National category manager: Fresh foods
How did you get into this industry?
I worked in operations in the mining industry. The office was moving far north, and my VP said, 'Find a completely different industry to grow your leadership and challenge you.' I applied at 7-Eleven in 2014, and I loved it.
What do you like most about your job?
The ability to be creative. I’m lucky to work with an incredible team that brings new products to life.
What was the biggest challenge of your career?
COVID. I was in the field for the first 18 months in a remote area and was the lifeline for my team. It was challenging making sure the team was safe coming to work every day. And during this period, I was promoted to my new role.
What's the best advice you ever received?
From Dolly Parton: “I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.”
What's your proudest achievement?
When we had an excess of COVID-related supplies, I put together a plan with operations and logistics to donate $1 million worth of gloves, masks, sanitizer, wipes and more to groups in need from Vancouver Island to Ontario.
What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of during the last year?
In January, I was privileged to lead and launch the first plant-based vegan sandwich in Canada in partnership with Just Eggs, Impossible Meats and Viola Cheese.
What excites you most about the future of this channel?
We’re changing the expectation of convenience. We’re no longer just smokes and chocolates. We’re finding a new niche and becoming a choice beyond the traditional items.
What trend or innovation will shape the business in the next five years?
How a consumer purchases an item and the experience they want has greatly changed with COVID. As Gen Z’s influence gets stronger, it pushes our way of wowing the customer differently to create a Slurptacular time in our stores and online.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to my past mentors Ken Huntingford, market managers Frank Fiehl and Mark Vella and my current leader, Mel Tiruneh, who supports my creativity. To the previous and current winners, I’m honoured to be among such a strong, amazing group of women.