Female Fast Risers - Lizi Wahl
Name: Lizi Wahl
Brand: Young Rembrandts
Title: Director of Franchise Marketing, Director of Operations
Years in franchising: 12
No. of units: 71 territories
What attracted you to franchising? Franchising is a beautiful thing because it allows people to be entrepreneurial without enormous risk. It provides an attractive business opportunity for people to become their own boss. For me, I love supporting people as they build a business where their success becomes directly linked to their hard work!
What was your first job in franchising? I started working as a part-time teacher at a corporate-owned Young Rembrandts territory. It was a fun job, and the hours offered me flexibility while I explored other interests and careers.
What do you attribute your success to? Teamwork. Working in a bubble can get you only so far, and in my career I have been blessed with great mentors, leaders, and strong team members. Each has provided perspective and helped me think outside the box, supported different initiatives, given advice and, when needed, provided tough love.
What challenges and obstacles have you overcome in your career? Before Covid-19, I put the obstacles in my own path. I wouldn’t speak up because I felt that I was too young. Looking back, I believe that I acted shy because I am female and felt that I had to be shy—but that is something I have (mostly) outgrown. Over time, I’ve realized that my personality is not naturally shy. But I was afraid. When I recognized that these obstacles were self-induced, it was easier to overcome them and to bring my skills, personality, and knowledge to the forefront. Most recently, Covid-19 has been a challenge; businesses and consumers are changing. It has been an interesting learning curve both professionally and personally as we pivot, grow, and shift.
Describe your journey to your current position: After I graduated from Purdue University, I worked part-time at a few different places as I decided what I wanted to “be” now that I was a grown-up. I was working part-time for the Chicago Bears, which was a fun experience because I got to meet and talk with hundreds of different people every week I love football. Additionally, I worked part-time as a Young Rembrandts art instructor at a corporate-owned location during the week, and each class was so rewarding. I started doing more with the Young Rembrandts home office, helping to launch the brand’s social media presence, and it grew from there. When the home office sold their corporate units, I chose to stay with the home office and start working “on” the business instead of “in” the business.
What are your future career goals? I have two kids, and I am not going anywhere. The franchise business is incredible and Young Rembrandts continues to grow. I’m looking forward to being a part of that, especially now, as businesses challenged by Covid-19 shift and change. As our team adapted and adjusted, we now have a whole new product line that my team and I get to help develop and fine-tune.
Advice to young female executives in franchising: Lift each other up! Find a person or a group of people and be supportive. But don’t be afraid to ask for support, too. Even during a pandemic, I connect with other women in franchising, whether it’s to ask for help, to do a favor, or just to have a conversation. It’s nice to have an ally who knows what it’s like to be in franchising.
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