Skye Anderson and Myra Doria have more than five decades of combined global experience under the Golden Arches. As East (Myra) and West (Skye) Zone presidents at McDonald’s, they lead strategy, talent, brand development, and collaborate with franchisees to drive growth at more than 13,500 McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a daily source of inspiration as they see firsthand how their work can positively impact the lives of millions of customers, crew and franchisees.

For Skye and Myra, building long-term growth at McDonald’s begins with upholding and living the brand’s values. Both women focus on keeping the company’s purpose of feeding and fostering communities at the heart of every decision they make.

In addition to their day-to-day responsibilities, both leaders have turned their careers into a chance to inspire and advocate for diverse communities through their involvement in various work committees and mentorship and development opportunities.

There’s more work to be done, and it’s the determination of the McDonald’s system that keeps Skye and Myra striving to continue to help uplift families and communities and to change people’s lives for the better.

What’s your favorite menu item at McDonald’s?

SKYE: I have loved our Cheeseburgers since I was a kid … and the best part is putting the World-Famous Fries on the burger!

MYRA: Chicken McNuggets with Honey Mustard & Honey…with a side of our World-Famous Fries and a Diet Coke.

What was your first job?

MYRA: My first unofficial job was working at a flea market in the Philippines with my cousin, where we sold clothing. I was around 11–12 years old at the time. Looking back, even at such an early age, that job taught me everything I needed to know. I learned how to build a creative and innovative business plan and anticipate the needs of the customers.

This experience has shaped—and continues to shape—my strategy in leading and supporting 7,300 McDonald’s restaurants across the Eastern United States. Like Steve Jobs said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”

Who inspires you as a leader?

SKYE: Being at McDonalds for 22 years, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing people, but one person stands out: Gail Kelly, former CEO of Westpac Bank, a major bank back home in Australia. She started her working life in Pretoria, South Africa as a high school teacher, then applied for a job as a teller at a local bank in South Africa. Eventually, she became the CEO of Westpac and led the bank to much success during the global financial crisis. Anytime Gail walked in the room, you felt her warmth and presence. In a very difficult role, during an incredibly difficult time for the world economy, Gail was a people-first leader that always led with her head and her heart. As a woman leader, she also had a family of four children to raise and became a true role model to people like myself forging my way early in my career.

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

MYRA: Lead with Empathy, Humility and Authenticity. It’s important to understand and empathize with what your employees and customers are experiencing, and always put yourself in their shoes. It will help you show up as a more authentic leader, and give you their lens and perspective to make long-term strategic decisions for the business. It’s also important to remain humbleand always be a student of the business. When I want to understand what’s real, I always go back to the restaurants and talk with crew members and customersand I lead with empathy during these conversations. These visits and one-to-one conversations ground me as a leader, and they allow me to make positive and impactful changes.

What excites you about coming to work every day?

SKYE: I am proud to serve as Executive Co-Sponsor of the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN), which recognizes and raises awareness for the significant contributions that women make to McDonald’s worldwide, as well as advance and facilitate a culture where women have the most opportunity to succeed and grow. Since my time with GWLN, we have seen significant expansion of the GWLN network from 35 countries to now reaching over 70 global markets and made GWLN the largest Employee Business Network within McDonald’s. We have made great strides supporting and mentoring women, and I’m excited about what else we will achieve.

MYRA: Being able to make a difference in the lives of our employees. I love mentoring and serving as a role model, showing them their dreams are achievable if they work hard and persevere. I never thought that I —an Asian woman—would ever make it to where I am today. But at McDonald’s, it doesn’t matter where you come from … it’s truly about your work, the relationships you build, and your attitude. I am a living testament to that, and I am so proud to be a part of a brand that truly believes in and encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Business Advice, Fast Food, Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs, Story, McDonald's