2024 Confectionery Leadership Awards Honor Dollar Tree’s Alexander, Harris Teeter’s Grassey   


Washington — Dollar Tree’s Katie Alexander, category director, and Harris Teeter’s Susan Grassey, candy/general merchandise category manager, are the 2024 recipients of the Confectionery Leadership Awards, administered by NCA and Candy & Snack TODAY.

“Amid economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures, outstanding retail partners like Katie and Susan have kept consumers returning to the candy aisle to find a moment of happiness, a reason to celebrate, or an affordable treat,” says John Downs, president & CEO of NCA. “Both of our 2024 Confectionery Leadership Award recipients have been visionary leaders in our industry over the course of their career. Their inclusive approaches to confectionery retailing, readiness to embrace new challenges, and keen understanding of consumer needs and desires continue to drive category growth.”    

Alexander has spent almost nine years with Dollar Tree, a value store chain with more than 8,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada. She is known throughout the company and the confectionery industry for her strong communication skills, leading with kindness, and providing constructive feedback in the best interest of shoppers and suppliers. Throughout her tenure, she has used her expertise to elevate her team and support liaison partnerships across the organization and within the community. 

“Working in the confectionery industry is exciting — you’re able to be creative, follow trends and celebrate momentous occasions with the consumer,” Alexander says. “I’m honored to win this award and am proud that my contributions and leadership characteristics are being recognized.” 

Grassey, a 2023 inductee into the Candy Hall of Fame, has more than 20 years of experience in the confectionery industry. She joined Harris Teeter, a regional grocery retailer with more than 250 stores in the Southeast, in 2017 as a candy/general merchandise category manager. Grassey is known for thinking outside the box and using her knowledge of industry trends to continuously innovate. She demonstrates exceptional leadership skills and adds a special touch to seasonal selections, helping make Harris Teeter a top retailer for chocolate, candy, gum, and mints. 

“Working in the confectionery industry is the sweet spot of my career,” says Grassey. “I love the people, the products, and the excitement created by these special treats that are directly linked to our most precious memories and celebrations. It’s an honor to be recognized for my contributions and achievements by an industry that I cherish.”  

NCA, in collaboration with Candy & Snack TODAY magazine, created the Confectionery Leadership Awards program in 2011 to recognize and honor the confectionery industry’s best and most innovative category champions and leaders. The program allows NCA manufacturers and brokers to recognize outstanding retailers and wholesalers in the confectionery community for their leadership, industry collaboration, confectionery category promotion, and innovation.  

The 2024 Confectionery Leadership Awards will be presented in conjunction with NCA’s State of the Industry Conference, which will take place March 10 to 12 in Aventura, FL.