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7 Questions with Felicia White
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7 Questions with Felicia White
Name: Felicia White
Current title: Vice President, Global Operations Training and Development
Current organisation: Church's Chicken
Felicia White – Vice President Global Operations Training and Development, Church’s Chicken®
Felicia White is the Vice President of Global Operations Training and Development for Church’s Chicken®, and has been with the organization for 13 years. Felicia is responsible for managing global training for the Church’s Chicken®, Texas Chicken®, and Church’s Texas Chicken® brands. In addition to managing training, Felicia is the Co-Founder and Chair of the employee resource group Church’s Women’s Forum.
Felicia is a positive, energetic, engaging, and dynamic leader, who is working on defining HER normal, and believes it is important to connect with each individual in order to support their growth and development. The essence of who you are should be felt in every word, image, and experience in training.
Felicia is redefining executive presence by influencing others to be themselves and their best selves. Along with her work at Church’s®, and volunteering with CHART (Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers), Felicia is a member and volunteer with the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She is a sought after subject matter expert in the area of Front Line Leadership Development, and offers consulting to various organizations in building leadership development and mentorship programs.
Felicia holds an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts, a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development program at Northwestern State University with an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2025. Felicia was recognized as one of the most influential restaurant executives in the country in The Power List: Reader Picks (2020) by Nation’s Restaurant News, and selected as the winner in the Innovator category in the 2020 Top Women in Restaurant Technology at the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Having fewer opportunities to interface directly with front line employees and guests.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
By being my authentic self. Well it also takes a great deal of hard work as well. I have two main mantras I try to focus on daily: do something that will help the restaurant managers and employees make their job easier and second bring my best self to work every day. My goal is to simply be better today than I was yesterday.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
It varies. For the past 13 years I've not worked in a typical office environment or 9-5 role. Some days start earlier than others and end later. Some days start with email, others with a 7am phone call. Instead of sticking to a plan or routine, my goal is to address key projects but more importantly handle the needs of the individuals in the field as much as I can. My job is to serve them.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Be yourself. It gives others the permission to do the same.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Marilyn Sherman's "Front Row Leadership". She makes a point in the book about "being an usher". At events the ushers are in service roles ensuring everyone gets to their seat comfortably and have what they need to enjoy the experience. Yet by doing so they actually have the best seat in the house. Being of service to others puts you in the front row!
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
One individual at a time. When it comes to leadership and behavior change you have to think in terms of the individual instead of strategically. Behavior change on a large scale starts with the individual. I think about how I can build the leadership skills of one person and while doing so am actually building the skills of many.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
As you know being a black woman, there are fewer of "us" in these type roles. The story that comes to mind is a text message I received the day I was promoted. It was from a restaurant manager and she simply said "congratulations WE got promoted".