FORTUNE -- As chairman, president and CEO of CST Brands, Kim Bowers leads the convenience store retailer's more than 1,900 locations. Valero Energy spun off CST last May, and the company's $13.1 billion revenue will earn it a spot in the 2014 Fortune 500 -- and Bowers will join the growing list of female CEOs in the Fortune 500.
Fortune's Most Powerful Women started as a list in 1998, kicked off its annual Summit the following year, and has since become a community of the preeminent women in business, government, philanthropy, education, and the arts. This weekly Q&A features one MPW's personal take on leadership, aspirations, and (of course) balance.
1.What is the best advice you ever received?
When you think you have communicated enough, keep on communicating. Make sure all employees understand the importance of the company's mission and how their actions contribute towards that mission every day.
2. What would you say to a group of young people looking to enter the tough job market?
Do what you love, work hard every day, check your ego at the door, and learn everything you can. Never say no to an opportunity to take on more responsibility.
3. What was your biggest missed opportunity?
I should have taken more accounting and finance classes -- and paid attention in college.
4. What is one startup you would have wanted to found?
In-home salon service company with online scheduling and 24-hour service.
5. What do you do for fun?
I love to cook and read cooking magazines -- and dream of all the fabulous meals I likely will never have time to prepare!
6. What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?
Southwest Airlines' (LUV) Herb Kelleher. He was laser-focused on the company's mission, communicated it beautifully to all stakeholders and created an incredible employee culture of awesome customer service. I saw him recently waiting for a flight, and he was a huge celebrity among the employees -- they love him even years after retirement.
7. What other companies do you admire? Why?
8. What is one goal that you would like to accomplish during your lifetime?
Be there to help with the grandkids in a meaningful way. Hopefully, that's a ways off with my oldest child at 20 years old!
9. What was your first job?
I waited tables. Talk about learning the importance of hard work and a positive attitude.
10. What's your take on the "having it all" debate?
Balancing means never standing still -- some rare moments you balance perfectly and all is perfect, but most days you wobble. But, wobbling isn't bad -- in fact, it can be kind of fun.
Sympathy for retail employees and revere for Thanksgiving have not kept shoppers away from early Black Friday openings.Claire Zillman, reporter - Oct 16, 2013 10:46 AM ET
It's worth taking a second look at the logic behind Wal-Mart's fight against the living wage bill in DC, as this battle will most certainly be part of a longer war between the retail giant and cities across the U.S. in the years to come.Scott Olster, editor - Jul 18, 2013 2:20 PM ET
How M.H. Alshaya is transforming mall culture in the Gulf region with lattes, milk shakes, and cheesecakes.
By Beth Kowitt, writer
FORTUNE -- David Overton makes a point of trying to get to every one of his restaurant openings. In the 35 years since he founded the Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills, only a handful have kicked off without his discerning eye. So it surprised no one when Overton decided MOREFeb 12, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Many retailers have adopted marketing tactics to avoid annoying customers to the point that they resent their brands.Feb 7, 2013 12:16 PM ET
Grocery chain Whole Foods made its name by offering locally sourced organics. Can it continue on this path as it plans a major expansion?
By Anne VanderMey, reporter
FORTUNE -- Customers may grumble about the prices at the high-end grocery chain (even nicknaming the place "Whole Paycheck"), but no one is complaining about the returns. Or, for that matter, the food. Whole Foods, No. 1 on Fortune's list of most admired MORENov 27, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Not only are retailers staffing up for a fourth-quarter surge in spending -- a good sign for the economy overall -- but many more temporary jobs look likely to turn permanent.
FORTUNE -- Ho ho ho. Recent announcements by Macy's (M) and Toys 'R Us that they'll add 125,000 more holiday jobs this year than last are, it turns out, just the tip of the iceberg. Altogether, U.S. retailers, including restaurants, MOREAnne Fisher, contributor - Oct 10, 2012 3:01 PM ET
He's the guy behind the Apple Store and Target's cool cachet. Now he wants to fix J.C. Penney. Who is Ron Johnson, and will his high-stakes makeover really work?
By Jennifer Reingold, senior editor
FORTUNE -- It's been a long time since Manhattan's Pier 57 has seen this much action. Once home to ocean liners, the decaying structure is filled with headset-wearing workers toting ladders and stage lights. The mottled walls have MOREMar 7, 2012 5:00 AM ET
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Ron Paul: Bitcoin could 'destroy the dollar'|
|Pentagon to cut jobs, contracts by $1 billion|
|Average student loan debt: $29,400|
|Home sales surge 25% in October|