What Inspires Yum!'s Chief People Officer Tracy Skeans

    Her advice: Work really, really hard and be really good to your people.

    Tracy Skeans, Chief Transformation and People Officer, Yum! Brands

    Yum! Brands / Chris Hawpe

    "There was no playbook for dealing with a global crisis like COVID-19," says Tracy Skeans, chief transformation and people officer at Yum! Brands.

    I am really excited that I am about to hit 20 years with Yum! Brands. Today, I’m responsible for translating business strategies into people strategies that touch 1.5 million company and franchise employees. I’m focused on leading our Recipe for Growth strategy execution and prioritization across brand-building, operating capability, and restaurant development while driving strategies to unlock the potential of our culture and talent, which we believe is a competitive advantage.

    The past six months have been unprecedented. One challenging aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been striking the right balance between the business and personal needs of our employees and customers. There was no playbook for dealing with a global crisis like COVID-19. It’s been amazing to see our entire system work closer together and collaborate at a deeper level to confront challenges with unbelievable speed. The strength of our unrivaled culture and talent and spirit of partnership across our global system have never been stronger.

    HOW YUM! BEAT THE COVID ODDS

    Yum! has always prided itself on having a huge heart, a heart for our business, people, and customers, which is why we remain passionate about building a diverse and inclusive culture that’s integrated into all aspects of our business. We’re investing in programs and making tangible improvements in the way women and under-represented minorities are supported at all levels. We’ve made more progress moving women into senior leadership roles over the past two years than in the prior 10, achieving 44 percent representation of women in global management positions.

    But there’s more work we can do for restaurant employees and our communities. That’s why I’m so proud of our new global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, which includes Yum!’s commitment of $100 million over the next five years to fight inequality through equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship. As part of this, in the U.S. we will focus on areas where we can make the biggest impact fighting racism and building on our ongoing inclusion efforts.


    What was your first job?

    My first paid job was working for Casual Corner. I also did a lot of babysitting in high school.

    What is your favorite Yum! Brands item?

    My favorite, hands down, is a thin-crust Pizza Hut pepperoni and jalapeño pizza. But I also love KFC’s Original Recipe chicken, Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme, and The Habit Burger Grill’s BBQ Bacon Charburger. It’s hard to choose just one!

    What is your favorite cuisine?

    My all-time favorite food has been pizza forever, but I’m also a big fan of sushi.

    Who inspires you as a leader?

    My mom and my two grandmothers. They were incredible working women who also raised amazing families and were good to other people.

    What is your best piece of advice for other restaurant executives?

    My advice is simple: Work really, really hard and be really good to your people.

    What do you like to do outside of work?

    I’m a busy working mom who is focused on staying close to the interests of my teenagers. I’m also passionate about and devote a lot of time to advancing female talent, including serving on the Board of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.