Female Mentors: Abby Fogel Leading the Next Gen to the C-Suite
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Female Mentors: Abby Fogel Leading the Next Gen to the C-Suite

Female Mentors: Abby Fogel Leading the Next Gen to the C-Suite

Name: Abby Fogel

Title: Vice President, Marketing & Brand Relations

Company: Unleashed Brands

Years in Franchising: 9

Number of units: 1,500+ open and in development

Can you describe the role mentoring has played in your career? Mentoring has played a crucial role in shaping my career as a franchise marketing executive. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have several mentors who have supported me throughout different stages of my professional journey. They have taught me a lot about being an executive and leading teams, and they pushed me to go for new opportunities. 

Why is mentoring so important for female franchise leaders? It offers a unique opportunity to navigate the challenges often faced in male-dominated industries. Mentors can provide guidance on overcoming obstacles, building confidence, and accessing networks that may otherwise be challenging to penetrate. I’m proud to be on the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee—something my mentor recommended for me—which empowers women in the franchising industry to connect and learn from each other.

What are the key elements of a good mentoring relationship? A good mentoring relationship should include open communication, trust, and a shared commitment to the mentee’s growth. A mentor should be someone with relevant experience, who’s willing to share their knowledge and genuinely invested in the success of the mentee. Both parties should communicate what they expect from the relationship and a potential cadence for connecting.

What are the benefits of mentoring programs for female leaders looking to advance their careers? Mentoring programs provide a platform for women to learn from those who have successfully navigated similar career paths and can offer tailored advice. Increased confidence and a support system to learn are also valuable benefits.

What should the mentoring process include? The mentoring process should include goal setting for your career, regular feedback sessions, and a focus on both professional and personal development. It is a collaborative process where the mentor acts as a guide, helping the mentee identify and achieve her career objectives. For women, especially, having a mentor who can also relate to her personal situation (mom, wife, etc.) can be extremely helpful.

How is a mentor different than a coach? Mentoring is often a longer-term relationship focused on overall career and personal development. Coaching tends to be more task oriented and specific to skill development. A mentor is typically someone who has had a similar career path or role the mentee aspires to have.

What role did mentoring play in your path to the C-suite? I’ve leaned on mentors to help me grow as a marketing professional and leader. They have offered insights into my area of expertise and also the key components of a great leader. This has helped me hone my skills and leadership style throughout my various roles.

How has what you learned from a mentor helped you navigate difficult career challenges? At each of the big changes during my career, I’ve leaned on mentors for their advice. They have helped me think about the big picture and how these changes will help me obtain my long-term career goals. These conversations lead me to be more confident in my decision-making and a “go get it” attitude.

How did mentoring help you in other business relationships? Mentoring extends beyond individual growth and has positively impacted my other business relationships by fostering a collaborative and supportive professional network. Look for a mentor who will say your name in a room full of opportunities. Mentors of mine have introduced me to valuable connections in the industry that I am thankful to have today. 

In what ways has mentoring helped you build confidence in your decision-making? Having a mentor as a sounding board to offer insights and personal experiences has helped me make more confident decisions. Their advice and expertise have also helped me trust my instincts during similar challenges.

In what ways has mentoring helped you set goals and achieve objectives? Mentors have helped me outline specific goals and milestones related to my long-term career goals. I actively reach out to mentors, seeking their advice on areas where I need growth or asking about specific courses or certifications that can pave the way toward achieving these goals.

What were the three most important things you learned from mentoring? 1) Never stop learning; 2) people are humans first; and 3) you’ll never be ready.

How can mentoring help the next generation of women on their path to the C-suite? Mentors can offer valuable insights and guidance based on their own experiences, helping women navigate the complexities of leadership roles as female leaders. They can provide constructive feedback and share lessons learned. Mentors can also serve as advocates, opening doors and creating opportunities for their mentees.

What advice do you have for female executives considering mentoring? My advice is to actively seek mentors who align with your goals, be open to feedback, and embrace the opportunity for continuous learning. I’d also recommend seeking a mentor outside of your current company or boss for a broader/outside perspective on leadership and career development. It’s a two-way street, and both mentor and mentee can benefit from the exchange of experiences and insights.

Published: April 14th, 2024

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