Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue IV, 2016 - Page 28

D OM I N A T O R S “We’ve built a culture that’s not just about teamwork, but like a family environment.” PERSONAL First job: Babysitter. Exercise/workout: Daily at the gym. It’s my stress reliever. Formative influences/events: I grew up in a family of four girls. My father was a traveling pastor and we moved frequently, staying in a state for only a brief time. We moved to San Diego when I was eight. Best advice you ever got: Trust your gut and surround yourself with people you want to be like. Key accomplishments: Graduating from law school (undergraduate degree in business administration from Ambassador University in Texas, and law degree from University of Arizona); the birth of my daughters; becoming the first franchisee to open a Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery; being recognized as a female leader in my local market by several chambers and other organizations; and receiving the IFA’s FAN of the Year award in 2015. How do you balance life and work? I don’t (laughing). I force myself to step away, and traveling helps with that. Biggest current challenge: Trying to navigate and grow my business given our current regulatory environment and doing business in the “country” of California. Next big goal: To fight for the interests of small-business owners, possibly through an elected position. First turning point in your career: Moving to Las Vegas and becoming an attorney opened up many doors for me. Best business decision: To take a risk and grow beyond two units of my current brand. What’s your passion in business? Fighting for the rights of small-business owners. Guilty pleasure: French fries. Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Favorite movie: “The Shawshank Redemption.” What do most people not know about you? It was surprising for my team as they got to know me that I have a sense of humor and like to laugh a lot, especially when under stress. We often just take breaks and find a humorous topic to focus on for a few minutes. Pet peeve: Passive-aggressive behavior. I’d rather have someone say it straight to my face than behind my back. What did you want to be when you grew up? An attorney. Hardest lesson learned: Not everyone will do the right thing, and words often don’t follow with the promised action. Last vacation: For the first time in 10 years, I traveled quite a bit this summer. Work week: Flexibly crazy; typically Monday through Friday with quite a bit of travel. Person I’d most like to have lunch with: Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. MANAGEMENT Business philosophy: If you are honest and treat others fairly, you can lead with a certain freedom, knowing you are making the correct decisions, even when you have to make tough ones. Management method or style: I ask a lot of questions to get others to come up with the answers they already have inside them. Greatest challenge: Managing growth and dealing with regulatory compliance, all while continuing to run a top-notch company. How do others describe you? Tough, stern, intimidating at times, but fair and respectful. One thing I’m looking to do better: Be more organized! How I give my team room to innovate and experiment: It’s okay to speak up and disagree professionally, and it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s how we recover from those mistakes and take ownership of them that matters. How close are you to operations? I oversee all departments and speak with my leadership team daily. 26 Have you changed your marketing strategy in response to the economy? How? With our growth and saturation in San Diego, we’ve been able to move away from deal-based offers to more exposure and community involvement. How is social media affecting your business? The more popular our bundt cakes become, the more searches are done, and blogs are popping up. It’s exciting to watch the momentum we are gaining on all social media outlets. How do you hire and fire? We use a company called Hireology. We also have a fully developed HR department, and all decisions are run by them before a hire is made or a termination is performed. How do you train and retain? We have developed a detailed onboarding program to introduce and go through the initial training. We retain by engaging our team members and trying to understand what they need in the workplace. We try to go above and beyond to be a fair and desirable employer. What are the two most important things you rely on from your franchisor? Maintaining a top-notch product line and expanding in a smart manner with the right unit owners. How do you deal with problem employees? We have learned over the years that immediately addressing the situation is critical. We have been successful in rehabilitating some who have gone on to be very successful with us. If that is not possible, we move them out of the company quickly so that the problem doesn’t metastasize. What I need from vendors: Reliability and consistency. I agree to pay my bills on time so you need to get my product/service to me on time as well. Fastest way into my doghouse: Be disrespectful to me or to any of my staff. MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE IS S UE IV, 2016 muf4_profile_fortin(24,26,28).indd 26 10/6/16 5:00 PM