Author: E. Spielberg, Quantum Services


Looking out from over the rim of my computer, I can see the gray sky of February in Columbus, OH through my office window. To get out of the doldrums and dull, I looked for a bright spot by catching up with Rachell Bernhardt, Quantum Services’ Director of Human Resources, and Andrea McMaster, Senior Operations Manager, to see how their C-Store Women (CSW) projects were going. Refreshing as ever, each woman took a few moments out of their busy day to talk with me about how their projects were progressing. Already two months into the year-long project, they and over 150 others are delving into their plans. The theme for the conference was “Share. Support. Shift” to which the projects specifically fulfill the “shift” aspect, and work through formed “power teams” equally split between four women in retail and four from the supplier side of the convenience store industry.

At the time of the last publication on this series, both Andrea and Rachell had expressed their enthusiasm in being a part of the CSW experiment from its inception. Rachell had spoken with Amanda Buehner from Winsight CSP (now called Informa Connect) over a year before about the possibility of the conference becoming a reality, and when it did, she was thrilled to see it come to fruition. For Andrea, excitement abounded for being asked to attend because she is always working on her own personal development; this was an opportunity to do something out of her comfort zone and to bring back new processes that could benefit Quantum Services. She said, “I am excited to build great relationships with amazing women all around the c-store industry and help impact the 33%.”

THE missing 33%

That 33 percent Andrea was referring to is the perception that women are missing—or perceived to be missing—an ability to attain and sustain extraordinary outcomes by demonstrating depth of skill in business, strategy, and finances. The message the attendees heard is that by using their inner greatness in areas, such as adaptability or personal purpose, and engaging greatness in others, those types of impactful outcomes are achievable. Attendees also received the message to act like an owner and know the story behind your business’s financials no matter what position you hold. The encouragement to have a vested interest in the long-term viability of a company gives way to make decisions with purpose. Over time, women can exert their

leadership by demonstrating business and strategic smarts, which when a proven track record takes shape, is essential in advancing business goals.


Women in Cstores, Rachell Bernhardt
C-store women

Rachell reports that her power team is working on the topic of how to be competitive while stopping the negative stereotype, and says of her group, “I am impressed how well this group of women who just met is able to work together and get so much done in limited time.” Her group comes prepared to work by knowing the supportive role they each play, as well as their dedication to solving the challenges faced by women in the c-store industry, and business in general. Rachell’s group intends to put their minds together by focusing on the ‘competitive’ part of their topic, going into which resources or strategies can be applied to the stem of the issue.





Women in cstores, Andrea McMaster

Being extraordinarily organized in their work, Andrea’s power team is keeping a monthly calendar of detailed plans so they can reach their stated objectives. Her team is focused on career goals, choosing to look at root causes for the missing 33%. So far, she and her comrades have identified lack of confidence, being afraid to speak up, and a lack of mentorship in the work environment as key reasons women have a far sizeable representation in the middle tier. Not to be thwarted, these women will come ready to the next meeting with their solutions for overcoming the challenges.




While it may be back to the same old, same old of February for me, I am glad to know that these two women and their power teams are leaning into the work, breaking stereotypes, and harnessing their inner strengths in leadership. I leave you with a quote from the motivational speaker, Brené Brown,

“I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the COURAGE to develop that potential.”

To follow Andrea and Rachell’s year-long journey in their CSW project, check out how their journey began here, and look for another blog in the series due out in mid-April. Quantum Services is proud to support their efforts and how they are shaping the landscape for women in the c-store industry.