Deb Hall Lefevre, Chief Information Officer, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K
LAVAL, Quebec — Deb Hall Lefevre has always been drawn to a career in technology because she sees technology as the tip of the spear in driving huge, positive change.
"Digital has changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we play. We are all living digital lifestyles. Today, the pace of that change is faster than ever… and I love that, too," she told Convenience Store News. "I believe we are uniquely positioned to grow and to disrupt what convenience, or what 'making it easy,' means to our customers and our employees."
A formidable force in technology, Lefevre became part of Alimentation Couche-Tard's Circle K team in 2017, after spending the beginning of her 30-year career in technology in the telecommunications and fast-food industries.
As Circle K's first-ever chief information officer, the focus of the role was at first more on traditional technology work, such as standardization and support following a history of acquisitions and integrations. Today, each day is different for Lefevre, but with a few key themes. Her core responsibilities are to develop the strategy and priorities for Circle K's technology organization in close partnership with her functional peers, lead and develop the talent in the organization, and deliver secure and reliable solutions.
"As technology begins driving the strategy to disrupt retail, I'm excited at the opportunity to lead this function inside a convenience company that is developing new solutions to seize the benefits of scale, harness the power of data, and improve the customer experience," she expressed.
"While I have only been in the industry for a couple years, I have found a can-do, humble and friendly culture at Circle K, where teamwork shines every day," she added. "While it can be challenging that we are driving growth while staying lean, I find that the can-do attitude across the company makes Circle K feel like an energetic start-up on most days."
Over the course of her career, Lefevre has had a broad set of mentors and sponsors who she said have served as "loving critics," providing constructive and tough feedback that she needed to hear in order to continue growing and learning. She encourages other industry women looking to rise through the ranks to always remember that feedback is a gift.
"Find various people you trust to give you constructive feedback throughout your career. Build a ‘board of directors' with a mix of mentors and sponsors to ensure you have a diverse set of coaches who can also provide opportunities," she suggests. "Additionally, I'd say it's very important to be an effective communicator. I like the tagline 'Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone!'"