Reflections on Hispanic Heritage Month
7‑Eleven Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Jarratt Discusses Her Hispanic Heritage and the Importance of Serving Diverse Communities
Hispanic Heritage Month, recognized September 15 – October 15 each year since 1988, holds a special place for me both personally and professionally. Being part Hispanic, I am one of more than 60 million Hispanic and Latinx Americans in the United States. I proudly celebrate the rich, diverse tapestry of Hispanic culture not just this month, but every month, with my family, friends and coworkers.
As Chief Marketing Officer for 7‑Eleven, I’m equally passionate about delighting our customers—all of our customers – regardless of background, ethnicity, gender or race. 7‑Eleven’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion motivates us to honor multiculturalism in its many forms with respect and appreciation for all people, because we know the customers and the communities 7‑Eleven stores serve are extremely diverse.
Given the enormous growth and positive impact that Hispanic and Latinx Americans have had on our country, including the thousands of 7‑Eleven associates and Franchisees who identify with and support this group, I’d like to share a few reflections during this special month.
Deep in the Heart of Texas: Some Personal History
Growing up, I was very close to my grandmother, Adela Lozano Henderson, who was born on the Kenedy Ranch in South Texas—located in the Rio Grande Plains just off the Gulf of Mexico.
My grandparents were hardworking cattle ranchers in South Texas, a beautifully expansive and rugged landscape that today lays claim to being the birthplace of American ranching. Their values of hard work, family, and religion were always top of mind, qualities that are still common in Hispanic culture and which I strive to carry on in my own life.
As you might expect, I grew up learning to cook traditional Mexican recipes from my grandmother including some of my personal favorites such as homemade pollo con arroz, tortillas and carne guisada. I’m proud to say these dishes are still in my culinary repertoire, and I enjoy making them today.
My grandmother also taught me how to speak Spanish during the summers I would spend with her. I fell in love with the language and went on to study it throughout grade school and college, earning a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em Horns!). I even studied abroad in Spain to improve my proficiency with the language, gaining an appreciation for the nuanced dialects between the two countries. And although I loved studying Spanish in school and continue practicing it daily today, what I remember most are the teachings from my grandmother, who truly ignited my love for it.
Looking back, I recognize how fortunate I was to know and spend time with my grandma. She was a trailblazer in every sense of the word—she graduated from college in just 3 years, worked as a translator for the Navy during World War II, taught elementary school for 4 decades and was the first in her family to get her master’s degree, a relatively rare achievement for a woman in the early 1970s. The virtues and passion she embodied for not only the language and culture – but as a strong, compassionate person who embraced different cultures and perspectives – has inspired me to seek out similarly strong women as mentors and role models throughout my career.
Connecting the Dots: 7‑Eleven Customers
Like my grandparents, we know that many 7‑Eleven customers also work incredibly hard to provide a good quality of life for their families. And part of what I love about 7‑Eleven is how hard our team and Franchisees work to support these customers, by going above and beyond to give them what they need, when they need it, where they need it. It’s what the 7‑Eleven brand has been about for more than 90 years.
It’s also important for 7‑Eleven customers to see themselves in an authentic way in marketing efforts. In regards to Hispanic heritage specifically, there are several examples from the past year in which we were both bold and thoughtful in how we celebrated Hispanic and Latinx culture.
This fall, Laredo Taco Company – our quick-serve authentic Mexican food restaurant – is launching a Made Right Here Road Trip Series in which taco journalist Mando Rayo travels to six Texas cities to explore music, art, culture and of course, tacos. Be on the lookout for the first episode – which takes place in Laredo, Texas – to go live at LaredoTacoCompany.com on October 5.
Another example of our bold marketing efforts is our “Take it To Eleven” ad spot, featuring a group of Chicana girls in Los Angeles biking to a 7‑Eleven for Big Gulps. The campaign is designed to showcase the spirit of taking things up a notch, while also recognizing 7‑Eleven's diverse customer base and their ability to celebrate the little things in life.
Also drawing on the Hispanic ethos, I am really excited about a mural we commissioned with Mexican American artist Mariell Guzman outside our 7‑Eleven Evolution store in Lake Highlands, Texas for its grand opening earlier this year. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Mariell tapped her Mexican heritage to create murals with a vibrant color palette and whimsical gaze that captures the essence of the neighborhood. It's been a big hit so far, and we love seeing excited customers stop what they're doing to take Instagram-worthy photos in front of the larger-than-life mural.
These are just a few examples of how 7‑Eleven continues to evolve its marketing to encompass all cultures and backgrounds. We look forward to continuing to tell stories about 7‑Eleven customers who come from diverse backgrounds—as well as the products inspired by these cultures – so we can continue to feed people’s joy and meet them where they are.
Muchas gracias to all of 7‑Eleven's awesome Hispanic/Latinx customers and supporters. Stay tuned for more bold and exciting moves from 7‑Eleven in your neighborhood! Adelante!