Deb Hall Lefevre knows the parallels between c-stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) more than most retailers.

Prior to becoming Circle K’s chief information officer in 2017, Hall Lefevre spent 15 years driving technology innovation for McDonald’s. Now an abiding retailer, she says the tech crossover between the two industries is apparent.

C-stores and QSRs both need teams that possess a “can-do, store-first mentality” while conducting smooth operations between locations, says Hall Lefevre. Cross-departmental collaboration is also crucial to bring tech to life for both customers and employees in c-stores and QSRs.

Hall Lefevre has embraced Circle K’s mission to make its customers’ and employees’ lives easier through technology. Alongside her global tech team, she aims to simplify, standardize and digitize Circle K’s IT systems. She credits data collection of nearly 9 million daily customer visits as key to understanding consumer buying habits and evolving offerings.

Hall Lefevre has also helped Circle K consolidate service desk functions, implement a networkwide intranet and launch Workday—an HR management software—to simplify employee benefits and training.

Her tech resume is so strong that Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus, describes her to CSP as “a really talented CIO with global perspective.”

Hall Lefevre is not content to rest on her laurels; she is monitoring artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics for future innovation. But none of those would be possible without what she says is the most consequential recent tech development.

“Digital—the mass adoption of mobile [and] social media—has fundamentally changed the way we live, work and play,” she says. “[Digital has] created multi-industry disruption at an incredible pace.”

9 million—Number of daily customer visits to Circle K stores