Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue IV, 2016 - Page 26

D OM I N A T O R S BY DEBBIE SELINSKY Baked in Success M Mara Fortin for the defense—of franchising! ara Fortin wears many hats as a Nothing Bundt Cakes franchisee: taste-testing in one of her seven San Diego–area stores, meeting with local business owners, advocating before Congress on issues of concern to franchisees and small-business owners, and mentoring young women. A single mother with two pre-teen daughters, Fortin graduated from law school at 26 and moved to Las Vegas, where she defended doctors and nurses in malpractice cases. After 8 years, she left her legal practice and, armed with her undergraduate degree in business, relocated to San Diego to become the first franchisee of Nothing Bundt Cakes. Today she is the brand’s largest individual owner in a region and her stores recently won “Best Dessert” honors from the San Diego Union-Tribune. She’s also become a vocal advocate for franchising. In 2015, the IFA recognized her work in this area with its second annual Franchise Action Network “FAN of the Year” award, acknowledging her “consistent voice in speaking to the media and lawmakers about the recent NLRB joint employer ruling” and her work to “protect, promote, and enhance” franchising. Despite the public recognition of her energy and dedication, getting to where she is today has not been easy, she says, dealing with stress generated by working so many hours, spending too much time away from her daughters, and tackling the learning curve that comes with franchising. “I was the first franchisee for our brand, have served as chair of the Franchise Advisory Council, and have received the Outstanding Franchisee (Circle of Honor) award, but sometimes I still feel the need to prove myself,” she says. “I tell other women who want to start in franchising not to doubt themselves. There’s no reason they can’t do what they want to do. I tell them to have confidence—and when the naysayers come along, listen to the words they say and pull the nuggets of wisdom out, but don’t let yourself be surrounded by negative energy.” Fortin also advises female franchisees to seek out female executives as mentors. “I mentor quite a few young women as well as my team members. I’m watching NAME: Mara Fortin TITLE: Founder, president, owner COMPANY: MV Kakery, K&K Kakery NO. OF UNITS: 7 Nothing Bundt Cakes AGE: 43 FAMILY: Daughters Kendall, 12 and Karyn, 10 YEARS IN FRANCHISING: 10 YEARS IN CURRENT POSITION: 10 24 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE IS S UE IV, 2016 muf4_profile_fortin(24,26,28).indd 24 10/6/16 5:00 PM