16 Questions on Leadership & Mentorship with Jodi Boyce, CMO at Teriyaki Madness
Name: Jodi Boyce
Brand: Teriyaki Madness
Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Years in franchising: 23
No. of units system-wide: 105
What do you wish you had known before taking your first management role? Managing people and growing their skills takes a lot of time and energy! However, it’s worth it if you can grow a strong team!
Which leadership skills were most difficult to develop? Delegating to the team to allow time to think higher-level and more strategically, especially in a smaller company like ours. I’m a doer as well as a planner, so it was difficult for me to pass along projects and take the time to teach others how to do them rather than doing them myself.
Who helped you on the way to the top? I’ve had several great bosses and leaders above me along the way. Jennifer Sanning was one when we were at Quiznos. She and another VP were at the same level (same age, similar experience and background), yet she was more respected and was paid more than the other VP. She taught me that if you don’t ask for it and present your case, you may not get it (when it comes to raises, promotions, or even approval on projects and budgets). Michael Haith, my current boss and CEO of Teriyaki Madness, continues to push me to delegate more to allow myself more time for strategy and planning. Another is Arjun Sen, owner of ZenMango. Although I didn’t work at the same company, I’ve worked with him on many projects over the years. He saw potential in me 15-plus years ago and has given me great advice over the years on resumes and networking.
What was the best advice you ever got? Give credit to your team and recognize their efforts. And, if you don’t ask for it, you may not get it.
Is that different than the advice you give? No. I try to pass those along to my team.
How do you mentor, and what advice do you give those you mentor? I try to lead by example. I’m always willing to jump in to help the team accomplish projects. I also try to carve out time to teach my team how to do a project they’ve never done before. I find that even though hours in the day are scarce, it’s worth taking the time to answer their questions first, so they aren’t slowed down on accomplishing what they need to get done to achieve the larger goals at hand.
What skill sets do you think are imperative for young women leaders? Speaking up and sharing opinions (backed up by facts and data). However, there’s a way to do this with assertiveness and confidence without being arrogant or aggressive. Flexibility is imperative. Know when to pick your battles and when to go with the flow.
What are your leadership do’s and don’ts? Do: Lead by example. Don’t: Ask your team to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.
How did you learn to embrace risk-taking? Have the data to back up a risky decision. Evaluate the pros and cons, and if the data supports the risk, go for it. It also helps that Teriyaki Madness is a very forgiving environment. As long as we take accountability, we do not overreact to occasional mistakes or bad decisions. We assess it, learn from it, and move on.
How should aspiring female leaders build allies? Give credit to those who did the work or came up with the idea. Some female leaders seem eager to be recognized, but if she can give credit to her team, and if she has a positive track record of accomplishing what she committed to, the allies should come naturally and there will be more mutual respect.
How do aspiring female leaders balance patience and perseverance? Although I’d love for the work to speak for itself when looking for a raise or promotion, it doesn’t always work that way. Let your career goals be known early with your boss – not as a demand, but to set goals and manage expectations, theirs and yours.
What roles do education and experience play in leadership development? I had a great education (University of Colorado Boulder–Leeds School of Business). However, my best education came from real-life experience, mainly being involved in competitive sports through high school and attending, as well as being employed by, a kid’s outdoor camp in Tahoe for years. Both taught me invaluable leadership and teamwork skills that aren’t necessarily taught in a classroom.
What about attitude and mindset? I have found over the years that having a flexible attitude is key to your sanity. Only worry about the things you can control.
Was there a time when things didn’t turn out as planned? How did you bounce back? Two stories. After I left one of my positions about 10 years ago, I tried something completely new: working for an ad agency remotely, with me in Denver and the agency in Richmond, Virginia. Part of my role was to bring on new clients. It was very challenging and not for me. My confidence took a hit. I didn’t have a lot of work for about a year, and I didn’t feel part of a team (this was pre-Zoom!). Because I’d made great connections over the years, I had an old colleague reach out and recommend me for a position at The Integer Group, an agency in Denver where I would represent the Einstein Bros. Bagels account. It turned out to be a great move for me, as I was in the right place at the right time.
Before Teriyaki Madness, I was at Smashburger. There was a change of ownership, and in June 2016 they let 8 out of 11 of our marketing team go, including me. It was a blow to my confidence, but also the best thing that’s happened! I found the Teriyaki Madness position immediately once I started looking, fell in love with the food, the brand, and the excitement of the opportunity to grow the company. I’ve now been here more than 5 years.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned, and how has it proven invaluable? Don’t sweat the small stuff (or sometimes the big stuff). In my earlier years, I took a lot of pride and ownership in my role and what I was responsible for. Although that did lead to a lot of productive work, it also led to overreacting to change and taking things too personally. Change is a constant part of this business, and once I learned to separate personal feelings from business decisions I excelled in my role and at being a leader.
Why is it so important to give back to the next generation of leaders? Some leaders need a little push or encouragement to get to the next level. Great things can happen when someone is given a chance to succeed. For the larger good of a company’s growth, it’s important to pass along what you’ve learned to the next generation so they can start leading with confidence and know that someone has their back.
Editor’s note: This is one of 12 Q&As with female franchise leaders featured in Franchise Update magazine’s annual Women’s Issue (Q1 2022). To read more, click here.
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Franchise Update Magazine: Issue 1, 2022