7‑Eleven, Inc. Proudly Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Get to know a few of our amazing employees who share their thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month and how their own heritage has shaped their unique journeys.

Luis Flores – Sr. Compensation Analyst

Luis Flores

Originally from Mexico City, Luis Flores moved to Texas when he was 14 years old and fell in love with the U.S. He has held many different roles in HR, eventually finding his career passion in compensation – not to be outdone by his personal love for soccer, which he has coached, played and continues to watch whenever he can.  

What Hispanic Heritage Month means and why it’s important…

“The month provides a great opportunity and reminder to highlight the value and importance of what Hispanics bring to the table and what diversity means to our country. It also helps us bring our best forward as a group and a nation. When you have different groups bringing their contributions together to the whole, it becomes a better place for everyone.”

“Hispanic culture gives us so much to celebrate – it’s just very rich including music, art and food, just to name a few elements. But what I really love is how family-oriented my culture is. We love to take care of each other and gather our families together whenever we can. It’s a real hallmark of being Hispanic.

His role model…

“My mom is my role model. She is a hard working woman who has been inspiring me since I was a young kid. She always says ‘you can achieve anything you set your mind to’ and I live by those words every single day.”

One game at a time…

“Diego Pablo Simeone González is a former Argentine professional footballer who is now the manager of Atlético Madrid. He is always stressing, ‘Partido a Pardido’ (‘one game at a time’), which essentially means focus on the now. I think of this often—it helps me be patient, present and moving forward.”

Steven Flores – Sr. Director, Retail Fuel Pricing

Steven Flores

Steven Flores grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, where he still returns on a regular basis to go fishing with family and friends. He is also a founding member of 7‑Eleven’s Equality & Diversity Task Force and Roundtable – a dedicated team of leaders engaged in identifying ways to promote fairness and inclusivity across the organization.

What Hispanic Heritage Month means and why it’s important…

“Our cultures and how we are brought up mold us into who we are. Hispanics have a deep history of people who made – and continue to make – amazing contributions across a variety of fields. It’s awesome that we have 30 days to honor/recognize that and showcase all of our wonderful and diverse experiences. Anytime we get a chance to shed light on heritage and look at the challenges people have faced and overcome, it’s worthy of celebrating.”

Why he’s driven to raise the bar…

“I look at my grandparents and parents as role models and admire what they’ve overcome. Starting when he was 11 years old, my dad would go to local farms and pick crops, doing anything and everything he could to help support his family. That work ethic was born out of necessity to survive and provide, and I’m really proud of that. Those qualities exist in both my parents and my grandparents, and it continually drives me to raise the bar in my own life.”

At the center of it all…

“When you go back throughout history and look at Hispanic culture, family is at the center of everything. Bringing people together – whether it’s extended family or beyond and includes friends and others from the community – that, to me, is what our culture is all about. And I love that.”

Cruz Robert Gutierrez – Technical Support Analyst

Cruz Robert Gutierrez

Born in Houston and later moving to Ohio as a child, Cruz Gutierrez today works at the Store Support Center in Enon, Ohio. Cruz’s great grandparents were Mexican, and his grandparents are first-generation Americans. When he’s not helping people with technology, Cruz is likely engaged in artistic pursuits including musical and film interests.  

What Hispanic Heritage Month means and why it’s important…

“To me, it’s all about the celebration of Hispanic achievements and contributions to society, as well as all the work it has taken for us to get here. Hispanic history is really the history of this land and our country. It’s important that we recognize that legacy so we don’t forget our ancestors and what they worked so hard for.”

On celebrating the month…

“We really try to dive into our culture and the importance we place on spending time with family... celebrating with great food and music that takes us back to our roots – while also preparing for the Day of the Dead, which comes up quickly in early November. It’s just a really nice time to enjoy family and celebrate our culture together.”

On using his bilingual capabilies at work…

“I’ve worked for the 7‑Eleven family of brands for many years (including Speedway) and I discovered that the ability to speak and understand Spanish is very useful – especially in areas of the country where it’s not quite as prevalent. Being able to help different departments and teams is very satisfying, making me appreciate my heritage even more.”

Jose Motta – Vice President, Total Rewards, HRIS and HR Shared Services

Jose Motta

Jose Motta was born and raised in Puerto Rico, coming to the U.S. with his wife and two children nearly 25 years ago to pursue a career opportunity. The Motta family added a third child after settling in the Dallas area, but never lost connection with their deep Hispanic roots that continue to be honored today.

Why Hispanic Heritage Month is important…

“It’s a great opportunity to remember and pay homage to those with Hispanic descent who have contributed so mightily to make the U.S. a greater country – not only for Hispanics, but for all Americans. With one in five Americans identifying as Hispanic or Latino in the 2020 census, it’s important to understand just how strong of a presence we have and how signficant our collective contributions have been in helping to move this country forward.”

On his family’s journey…

“Even though my wife and I were born as U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico, moving to the mainland U.S. was a big change. Entering a new and different culture can be very challenging. Fortunately, there were a lot of people who extended their hands to help my family manage this big change as we transitioned from living in Puerto Rico to living in Texas. Now, looking back, I realize how important it was to have that circle of support from other Hispanics in our community who had gone through a similar experience – I’m so grateful for it.

It also made us realize that you don’t have to abandon who you are or your culture just because you’re living in a different place. Never forget where you came from and who opened that door for you… now that you made it, please remember to hold that door open for someone else.”

On the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion…

“For 7‑Eleven in particular, the more our employees reflect those we serve – our customers and our communities – the more successful we can be because we’re able to understand and address their various, diverse needs and provide a much more inclusive, personalized experience.”

Melissa Vera – Sr. Category Manager, Laredo Taco Company

Melissa Vera

As 7‑Eleven continues to expand its in-store restaurant experiences across the country, Melissa Vera has the envy-worthy job of ensuring that the cravings of our taco-loving customers are not only met, but downright crushed, with authentic flavors and ingredients hand-prepared every day.

On her role with 7‑Eleven…

“I’m excited that my role enables me to share a little bit of my heritage with our customers. We use traditional [Hispanic/Latino] recipes and ingredients in the products we offer, and we invite our customers to have a seat at our table, just like my abuelita (grandmother) always did with all of us. It’s rewarding to hear from our customers that something they ate at Laredo Taco Company reminded them of a dish their abuelita or tia (aunt) used to make for them when they were young.” 

What Hispanic Heritage Month means and why it’s important…

“It’s a celebration of the history, traditions and culture inherited from the past, to value and enjoy in the present, and to preserve and pass on to future generations. After all, heritage shapes our identity.

It’s important to dive into its impact on us as people by understanding who our families are, where they came from and what they have endured, what they have fought for, and where they failed and succeeded. In doing so, we uncover ways to do things better, to achieve successes and realize opportunities that may or may not have been available for those that came before us.”

A quote she loves…

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” (Cesar Chavez)