One-on-One with Meg Major
Welcome to Endcap, Greg, and congrats
on beginning your new role as president
and CEO of the National Grocers
Association this month. The torch has
been passed to a new generation—
what’s that feel like for you?
Greg Ferrara: Thanks, Meg. I’m truly
humbled to have an opportunity to lead an
organization that has played such a vital role
in our industry for nearly 40 years. I feel
like I’ve spent my entire professional career
preparing for this role, so I’m excited to roll
up my sleeves and get to work on behalf of
You joined NGA in 2005 after managing
your family’s independent grocery store
in New Orleans before it was destroyed
by Hurricane Katrina, just one year shy
of its 100th anniversary. What did the
experience, including your transition from
grocer to association executive, teach
you about yourself?
I learned early on from my grandfather
and father that the supermarket business
is a people business, and the same is true
for a trade association like NGA. We exist
to serve our members, just as grocers exist
to serve their communities. Running my
family’s supermarket also taught me how
to lead a diverse team and be able to adapt
to change. That experience has helped me
at NGA. Stay nimble, focused, honest and
positive and you will achieve success.
You’ve served admirably as NGA’s
chief lobbyist in recent years. You’ve
represented your members before
Congress, federal agencies and the
executive branch. What sparked your
advocacy of government relations, which
is often a thankless, frustrating pursuit?
I have to give a lot of credit to my experience
serving as a board member for the Louisiana
Retailers Association back when I was
running our store. I was often asked to
testify before the legislature or meet with an
elected official to explain, in real-life terms,
how a particular piece of legislation would
impact my business and customers. When
lobbying for NGA’s members, I’ve often
found that I’ve had my greatest success
when I can get a member of Congress or
a congressional staffer to understand, in
simple terms, the impact on their local
independent supermarket. I’ve always
been grateful to the NGA members who
come to Washington or host members of
Congress for store tours back home. Their
engagement is often the push we need to
Your passion for the grocery business
in general, and independent grocers in
particular, is admirably contagious. What
else are you passionate about in your
I am lucky to have a wonderful family who
has supported my career, and for those of
us in the grocery business, we know it isn’t a
9-to- 5 job. My wife, Nicole, my son Matthew
(who’s 11) and daughter Katelyn (who’s 9)
are a big part of my success, and they keep
me pretty busy outside of work with their
activities and sports. I also love the outdoors
and camping in particular. I’m an Eagle
Scout and the Boy Scouts played a big role
in my life and, frankly, helped make me into
the person that I am today. I’m enjoying
watching my son enjoy scouting as much as
What do you think the next
generation of grocery leaders
must be prepared to face?
Change is occurring in our industry faster
than it has in generations, if not ever before.
We must have eyes open to what is going on
in our industry and with consumers but be
careful to not abandon who we are. Local is
a powerful brand, and independent grocers
need to own it.
Speaking of the next generation, please
get involved in your industry. Participate in
organizations such as NGA and your state
grocery or retail association and help guide
our industry into the future. Our industry
What’s one company outside
of the grocery industry that you
admire, and why?
Chick-fil-A. I admire their ability to consistently put out a good product, operate clean
restaurants and have some of the friendliest
Excluding your car and mobile
devices, what’s the most useful
thing you own?
A pen and notebook. I take a lot of
notes and would be lost without them.
What is your personal motto?
Service to others; do your best and do
it with integrity.
Do you believe in karma?
Not really. Just work hard, respect
others, never burn a bridge.
Greg Ferrara assumes the
role of president and CEO
of the Arlington, Va.-based
National Grocers Association
(NGA) this month.