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The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

Dream BIG Class of 2014

Cassandra Ross

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Cassandra Ross

Cassandra Ross, store manager at Kroger Co., is pursuing a bachelor's degree in business from University of Phoenix.

On the path to success amid relentless competition

To say Cassandra Ross is driven may be a bit of understatement. After all, she advanced from being a trainee in Kroger’s co-manager program to a full store manager position in just three years — a career progression that typically takes seven to 10 years.

Today, Cassandra thrives in the ever-changing and often hectic food retailing business, managing a team of 100 employees, creating weekly store budgets, managing labor and inventory costs and addressing customer concerns. And while many would be daunted by the multitude of challenges facing a supermarket manager, Cassandra relishes the excitement and all of the possibilities her career offers.

I want my customers to be proud of shopping with my company, and I desire to satisfy even the hardest-to-please ones among them.
Cassandra Ross

With a career in retail, Cassandra says, “there is no ceiling. The sky is the limit regarding what paths you can take.” The path she has chosen will ideally include stops as a Kroger operations coordinator, merchandiser and eventually a division president. With her bachelor’s degree in business from University of Phoenix, this Dream BIG scholarship recipient hopes to see these opportunities and many more open up in the future.

Her degree will also help her company meet the unique challenges that grocery retailers often face — the most important of which is relentlessly fierce competition. As a store manager, Cassandra is on the frontlines of that battle every day. She understands that managers like her “are the heart of the company” and the positive customer experiences they foster can become a powerful competitive advantage. “I want my customers to be proud of shopping with my company, and I desire to satisfy even the hardest-to-please ones among them.”

Cassandra hopes her educational dreams will inspire her employees and her own children as well. “I can challenge them to continue their education like I did. The opportunities that will open up for them will increase dramatically, and so will their self-confidence.”


The National Retail Federation collaborates with University of Phoenix to offer the Dream BIG Scholarship to people who work in retail. This year, 20 recipients received full-tuition scholarships to help them pursue their big dreams. Meet the Class of 2014 and learn more about the Dream BIG Scholarship.