Female Mentors: Lisa Merry Leading the Next Gen to the C-Suite
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Female Mentors: Lisa Merry Leading the Next Gen to the C-Suite

Female Mentors: Lisa Merry Leading the Next Gen to the C-Suite

Name: Lisa Merry 

Title: President

Company: Junk King

Years in Franchising: 30 years

Number of units: 192

Can you describe the role mentoring has played in your career? In my career, mentors played a crucial role in teaching me how to navigate through leadership challenges. They emphasized the importance of failing forward and how to overcome obstacles as I rose in leadership. Mentors focused on personal growth and taught me how to use challenges as opportunities for learning and development.

Why is mentoring important for female franchise leaders? Mentoring is essential for female franchise leaders as it helps address the imbalance in quality leadership. There are more women leaders, but it’s important to provide them with the resources and knowledge to grow as leaders. Mentoring provides a platform to navigate the fine line of leadership, balancing emotional intelligence and other skill sets to develop a well-rounded approach.

What are the key elements of a good mentoring relationship? Key elements include consistent and scheduled conversations, focusing on both challenges and celebrations. The process aims to provide a safe space for discussing hindrances in work life while maintaining a balance between personal and professional aspects. 

What are the benefits of mentoring programs for female leaders looking to advance their careers? Mentoring programs expand networks, offer support in problem-solving, and provide a celebratory environment for success. They help mentees stay grounded, find solutions to challenges, and navigate career paths.

What should the mentoring process include? The mentoring process should involve consistency, scheduled meetings, and a focused agenda. While addressing job-related topics, it should also create an open space for discussing personal challenges, fostering a safe environment. 

How is a mentor different than a coach? A mentor guides individuals in the bigger picture of problem-solving and utilizing skill sets with long-term development in mind. Coaching focuses more on skill improvement and goal achievement for individual areas or tasks.

What role did mentoring play in your path to the C-suite? Lessons from mentors involved delegation, trust, and effective leadership. Delegating and managing a team led to more productive leadership. I also learned how to listen more than talk, so I could help mentees work through problems while feeling supported.

How has what you learned from a mentor helped you navigate difficult career challenges? Mentors helped me with problem-solving and keeping the fail-forward mindset when growing in my career. Beyond career challenges, mentoring has been beneficial in building business relationships by aiding in recruiting leaders and building cohesive teams, providing insights into hiring and team-building strategies.

In what ways has mentoring helped you set goals and achieve objectives? Mentoring encourages a grounded and specific approach to setting realistic goals and achieving objectives. It taught me to be project oriented and focused on starting and finishing tasks.

What were the three most important things you learned from mentoring? The three most important things I learned include 1) the importance of consistency, 2) being vulnerable and transparent, and 3) achieving a balance in my personal and professional life.

How can mentoring help the next generation of women on their path to the C-suite? Mentoring provides online tools and communities for faster growth. For female executives considering mentoring, my advice is to start as soon as possible. The benefits, including empowerment and representation, make it a valuable investment in personal and professional growth.

Published: April 28th, 2024

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Franchise Update Magazine: Issue 1, 2024
Franchise Update Magazine: Issue 1, 2024

Potbelly Sandwich Works
InterContinental, Atlanta
OCT 16-18TH, 2024

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