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2024 Star Women in Convenience winner: Helene Leonard

Helene Leonard SWIC2024

Customer service manager           

JTI-Macdonald Corp.


How did you get into this business?

I started as a summer student, helping the trade marketers on the road. At the end of the term, they offered me the receptionist position. I accepted and told them I was going to stay only for one year: 35 years have passed since that first summer.

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

Integrating Zendesk, a complete customer service solution, in the department.

What do you like most about your job?

I truly enjoy daily interactions with my team, brainstorming, discussions and feedback.

There is so much diversity and every day is different. I am in contact with just about every department in the business.

What was the biggest challenge of your career?

Expanding the team to incorporate two other markets (consumer and retail), along with the existing wholesale customers. This required doubling the number of employees and restructuring the entire department.

What's the best advice you ever received? 

Be yourself.

What excites you most about the future of this channel?

It keeps evolving even though we have so many restrictions. JTI turns those into opportunities. I can’t wait to see how they will use artificial intelligence to their advantage.

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?

Without a doubt artificial intelligence.

How do you define yourself as a leader?

I lead by example, and I was told I am a good listener.

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

Be there when the industry comes together in-person to celebrate at the Star Women in Convenience Awards Event. 


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