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Celebrating Women’s History Month Inside the Brilliant Minds of our Female Executives

By March 13, 2020March 18th, 2020No Comments

At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, we are strong proponents of recognizing outstanding women and helping them work their way to the top. During Women’s History Month, we are honored to be recognized in FastCasual’s 2020 Women in the Lead series. The series recognizes companies doing their part to elevate women to leadership positions and shines a light on the women leading the industry.

We are delighted to have two of our very own female executives in franchising in the much-deserved spotlight. Take a look at their interviews as they share their wisdom, sources of inspiration, and real-life insights.

Jenifer Perrett
VP, Integrated Marketing

Jenifer Perrett - VP of Integrated Marketing Q:When it comes to promoting females to leadership roles, how has the restaurant industry changed since you first began your career?

A. I have spent the majority of my career in ad agencies working with food brands to develop their marketing and advertising strategies. One benefit of working in an agency setting is the opportunity team members have, including women of all experience levels, to hold highly visible roles with their clients in diverse industries. After more than a decade, the experience I gained in an agency setting made my current position more available to me. Now that I work on a corporate team, I am also fortunate to hold a role with extensive responsibility and high visibility.

Q. Name a female leader (any industry) who inspires you and why.

A. I am in awe of Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company. She is a ceiling breaker in every sense of the word both as a woman in a male-dominated industry and as a leader making tough decisions to redefine the GM brand. Not to mention that she does it with a sense of humbleness for doing the right thing and raising a family to boot. I think it’s important for women to realize that our pursuit of our passion and success doesn’t have to follow status quo. Find what you love and love what you do.

Q. Whether you have children or not, how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? Or is that even possible?

A. I don’t believe that balance truly exists, but I know that I am personally fulfilled by both my family and my career in their own ways. It’s extremely important for me to focus on my family when I am with them, and my career when I am in the office. I also want to lead by example and teach my kids that hard work and commitment is a good, rewarding thing.

Q. What is your advice for women seeking a promotion and/or a raise? Any tips?

A.It’s always been important to me to do the job I want before I ask to be recognized for it financially or in name. Then, when the conversation comes up, there are proof points to support and warrant the raise or promotion. My advice is to not sit around and wait for someone to tell you what it will take to get to the next level. Step out of your comfort zone. Develop your own growth plan. Hold yourself accountable and take charge of your next steps.

Jennifer Folger
VP, Franchise Development

Jennifer Folger, VP of Franchise DevelopmentQ. When it comes to promoting females to leadership roles, how has the restaurant industry changed since you first began your career?

A. There are more women in leadership roles in the restaurant industry today than ever before. It’s an intriguing industry that offers an extensive variety of career paths that are often accompanied by rewarding growth opportunities, which has been my experience over the year. Since I took my first role at Tropical Smoothie Cafe in 2015, women specifically have had a tremendous impact on our company. In addition to having a strong female presence on our extended leadership team, some of our most successful operators are female and today we have reached nearly 200 female franchisees, which is about 44% of our total franchisees.

Q. Name a female leader (any industry) who inspires you and why.

A.The first female leader that immediately comes to mind is Alicia Staley. She hired me for my first real corporate job (a looong time ago!). It was primarily a technology company dominated by men and she was a no-nonsense and well-respected leader at this organization. I was fortunate that she took a chance on me early on and took me under her wing. I owe a lot of my success to what I learned from her.

Q. Whether you have children or not, how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? Or is that even possible?

A. This is a challenge for everyone in today’s day and age because we rarely truly disconnect from work. That being said, I focus on giving my all at work when I’m there and I try to limit taking my work home with me on nights/weekends/vacations. I need to lead by example in order to create that environment for those on my team as well. Additionally, any time I have considered a new career opportunity I disclose upfront that while I’m very career-oriented and passionate about what I do, it’s important for me to be in an environment that is going to support work-life balance. I feel that addressing it on the front end ensures that we are aligned and gives me that freedom to make sure I’m not missing any important family events. I’m grateful that while we work hard here at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the culture we have is supportive of this: work hard / play hard!

Q. What is your advice for women seeking a promotion and/or a raise? Any tips?

A. First and foremost, ask for it. Too often people assume that their bosses know what they want and that’s not always the case. Stay factual, be prepared to outline what you have done to warrant the raise or promotion, keep emotions out of it and focus on the bottom line. Make sure what you’re asking for is realistic – do some due diligence/networking in the industry you’re in. If it’s denied, ask for clear feedback on what steps you can take to get there and the timing of it, and then do those things and follow-up for continued feedback. If you receive feedback that doesn’t align with what you’re looking for, it may be time to look for an opportunity elsewhere, and that is ok. Sometimes, we outgrow where we are. Lastly, I don’t think we should approach this from a gender perspective; I think those that do are doing themselves a disservice.

 

Our culture at Tropical Smoothie Cafe is designed to help women reach their goals of all different levels. They drive our success through their business acumen, personal touches and outstanding intuitions as strong human beings.

If you are interested in owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe and joining our team of women-strong executives and Franchise Owners, just fill out the form below.

 

Click here to read the full article on Jenifer Perrett.

Click here to read the full article on Jennifer Folger.

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