CSNews Honors 30 as Top Women in Convenience

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Just as women are becoming more of a presence in convenience stores as shoppers, females are becoming more of a presence in key leadership roles across the convenience store industry.

Women have long held a significant percentage of the store manager positions in the convenience channel and now, they’re making great strides in middle- and upper-management positions, breaking the glass ceiling in what was once a male-dominated business.

To honor and bring awareness to the achievements of females in c-store retailing, Convenience Store News presents the industry's first Top Women in Convenience awards program, recognizing a diverse array of females in the industry, from leaders to mentors to role models.

Nominations were accepted for retailers, suppliers and wholesalers in three categories: senior-level executives (positions of vice president and above), rising stars (job titles above store manager, but below vice president), and store managers.

Based on achievements during the previous 12 months, nominators were asked to illustrate the candidate's innovative corporate initiatives, extraordinary financial and strategic accomplishments, astute problem-solving acumen, exceptional performance and selfless charitable participation, along with other attributes that go above and beyond the call of duty.

Judging was conducted by CSNews in conjunction with The Network of Executive Women (NEW). The judging panel selected 15 senior-level executives, eight rising stars and two store managers to receive the esteemed title of Top Women in Convenience for 2014.

The senior-level executive honorees are:

  • Angela Angelilli, executive vice president; Royal Buying Group, Lisle, Ill.
  • Mary Banmiller, retail operations director; Warrenton Oil Co., Warrenton, Mo.
  • Paula Conti, vice president of customer service; PDI, Temple, Texas
  • Lucia Romenello Crater, director of sales, convenience; KIND Healthy Snacks, New York
  • Susan Curry, vice president of operations; XYIENCE, Las Vegas
  • Sonja Hubbard, CEO; E-Z Mart Stores Inc., Texarkana, Texas
  • Jennie Jones, vice president of marketing; S&D Coffee & Tea, Concord, N.C.
  • Kris Kingsbury, marketing & merchandising manager; Robinson Oil Co., Santa Clara, Calif.
  • Amy Lane, chief operating officer; The Parker Cos., Savannah, Ga.
  • Lori Lunt, division manager; Alliance Energy LLC, Norwalk, Conn.
  • Mary Szarmach, vice president, trade marketing & government relations; Smoker Friendly International, Boulder, Colo.
  • Wendy Redmond, director of sales; S&D Coffee & Tea, Concord, N.C.
  • Debbie Robins, CEO & president; Century Distributors
  • Yvette Spears, vice president, national retail sales; Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta
  • Kathy Williams, vice president, national sales; Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta

The rising star honorees are:

  • Jeannie Amerson, advertising & loyalty manager; Flash Foods Inc., Waycross, Ga.
  • Brittany Bayley-Murray, buyer & category manager; Martin & Bayley, Carmi, Ill.
  • Madalena Ferreira, director of convenience store operations; Bobby & Steve’s Auto World, Minneapolis
  • Tanja Gassenmaier, district manager; The Parker Cos., Savannah, Ga.
  • Carly Goebel, category buyer; GetGo & Giant Eagle Express, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Jedy Majovsky, merchandising specialist; GetGo, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Cecilia Ottenweller, c-store specialist & district leader; GetGo, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Mila Spencer, benefits manager; Kwik Trip Inc., La Crosse, Wis.

The store manager honorees are:

  • Diane Hank, store manager; L&P Convenient Store, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
  • Jan Phipps, store manager; Autumn Grove Tiger Mart/Subway, Salisbury, Md.

In addition, the panel chose five nominees as the best of the best from among all the nominations and awarded them the title of Women of the Year.

The CSNews Women of the Year are:

  • Kim Bowers, president & CEO; CST Brands Inc., San Antonio
  • Gwen Forman, vice president of marketing; Cumberland Farms Inc., Framingham, Mass.  
  • Allison Moran, CEO; RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., Atlanta
  • Barbara Poremba, vice president, national retail sales, Foodservice in Retail Center of Excellence; Coca-Cola Refreshments, Atlanta
  • Jennifer Rhoads, CEO; Ohio Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Association, Columbus

Look in the June issue of Convenience Store News for profiles on all the winners.