From whom or what do you draw your strength, courage, vision?
My strength and courage comes primarily from my family. We grew up in a struggling family and through many ups and downs I gained the strength and courage to believe that things could get better. I developed a great amount of resilience and really value the struggles that my family had because I believe there is no way to learn those lessons as effectively as learning them through difficult times. My brother, Ray, has been critical to me in developing and creating a vision. My husband and boys have also contributed to my ability to see a clear, long-term vision. My husband, Greg, has always had the ability to look beyond the issues and problems in front of me to looking longer term at a vision and what can be accomplished. As my boys played hockey, I learned more about the benefit of visualizing, and I believe this also helps with vision. My son, Andy, was a goalie and we would often visualize in the car on the way to games and talk about exactly what would happen when he was in the net. The power of those conversations helped me understand that both visualizing and developing a clear vision could be very powerful.
As you grew your company what, if anything, has held you back?
I think the only thing that has ever held me back is my own lack of confidence and insecurities. There were times when I would second-guess myself and hold back when my gut really told me I was on the right path and needed to persevere. I still have those moments, but try and work through them more quickly in order to move forward.
What is the number-one quality you look for when hiring employees and how do you evaluate if they possess that trait?
Whether or not they have good emotional strength and can care deeply about what they are doing. As a franchise organization, there are a lot of relationships that need to be built and one’s capacity for building and maintaining relationships is critical. Employees need to care, listen, support, and challenge both the franchisees and one another in order to be successful. We evaluate that trait through multiple interviews and comparing that employee’s style to the styles of our most successful employees.
What’s the best thing an employee/colleague ever said about you?
One of the things that I have always worked on is trying to let go and develop staff by allowing them to determine a path to accomplish a goal. I went into a senior executive meeting that was very focused on planning and one of the senior executives, Dean Wieber, knew that I had a very specific plan in mind for accomplishing one of our goals. He knew I had a vendor identified and clear ideas on what franchisees should be involved. In the meeting, I simply defined the goal and allowed the group to determine the best way to get there. It was nothing like the plan I had envisioned. After the meeting, Dean said, “I don’t know how you did that, but it was really impressive and I appreciated your willingness to let us tackle that on our own.” This was impactful because it helped me understand the power of letting go and simply defining the goals and trusting the executives and all of the employees to accomplish it.