CHICAGO — Convenience Store News is introducing The Convenience Inclusion Initiative to bring together three of its industry-leading programs — Top Women in Convenience, Future Leaders in Convenience, and The Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion — under one umbrella for maximum impact.
Ten years ago, CSNews launched its Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) program as a way to spotlight the integral role women play in convenience retailing and celebrate individuals across retailer, distributor and supplier businesses for outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry at large.
The inaugural TWIC class consisted of 30 honorees. Last year, the program celebrated its biggest class yet — more than triple the honorees of that inaugural year — and presented the first-ever Top Women in Convenience Corporate Empowerment Award, recognizing an industry company for its commitment to female leadership and advancement.
Building on the success of the TWIC program, CSNews introduced its Future Leaders in Convenience (FLIC) program in 2018 to celebrate and help develop the next generation of c-store industry leaders (aged 35 or under at the time of nomination). Eight up-and-coming convenience retail professionals were honored that first year. Last year, 33 individuals from convenience channel retailer, distributor and supplier companies were recognized.
Never content to rest on its laurels, CSNews saw the opportunity once again to champion the ongoing evolution of the convenience store industry with the 2021 debut of an initiative to facilitate engagement among all stakeholders in the channel around diversity and inclusion (D&I). Launched after more than a year of nationwide protests and serious discussions about race and injustice in America, the platform is designed to be a catalyst for discussion, innovation, engagement and action.
Since its inception, CSNews has established an advisory board composed of thought leaders from prominent retailer and supplier companies in the channel; published educational columns and special reports on various D&I topics; presented a number of insightful and informational webinars; conducted research on the state of D&I in the industry; and more.
“We are proud of the programs we have established to help the convenience store industry recognize its top talent, foster the next generation of leaders, and understand the importance of having a diverse workforce that reflects the local communities it serves,” said Paula Lashinsky, vice president and brand director for CSNews. “The Convenience Inclusion Initiative is the next step to bring these programs together, so we can amplify content and programming.”
In addition to the current efforts, which include advisory boards, educational columns, webinars, events and more, The Convenience Inclusion Initiative will focus on identifying opportunities to co-locate live programming where key industry executives are assembling.
The mission of The Convenience Inclusion Initiative is to champion a modern-day convenience store industry where current and emerging leaders foster an inclusive work culture that celebrates differences, allows team members to bring their whole selves to work, and enables companies to benefit from diversity of thought and background.
Companies interested in sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are encouraged to contact Lashinsky at [email protected].