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2024 Star Women in Convenience winner: Cheryl MacIntosh

Cheryl McIntosh SWIC2024

Manager, loyalty programs

Parkland Corporation


How did you get into this business?

After 15 years in the soft goods retail space, I found myself unemployed due to COVID.  By coincidence I had just previously reconnected with a former manager, who had moved into loyalty since we last worked together.  She had an opportunity on her team, so I made the transition into fuel/convenience loyalty. It’s been an exciting journey being able to leverage my retail background and shift my focus from product to the customer.   

What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of during the last 12-18 months?

We’ve had so many exciting launches in the Journie Rewards program since I joined a few years ago.  It’s hard to pick just one, but I am proud of the advances we’ve made in our promotional campaigns, in particular partnering with our vendors on new offers for our members.  We’ve been able to work closely with our vendor community, using customer insights to create offers that drive mutual objectives and most importantly add value to our members.  

What do you like most about your job?

It may sound cliché, but the people!  It’s a team effort. You can accomplish anything when you are able to collaborate with a group that shares the same goal of driving lasting customer-centric growth.  This flows all the way to our frontline CSRs. I am always captivated by the bonds they build with customers that frequent their sites and the insights that come with that relationship.  It’s the best part of the job, seeing the teams leverage the tools we provide to help grow their business and ensure a seamless loyalty experience on both sides of the counter.

What's the best advice you ever received?

Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up, ask the question. My entire career has been a blend of art and science, and I have always been conscious not to lose that. Data drives a lot of decisions, rightly so, but at the end of the day you can’t lose sight of the human element, which can’t always be predicted by numbers.   

What excites you most about the future of this channel?

It’s an interesting time to be in the fuel/convenience sector as it is currently undergoing a massive change.  Retailers need to double down on their strengths while planning how to evolve in preparation for the exciting future ahead.

What trends or innovations are keeping an eye on right now. Is there anything you think will shape the business in the next 5 years?

Personalization. Customers aren’t swayed by blanket marketing campaigns as they once were.  A one-size-fits-all approach will not keep our members engaged and shopping at our sites.  Retailers need to use personalized communications to improve customer experience, increase program engagement, and drive customer lifetime value.  With the advances we are seeing in technology, I am excited to explore how we can leverage AI to positively impact loyalty and the customer experience.

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Click here for a full list of the 2024 Star Women in Convenience winners

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