Meet TWIC Woman of the Year: Rebecca Troutman
IRVING, Texas — "Who wouldn't want to work for the founder of Slurpee?" That is the question Rebecca Troutman posed to herself in 2004 when she saw a job posting for a field consultant role at 7-Eleven Inc. She thought joining 7-Eleven would be a wonderful experience to work for a company that was rich in history. She was right.
Today, Troutman is a 15-year veteran of 7-Eleven. Over the course of her career at the convenience store chain, her roles have gained momentum in responsibility and deliverables, from field consultant to field training specialist to field merchandiser, national category manager for confectionery/packaged food and grocery, and director/project manager of business development. Currently, she is 7-Eleven's director of eCommerce.
In a typical day, Troutman works with her team to develop, source, promote and launch new items, as well as build visibility and trial of 7-Eleven's private brand items online. Her current core responsibility is to build and grow the retailer's eCommerce capabilities to meet the changing needs of customers, while holding true to founder Joe C. Thompson Jr.'s belief: "Give the customers what they want, when and where they want it."
"[What I love about my current role] is researching trends and finding niche ways in which I can make 7-Eleven relevant to customers, either through ways to drive traffic to our stores or through alternative channels for customers that know of the brand but do not have access to a store," Troutman said. "To take that trend, create a plan and bring it to life, and ultimately watch it grow is my true passion."
One of the most rewarding and challenging facets of Troutman's c-store industry career has been witnessing the perception of c-stores change from a cigarettes and beer destination to one that offers fresh, quality food and healthier options. She believes the industry still has a ways to go, though.
Another challenge facing the c-store industry, she says, is overcoming gender inequality. According to Troutman, women as employees are faced with the realization that they are considered less capable than others. So, there are two choices: remove themselves from the situation or do their best to change the perception through education, hard work and mentoring.
"I chose the latter," she told Convenience Store News. "I see a general lack of understanding that women, as leaders, lead differently. If a company is looking to maintain its leadership structure as it has always been, then, yes, there are barriers for women to advance. However, if a company is willing to change their mentality and become more diverse in their definition of what good leadership is, then the opportunities are boundless and [depend] less on whether the candidate is male or female."
Troutman has one key piece of advice for women in the industry no matter the obstacle they’re facing: to celebrate their diversity.
"Cookie-cutter isn't what will get you to the next level. Be unique with your views and ideas; be diverse in your skillsets; and find key people in your life to support and help you on your journey. Without those family/friends/coworkers and mentors, it can be a lonely climb," she said. "To quote P.T Barnum, 'No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.'"