Emily Sheetz doesn’t use the word “disruption.” That’s ironic when you consider that she’s in charge of a team tasked with disrupting the way Sheetz Inc. conducts its business. “It’s a buzzword … and buzzwords have a way of losing their meaning,” she says. “So we use ‘transformational.’ ”
As associate vice president in charge of strategy development and execution for Sheetz Inc., she is building an innovation incubator team that will be charged with developing new ideas that can take the company and industry somewhere it’s never been before.
“We’re talking about more transformational innovation, not incremental innovation,” Sheetz says. “Incremental innovation is … the responsibility of our core business.” This new team, which will begin its mission this spring, will be tasked with thinking way outside the box, like a startup.
“One of the things that made us really successful in the past was the fact that we were smaller and we had very entrepreneurial leaders at the helm,” she says. “They would do anything that they could to grow the business. … They had a lot of failures, but they had a lot of successes, too. And that led to a lot of great growth. That growth, though, leads to more bureaucracy, and that bureaucracy can stifle that entrepreneurial spirit.”
The innovation incubator team will be given creative space away from the bureaucracy, all part of Sheetz’s vision statement to “put Sheetz as we know it today out of business.”
Q: What was the last question you asked Alexa?
A: What is Diwali? Answer: The Hindu festival of lights.
Q: What’s the oldest piece of technology you refuse to get rid of?
A: Pencil and paper.
Q: On a scale of one to 10, how tired are you of hearing the word “disruption”?