Leading Women
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Leading Women

Leading Women

For almost a decade now, we’ve dedicated our Q1 issue to the growing ranks of women in franchise leadership roles. These women continue to change the landscape—for the better—bringing fresh energy, perspectives, ideas, and insights to what still is one of the country’s greatest business opportunities: franchising.

We’re continually impressed not only by how these women have made a difference in their own lives, but also in the lives of other women, providing role models for those forging their own upward journeys.

For today’s leading women, giving back as coaches and mentors by lending a helping hand to the succeeding generations is a natural way for them to pay it forward. We’ve seen this time and again over the years from the women we’ve featured in our annual Women’s Issue, now in its 9th year. So for 2022, we zeroed in on the importance of paying it forward, aka mentoring.

We reached out to a diverse group of female leaders who represent brands large and small across different sectors and C-suite positions. The result is 12 insightful interviews with today’s leading women who tell the stories of their own journeys—and how today they are serving similar roles for tomorrow’s female franchise leaders. Each addressed why it is so important for them to give back to the next generation, as well as appreciating those who came before. Here are just a few selections we hope inspire you to dream large yourself.

“Perseverance is needed throughout our careers. Work hard, and do not let the day-to-day frustrations get in your way. Attitude is critical if you want to climb the ladder. You must stay positive and have a ‘can-do’ attitude.” —Jania Bailey, 63, CEO at FranNet

“The future of business and franchising depends on future generations, and we can’t take that lightly. The list of people who have helped to coach and mentor me is long, and I want to be able to pay it forward.” —Kristen Pechacek, 31, Chief Growth Officer at MassageLuxe

“True success is opening doors for others and expanding opportunities for all women and minorities. What motivates me is helping the next generation reach even greater heights than we ever dreamed.” —Ericka Garza, 46, President & CEO at Au Bon Pain

“If those ahead of me hadn’t been willing to mentor me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I think it’s incumbent upon us all to give back at some point in our careers.” —Laura Coe, 50, Co-Founder and CEO at Snapology

“Owning mistakes is absolutely crucial to both an employee’s and the company’s health and growth. The second piece of that is the necessity to look inward and have self-reflection.” —Jackie Bondanza, 41, CEO at Hounds Town USA

“Be your true authentic self. Being anything other than yourself is extremely draining and unfulfilling. Being your true self also helps you attract the people you need to take you to where you want to go.” —Ruth Agbaji, 36, Co-Founder & CEO of Code Wiz

Franchising remains one of America’s great fields of opportunity for women. After decades of struggle to overcome male pride and prejudice, opportunities for women to rise into leadership positions in all sectors of business are greater than ever before. There’s never been a better time to be a woman in franchising than now.

We hope you find inspiration in their stories. As the saying goes, “Making it on your own doesn’t mean making it by yourself.”

Finally, by bringing their stories to light, it’s been a privilege to do our small bit to aid in the advancement of women into the top tiers of franchise leadership. And we thank all the fantastic, fabulous females who took the time to participate in advancing the movement even further by telling their stories here.

Published: April 25th, 2022

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