Bold Women in the C-Suite: Alejandra Font
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Bold Women in the C-Suite: Alejandra Font

Bold Women in the C-Suite: Alejandra Font

Name: Alejandra Font

Brand: The Camp Transformation Center 

Title: Co-Founder, CEO

Age: 50

Years in franchising: 6

No. of units: 109

How important is making bold moves in a woman’s path to the C-suite? Making bold moves is important if you want to make an impact in your life, business, and industry. If you are satisfied with the status quo, it’s easy to remain the same. But if you desire more, it’s imperative to take calculated risks, to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.

Describe bold moves you’ve made in your career. I started my business 12 years ago. Six years ago we began franchising the concept. Making the decision to move to the franchise model was bold. I had zero previous experience in franchising. I had experience in business, but franchising is a whole other monster. I got to a point in my career as an entrepreneur where I wanted more and felt I could deliver more value to the marketplace if I could leverage franchising to scale my business. The journey was amazing. I love the challenge of attempting to do something extraordinary. 

How did you envision those moves changing the brand you were with? Going from a traditional business to a franchise model was a huge shift for the brand. It definitely made us more accountable, more process- and systems-oriented, more organized, and more robust. 

How has your leadership helped evolve the brand? I knew a strong culture would be the bedrock of our success. Our brand has cultivated and developed a culture that makes people feel special. We achieve this by creating memorable experiences that build strong relationships with our fitness community. Our culture was developed to give us the opportunity to change people’s lives. We are in the group fitness weight-loss space with 64% of our clients being female. Going through a weight-loss transformation requires a lot of support, empathy, coaching, and understanding. These are areas where women in general relate to well and feel comfortable at executing. For my two co-founders (my husband and my business partner), this culture wasn’t intuitive. Since I was running the operations, I had the opportunity to create the culture that was most similar to myself and that was welcoming and safe for women and men of all shapes and sizes.

Was there pushback? How did you handle that? In the very beginning there was a bit of pushback because one of my co-founders came from a different school of thought. He had a male body-building background where the culture is much more rigid and harsh. I didn’t feel comfortable behaving that way with our clients, so I created a culture that was more empathetic and understanding to a client’s needs. That culture has evolved to an amazing life of its own.

How are you imparting a culture of boldness to other women in your organization? I am proud to say just over 50% of our franchise partners are female. I think our culture resonates very much with women.

What motivates you as a leader? What motivates me most is seeing profitable and happy franchise partners and working with a team that lives by our culture and is thriving in their roles. We have so much to offer our franchise partners, and so many opportunities to take advantage of, that not being proactive is a disservice to us all.

What are some ways women leaders in franchising can drive change? Above anything, I believe women must take a seat at the table and allow their voices to be heard. Too many capable women suffer from self-doubt and insecurity. Women have a lot to offer and a viewpoint that is unique and valuable. Data is important, but gut also plays a role. Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut. She knows what’s up!

What role has mentoring played in your career? How did you meet your mentors? All my mentors have been people who mentor me from afar. They are authors, speakers, and businesspeople who have done extraordinary things in their careers that I learn from, look up, to and admire. 

Describe one of your biggest failures. What did you learn, and how did it contribute to greater personal or business success? My biggest failure in franchising was not bringing on the right team with broad franchise experience from the outset. Our unit economics were very strong despite not offering a robust support and training program, which allowed our deficiencies to not be obvious. It wasn’t until a couple of years into becoming a franchise company that we realized we were missing the right team to help our franchise partners thrive. Once we came to that realization, we’ve been able to attract talent with a proven track record. We are still looking to grow our team, but now we have a great structure in place. 

What is one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make, and how did it affect your life? Becoming a franchisor has been by far the toughest decision we have ever had to make. The vision at the beginning was to have a few clubs in our local market. I envisioned myself with five. Within a few years of operating, clients began asking us to sell them a franchise. We didn’t know much about the industry. We made a lot of mistakes, but we also quickly learned and realized we needed to seek help from professionals in the franchise space. That decision drastically changed my life. I have grown professionally and am having an absolute blast building this company. It comes with stress and uncertainty at times, but I know that as long as we always double down on our client—the franchise partner—and their success and profitability, we will always win.

If you could do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? I would not let a lack of self-confidence get in my way of acting on a decision. In the past, there were countless times when I would hesitate to speak up—and then someone else would participate, sharing exactly what I was thinking.

What advice do you have for aspiring female leaders? Go for it! Whatever dream you have, you have the ability to make it happen. The years and months will go by anyway, so if you want something, go for it. Regret is a painful thing. You’ll never regret going for it, but you will regret not doing anything about the life you want to live or the impact you want to make. Think of 85-year-old you: Do you want to look back and remember all the excitement, or do you want to remember that you wanted to do something but were too afraid to take action? I want to reminisce at the end of my life that I was the one responsible for making an amazing life for myself, not a perfect life, but one full of adventure and lived the way I wanted to live.

Published: April 3rd, 2023

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