Female Fast Risers - Chelsea Penzone
Name: Chelsea Penzone
Brands: Strategic Franchising Systems (Caring Transitions, Fresh Coat Painters, The Growth Coach, Pet Wants, TruBlue Total House Care)
Title: Vice President of Brand Management and Development
Years in franchising: 9
No. of units: 500+
What attracted you to franchising? I was first intrigued by franchising while growing up in Columbus, Ohio, where brands like Wendy’s, Stanley Steemer, and Donatos Pizza corporate headquarters were located. When I was growing up, my aunt and uncle owned several Donatos locations in Ohio, so I had some exposure to franchising through them. Eventually, I found myself working at Stanley Steemer, and that was where I really started to see the value of franchising.
What was your first job in franchising? Regional marketing manager at Stanley Steemer International. However, this role was focused primarily on corporate locations. I was eventually promoted to director of marketing and oversaw all national marketing functions for the entire organization, which included about 220 franchise locations and more than 60 corporate locations nationwide.
What do you attribute your success to? I have always been very focused on strategy and high-level planning. Although my specialty has always been marketing, I am very operationally driven and focused. I think this has helped me in franchising because I can easily relate to the challenges franchise owners face across all aspects of the business.
What challenges and obstacles have you overcome in your career? I spent my first few years working exclusively in the home services industry where the brands were male-dominated. As a young woman, it was definitely a challenge to be accepted and taken seriously in that environment. Fortunately, I think it set me up for future success and prepared me for most of the challenges I have faced.
Describe your journey to your current position: Most recently, I started working for Strategic Franchising, which consists of five unique franchise brands (Caring Transitions, Fresh Coat Painters, The Growth Coach, Pet Wants, and TruBlue Total House Care). In this new role, I shifted from consumer marketing to lead generation and franchise development, which was a bit of a transition. However, I am really enjoying my new role and feel that my consumer marketing background has given me a different perspective for franchise development. I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work with all five brand leaders and cross-functional teams to achieve our organizational goals and drive franchise development.
What are your future career goals? I would like to continue working in franchising for the foreseeable future. Although marketing is my passion, I am interested in exploring other aspects of franchising and would consider purchasing my own franchise one day.
Advice to young female executives in franchising: Choose organizations that align with your personality and that support your goals. Focus on people and on building relationships. There are great resources in the franchising community, so focus on connecting with like-minded individuals. There are always opportunities to learn and grow from the people around you—especially in franchising.
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