Top Women in Convenience: Rising Stars

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Top Women in Convenience: Rising Stars


NATIONAL REPORT — The Convenience Store News Top Women in Convenience program celebrates a diverse array of women — from retailer, supplier and wholesaler companies — making a positive impact in the convenience retail channel.

This year’s judging panel selected 22 senior-level leaders, five mentors, 18 rising stars, five store managers and three single-store owners to receive the esteemed title of Top Women in Convenience for 2015. Like last year, the panel also chose five nominees as the best of the best from among all the nominations and awarded them the title of Women of the Year.

Here are the 2015 honorees in the rising stars category:

Category Manager, Lunch Daypart, Holiday Stationstores

  • Anderson’s responsibilities include management of more than 500 Holiday stores in 10 states, for which she develops and drives retail initiatives by implementing programs for fresh food, cold and frozen dispensed beverages, and 21 branded fast-food locations.
  • She also creates operational tools such as product guidelines, foodservice training programs, planograms, company contest initiatives and store sampling events.
  • After two years of focusing on Holiday’s culinary, freshness and integrity in ingredients, Anderson has changed the culture of the company’s food program.

Director, Human Resources Integration, CST Brands Inc.

  • Andrade oversees all aspects of human resources integration for new stores and industry acquisitions, as well as benefits, payroll, employee relations and training for new employees integrated through acquisitions.
  • She has 18 years of experience in various human resources leadership roles in industries including health care, professional services, hospitality and education.
  • Andrade is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Southern Management Association.

Manager, Credit Card Services, Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co.

  • Andrus is responsible for payment card acceptance, payment accounting, payment chargebacks and planning around payment acceptance (for example, EMV).
  • She actively participates with the Merchant Advisory Group and sits on both the Communications and Advocacy committees, as well as the National Petroleum Energy Credit Association’s Retail Program Planning Committee.
  • Andrus previously worked at Alliance Data for nearly 11 years, where she held various positions in merchant banking.

Regional Operations Manager, Turkey Hill Minit Markets, C-stores/Small Format Division, The Kroger Co.

  • Bell, who holds an MBA from Rosemont College, is responsible for the sales, profitability and overall operations of 83 stores in seven markets in central Pennsylvania, as well as implementing business and strategic plans for each district and establishing programs to protect the company’s assets including shrink, security/safety, internal theft and regulatory compliance.
  • After serving in the U.S. Army, Bell began her career in 1995 with Amoco/BP as a field specialist and foodservice coordinator.

Regional Manager, GSP

  • Bowers is responsible for the management of more than 10 retail accounts (Alon Brands, Circle K, QuikTrip, Stripes and Tesoro among them). Her job entails account service, maintaining client relationships, project management and coaching/mentoring the account team, as well as having control over the central U.S. geographical sales/account region, which includes budget oversight and account team management.
  • Under her guidance, GSP won an American Advertising Award in innovative branding for work completed for Stripes.

Account Executive, Procter & Gamble

  • Brackett, who has been with P&G for 30 years, manages the largest portion of its convenience channel business, which includes the Texas/Southern market. Her region is delivering three times the current business performance compared to the U.S.
  • She is one of the Dallas Morning News’ “Community Voices” columnists and is on the Network of Executive Women College Outreach Committee, where she coaches and mentors women in the MBA program.

Category Team Leader, Anheuser-Busch

  • Brown leads all category management functions, including space management, pricing analysis, promotional analysis, assortment and more, and is responsible for beer category growth for the third largest c-store account in the U.S.
  • She specializes in providing shopper-centric retail solutions to drive total store business and consults retail channels by building joint business plans utilizing trade marketing, revenue management, shopper insights, point-of-sale data and space management.

Senior Manager of Consumer Insights, General Mills

  • DeLamielleure oversees a team of six and manages General Mills’ primary and analytic research budgets both internally and externally with key retailers, as well as determines what research the company performs to address key business issues.
  • She won General Mills’ Best Manager of the Year, Champion Award for work on Progresso soup, and has been named manager of General Mills’ mentoring program.

Manager, Strategy & Customer Development, C-store Integrated Supply Chain, Kraft Foods Group

  • Ecker is responsible for the execution and integration of supply chain strategies within Kraft and growth channel customers, with key projects including joint business planning and collaboration on E2E projects driving cost savings and network efficiencies.
  • She has made improvements in leadership in five key areas: Eby-Brown/Armada Dry Network consolidation, c-store bracket pricing audit/compliance, opportunities with McLane Co., customer service and striving for supply chain improvements.

Assistant Marketing Manager, GetGo (Giant Eagle Inc.)

  • Emanuele develops and executes grand-opening launch plans for new GetGo locations and manages communication to store teams for all promotional activities.
  • She presides over a grand-opening budget of more than $1 million, with a main goal of building community excitement about new GetGo locations, including scheduling VIP parties, radio remotes, ribbon-cuttings, sweepstakes and more.
  • She is a member of Giant Eagle’s Young Professional Organization.

Merchandising Manager, Center of Store, GetGo (Giant Eagle Inc.)

  • Irwin establishes the category plan, negotiates marketing agreements and delivers sales and margin goals for the candy and general merchandise/seasonal categories for GetGo. In the past year, the c-store chain’s seasonal business experienced double-digit growth under her watch.
  • Prior to joining GetGo, she spent nine years working in parent company Giant Eagle’s merchandising department.
  • The University of Pittsburgh graduate led the retailer’s United Way campaign in 2014.

Zone Merchandising Leader, 7-Eleven Inc.

  • Jowell manages 7-Eleven’s South Florida zone from a merchandising aspect, which consists of approximately 500 stores.
  • She’s achieved a 9.4-percent increase in revenue and a 9.6-percent increase in gross profit under her tenure, grabbing the top spot within the retailer’s Eastern Region, and is on pace for a second consecutive record-breaking year.
  • A four-year 7-Eleven veteran, she is an active member of the Network of Executive Women.

Regional Operations Manager, Loaf ‘N Jug, C-stores/Small Format Division, The Kroger Co.

  • Lau coordinates daily operations for nine convenience stores (all with gas), as well as four car washes and three food locations that average monthly sales of more than $1.1 million. She also mentors and manages a team of more than 80 associates.
  • Her team won Kroger’s Most Profitable District award in 2013 and 2014 and the Committed to Community award in 2012 and 2014. Lau has also received the President’s Choice Award for her customer-first attitude.

Retail Director, Sales Strategy & Planning, Kellogg Specialty Channels

  • Panfil leads the internal group that collaborates with the Kellogg Specialty Channels’ retail sales team, responsible for driving growth in the c-store, vending and alternative retail channels.
  • She won the 2013 Golden K Award for performance excellence with the internal team and for customer responsibility.
  • The Purdue University graduate participates in the Supply Chain and RQT Task Force. She is also the Southwest community leader for Kellogg’s Women’s Employee Resource Group, Women of Kellogg.

Director, West Area Convenience Business, The Hershey Co.

  • Patrick is responsible for managing and delivering sales targets and financial budgets for The Hershey Co.’s West Area convenience business, which spans from Texas to Oregon.
  • The 10-year sales and category management veteran has held leadership roles at Anheuser Busch In-Bev SA in addition to Hershey.
  • Patrick is involved with several charitable organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Senior Manager, Food Programs & Offers, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.

  • Rodgers leads a team that manages food programs for more than 380 RaceTrac locations. She implements strategies to grow the retailer’s foodservice business via new product development, item optimization and promotions.
  • Rodgers and her team have been instrumental in growing food sales and margins at RaceTrac while reducing product waste. She helped create the c-store chain’s new Speedy Avocado made-to-order foodservice program.
  • She is an active member of RaceTrac’s LEAD women’s initiative.

Category Manager, Cigarettes & Tobacco, Casey’s General Stores Inc.

  • Tonniges is responsible for many facets of Casey’s tobacco category, including analyzing sales and profit margins, negotiating contracts with manufacturers, analyzing competitors and adding new items to the category.
  • A Casey’s veteran of five-plus years, her tobacco product and merchandising decisions are implemented throughout more than 1,850 c-stores in 14 states.
  • The Iowa State University graduate was recently elected to the board of directors for the National Association of Tobacco Outlets.

Senior Category Advisory Manager, The Coca-Cola Co.

  • Williams leads the national account team for Coca-Cola’s second-largest U.S. convenience store customer. She collaborates with the shopper insights team and applies her learnings to identify customer and sales growth opportunities.
  • She helped Coca-Cola earn the honor of “most valuable supplier” for the large c-store retailer’s West Region for the past two years.
  • Prior to joining Coca-Cola, the Emory University MBA graduate was a three-time President’s Award recipient at Abbott Laboratories.