NATIONAL REPORT — Convenience Store News will welcome 42 more female leaders into its Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) family this fall.
Now in its sixth year, TWIC is the first and only convenience store industry awards program that recognizes women making outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry overall.
Honorees are selected based on nominations from their peers that illustrate a candidate's innovative corporate initiatives, extraordinary financial and strategic accomplishments, astute problem-solving acumen, exceptional performance and selfless charitable participation, among other attributes that go above and beyond the call of duty.
This year's judging panel selected five Women of the Year, 17 Senior-Level Leaders, 15 Rising Stars and five Mentors to be inducted into the 2019 TWIC class.
This year's Mentors are:
Operations Supervisor, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
Davis is a 24-year RaceTrac veteran. She joined the team after completing graduate school at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, when she accidentally dialed the incorrect fax number to send her resume.
She oversees 12 stores and 172 employees in her area. While her nominator noted that Davis' responsibilities are difficult to detail because she makes everything a priority, and does so gracefully, Davis sums up her role as simply: to make all of her general managers the very best general managers they can be.
Described as a "rock" for the team and often referred to as a RaceTrac "legend," Davis is known for her passionate guidance and fervor for the brand. She is often looked to for answers. However, she takes a different approach; she asks the questions and then watches her team members break it down and find their own answers.
A 30-year c-store industry veteran, DesJardine joined Pester Marketing in 2016. Previously, she held the role of category manager/buyer for Western Convenience Stores and, before that, spent 21 years at McLane Co. Inc.
She leads a team of three women and one man —a rarity in the industry, her nominator emphasized. Under DesJardine's leadership, her team is smashing its sales goals and making a name for itself all around the Rocky Mountain region.
Mentorship plays a large role in DesJardine's professional and personal life. All of her team members are millennials, and she is committed to their success and development so that they may become future leaders.
Senior Manager, Training & People Development, Great Lakes Division, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K
Dunn oversees the training department for Circle K's Great Lakes Division, which consists of 425 stores. She also manages the Customer Service Mystery Shop program with an outside vendor, and is the Learning Partner for her division for the company’s new human resources system, Workday Learning.
Dunn has worked in the retail industry for nearly 40 years. During that time, she's been recognized with numerous awards, from Manager of the Year to Excellence in Service.
Outside of work, she is very active in her church and demonstrates a strong commitment to her community.
Product Director, Confection & Regulated Beverages, McLane Co. Inc.
LaGrone has been with McLane for 21 years and during that time, she’s worked with various product categories, including snacks, beverages, grocery, confection, health and beauty care/general merchandise and foodservice. Prior to joining McLane, she served as a merchandise manager for JCPenney for 13 years.
She oversees 18 teammates and managed $7.6 billion in purchases in 2018. Among her responsibilities are managing assets, category management and program development.
LaGrone resides in Temple, Texas, and has one daughter. She is active in Altrusa International as president of the Temple Club.
Training Manager, Rutter's
Rutter's has recognized Warnken for persistently striving for personal growth by actively seeking new roles with greater responsibility. Today, as training manager, she organizes, plans and executes training for all store staff, as well as maintains and develops new training curriculum based on the needs of the stores and staff.
Warnken's nominator lauded her for being "an influencer" among her fellow employees, working tirelessly to develop strong employees, and recognizing Warnken as a mentor to many restaurant managers throughout her tenure.
Outside of work, she is a history buff and is passionate about donating to and volunteering for the Humane Society.