WomenWerk sits with Alyson Lawson to discuss her journey to win the first-ever 7-Eleven Women’s Franchise Competition
1. Who is Alyson Rae Lawson and what should we know about your passion for business?
One thing you should know is franchising is in my blood. My father franchised three McDonald’s in the Dallas area when I was young. However, I wanted to be an orthodontist instead. I started as a Biology major at Hampton University. I struggled through about a year and a half and decided to switch to Business Management. Changing my major to business, honestly set me in the path of being the ideal candidate for the contest. I almost missed my calling! You audience should know that just because your life doesn’t go as planned doesn’t mean that you gave up or failed, it means that you chose another path to be successful.
2. What made you want to participate in the 7-Eleven Women’s Franchise Competition?
Franchising has been the goal ever since I changed my major to business at Hampton University. I knew I wanted to franchise, but I had not narrowed it down to a specific company until the beginning of this year. It only made sense that I chose 7-Eleven. The company was profitable, the buy in was not bank breaking, and they valued the community like I do. Plus, I went to my neighborhood 7-Eleven at least twice a week, always seeing people that I knew!
In March, a rep received my email and reached back out to me. When we met, he told me about a contest 7-Eleven were having. I was not about to bet my future on a contest! I playfully rolled my eyes, and the rest is history!
3. What was your experience like in the 7-Eleven Competition?
I honestly had the best experience. 7-Eleven walked me through every step. After about the 3rd level of the competition, everything became so real. I think the best aspect was creating a video for people to vote for. The video came from my heart. I wrote about my community; how everything the community has done for me has set me up for this moment, and I would enjoy nothing more than to pay it forward!
I believe the most stressful of the competition was the voting portion. I remained in first place the entire competition, winning with over 45k votes. But I woke up at 4am every morning to campaign and individually remind everyone who reposted and commented on all social media outlets to vote again! So much so that Facebook blocked me the first week. I literally cried! But I kept working and finding ways around it, while working a full-time job. Although stressful and time consuming, it was amazing to see my networks work: Hampton University, Delta Sigma Theta, Dallas. Then it just grew from there: all HBCUs, Greeks, women, African Americans, millennials. Most of my votes came from people I had never met before! Literally, the entire country was rooting for me! So although stressful having to campaign, it was a wonderful and love filled experience.
4. What do you think makes s good franchisee and how can other women get into it?
I think a good franchisee takes ambition and guts, regardless of your background. I know of a female nurse who owns a 7-Eleven! It is about finding what you love and making it into a career for yourself. For me, it was as simple as going on the website and sending an email. Companies need franchisees to make their company grow. You just have to do the research.
What some women fail to realize is that we are powerful individuals beyond measure. We can literally do anything we put our minds to. Our strength is not necessarily physical. It’s mental, spiritual, emotional etc. I know this because I watched my mother, and she is one of the strongest women I know. Raising a child while building an empire for us is something that I have always admired about her. Her strength is to be commended, and she is a real example to look up to.
The beauty of this strength that we have is that companies know this as well which is why they are actively looking for us to manage their franchises.
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