Convenience Store News

JUL 2015

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70 Convenience Store News | JULY 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Top Women in Convenience Expert's View Opening the (Talent) Pipeline Petroleum marketer Speedway values diversity and its CFO Beth Hunter is leading the way S peedway LLC — the nation's second-larg- est company-owned and operated conve- nience store chain — is known for its suc- cessful marketing strategies (more than 4 million loyalty program members), its customer service (download the Speedway app) and its strong community outreach. Less known is Speedway's commitment to gender diversity. Chief financial officers, like Speedway's Beth Hunter, like to talk numbers. Recently, she shared a few eye-openers with me. Women, she noted, make up fewer than 10 percent of the petroleum industry's 186,000 employees. But at Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC), Speedway's parent company, women com- prise 20 percent of employees. At U.S. fuel dealers, Beth told me, slightly more than 40 percent of employees are women. At Speedway, operator of 2,750 stores, nearly 65 percent of employees are women, a number that has held steady for several years. Half of its store man- agers and supervisors are women. Beth is a living example of gender diversity. She started her career in petroleum marketing in 1987, when J.R. and Bobby were still feuding over Ewing Oil (for those millennials out there, that's the once popular "Dallas" TV series). She has personally experienced the c-store industry's evolving workplace culture, one that increasingly values — and benefits from — the insights, experiences and leadership qualities of tal- ented women. "Opportunities for women to advance to leader- ship roles is improving," she told me, "and from my vantage point, it looks like women's leadership will not only continue to improve, but accelerate. There are very talented, driven women in management positions. I believe there's a pipeline of strong talent that we will see reflected in leadership over the next several years." Beth said a "push and pull" approach has opened doors for women at Speedway. "When it comes to pull, management can and should continually look for new ways to identify and acquire high-potential talent, encourage women to seek out leadership roles and help them succeed," she said. "But there must also be push — and this is the more important driver. Women need to prepare for leadership roles and seek them out." AvOiding TrAPS, TAking riSkS Women need to avoid the traps that tend to stall their careers. One of these traps, according to Beth, is defin- ing yourself too narrowly. By Joan Toth, Network of Executive Women

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