NATIONAL REPORT — The importance of improving the quality of leadership by making connections with others was a common refrain during the third-annual Convenience Store News Future Leaders in Convenience (FLIC) awards presentation.
During his opening address, Matt Domingo, senior director of external relations for RAI Trade Marketing Services Co., a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., noted that the company's culture and commitment to personal development and the development of others is the reason he has been there for 20 years and the reason he plans to make it the only company he works for.
"Leaders are made up first for who they are," Domingo said, and not for what they know or how much they know. "It's OK to say 'I don't know.'"
He admitted that he found this to be difficult early in his career. However, he soon realized that being comfortable with acknowledging when he didn't know something resulted in a better response in the long run. Following up and finding the answer built credibility and trust with his team.
Domingo challenged this year's FLIC winners to push themselves every day by regularly seeking feedback and thinking of ways they can help others improve, whether or not someone is their direct report.
"I'm always trying to make those around me better," he said.
If young leaders continually look for opportunities to coach or elevate others, they'll find that their careers are made not by how much they accomplish, but rather by the number of people they impact, according to Domingo. They should also consider taking lateral but cross-functional roles rather than constantly striving for the next step up, as this will provide a more solid career foundation.
He ended his remarks by repeating advice once given to him by his grandfather: "Never say no to an opportunity to take on something more." This will help show what your full potential and capabilities really are, he said.
The goal of the Future Leaders in Convenience program is to help develop the next generation of convenience retail leaders, aged 35 or younger, by providing a forum for talented young business people to hone their leadership skills, while recognizing the achievements of a select few emerging leaders. This year's honorees were nominated by their peers and selected for the ways in which they are already significantly contributing to their companies and the c-store industry as a whole.
The Dec. 10 virtual awards presentation celebrated the 2020 FLIC class — the largest yet consisting of 20 up-and-comers and young seasoned executives from c-store chains of all sizes. Their roles range from a company president, to a chief financial officer, to category managers, and marketing and human resources execs.
- Brad Campbell, Category Leader, Tobacco, Sheetz Inc.
- Shelby Clayton, Store Operations Supervisor, Casey's General Stores Inc.
- Ashley Duffy, Regional Manager, Global Partners LP
- Caroline Filchak, Director of Wholesale Operations, Clipper Petroleum
- Anthony Gross, Senior Category Manager, Casey's General Stores Inc.
- Lisa Ham, Senior Category Manager, Grocery & Center Store, Yesway
- Christopher Hartman, Director of Fuels, Forecourt & Advertising, Rutter's
- Caleb Hill, District Manager, StrasGlobal
- Chiquita Jones, Director of Operations, Heartland Business Unit, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K
- Lisa Lem, Category Manager, Foodservice & Dispensed Beverages, Tri Star Energy
- Michael Maggiacomo, Senior Product Manager, 7NOW Digital Operations, 7-Eleven Inc.
- Norah McNeil, Human Resources Manager, OnCue Marketing LLC
- Alicia Mowder, Head of U.S. Marketing, Circle K Global Division, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K
- Michael O'Donnell, Area Sales Manager, Empire Petroleum Partners LLC
- Brian Prevatt, Chief Financial Officer, Parker's Convenience
- Ryan Razowsky, President, Rmarts LLC
- Amanda Shymanski, Senior Category Manager, QuickChek Corp.
- Benjamin Stein, Regional Manager, Coen Oil Co.
- Jack Walter, Category Manager, Kwik Trip Inc.
- Brittany Wilchar, Operations Supervisor & Training Admin, Lassus Bros. Oil Inc.
Greg Parker, the 2020 Convenience Store News Hall of Fame retailer inductee and president and CEO of Savannah, Ga.-based Parker's, commended this year's FLIC honorees for their commitment to growth, and shared some of his own thoughts on leadership and what he's learned since founding his business nearly 45 years ago.
First, Parker said leaders need to focus on building "a great time." His company processes 125,000 transactions per day and is judged on each one, with criteria including cleanliness, speed of service, technology functioning correctly, and other factors. It's something the Parker's leadership team all understands.
Even with a team in place, leaders should be "constant evaluators of talent" and look out for people who could be future team members, he advised.
Leaders also should seek out mentors and build a "personal board of directors," people who can help them become better versions of themselves. "People love being asked for advice," Parker said.
The Hall of Famer also shared that leaders should establish a personal scorecard and set goals for themselves. The key is to make those goals both measurable and achievable, so it's possible to accurately evaluate progress.
And lastly, Parker said leaders and their organizations need to deeply understand what their company brand is and what their personal brands are. If they are not defining their brand, someone else is doing it for them.
RAI Trade Marketing Services Co. served as the founding and presenting sponsor of the 2020 Future Leaders in Convenience program.
Click here for an on-demand replay of the virtual event.