Alimentation Couche-Tard Earns Recognition for Gender Parity Efforts

Women in Governance commends the retailer for its senior leadership and talent development pipeline.
Alimenation Couche-Tard logos

LAVAL, Quebec — Nonprofit organization Women in Governance awarded Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. the Bronze-level Parity Certification for its progress toward gender parity in the workplace.

"We are proud to be receiving this certification as it is a testament to the values we live by and signals we are moving in the right direction towards gender parity," said Couche-Tard's Suzanne Poirier, senior vice president, operations. "Our team at Couche-Tard is committed to fostering a culture that provides an environment for women to fully participate and grow in their careers as well as advancing equality between women and men in the workplace."

The Women in Governance's Parity Certification helps organizations increase representation of women in sectors where they have historically been underrepresented and in senior management positions, according to the announcement. It evaluates parity at an organization's decision-making level as well as every level of the organization. Particular attention is paid to intersectionality, or the multiple impacts of diversity in women's career advancement.

The certification also assesses the organization's commitment to implementing processes that enable women to achieve career advancement, which creates a pipeline of diverse female talent.

Women in Governance was founded in 2010 to support women in their career advancement and access to decision-making bodies, along with progressive organizations that strive to close the gender gap in the workplace. The organizations pursues this mission with its Parity Certification, events, and governance training and mentoring programs.

Female leaders at Couche-Tard have also been recognized several times as part of Convenience Store News' Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards program, including 2022 Woman of the Year Colette Matthews, global vice president of customer experience at Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K.

"At Couche-Tard, diversity and inclusion is a strong pillar of our sustainability strategy and the winning culture we strive daily to protect and promote," said Ina Strand, chief people officer at Couche-Tard. "We know we have more work to do, and we will use the feedback we receive to continue on our journey of creating an environment where all our people can excel, grow and bring their authentic selves to work."

In 2020, Strand was one of the five women celebrated by TWIC as Women of the Year.

Couche-Tard's diversity and inclusion journey has included the launch of several business resource groups, starting with its Women's Council, to support underrepresented team members. The company has also developed and participated in talent programs to create pipelines for advancement, such as leadership development courses and mentorship programs dedicated to accelerating and developing minority team members.

As a result of these and other efforts, Couche-Tard has seen progress in more equitable gender representation, opportunities and pay across all parts of the company from store to senior management levels, the company said.

Laval-based Alimentation Couche-Tard operates in 24 countries and territories with more than 14,300 stores, of which approximately 10,900 offer road transportation fuel. With its well-known Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, it is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States, and it is a leader in the convenience store industry and road transportation fuel retail in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics, as well as in Ireland.

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