Bold Women in the C-Suite: Heidi Morrissey
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Bold Women in the C-Suite: Heidi Morrissey

Bold Women in the C-Suite: Heidi Morrissey

Name: Heidi Morrissey

Brands: Kitchen Tune-Up and Bath Tune-Up

Title: President

Age: 55

Years in franchising: 19.5

No. of units: Kitchen Tune-Up, 272; Bath Tune-Up, 43

How important is making bold moves in a woman’s path to the C-suite? I think bold moves are important for anyone’s journey in franchising. Bold moves encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and achieve things they might not have thought possible.

Describe bold moves you’ve made in your career. I changed careers from teaching to direct sales and then moved into franchising. That required a move across multiple states with a young family to work in a family business. That was probably one of the most difficult choices I have had to make. Once in the franchise space, rebranding Kitchen Tune-Up in my second year there was pretty bold and came with challenges, but, ultimately, more rewards. Setting a new model for our franchise (from owner-operator to owner-manager) was at times slow-moving, but looking at where we are today, the move was worth the time and energy.

How did you envision those moves changing the brand you were with? With a shift in Kitchen Tune-Up model, we were able to help our owners scale their businesses much easier and faster. Internally, I saw we needed to grow our skill sets and training to meet the new model.

How has your leadership helped evolve the brand? I think just bringing a female into the leadership of the brand was a change. It offered a different perspective to the needs of our customers and our franchise owners. When I was VP of marketing and sales, it gave our brand a new look and feel, and the language became more “feminine” instead of just talking about our services. Today, I’m often told that I’m tough but caring, and that the owners know I’m driven to be a good steward of the brand and help it grow to benefit them.

Was there pushback? How did you handle that? There will always be pushback, external and internal. Usually, it just means I have not done a good enough job explaining what is in it for Pushback can be helpful and, as a leader, you have to be open to hearing different perspectives in order to grow.

How are you imparting a culture of boldness to other women in your organization? By sharing bold ideas and empowering them to try things. The ideas may not always work, and I have a list I share with them of times that I tried something that was not successful. But if we learn from everything, then we chalk it up as a “tuition moment” and move on.

What motivates you as a leader? People. I love watching my team grow their skills, and I love watching a new owner go from training to thriving very quickly. Every day I wake up as excited as when I first started. Every new training school is a thrill, and every new hire brings a new dimension to our organization.

What are some ways women leaders in franchising can drive change? 1) Have a voice. Speak up, have something to say. That means listening to podcasts and reading books and magazines so you have something to contribute. 2) Be willing to take a chance. Things may not always work out the way you want, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking chances. 3) Become an expert in people. Ground yourself in gratitude and be bold about thanking others and sharing with others. Don’t get caught up in a scarcity mentality. There is more than enough for everyone, and others’ successes in our industry help make our industry as a whole more successful.

What role has mentoring played in your career? How did you meet your mentors? I have had so many mentors. Most were not traditional in nature. I didn’t have official mentor sessions, but people shared so much with me at the IFA when I was first learning. When joining Home Franchise Concepts with its parent company, JM Family, there were so many people who stepped in to help me navigate the journey and broaden my perspective.

Describe one of your biggest failures. What did you learn, and how did it contribute to greater personal or business success? When I was about a year into franchising, I had an interaction with a franchisee where I was not open to listening to their needs. They decided to leave the system, and I felt horrible for them and for us. That was the day I decided to ask questions and always understand that you never know the other person’s life and what shapes their perceptions of the world.

What is one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make, and how did it affect your life? Probably, to sell the company and stay on as president after it was family-owned for 33 years. Moving to new owners, new processes, and a new boss was jarring, but my life is so much better now. We have hired more support. I have an amazing extended team that comes to work to support our brand, and our parent company, JM, has been supportive, gracious, and generous. I really did win the lottery on this decision.

If you could do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? I don’t know if I would do much differently, because everything I have gone through has brought me to where I am now.

What advice do you have for aspiring female leaders? Make it a top priority to care for yourself and prioritize self-growth. Also, don’t try to do it all. Hire help if you need it. And surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed.

Published: April 30th, 2023

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