As a women-owned business, Impact 21 entered the convenience channel in 1998 when there was little ethnic diversity and few women in leadership roles. In an industry predominately led by men, Lesley Saitta, co-owner, and I realized we had our work cut out for us. Reflecting on the past 25 years, we’ve seen growth, engagement and diversity come forward. I’d like to think we played a role in that shift through our organizational development for key retailers and suppliers. While not as systematic today, we still have opportunities as an industry to break down barriers and shatter the glass ceiling for women, particularly around leadership positions and pay. It is critical that we support companies and programs like CSW to engage and empower women.
The CSW conference is a testament to the industry's ongoing transformation to elevate women. The conference is a platform for networking, sharing knowledge and driving change to address the industry's gender disparities. This event and the following year-long team meetings are vital to furthering its mission of promoting gender equality within the convenience-store channel.
Impact 21’s Liza Salaria, practice lead, category management and foodservice, attended and brought more than 20 years of insights to share with other women on building careers in the convenience channel. Kevin Farley, chief client officer, also attended, promoting the essential role of men in leveling the playing field for women. This includes the support and advocacy by men to foster a more inclusive industry culture. Impact 21 joins CSW in encouraging dialogue support and mentorship opportunities for women in the sector.
The power of woman supporting woman is undeniable. What we strive to instill in women is the importance of women putting their own voice in the room and advocating for themselves and for one another. Remember that it is OK to challenge the status quo and to seek the compensation, equity and respect you deserve. You are worth it; neverunderestimate yourself. As women, we have a place at the table, and we will continue to bring tremendous value to the industry, demonstrating that gender diversity leads to innovation and success. Impact 21 is dedicated to supporting women in finding their voices, negating stereotypes and transforming the convenience-store landscape. Empower women and be part of the change.
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