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Veteran Transition: 7-Eleven’s CEO Weighs in on Employing Vets

September 13, 2016 5 minute Read
by Joe DePinto, CEO of 7-Eleven
Hiring and investing in veterans isn't simply the right thing to do, it's the smart thing for business leaders and employers to do.

This week, the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative and the United Service Organizations (USO) to host an event that highlights the resources and careers available to transitioning service members, veterans, and their spouses.  As we dive into this important issue, the Bush Institute is publishing a series examining the important role that employers and non-profits play in veteran transition and recommendations on how to leverage a veteran's leadership talent.

Today, 7-Eleven CEO Joe De Pinto discusses why hiring and investing in veterans isn't simply the right thing to do, it's the smart thing for business leaders and employers to do.

It’s been more than 30 years since I was introduced to the military. For me it was the Army, and the instant connection felt on my first visit to West Point.  Later as a cadet and during my time in the service, I came to respect and admire soldiers for their leadership, selflessness and dedication to serving and supporting others.

The lessons I was personally taught by other soldiers around team work, discipline, character and values, having a can-do attitude, a service orientation, and accomplishing the mission have shaped my life and I’m truly grateful.

Today, as the CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. I seek that same kind of corporate leader and franchise business owner.  Outstanding military leaders often make great business leaders and I’ve seen firsthand the advantage hiring veterans provides our business, and we continue to make hiring veterans a priority.  In fact, 7-Eleven, Inc. was one of the first companies to join JPMorgan Chase in their 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of companies committed to employing U.S. Military Veterans. Now called the Veteran Jobs Mission it’s committed to collectively hiring a total of one million military Veterans. Many of the talented folks who now work at 7-Eleven have a military background.

Additionally, in 2009, 7-Eleven launched our Veteran Franchise Program which gives veterans a chance to own their own business. Many Veterans have taken advantage of the program, receiving up to a $35,000 discount off our franchise start-up costs.  Since then, we’ve provided 82 veterans with more than $1.5 million in discounts on franchise fees, and we have a strong pipeline of veteran Franchise applicants.

Our corporate philanthropic strategy also focuses on supporting veterans and military families.

7-Eleven’s veteran support includes assistance to:

  • The USO
  • Hire Heroes USA
  • The Folds of Honor Foundation
  • The Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund
  • Children of Fallen Patriots
  • Armed Services YMCA
  • Limbs for Life
  • The Warrior Gateway Project
  • The George W. Bush Foundation Military Services Initiative, including Warrior 100 Bike Ride

Operation Take Command, a 7-Eleven veteran franchise initiative, has given four free franchises to military veterans, and has been a huge success.  This program has generated positive attention around our franchise opportunities - and awarding a free franchise business to a deserving military veteran makes all of Team 7-Eleven proud.

One of 7-Eleven’s greatest honors was being ranked third on GI Jobs Magazine’s list of top 100 Military Friendly Corporations for our military-friendly hiring practices, our Veterans’ Franchise Program and charitable missions to support military families.

The message I have for other companies regarding veterans is simple: Hire and invest in veterans. They will be some of your best employees and will make a difference. Their hard work and leadership will help improve and take your business to the next level. 

Hire and invest in veterans. They will be some of your best employees and will make a difference.

I believe we all have a duty to ensure our veterans have a productive life after their military service comes to an end.  Corporate support to the military is critically important as the transition is often a tough one as they adjust to civilian life. We, as a business community can support them and make the transition much easier by providing jobs.

No one who has fought for our country should be without a job. We actively seek out veterans and take great pride in watching them achieve success here at 7-Eleven.

To the brave men and women who served, we hope you use the valuable skills and training you learned in the military to help better our businesses, our communities, grow our economy and inspire the next generation of leaders. Transitioning can be hard. I urge you to take advantage of the many resources out there available to returning veterans.  Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice and ‘Oh Thank Heaven’ for all of you!