7-Eleven Selects Florida Native as 'W.E. Take the Lead' Contest Winner

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7-Eleven Selects Florida Native as 'W.E. Take the Lead' Contest Winner

Sandra Bivins Owsley
Sandra Bivins Owsley will open her 7-Eleven store in the heart of Jacksonville.

IRVING, Texas — 7-Eleven Inc. named Sandra Bivins Owsley of Jacksonville, Fla., as the winner of its "W.E. Take the Lead" franchise giveaway contest, which is targeted exclusively to women entrepreneurs.

Owsley will receive a waiver for her franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, for any 7-Eleven convenience store available for franchise ownership in the continental United States.

The contest launched in March 2018. It was open to all eligible women in the U.S. interested in becoming an independent business owner.

"We had an incredible response to the W.E. Take the Lead program and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the four finalists," said 7-Eleven Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Tanco. "7-Eleven encourages women entrepreneurship everywhere, and we are looking forward to this journey of business ownership with Sandra."

The applicant process consisted of a series of competitive rounds, including interviews, credit evaluation, leadership assessment, preparing a business plan, in-store experience and more.

Four semifinalists interviewed with 7-Eleven's executive team in Irving. Along with Owsley, the semifinalists included Tanya Burnett of Philadelphia; Michelle Baros of Denver; and Seema Nibber of Sacramento, Calif.

Because all of the semifinalists were extremely qualified, 7-Eleven will provide additional support to the other three candidates should they decide to franchise with the company.

"This has been a long journey, and an extremely rewarding one," Owsley said. "I'm excited for this new phase of my life and to see where this journey with 7-Eleven takes me."

A University of Miami graduate, Owsley has been in the retail business for nearly 20 years. She also volunteers with youth development organizations and is active in her local church. She plans to open her 7-Eleven store in Jacksonville.

"When I was a kid, my father would let me walk to the 7-Eleven corner store and get a Slurpee drink," she said. "I hope to bring those same warm feelings and memories to others in my own neighborhood."

At the grand opening of Owsley's store, 7-Eleven will donate a $5,000 Project A-Game grant to a local charity. 7-Eleven Project A-Game grants support youth programs focused on education, fitness, safety and hunger relief.

Irving-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises and licenses more than 67,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.