Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds
Issue link: http://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/662902
We Mean Business > 18 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m DW: What was your first job as a young person—fast food, perhaps? DR: It wasn't really a job—in fact, it may have been violation of child labor laws!— but I used to visit an aunt in Pittsburgh, my mother's closest sister, who had a cor- ner grocery store. I visited her every sum- mer. While my cousins would be outside, I would be inside working in the store. I would take inventory. She got so com- fortable, she could leave for a little while and I would run the store. I was doing it at the age of 11, and I loved it. DW: What did you get out of that experience? DR: Well, for one thing, my daughter still says, "You count money faster than any- body I've ever seen." But it also gave me a love of business and the interaction with people. My aunt was a huge personality. Everyone in the neighborhood knew her. In the store, there were always people she would know, and she knew what people were coming in for. Kids would come in and she'd give them candy. I also learned the importance of pro- cesses, procedures, and accuracy. Later, I worked at a grocery store back at home, as a cashier, and I took my job so seri- ously—reconciling my drawer with the receipts, not being under or over. I don't recall my mother ever saying, "You have to go to work—get up and go." I just went. DW: What was your first job after college? DR: I worked in the steel industry, but I knew that was not meant for me long- term. My friend got a call from a head- hunter at McDonald's, and she called me about it. I said, "Yes I'm looking, but not at a hamburger company. If I wanted that, I wouldn't have gone to college." But I took the interview, and I re- searched the company. I learned that McDonald's had more accounting de- partments than I thought—interna- tional accounting, real estate account- ing, fnancial accounting. I could rotate through diferent departments and never get tired in 10 years. I was also impressed by how many people had started in the restaurants themselves—it looked like the land of opportunity. By the time of the interview, I wanted the job so much I didn't know what to do with myself. DW: What kind of leader are you now? DR: I'm a highly accountable leader. I've been entrusted to lead a signifcant por- tion of the business, from a fnancial standpoint and a people standpoint, so I'm accountable for delivering results, and for developing talent for our organi- zation. I try to listen more and talk less, so I understand the perspectives of all. DW: You're part of McDonald's Women's Leadership Network. What is the benefit of that for your work environment? DR: We also have the African-American Council, the National Hispanic Employee Business Network, McDonald's Pride, the Asia Pacifc Middle East Network, a Young Professionals Network, and more. It's about having people from the same walk of life as you, to share your challeng- es or your victories. But our leadership network is also open to others. At the women's meeting, we have guys there, and they are supportive. We recently had an event for Mar- tin Luther King Day, and we had every diversity group get up and talk about MLK's leadership platform. I sat there in awe—all of these diferent individuals. Te power of one plus one is really three. DW: What objects in your office say the most about you? DR: One is a picture of my daughter. She's 17, but she's younger in the picture. Family is important to me. I have a sup- portive husband who gets me, too. I talk a lot about my family, and I encourage employees to talk about their families. It's important to understand what moti- vates people. Te second thing is Te Shining Light award. It's an award that celebrates the principles that MLK embodied as well as [McDonald's visionary and former own- er] Ray Kroc. To receive an award like that was extremely humbling. DW: You've come a long way from those aspirations to be a dentist. What is a big lesson that you've learned along the way? DR: Someone once told me something that their grandma used to say: Don't write the end yet, because you miss the real story along the way. You have to be open to possibilities. That hits me between the eyes. Growing up on Chicago's West Side, my mom was a school clerk, my dad a construction worker—blue-collar folks. Now here I sit at a company like Mc- Donald's, responsible for half of our US business. I never saw the story ending this way. I feel so blessed. DW: What book have you read lately that has really has stayed with you? DR: Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In. I refer to it often. One principle that I absolutely love is "It's a jungle gym, not a ladder." Again, it's not about where you end up, but the journey. DW Don't write the end yet, because you miss the real story along the way.