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LAS VEGAS — The convenience store industry's top women and rising females took their turn in the spotlight Tuesday evening at Convenience Store News' Top Women in Convenience awards reception.
The second-annual event honored nearly 60 outstanding women making their mark in the convenience channel.
"The CSNews Top Women in Convenience awards program was created to recognize a diverse array of women from both the retailer and supplier sides of the industry — from leaders to mentors to rising stars and role models," said Don Longo, editorial director of CSNews.
This year's winners included 22 senior-level executives, five mentors, 18 rising stars, five store managers and three single-store owners. In addition, five leaders were lauded as Women of the Year.
Joan Toth, president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women (NEW), noted how the industry has changed since her first NACS Show in 1979 and said the women being honored should "embrace this and leverage the power of women leadership."
Judging was conduced by CSNews in conjunction with NEW and the Top Women in Convenience Advisory Board, which includes last year's Women of the Year.
The 2015 Women of the Year were Jenny Bullard, chief information officer at Flash Foods Inc.; Kimberli Carroll, senior vice president, foodservice division at Ruiz Foods Products; Tammy Floyd, vice president and controller at CST Brands Inc.; Stacy Loretz-Congdon, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Core-Mark Holding Co.; and Sandra Morgenstern, president and CEO of Par Mar Oil Co.
"These women were chosen as the best of the best from all the nominations received and are being recognized not only for their exceptional impact on the success and direction of their own companies, but also their positive impact on the convenience industry as a whole," said Linda Lisanti, editor-in-chief of CSNews.
Altria Group Distribution Co.'s Blake Benefiel, director of state and trade relations, training and compliance, and Danielle Keck, director of sales merchandising, were on hand to present the Women of the Year awards before a standing-room only crowd gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"It really touches my heart to look out and see so many women leaders in the audience," Bullard said, adding that she was honored to accept the award.
Carroll echoed the sentiment, saying she is "grateful to this industry, to the company I've worked for for the past 15 years, and grateful to the women in the industry."
Floyd told the audience she was "humbled to be among this group of people" and was honored to be chosen because CST Brands has "so many great women in our company."
Upon accepting her award, Loretz-Congdon acknowledged the many women who work at Core-Mark and who served as mentors to her during her 26-year career at the company.
Morgenstern offered her congratulations to her fellow honorees and recalled how far the convenience industry has come. "I remind myself of years past when I sat in rooms with very few women other than myself representing our industry," she said.
The Kraft Heinz Co.'s Mike Ridenour, head of industry relations, took the stage to present the awards to this year's 53 other honorees.
In addition to Altria Distribution Group Co. and The Kraft Heinz Co., the 2015 Top Women in Convenience awards were sponsored by Acosta Sales & Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, BIC Consumer Products, The Coca-Cola Co. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.