sales growth in the eCommerce channel.

She is certified in Change Management and Value Stream Mapping. Cheryl is the former chair of Kraft Foods Women’s Council and current Co-Chair of the Network of Executive Women’s Northern California Chapter. In addition, Cheryl is the 2015 and 2016 Liv (Giant Bikes Women’s Brand) Ambassador, a natural extension of her passion to help develop women and her love of riding (road and mountain).

Tiffany Souders

Tiffany Souders is a Sales and Marketing leader with over 15 years of experience within the CPG industry. Her experience spans across top retailers within key channels including Mass, Drug, Club, Convenience and Grocery.

Tiffany most recently held the position of Team Lead for Hershey’s where she was responsible for developing customer strategy, retail execution and P&L management for the Safeway Business. In her previous roles at Hershey’s, Tiffany was the Global Director of Sales for 7-Eleven where she was instrumental in implementing long-term strategic planning and as a Sr. Marketing Manager, she created and executed innovative marketing plans for the Walmart/Sam’s Club business.

Prior to her time with Hershey’s, Tiffany developed strong brand management expertise during her tenure as a brand and customer marketing manager at Revlon and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Tiffany is a native Texan and resides in Dallas with her husband. She is an active member of Network of Executive Women, most recently serving on the Public Relations committee.

Susan Shields

Susan, the former CEO Project Juice and current Board member of  Project Juice and of the Organic Center has over 25 years in Retail and Food Service Marketing and Business Management with positions including General Manager, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer.  Her strengths include the ability to create a strategic vision, translate insights into actionable business strategies and tactics, lead and coach teams, bring creativity and innovation to marketing programs and new products, and provide an overall business perspective.  Susan has a passion for health and wellness and has focused her career on building and growing natural and organic brands.

Susan is currently a member of Encore Associates and a  Partner and co-founder at Pluot Consulting, which is focused on helping natural and organic companies grow profitably and sustainably. Prior to this, Susan was with Jamba Juice as SVP and Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. Susan also held positions including SVP Innovation and Marketing at Beautifull, Inc., a Venture Capital start-up, Group VP of Innovation for Safeway’s Consumer Brands Division, VP of New Ventures and Marketing at Del Monte Foods and numerous positions within the Quaker Oats Company.

Susan holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she was an Austin Scholar, and she has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College.  Susan is a member of the Board of Directors for The Organic Center, the YMCA of the Central Bay Area and Traditional Medicinals, an organic herbal tea company.

Julice Chan
Heritage Group LLC

Julice Chan is the founder and general manager of Heritage Group LLC. He has 30+ years of experience within Asia for multi-national companies in manufacturing, international trade, global sourcing, home center and home furnishing retail industry. His career started working at the largest bench-top and hand-held power tool manufacturer in Taiwan developing business under international brands as well as retailer private labels.

Julice later joined Test-Rite and over the course of 18 years expanded categories and built the strategic relationship with top ranking retailers worldwide. Julice was responsible for procurement and merchandising, brand development, marketing and store operations including the expansion of new stores.

Julice joined the newly established Wal-Mart Global Procurement team in 2001 as Managing Director of Operation in establishing and managing the in-house sourcing organization across 17 countries. In 2004, Julice achieved another career milestone by joining Safeway Inc. to establish - Safeway Global Sourcing, the first global sourcing organization in Asia.

Following the merger between Safeway Inc and Albertsons LLC, Heritage Group LLC was created to continue the direct import business under his vision and guidance.

Eric Chang
Heritage Group LLC

Eric joined Heritage Group LLC in 2004.  He has deeply cultivated himself in sourcing to build a strong grocery global supplier base and established best practice procedures in the procurement and buying/agent office operation.

Prior to Heritage Group LLC, Eric had hands on experience working on retailer, trading and factory project management. He worked in Taiwan B and Q Home Center as Senior Procurement Manager to generate 35% sales among entire retailer chain and the sales occupied 20% of Taiwan lighting market.

Eric was the Assistant VP of Test-Rite Trading Co and held various import roles within the electric department.

Michael Chau
Heritage Group LLC

Michael has (15) years working experience in logistic fields covering; forwarder consolidation, import, export, and warehousing. Logistic data exchange from booking, ISF submission to shipping advise process design,In-bound/Out-bound and warehouse inventory control.

Michael was the Lead for the shipping team at Ann Taylor Far East in 2011; at Safeway Inc. in 2014 in Supply Chain efficiency maximization and on time delivery management.

He maintains on-going policy and procedure set-up for business models and logistic service providers finding the most cost effective logistic solution via upfront container loading and routing options.

Paul Lin
Heritage Group LLC

Paul has over 25 years’ experience in the IT field. Experience includes: developing enterprise application platforms, payment/EDI gateways, cloud based, E-commerce for Hong Kong Bank and database management.

Paul’s technical development and oversight is recognized from (10) years working with Walmart, facilitating their enterprise level technology and implementing both hardware and software to support teams’ daily operation in 17 countries.

Connie Wang
Heritage Group LLC

Connie has fifteen years of experience in Factory; Trading; Agent and Retailer’s Global Sourcing Industries. She has a broad background in sourcing, supply chain and vendor compliance management. She also has strong hands-on experience in general merchandise, seasonal products, houseware, luggage, bedding, bath accessories and gifting products. Prior to GSS, Connie was the buying merchandiser for an international trading company supplying the U.S. Market.

She is exceptional in product development and has worked with many designers to create products from conception to finished goods.

Tomy Chan
Heritage Group LLC

Tomy has 22 years of experience in Factory /Trading /Agent and Retailer’s Global Sourcing industries. He has experience in product sourcing and development, supply chain management, and office and vendor compliance management. Tomy was the Vice-President of China Operations of UCP International Co Ltd., one of the biggest suppliers in artificial flower and seasonal deco. His duties included overseeing the operations, including merchandising and FCQA etc., in Shenzhen.

Prior to UCP, he was the Merchandising Manager at Safeway Global Sourcing and Target Global Sourcing for general merchandise, seasonal products and hard goods.

Tiffany Tan
Heritage Group LLC

Tiffany Tan graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2014 with a degree in business economics. After graduating she worked in the textile industrial field as project analyst. She joined the Heritage Group LLC team in 2015 in the floral seasonal department, importing and exporting to the USA.

She currently handles retail store plastic products, food related projects and collaborates on ad hoc assignments and analysis with the GSS Team.

Milton Huang
Heritage Group LLC

Milton manages client services and operational analytics.

He has a master’s degree in business administration, Tatung University, Taiwan.