TWIC Trailblazer: Casey’s General Stores
NATIONAL REPORT — Now in its seventh year, the Convenience Store News Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards program has recognized nearly 300 of the best and brightest women making a positive impact on not only the companies they work for, but also the entire convenience retail channel.
TWIC is the only program that recognizes exceptional female leaders, rising stars and mentors among retailer, supplier and distributor firms in the convenience store industry, from the C-suite to the store level to the independent entrepreneur.
In TWIC Trailblazers, our new quarterly feature, we spotlight a c-store industry retailer, supplier or distributor company that is leading the way in championing gender parity.
Our inaugural subject is Casey’s General Stores Inc., the Ankeny, Iowa-based chain of more than 2,100 convenience stores across 16 states, which was recently honored by The Women's Forum of New York during its biennial Breakfast of Corporate Champions. Casey’s was recognized for advancing gender parity in the boardroom, where women occupy 55 percent of the seats on its corporate board, far exceeding the national average of 23.4 percent.
Casey's current board of directors includes five women: Diane Bridgewater, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer of LCS; Cara Heiden, retired co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Larree Renda, retired executive vice president of Safeway Inc.; Judy Schmeling, former chief operations officer of HSN Inc. and former president of Cornerstone Brands; and Allison Wing, chief consumer officer of Bright Health.
CSNews recently chatted with Katie Petru, Casey’s director of communications, about the honor.
CSNews: How does Casey's feel about this recognition?
Petru: We are honored to be part of an outstanding group of organizations that are reshaping the makeup of America’s boardrooms. Additionally, we are proud to have women represented across our broader organization, as women make up approximately 65 percent of our total team members. We also recognize that there is still work to be done and we challenge leaders to continue championing gender parity throughout their organizations.
CSNews: What are some of the ways Casey's has been able to achieve having women occupy 55 percent of the seats on its corporate board?
Petru: We are focused on casting a wide net for diverse leaders who have the experience and background to help us be a better retailer. Our board recruitment process is first focused on the right professionals to provide the oversight we need, along with a diverse perspective.
CSNews: Are there any new initiatives planned for 2020 around gender parity?
Petru: At Casey’s, we are committed to being an inclusive and diverse workplace. There are a few great examples to help demonstrate this. Women Inspired to Lift and Lead (iWILL) is one of our employee resource groups that focuses on educating, inspiring and encouraging women to set goals, strive to move higher in the organization, become more active in the community, and foster healthy work relationships. We regularly hold professional development events and offer philanthropic opportunities. For example, later this month, we’re hosting an event on financial literacy. In addition, our talent management team has strategic relationships with groups like Women in Technology to help identify and attract talent from different backgrounds.
Is your company leading the way in championing gender parity? If so, we want to hear about your efforts. Contact Editor-in-Chief Linda Lisanti at [email protected].