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06/11/2021

The Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion

Convenience Store News and Altria launch a new platform for discussion, innovation, engagement and action.
Don Longo
Editorial Director
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It’s been a year since George Floyd’s death. The recent conviction of Derek Chauvin has done little to quell the nationwide protests and unrest, which have sparked conversations about race and justice in the workplace and at home.

Convenience store industry companies, many of which have programs in place, are now prioritizing heightened awareness and action around their diversity programs.

To facilitate engagement among all stakeholders in the convenience channel around diversity and inclusion (D&I), Convenience Store News is partnering with exclusive underwriter Altria to launch an industrywide initiative. This new platform is a multi-touch digital and print program that will focus on the business case for c-store retailers and their supplier partners to place a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

The first phase of the program’s rollout has already begun. Modeled after our successful Top Women in Convenience Advisory Board, we’ve started to form a c-store industry Retailer D&I Advisory Board. So far, the board consists of representatives from companies that have exhibited strong diversity among their leadership. Derek Gaskins of Yesway, Elisa Goria of Alimentation Couche-Tard/Circle K, and Treasa Bowers of 7-Eleven are our charter members. Watch for announcements of additional members over the next few months.

The initiative will officially launch June 15 with a special webcast in which I’ll be joined by Gaskins and Jayson Council, a thought-leader on diversity and an associate faculty member at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. We will discuss:

  • Why is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) important in our industry?
  • How do you maximize DEI?
  • What’s missing from current best practices?
  • How important is philanthropy and community activation?
  • From a futurist standpoint, what’s next?
  • What do we need to know about DEI that we don’t know?
  • Where is a good starting point?
  • How do we self-diagnose?
  • How can we leverage data?
  • What are some areas that we can control, micro and macro, to create change?

In addition to a series of educational webcasts, the new CSNews D&I platform will include guest columns in our magazine from D&I experts, and a virtual networking conference.

We believe this new platform will result in real innovation, engagement and action that will improve the convenience store industry. 

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