AACS hosts first Women in Convenience event for 2023

This article was written by Theo Foukkare, CEO of the Australian Associations of Convenience Stores (AACS).

AACS held its first Women in Convenience event for 2023 in Sydney on 19 July, at the Pullman Hotel Hyde Park in Sydney.

With 90 registered delegates, it was great to see a good mix of males and females in attendance, along with a combination of senior leaders and wider AACS members across various different functions within their organisation. 

The AACS Women in Convenience events are designed to promote and support diversity and inclusion in the workplace, providing insights and strategies to support members in their career and personal journeys. AACS thanks UCB Stores (United Convenience Buyers) for their ongoing support and sponsorship of the Women In Convenience events.

Our guest speaker for the event was Sheena Polese, a Leadership and Development coach with extensive experience in FMCG who specialises in coaching and development of women through the various stages of their career path.

Sheena’s presentation focused broadly on leadership traits, personal development, personal responsibility, and strategies that can be adopted to achieve your own personal goals.

One of the key themes from Sheena’s presentation included the concept of vertical development – whereby we have to take a good look at ourselves and understand the process of our own psychological development being a very important part of the process.

Taking the time to know yourself, your strengths and derailers and how others experience their interaction with you is a critical first step for everyone.

Sheena also reinforced that personal development is something that everyone needs to take ownership of themselves, waiting for your manager or organisation to drive your development can often result in no development for you.

Another key theme Sheena discussed was getting to know your purpose – the why! Sheena challenged delegates to really focus on their circle of leadership, to understand their purpose and vision, and to know what they like and don’t like. Always advocating for what you believe is important for everyone to really ensure it is aligned with their purpose.

Sheena shared examples of ten key themes that can be used to develop yourself, summarised as:

  1. Take the time to know yourself – strengths, derailers (and how others experience you).
  2. Tune into your emotions and learn to regulate them.
  3. Act in accordance with your values.
  4. Be clear on your personal and professional purpose.
  5. Engage in feedback.
  6. Three C’s – collaborative, curious and continuously gain clarity.
  7. Invest in yourself – regularly.
  8. Build relationships and know they are not all the same.
  9. Give up control.
  10. Play the long game.

One final theme that was discussed a lot in the Q&A was burnout. Burnout was raised by a number of delegates with questions around how to identify in yourself, your team members and what can be done to ensure that this is managed. Sheena’s advice on this was to make sure you are having regular open honest discussions with either your support network, your line manager or friends.

Emotional connection and talking about how you are feeling is very important in today’s environment, as there are challenges that can become overwhelming very easily, especially given peoples willingness to wear more than one hat across their life.

AACS thanks all members who took time out of their busy schedules to support this important event series and hopefully continue their learning in the diversity and inclusion space.

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