In honor of National Women’s History Month, Church’s Chicken, one of the largest fried chicken chains in the world, takes pride in recognizing the key leadership roles of eight women whose outstanding efforts have helped the company grow and prosper.
“Karen Jean Viera, Felicia White, Jennifer Chasteen, Laura Reese, Ada Duque, Andra Terrell, Krista Lujan, Sandra Garcia, and Lucero Martinez, have displayed exceptional leadership skills, and each reflect the company’s ongoing recognition of the valuable contributions of women in the workforce,” says Chief Executive Officer at Church’s, Joe Christina.
Karen Jean Viera was recently announced as the brand’s new Vice President and Chief People Officer and brings experience working with Fortune 500 companies where’s she’s held chief, VP and senior-level positions. Her leadership and expertise will help shape, direct, and implement HR policy and procedures related to staffing, talent acquisition, on-boarding and training, employee retention, team member relations, benefits and compensation, and HR administration, both on a corporate level and globally.
Felicia White, Senior Director of Training & Development, and manager of all training for Church’s domestic operations, also co-founded and chairs the Church’s Women’s Forum (CWF) that helps franchise and corporate employees advance their careers and opportunities for success. At the Chief Learning Officer Exchange in Dallas she recently co-hosted a Master Class Panel on “How HR, Ops, and L&D Work Together to Create High Impact Education.”
Jennifer Chasteen, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Activation, is the indispensable link between menu and product innovation and guest experience— uniting them with a strategic vision that plays out across Church’s national marketing calendar. Her leadership is what aligns and activates brand marketing and advertising efforts around a strong, unified strategic direction aimed at enticing and exciting guests. Recognized in 2017 as “Female Executive of the Year for Consumer Products” at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, Jennifer excels at energizing the Church’s brand from the inside out.
Laura Reese, Senior Director of Media Digital and Public Relations is a Gold award recipient as the “Most Innovative Woman of the Year” in the Franchising category 2017 at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and is the co-Chair of the Church’s Women’s Forum (CWF). Charged with keeping the company brand’s exposure in the national spotlight, Reese is a true leader in every sense. Under her guidance, Church’s continues to create seamless ways for guests to connect with the brand as part of their daily lives. Reese is currently responsible for the evolution of Church’s digital ecosystem which includes a robust social media following, solid Community Management, along with the Churchs.com website, email database and mobile app strategy.
Ada Duque, Director of International Research & Development, is the woman that is responsible for all of the limited-time offers and impactful flavors guests enjoy at Church’s. Currently, she leads all product innovation outside the U.S. Ada’s creative food choices are rooted in her culture, experience, and talent. Her background and world travel experiences bring a different perspective to the brand as it develops globally relevant products.
Andra Terrell, Senior Director and Assistant General Counsel, is an innovative attorney that bridges the gap between legal and business operations at Church’s to help develop strategies and efficiency, and brings experience working with Global Fortune 500 companies where she’s held senior positions in their Legal Departments. Terrell’s focuses on legal operations, project planning, budgeting, and data and document management platforms, and currently assists the brand’s Chief Legal Officer with all franchise matters globally. Terrell is very active in the ABA Forum on Franchising, where she currently serves as Liason to the Disability Rights Commission, and previously served on the Steering Committees of the Diversity Caucus and the Corporate Counsel Committee. Terrell is a frequent speaker and author on franchise law – her latest works, “Protecting Real Estate Rights” will be released in the Franchise Law Journal this spring, and a chapter on Franchise Transfers in “The Annotated Franchise Agreement”, will be released later this year.
2017 Top Market Leaders & General Managers
Sandra Garcia is a 32-year veteran of the quick-serve restaurant industry and Krista Lujan, who began her career as a cashier and was promoted to general manager by the age of 20, were recognized by Church’s as its “Top Market Leaders of the Year in San Antonio, TX and Phoenix, AZ, respectively. Garcia was previously named Manager of the Year, Training Manager of the Year, Circle of Excellence and Sales and Profit Recognition. An executive committee member of CWF, she is a role model and coach for San Antonio Mentor and Alumni Circles. Lujan spends her spare time volunteering at the local Boys & Girls Club, and displays a strong work ethic, positive attitude, and the ability to easily interact with guests, which are qualities important to the brand’s success.
Lucero Martinez, a “Top General Manager” for 2017 and training restaurant general manager for BAH in Los Angeles, CA., has been with the company for seven years, and her drive for continuous improvement has helped her own restaurant and other Church’s restaurants within the Los Angeles area vital mentoring on food service improvement, food safety, and daily operations.
“These women consistently demonstrate a commitment to operations excellence and they actively support the communities in which they work and live,” said Christina. “They are leaders that continually have a positive influence on anyone who has the pleasure of working with them. At Church’s, we hope recognizing talent and commitment inspires the same passion in all of our employees.”
Women have played key leadership roles at Church’s Chicken for many years, and their level of commitment is shared in the company values of “Stepping Up, Doing the Right Thing, Celebrating Differences, Working Together, and Showing We Care.”