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2023 Star Women in Convenience winner: Karla Hewitt

Shining Star
Karla Hewitt Category manager, beverage and automotive Petro-Canada | Suncor
Karla Hewitt Category manager, beverage and automotive Petro-Canada | Suncor

Category manager, beverage and automotive

Petro-Canada | Suncor


How did you get into this business?

I came into the Petro-Canada family after graduating from university. I was looking to be part of a large corporation and was welcomed into the Petro-Canada new grad program. Petro-Canada has provided me with many opportunities and different positions from wholesale to retail, learning a variety of skills along the way.

What do you like most about your job?

I love working with well known brands! I really enjoy collaborating on new ideas and promotions with vendors to help bring concepts to life, and then seeing how the initiatives grow both our businesses. In addition, I enjoy the challenge of the fast-paced and dynamic environment.

What's your career highlight / biggest achievement?

When I worked in the Petro-Canada Lubricants division as a category specialist. I received both the Outstanding Contributor Award and recognition from my peers for increasing brand awareness through the successful delivery of two simultaneous product launches.

What was the biggest challenge of your career?

This current role as category manager. Learning the new role through COVID, while at the same time working through a head office transition from Mississauga to Calgary, was challenging. While I personally didn’t make the move to Calgary, many Petro-Canada employees relocated or transitioned out of the business, which meant I had to develop my own knowledge and make hard decisions quickly. I navigated the learning curve while taking on daily retail challenges and finding ways to grow the Petro-Canada beverage portfolio. The beverage vendors, with their vast experience, helped me along the way and for that I’m truly grateful.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

To always be on a journey of continuous learning. Asking questions can help to develop meaningful conversations and allow one’s knowledge to expand. Continuous learning can also mean that you try something new and fail. Failure can provide knowledge and help to improve business decisions.

What excites you most about the future of this channel?

The digital age and all the innovation surrounding it. Whether its digital signage or app development—anything that expands the reach of our product and service offering while making it more convenient for customers and retailers along the customer-experience journey.

Anything else to add?

We all bring something valuable to each day and without the support from the talented group of people I work alongside, I wouldn’t be fortunate like I am today in having this recognition.


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Click here for a full list of the 2023 Star Women in Convenience winners

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