OPINIONCompany News

New C-Store Women’s Event Fuels Motivation for Change

CSP to share coverage in February magazine
C-Store Women's Event
Photograph by W. Scott Mitchell

In the Barbie movie, powerful and influential positions are all held by women. It was hard not to compare the summer blockbuster, which encourages women to be authentic and self-confident, to the energy at our inaugural CSP C-Store Women event November in Napa, California.

I got chills as I looked around the welcome party on the first night of the conference to see myself surrounded by females—an anomaly at most convenience-store industry events. But, unlike the Barbie movie, in our industry and others, women are not the majority in charge.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the skills to be.

Leading Now CEO Kelly Lockwood Primus and others from her team spoke about why there’s a lack of female representation in c-suite positions, and what we can do to change that.  

The first day was jam packed with speakers and sessions, yet I found myself clinging on to every word. The audience clapped, cheered—and if you’re like me, teared up at some of the moving stories shared on stage. The energy was palpable. Many times, I felt like the people in the room wanted to jump out of their seats.

I was moved hearing stories of women who worked their way up from store clerks to members of their company’s corporate team. I was encouraged as I heard women express their problems and be offered help by others—many times competitors.

I was hopeful seeing that we had male allies there to support us.

I also felt empowered. Not just because of the inspiration I drew from the leaders around me, but because I walked away with more knowledge and tools on how I can advance my career, and the careers of other women and underrepresented groups around me.

Share the Knowledge 

I want to share that knowledge with you, and will be doing that, along with my colleagues, with this continued CSW e-newsletter, our February cover story, stories on the event at CSP Daily News and more.

On the last night of the event, many of us attended an after-dinner party in a wine cave. It brought me so much joy to see women dancing, like we were at a wedding, unapologetically being themselves and feeling comfortable. (Not unlike the “Dance The Night” scene from Barbie.)

For those who were lucky enough to be at the event, one I will look forward to for many years to come, I hope you remember that energy. I hope you stay engaged with your goals and Power Teams, which we assigned to continue this year-long journey. I hope you use what you’ve learned to empower other rising leaders.

One way to do that is by participating in our newly created C-Store Women’s e-newsletter. CSP Associate Editor Rachel Gignac and I are looking for women and men who are willing to share their stories on how they’ve worked to empower women at their companies or a great mentor they’ve had. If you’re interested in talking, please reach out. I’m happy to talk.

Maybe someday the world—or at least the convenience-store industry—will be run by more women than men, just like in Barbie Land. But we have a ways to go. Let’s get to work. 

Hannah Hammond is the senior editor at CSP. Reach her at hannah.hammond@informa.com. 

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