FOUNDING AND PRESENTING SPONSOR
This year’s record class of 25 honorees overcomes challenges to excel
across all areas of the industry.
The past 20 months have been anything but routine. In the face of supply chain challenges and labor woes, against the backdrop of the still-spreading coronavirus, the convenience channel has needed strong leadership more than ever.
At the fourth-annual Future Leaders in Convenience Summit, held
Nov. 11 in Des Moines, Iowa, Convenience Store News honored the largest class yet in its 2021 Future Leaders in Convenience awards program. The group included 25 c-store retailer executives — all 35 years old or younger — who are already proving their leadership skills on multiple levels.
They excel across all areas of the industry — from category management and marketing to operations and technology — and they have one thing in common: they are all ready to take up the reins to lead the industry into the coming years, regardless of the challenges.
The 2021 Future Leaders in Convenience are:
• Cartlidge, who has been with Wawa for 11 years, leads a team of floor planning coordinators and is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of merchandising purchase functions, the vendor communication process, and all JDA/Blue Yonder floor planning activities. In this role, she delivers on expectations for new stores, remodels, major marketing category resets, and corporate initiatives and rollouts.
• A forward thinker with a strong focus on process improvement and automation, Cartlidge was the recipient of Wawa’s highest recognition, the Wings of Excellence award, in 2015 for her leadership on a new shelving and ordering automation process, which continues to save roughly 600 labor hours per year.
• She graduated from Bloomsburg University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is slated to graduate from Saint Joseph’s University in December 2022 with a master’s degree in marketing focused on customer analytics and insights.
Supervisor of JDA &
• Clinch joined 7-Eleven in 2019 as the category manager for beer overseeing the East Coast. While driving beer strategy and focusing on digital opportunities, she was part of the team that launched first-to-industry offers bundling food and beer for customers.
• Her passion to innovate and evolve 7-Eleven’s product offerings has turned the convenience retailer into a
go-to destination for hard seltzer, which outpaced the industry for the past two years. According to her nominator, Clinch challenges the status quo, thinks outside of the box, leads her peers to push their boundaries, and has turned 7-Eleven into a leader within the alcohol marketplace.
• Prior to 7-Eleven, the Texas Tech University graduate worked for JCPenney for nearly a decade, where she was responsible for planning assortments, pricing strategies, and establishing and building supplier relationships.
• Crandall is responsible for leading the development of products, programs and services to generate sales and drive financial growth in the candy and snacks category for RaceTrac’s fleet of 560 stores. She manages the ongoing implementation, execution, maintenance
and measurement of all elements within the category, and is also responsible for maintaining and growing category margin and units.
• The category manager says she loves many things about her role, but some of her favorite aspects are supporting RaceTrac stores with exciting innovation and programming, building relationships with manufacturers, and launching creative solutions and programming to continue to grow sales for her category.
• The University of Alabama graduate is lauded for being a standout manager to two associate category managers and making time to support their development.
Candy & Snacks
RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
• With more than 10 years of operational experience, Durr provides support to store operations by launching new initiatives and process improvements that strive for operational excellence. She is part of the Heartland Business Unit (BU) management team and collaborates with directors and BU leaders daily to deliver value to customers and shareholders.
• Durr, who holds an MBA from Governors State University, is always looking for ways to organize stores, make it easy for customers and team members, and encourage engagement through electronic platforms and social media. Some of her accomplishments within the past year include the launch of gamified training, task planner, smart safe implementation, and sustainability initiatives.
• In addition to delivering tangible results, she is passionate about helping others. She’s been instrumental in providing leadership for the ACT Women’s Council, and developed a strong relationship with the Children Memorial Network. In 2021, Heartland BU was recognized for raising more than $500,000 for the organization.
Operations Support & Excellence Manager
• Floyd joined 7-Eleven in 2017 as a merchandise business systems associate and quickly worked his way up to the role of promotions support specialist. In 2020, he served as a category support supervisor for alcohol, dairy and frozen products. After only three months, he was promoted to his current position of associate category manager and now oversees 7-Eleven’s frozen food and ice category.
• Floyd has made significant contributions to the dairy/frozen team at 7-Eleven. Key among them is new reporting/analysis of data, white space identification, and seeking out innovation and learning through testing. His efforts have enabled the c-store chain to lead in market-share growth in the ice category.
• During his time at the University of North Texas, Floyd was a member of the American Marketing Association and the Sports Marketing Association.
Associate Category Manager, Frozen Food & Ice
• While only 32 years old, Hansen has worked in the convenience store industry for more than 15 years. In 2006, she joined a small family-owned company that was later sold to Jenkins Oil Co., operator of RallyStop. During her tenure, she has climbed her way up the corporate ladder from cashier, to store manager, to category manager, to her current role where she oversees the day-to-day operations of the company’s 13 c-stores, one truck stop, two quick-service restaurants, and one full-service restaurant.
• RallyStop General Manager Kurtis Maxwell says Hansen “has been instrumental in growing [RallyStop] from three to 13 c-stores and one truck stop in the past few years and has developed policies and procedures to unify all locations under her leadership. She has created a culture of exceptionalism in helping us develop a cohesive brand image across the many sizes and layouts of the stores we have purchased.”
• Hansen is a member of NACS and NATSO. She is the mother of two young children, has competed in drag racing, and holds a cosmetology degree.
Chief Operations Officer
• Hassan assists in developing, reviewing, improving and enforcing best practices and procedures across H&S Energy’s 100-plus locations. He also spearheads technology projects, overseeing development, integration, implementation and training, along with working with the marketing and purchasing departments to secure vendor support with promotions for its Power Market loyalty program.
• Despite the difficult 2020 environment, Hassan worked tirelessly through the past year to launch several technology initiatives, including a proprietary mobile app, a loyalty program for H&S Energy’s Power Market locations, multi-platform home delivery programs, and the integration of a tablet-based communication and reporting tool for store use.
• Hassan received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of California Irvine and an MBA from the University of California San Diego.
Director of Operations
H&S Energy LLC
• Hendricks entered the convenience store industry in 2015 after working at General Mills. Today, as head of marketing and merchandising for the Northern Tier Business Unit at Couche-Tard, she drives the business forward through the rollout of critical initiatives, such as the new “Fresh Food, Fast” program, loyalty and traffic efforts, fuel alliance partnerships, and operational marketing strategies.
• She served as the internal and external project lead for the Holiday Rewards loyalty program launch in 2019 and oversees management of the initiative. Hendricks is also a key team member of Circle K’s text program, which has proven to be a strong engagement and communication tool with customers outside the store.
• In addition to serving as the co-lead for the Northern Tier BU COVID-19 Fatigue Team, Hendricks is an active volunteer at the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and a member of the Japanese American Citizens League and the Angel Foundation.
Director of Marketing
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K
• Jindal contributes to 7-Eleven’s digitization effort with product strategy and thought leadership on its Fuel Loyalty program. Over the past year, he has been responsible for leading the inaugural Fuel Loyalty program through the 7Rewards app. The initiative enables 7Rewards members to pay for fuel contact-free through the app via a mobile pay option or Siri shortcuts on their Apple iPhone.
• From the first quarter of 2020 to date, under Jindal’s ownership, 7-Eleven’s Fuel Loyalty program has grown from a one-store pilot to a national program encompassing 1,950 stores. During this time, he supported the launch of a number of regional pilots to learn which features drive value for both customers and 7-Eleven.
• Previously a resident of India, Jindal obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani in 2009. After moving to the United States, he received an MBA from Southern Methodist University in 2018.
Digital Product Manager,
• Kobayashi is responsible for all retail technology spanning point-of-sale, network, hardware and security across Maverik’s 370 stores in 11 western states. He and his team of 16 direct reports successfully implemented several initiatives in the past year, including deployment of EMV technology at Maverik’s fuel dispensers, converting 4,883 fuel positions across 366 locations; and the rollout of 428 self-checkout units at 223 stores.
• In 2014, Kobayashi joined Maverik as a retail product development manager before being promoted to senior manager of retail technology, and then moving into his current role. Twice during his tenure at Maverik, he has been awarded “Defender of the Legend,” a recognition for exceeding store support expectations.
• An active member of NACS and Connexus, Kobayashi also participates regularly in industry share groups, including the Merchant Advisory Group, National Retail Federation, PDI User Group, and IT Study Share Group.
Director of Retail Technology
• Lauded as a diverse financial leader, Lawson not only oversees Neon Marketplace’s accounting, but also expanded her scope to lead the financial, fuel, marketing and pricebook aspects of the operator’s PDI Software rollout. She also built out the company’s category management process for packaged goods, and led an RFP process to optimize its supply chain, changing many vendors and renegotiating several contracts.
• Peter Rasmussen, director of operations for Neon Marketplace, said: “Shanelle’s leadership, ambition and ability to bring enthusiasm and success to so many parts of the business is incredible, and I have no doubt she will rise to senior leadership and do amazing things for the c-store industry.”
• Prior to Neon Marketplace, Lawson worked as an accountant for Procaccianti Cos. She gives back to her community by helping families struggling with addiction and advocating for overdose awareness.
• Reporting to Parker’s director of marketing, Leffler’s sphere of influence is loyalty and marketing. She manages and executes multichannel loyalty communications with the chain’s customers, PumpPal members and Parker’s Rewards mobile app users. Under her leadership, the retailer recently added 45,000 new Parker’s Rewards members.
• Leffler joined Parker’s in August 2016 as a marketing assistant and graphic designer, creating digital content, in-store signage and managing ParkersKitchen.com, in addition to assisting in the launch of the new Parker’s Rewards program in 2018. She was promoted to loyalty and brand manager in July 2019, playing an integral role in helping Parker’s launch mobile ordering on the Parker’s Rewards mobile app. In September 2021, her role was expanded to marketing manager. She now oversees all advertising channels, marketing campaigns, and art department
• The Savannah College of Art and Design graduate is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. She also serves as a core volunteer in the Keep Savannah Clean anti-litter public-private initiative, and plays a pivotal role in Parker’s Fueling the Community charitable giving program.
Marketing Manager Parker’s
• Leading a team of 15, Matthews’ execution of her daily duties has significant influence over the store experience at RaceTrac. She’s a key member of the retailer’s Portfolio Committee, which drives strategic oversight of all capital projects tied to store design, remodels and store growth. She also serves as a key resource for many strategic initiatives, such as RaceTrac’s drive-thru, self-checkout and online ordering projects.
• During her tenure with RaceTrac, Matthews has grown the operator’s competencies in architecture and design. She’s been involved in the design and construction of nearly 300 new stores, 250 large-scale remodels, and a significant number of smaller-scale remodels. She developed a new RaceWay store prototype, and is in the midst of developing the newest store prototype for RaceTrac.
• Matthews has played a major role in the ongoing test-and-learn of RaceTrac’s food offers, including a kitchen redesign of its former made-to-order food offer and its current grab-and-go program. She’s also added value to RaceTrac in exciting realms such as the design of its only city market store and mobile-only stores.
Director of Architecture,
Design & Store Planning
RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
• Among her primary responsibilities, McFarland leads Casey’s fresh bakery and refrigerated snacking programs. She is lauded for finding new ways to drive bakery sales, while protecting Casey’s core products, that impact both the top and bottom line while leveraging brand equities.
• In under a year, McFarland was promoted to her current role based on profitable optimizations she immediately made to her categories upon arriving at Casey’s. Her “resilience, dedication and determination — all while having fun — differentiates her, making her a future leader not only at Casey’s, but also in the convenience industry,” according to Steven Purvis, Casey’s category director, food and beverage development.
• McFarland volunteers with Operation Impact 22, an organization that aids veterans, firefighters and police with mental health wellbeing. She’s also volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House for several years, cooking meals and preparing homes for new residents, and raised awareness for Prevent Child Abuse of America.
Casey’s General Stores Inc.
• Meyer is one of the youngest vice presidents within the Casey’s leadership team and has been promoted twice since joining the company in 2017 in store development.
• In addition to growing Casey’s throughout its current 16-state footprint, Meyer oversees the management of approximately 150 leases (both tenant and landlord), and the divestitures of properties.
• Prior to joining Casey’s, she held various real estate positions at Kum & Go LC, including property management, analytics, site selection, and development. She holds a State of Iowa Real Estate License and previously served on the board for the Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association.
Vice President of
Casey’s General Stores Inc.
• Since joining Pilot in 2017, Myers has overseen external communications for the company and its family of brands, including integrated campaigns, messaging development, crisis communications, and corporate positioning.
• Representing a Fortune top 10 private company in the transportation, retail and energy sectors, she works with Pilot executives to relay important information to the media and the public. A storyteller at heart, she is passionate about creating connections between brands, employees and consumers through meaningful communications, experiences and content.
• Myers has proven to be an innovator through programs such as National Road Trip Day, working with Pilot’s public relations partner to create, oversee and execute this new day two years ago. In 2020, she pivoted to create a virtual National Road Trip Day.
Media & Public Relations Manager
PRESENTED BY CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS
Future Leaders in Convenience
• Olinger joined ExtraMile Convenience Stores in 2020 to oversee its category management and space planning teams. He is responsible for leading a team of 16 employees, and also personally manages the beer and alcohol category.
• As a member of the retailer’s leadership team, he is directly involved with all aspects of the business, and is a frequent attendee and presenter to the board of directors and ExtraMile Franchise Council.
• Olinger began his career in the convenience channel when he joined Jacksons Food Stores in 2016, where he took on several roles including category management and district manager overseeing store operations and performance.
Senior Category Manager
ExtraMile Convenience Stores
• Powell is responsible for building 7-Eleven’s e-commerce strategy across its proprietary 7NOW delivery platform and in the overall marketplace, including DoorDash, Instacart, Drizly and Uber Eats. In his director role, he manages the overall roadmap for delivery partnerships across the nation and all 7NOW stores.
• He joined 7-Eleven in 2012 as a merchandise business systems associate. Throughout the years, Powell has consistently proven himself as a champion of 7-Eleven’s values and risen in rank, serving in seven different roles during his nine years at the convenience store chain.
• Powell is a member of 7-Eleven’s Equality and Diversity Task Force and Roundtable.
Director, Delivery Strategy
• Riezman leads customer acquisition efforts at Kum & Go and champions a customer-centric approach to growth. He also leads loyalty strategy and brand design.
• Prior to Kum & Go, he served in various brand marketing roles at The Kraft Heinz Co., where he helped launch the Just Crack an Egg brand and led the rollout of the Ethical Bean brand in the United States.
• Despite being a recent addition to the Kum & Go family, Riezman has already dramatically reshaped the work and vision for brand marketing in the convenience retail space. Bringing a savvy mix of brand experience from his previous role at Kraft Heinz, as well as a keen sense of people and agency management skills, he is a rising star at Kum & Go, according to his nominator.
Director of Brand Marketing
Kum & Go LC
• Struble is a globally skilled purchasing professional with six years of foodservice experience. As a dispensed beverage category analyst for Yesway, her role includes influencing sustainable results through cross-team partnerships and strategic negotiations.
• In addition to her primary job functions, Struble is passionate about leveraging diverse suppliers, including minority/women/veteran owned business enterprises, to promote inclusion and further strengthen marketplace portfolios. She also has experience in environmental transformation initiatives, including sourcing for waste diversion pilots and single-use plastic reduction.
• Prior to joining Yesway, she managed food and beverage categories for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. While at Disney, she acquired world-renowned customer service training, as well as product development skills.
• Templeton leads Casey’s efforts to connect with guests and further develop loyalty relationships through use of the Casey’s Rewards program. His teams are responsible for designing and delivering personalized guest experiences to drive engagement across the brand’s digital channels.
• He led Casey’s to exceed its loyalty enrollment and first-party data growth goals in the company’s 2021 fiscal year, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, he launched the Casey’s Rewards personal challenge functionality, which creates customized behavior-based offers for guests, as well as a messaging feature that enables rich communication with guests through the Casey’s app.
• Prior to Casey’s, Templeton spent eight years at Kum & Go, where he launched the retailer’s first mobile app and loyalty program, &Rewards.
Director, Digital Marketing
& Guest Loyalty
Casey’s General Stores Inc.
• Viot has played multiple roles in OnCue’s growth throughout his 11 years with the company. As general manager of OnCue’s first Texas convenience store, he oversees every aspect of the store’s operation, often acting as on-site supervisor, maintenance, crisis manager, human resources, and merchandiser.
• He started as a clerk on the night shift in Oklahoma City and was managing a store within two years. During his tenure, he’s managed six OnCue stores and
opened four new stores, including the first to feature OnCue’s fresh food concept, The Grill.
• In addition to leading OnCue’s new Houston location, Viot also spearheaded the c-store operator’s partnership with National Safe Place and the local partner organization in Houston, enabling his store to be a pivotal location and resource for youth in need.
• As director of finance for Couche-Tard’s South Atlantic Business Unit, Ware has four direct reports in finance and three within operational excellence.
• He has a strong passion for numbers and has been instrumental in reducing audit loss and ensuring budgets are managed. Due to his ability to analyze reports and discover trends, he has realized cost savings within his area and greatly improved margins.
• Ware joined the retail industry in 2014 as a market manager for Flash Foods, where he was responsible for the daily operations of 10 c-stores and 100 store team members. When CST Brands Inc. acquired Flash Foods in 2016, he played a significant role in reorganizing the stores and new regional areas. Ware joined the Circle K family in 2017 upon Couche-Tard’s acquisition of CST.
Director of Finance
• As an associate category manager at Maverik, Zavala oversees store services, gift cards and private label brands for the convenience store chain.
• He has been recognized for his ability to restructure the services categories, including propane, Airvac, ATM and Redbox. He ensures these services are available at all Maverik stores by developing and strategizing a higher standard and process through partnerships with construction teams and vendors. He’s also streamlined critical processes, helping establish an easier method for stores to submit service requests and monitor uptime.
• In just one year at Maverik, Zavala developed beer distributor inventory reports for out-of-stocks and predictive forecasts to grow sales. He also developed a full marketing launch in Colorado for canopy banners, billboards and promotions, which highlighted the competitive advantage Maverik has in the market.
Associate Category Manager
Associate Category Manager, Dispensed Beverages
• Since joining the Speedway team in December 2012, Clingner has worn multiple hats within marketing, including pricebook analyst, pricebook coordinator, temp prepared foods associate category manager, supervisor of planograms and, most recently, her current role as associate category manager of dispensed beverages. In this position, she helped launch a test of the first 30 bean-to-cup stores in Speedway’s fleet of 3,800-plus locations. Recently, she moved over to the cold side of dispensed beverages, overseeing the fountain, Speedy Freeze, f’real and packaged ice programs.
• Speedway has recognized Clingner’s leadership by sending her to the New Supervisor Leadership Program, Clark State’s Speedway Retail Leadership Program, and the Raj Soin College of Business at Wright State University Speedway Emerging Leaders Program.
• Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Clingner received a bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College and a master’s degree from Missouri State University. She resides in Beavercreek, Ohio, with her husband and two-and-a-half-year-old son Otis.