In 2022, the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Black equity in the Golden Arches franchise. Ownership opportunities have not only increased, but scaled and continued since the association’s inception. The leadership demonstrated in the NBMOA mirrors McDonald’s corporate C-level leadership, where many Black women lead diverse employees and departments to carry out the company’s mission. For each leadership role, the story is on the journey and process it takes to attain such a prestigious responsibility.
“I started working as a crew member in New York in 1988,” said Brittnay Hernandes, senior director of franchise relations at McDonald’s.
“When I graduated high school, I started working as a summer intern at McDonald’s,” says Christa Small, vice president of US operations.
“I graduated in supply chain and started my 30-year career at McFamily working for a McDonald’s supplier. A few years later, I joined McDonald’s Corporation,” said Marion Gross, executive vice president, chief supply chain.
Hernandes, Small, and Gross are three of the many examples in “McFamily” of longevity combined with upward mobility.
Longevity comes with evolution. McDonald’s corporate leadership has seen the evolution of the brand, its commitment to customer loyalty, and the employees who interact with customers every day.
“It’s great to see McDonald’s and participating owner/operators’ continued commitment to investing in restaurant employees through tuition assistance programs like Archways to Opportunity,” said franchisee and operator Vicki Chancellor, who is also the operator’s national ad Fund Chairman.
Qualified restaurant employees who work at company-owned restaurants or participating franchised restaurants can learn English as a second language, earn a high school diploma, and receive college tuition assistance. In 2019, Chancellor became the first woman of color to hold the position.
One common denominator is the man Marion Gross, Bridgette Hernandez, Vicki Chancellor and Christa Small all worked with.
“We have a saying at McDonald’s, we’re all McFamily,” Small said. “That’s true. I have a lot of people, and now I can be counted not only as colleagues, but as friends. We really are a people-centric business, and the people I spend time with every day are part of what makes McDonald’s such a great place reason.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with our franchisees,” Bridgette Hernandez said. “Our owner/operator has renewed my passion for the brand time and time again, while giving me the opportunity to do what I do best, which has helped drive strong business results.
Hernandez also met her husband at McDonald’s 26 years ago.
Throughout their careers, service and upward mobility have given each of them the definition of success, but community and service to those around them remains the priority catalyst.
Marion Gross: “Success means helping to develop and mentor the next generation of business leaders, especially women of color, I lament. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to provide opportunities for these capable and ambitious leaders, as I do in every stage of career.”
Principal Vivi: “Success to me is having a positive impact on my business and my community. Whether it’s supporting one of my crew members by helping them through college, or mentoring a young black woman, if I can support them and make them Get better, and that’s success.”
Little Christa: “Success for me initially was about the projects I worked on and growing my career. Today, as a mother and a more senior leader, keeping my family in a good place while continuing to be a McDonald’s It’s really satisfying to make an impact and see new innovations bring life to employees and customers.”
Bridget Hernandez: Success is about continuous growth, hard work, and respect and value for the teams and collaborators I have the opportunity to work with.
As the National Association of Black McDonald’s Operators celebrates entering its 51st year of operation, it’s safe to say that black women will continue to be a big part of its dominance.