We did it! At the end of 2022, I quietly made a commitment to myself and, really, to all of you. I committed to highlighting more of the women who make the convenience industry function and indeed excel and to feature more of them on the cover of this magazine.
As I casually mentioned this commitment to my team and others at Winsight, all of them were on board, even suggesting we shout about the goal rather than undertake it quietly. To that end: WE DID IT!
The commitment came on the heels of CSP being recognized by prestigious publishing groups two years running for its diversity, equity and inclusion content. Much of that recognition was for our writing around hiring and advancement of people of color—something else I’m very proud of.
A Bigger Picture
It helped that CSP set its sights on making 2023 our year of the woman in other ways, as well. We knew, even in late 2022, that we would be honoring Natalie Morhous, president of RaceTrac, as our 2023 Retail Leader of the Year (RLOY). She’s led an almost picture-perfect path from a college student reluctant to join the family business to an ambitious, respected and successful leader pushing one of the largest privately owned companies in the country to bigger and better things. We profile Morhous and our annual RLOY dinner in the December issue of CSP magazine. Click here to read the complete story.
Morhous is the first woman to earn the CSP title of Retail Leader of the Year. But that’s not for lack of trying. During the 20 years since we established the honor, we courted several female leaders worthy of the recognition, and for a variety of reasons, the timing never quite worked out.
But there is another issue at play here; truly, the number of women in leadership roles in the convenience store industry are few and far between. As we’ve reported in this publication before, only 26% of C-suite leaders in the United States and Canada are women, according to a Women in the Workplace report from
Palo Alto, California-based Lean In. And Winsight’s own research shows the number of women in executive roles in the c-store industry is even lower—in some cases, much lower.
The numbers are startling, really. And that’s made me proud to aid our events team in developing and executing the inaugural C-Store Women event. CSW in November served as the closing conference of CSP’s year of events. Its development included the launch of a new e-newsletter centered on women working in convenience, the debut of a CSW podcast and the formation of year-round retailer committees that will discuss, research and act on real-world ways to improve those women-in-the-C-suite statistics.
It’s all part of a true effort to identify a problem and seek out a solution, or solutions.
As I write this, I’ve just returned from the CSW event in California. I’ve got to say, the combination of ambition and positivity I witnessed at the event goes a long way to suggest those who have invested in this industrywide effort will achieve significant and lasting results for the betterment of the industry and the people who work in it—male or female.
As if we needed another reason to declare 2023 the year of the woman.
A Personal Note
This will be my last editor’s note for CSP, as I leave Winsight/Informa for new challenges and opportunities. Where, exactly, I will land in the new year, I’m not entirely sure at this point. Perhaps I’ll remain in the c-store industry. But I’ll take this space as a chance to thank those I’ve worked with over the past 23 years(!), learning about and reporting on a truly remarkable channel of retail.
You all bring so much uniqueness to what could easily be a cookie-cutter industry. I thank you for the inspiration, the education and the opportunities to challenge myself and offer my take on all the great (and sometimes dubious) efforts you take.
See you around.
Steve Holtz is the editor-in-chief for Winsight's convenience retail group. He has been covering the convenience-store industry for more than two decades and the beverage category since 2004. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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