Bold Women in the C-Suite: Shana Krisan
Name: Shana Krisan
Brand: Goldfish Swim School
Years in franchising: 25
No. of units: 140
How important is making bold moves in a woman’s path to the C-suite? Of course it is! I not only believe that women should be a part of every area of marketing and business development, they should also be at the forefront of decision-making. Know your business model. Speak up! The representation of the consumer is one of the most important aspects of the business.
Describe bold moves you’ve made in your career. I know who I am and what I represent (at “this” age). I don’t consider my moves “bold,” but more of an evolution of my understanding of what I should expect and how I should be treated, and, conversely, how to handle situations and work with people more successfully. Everything I have learned has led me to where I am and has developed me as a person as well as a mentor and leader.
How did you envision those moves changing the brand you were with? Goldfish Swim School was at a very foundational level when I started, but the foundation, the passion, the vision, and the ingredients to grow were there. I was able to bring all of my experience, trials and errors, and successes and mistakes with me. And I was at a place in my life and in my career where I felt confident in my ability to make a difference and help develop the brand for the future.
How has your leadership helped evolve the brand? I’m a big proponent of the adage “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I lead by bringing in people who have passion, insight, ideas, and a teamwork mentality. And I believe in encouraging everyone to speak up and really invest in and take responsibility for the brand. I think my biggest leadership opportunity is to help develop and integrate those ideas and remove the barrier to their implementation. Putting the right people in the right seats and trusting in them has allowed us to create some amazing work that has helped drive our company and our brand forward.
Was there pushback? How did you handle that? We are all on the same page at the leadership level. Everyone has bought into the approach and has set high standards and expectations while providing the trust, resources, and encouragement necessary to propel us forward.
How are you imparting a culture of boldness to other women in your organization? I encourage everyone on the team to find the “love” and the “why” in what they do. It’s not a woman thing, although there are a lot of women in our organization. You won’t go wrong if you follow your passion and dedicate yourself to it!
What motivates you as a leader? Watching things grow! The brand share of voice, the awareness in our communities, the marketing plan, and franchisee success—and the people on the teams!
What are some ways women leaders in franchising can drive change? 1) Speak up! Be who you are and bring your authentic self and unique skills and ideas to the table. 2) Encourage, trust, and mentor others. 3) Share your successes, but also your failures.
What role has mentoring played in your career? How did you meet your mentors? I really never had a positive mentor. That is the reason it’s so important for me to be one!
Describe one of your biggest failures. What did you learn, and how did it contribute to greater personal or business success? One of my biggest failures was one of my greatest understandings: A resume is a jumping-off point. Culture and the ability to be a part of a team that has a consistent understanding of who they are and where they are going means more than the experience.
What is one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make, and how did it affect your life? Change in general is difficult, but when it involves people, it’s much more challenging. As the business evolves, the needs and direction of the department have changed over the years. And with team health and the objectives and values of the company in mind, I’ve had to make personnel changes that personally were hard to make. In the end, however, that often created opportunity that we parlayed into improvement and growth.
If you could do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? I would understand my value earlier on. I didn’t know what I was “supposed” to do in my career. It took me a beat to realize that there was value in being a holistic thinker and concentrating on the big picture and strategy, even if I wasn’t a subject matter expert in an individual area.
What advice do you have for aspiring female leaders? You know what you know. Don’t question it. Don’t quiet it. But be open to expanding it!
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