Finding Common Ground

Convenience Store News expands the Convenience Inclusion Initiative.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs have long been an area of divisiveness among Americans, but the debate reached a new fever pitch earlier this year when billionaires, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and investor Mark Cuban, engaged in a heated social media battle over the merits of DEI programs, with Musk calling Cuban a "racist" for championing such initiatives. 

No matter your position on formal DEI programs, I think almost everyone can agree that:

  1. No one should experience bias or be discriminated against in the workplace; and 
  2. All individuals deserve to feel that they can bring their full selves to work. 

Since June 2021, Convenience Store News has been spearheading an industrywide initiative to facilitate engagement among all stakeholders in the channel around diversity and inclusion (D&I). At the time, we were hearing from retailers, distributors and suppliers in the industry that they wanted to make their organizations more diverse and inclusive, but they didn’t know where or how to start. So, we launched this program to be a catalyst for discussion, engagement and action. 

In March of last year, we introduced the Convenience Inclusion Initiative to bring together our diversity and inclusion program and our Top Women in Convenience and Future Leaders in Convenience programs under one umbrella for maximum impact. 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 — in short, an industry for all. 

This year, we're expanding the Convenience Inclusion Initiative by kicking off a year-round campaign under the theme of "Talk. Listen. Understand. Act." 

To keep the momentum going all year long, we feel it's important to provide, at a minimum, monthly programming. We'll be diversifying the way we deliver content this year, too. While you will still find columns in the magazine, we'll also be exploring avenues like videos, podcasts, training sessions, personal stories, workshops, social media and more.

In our March issue, we debuted our new Diversity & Inclusion Pulse Study, which will be fielded annually and is designed to investigate the current state of D&I in the industry and capture the sentiments of retailer, distributor, manufacturer and service/solution provider employees and employers at all levels — from the C-suite to the c-store. 

If you have a story to tell, I'm ready to talk and listen. Drop me a line. 

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