Remembering Sheri Rinfret

By
Paul Reuter, Chairman emeritus and contributing editor

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Life is a gift that someday we all have to give back. Unfortunately, for some, it happens way too early.

With great sadness I share that our colleague Sheri Rinfret passed away July 11. Two of her closest friends were Kay Segal, our executive vice president of the convenience and petroleum group; and Kristi Prior, our director of EduNetworking. Their history goes back more than 15 years, when all three worked for Circle K.

When providing a reference for Sheri, Kay wrote, “She has always had tenacity, driving to succeed even when circumstances may seem overwhelming to others. She has one of the most positive attitudes I have ever encountered. Her commitment to her family, friends and her work are driven by a deep desire to ‘do what is right.’ I trust her ability and intentions wholeheartedly. When I had the chance to bring her into the company where I work, I jumped at the opportunity.” When Sheri joined CSP as marketing director, Kay announced her role from contractor to a full-time position, saying: “Sheri’s energetic and engaging work has helped us move each of the projects forward in a quick, organized, strategic and creative manner. Sheri’s first question is usually ‘What can I do to help?’ ”

Here’s what Kristi said about Sheri a few years ago: “Her ability to overcome adversity cannot be better exemplified than by what she survived with her own health challenges. Like all challenges she faces, Sheri faced [her first bout with cancer] head-on and did so while maintaining her inner strengths and positive outlook. She is never without cheerfulness and a ‘Let’s move on’ attitude.” Sheri’s contributions to CSP will certainly be missed, but the work that she loved and brought consuming energy to is just one of the many gifts she shared. She enriched so many with her love for her family, numerous friends, her chorus, her cats and her overall downright appreciation for all the positive offerings of life. If you needed a dose of the power of positive attitude, she was your go-to person.

Sheri’s illness and journey were met with the same “can-do” attitude throughout, and never did she give off anything but gratitude and love of life regardless of what she had to deal with.

One of the mainstays of the CSP community happens when our entire company nominates and votes for their choice of the employee of the quarter. One of these four is then voted the employee of the year.

Receiving this kind of tribute from your teammates is among the highest compliments a person can receive. For me personally, seeing us honor a person’s excellence is one of the best satisfactions I get from my job. Almost as rewarding is reading what people have to say about whom they nominate. Over time, after you read hundreds of comments, you begin to understand what people value. You realize this is no longer just about one individual; it clearly states in black and white the CSP company culture. I could not be prouder of any other aspect of who we are!

It’s for this reason that we are going to rename the 2011 award The Sheri Rinfret CSP Employee of the Year Award. We are honored to have Sheri’s name on this award so that we can never stop thanking her for all she’s done and for being such a role model and perfect representative of what our culture is and needs to remain.

We are all privileged and enriched to have had Sheri along on our journeys. Kay put it best when she said Sheri was “great people.”

Sheri’s mom suggests that donations in Sheri’s name go to The Scottsdale Chorus (P.O. Box 5856, Scottsdale, AZ 85261) or to Caring Bridge ( www.caringbridge.org). 

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