I’ve been in the food and restaurant industry since my first job when I was 16 years old, working at a donut shop, and purchased my first business, also a donut shop, when I was 20. Over time, working in the food industry became a passion that would guide my entire professional career. My journey with Pizza Factory is unique—I started out as a franchisee with the brand more than 30 years ago, and my role has evolved tremendously since then. 

After being a multi-unit operator for many years, I developed a vision for the brand’s potential and a clear direction for its growth. In 2012, my husband Bob and I purchased Pizza Factory and entered a new path in my professional career—CEO and franchisee. I immediately took the bull by the horns and implemented a number of strategies that would launch us to new heights. From new marketing strategies to store designs to online initiatives, my goal was to bring Pizza Factory into the new age of online ordering and modernize the brand while maintaining the iconic legacy we had established over the years. 

The Pizza Factory team and franchisees were incredible throughout the transition. They remained fully committed to continuing our growth and shifting focus to new ideas that would propel us forward. Over the past decade, we have continued to grow alongside new and existing franchisees, fortifying our West Coast roots while expanding into new markets, and far surpassed my initial goals for the brand. 

I’m proud of the growing Pizza Factory family and the way we have maintained our awesome industry-leading position over our 40-plus years in business. As a leader and still a franchisee, I’m lucky to have a perspective not many other CEOs have, which opens the door for many new growth avenues and innovations. 

What was your first job?

I got my first job when I was 16 years old at Winchell’s Donut House in Lakewood, California.

What’s your favorite menu item at Pizza Factory?

Pizza, of course! My favorite is our gluten-free pizza with olive oil, bacon, and tomatoes.

What’s your favorite cuisine aside from pizza?

I like vegetarian dishes. My son is vegan, so he introduced me to a new world of culinary masterpieces. Gracias Madre in West Hollywood has great vegan and vegetarian options.

Who inspires you as a leader?

I am fortunate to have several people whose mentorship and friendship I value immensely and whose leadership style inspires me. I’ve found that I’ve taken bits and pieces of advice from many and blended it into my own leadership style over the years.

What’s the best piece of advice that other restaurant executives should hear?

Go slow. Surround yourself with people you trust, respect, and are not just “yes people.” Seek out a mentor within the industry to bounce ideas off of. Collaboration is key!

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I love to travel and spend quiet time with my family.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, Franchising, Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs, Story, Women in Restaurant Leadership, Pizza Factory