Cole Society Donor Spotlight: John Saneda

April 11, 2022

We are excited to spotlight Cole Society donor and Publix Store Manager John Saneda!

Tell us about your role at Publix.

In short I have the responsibility of total store operations for a Publix location in Roswell GA. I get to work with a team of 15 dedicated managers to work on continuous improvement of our location. Together we staff, train and develop our store teams to execute the sales and marketing strategies we create. I also serve as the chief ambassador of the Publix culture at my location.

How have you seen your work change in the last 18 months?

The grocery business has been in a constant state of change forever. The biggest change over the past 18 months has been the level of uncertainty. The pandemic brought unprecedented increases in our business as people began to prepare meals at home more. Growth normally creates an opportunity to add staff and of course as we quickly learned there were more available jobs than workers. I have never spent so much time and effort on talent acquisition as I do now. Another transition I have had to make is toward supply chain flexibility. Just because we plan for a promotion does not mean we will be able to fully implement the plans as initially intended. My team has had to learn how to quickly pivot toward plan B (and even plan C sometimes). The past several months have really opened our eyes to the interdependence of links within our supply chain. We never had to consider that fact the manufacturer of sport drink would produce their products in advance of the warm weather, but staffing shortages or damage at the plant of a supplier of packaging can throw deliveries behind by months.

You have been supporting United Way for about 31 years! What inspires you to Live United?

I have the amazing fortune of working with an organization whose founder was passionate about supporting the communities that made us successful. 92 years later we are still growing a culture of associates that show they care the most about the people they serve. Very early in my tenure I was mentored by a Publix leader who invited me to what was then called “A Day of Caring”. I was hooked! Since then I have served on the Board of Directors of two United Way funded agencies and headed 23 annual fund raising campaigns. I have also had the privilege of guiding hundreds of Publix associates (through my experiences) to make the commitment to become Leadership supporters of United Way.

How do you incorporate giving back into your free time?

It is a family value I that was instilled in me at a young age and as I matured it only grew. My wife served on one of the boards I was on. We have served dinners at shelters together, volunteered our time on holidays and supported about every service event sponsored by Publix. As our family grew we began taking our young daughter along with us to community activities. Our family motto has been to give until it feels good. My proudest moment was one Saturday when my (then 10 years old) daughter woke up early and began baking before sunrise. She had decided to raise money for the local Humane Society. She caught the bug! Making a difference if a personal choice. Through her actions I’m even more inspired to make a difference through sharing my time, my talents and my resources.

We love the ready-made items at Publix, what is your go-to Publix deli treat?

I have to admit I am addicted to the Limited Time Only Boar’s Head Jalepeno Popper sub. It has 3 varieties of cheese, bacon and jalepenos. It’s decadent and delicious.

It's Give United Day!

Today your donation goes further with a dollar-for-dollar match up to $100,000 from generous friends including KMPG and PwC.