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  • Writer's pictureMel Katzenmeyer

Episode #58 - Lessons from the Drive-Thru Ft. Monica Rothgery - Frontline Leadership

Updated: Mar 27

In this episode, Joel sits down with Monica Rothgery, who started her career as a Taco Bell restaurant manager and worked her way up to become the first female Chief Operating Officer of KFC in the United States. Monica shares her passion for frontline leadership through empowering and developing frontline leaders.

Key Takeaways:

  • Frontline leaders have immense potential to positively impact their team members' lives, especially for employees in their first jobs. Managers can shape how young people view work, teamwork, and achieving goals.

  • Caring for your team means going beyond surface-level gestures. Monica shares a touching story of helping an employee with his algebra homework, exemplifying how managers can make a real difference by investing in their people.

  • As COO, Monica focused on simplifying operations and connecting with restaurant managers to make their jobs easier. She started "RGM Live", a monthly 30-minute live show to celebrate and encourage managers.

  • People across different cultures ultimately want the same things - to be appreciated, recognized, and feel part of something special. Monica saw this firsthand as COO in both Thailand and the U.S.

  • Monica believes that if frontline leaders and the people around them truly understood the power they have to change the world through their daily impact, it would become a reality.

This conversation highlights the often underappreciated yet crucial role that frontline leaders play in their organizations and communities. Monica's stories and insights will resonate with anyone who has worked in restaurants, retail, or other frontline industries.

To learn more, check out Monica's book "Lessons from the Drive-Thru: Real Life Wisdom for Frontline Leaders", available on Amazon. You can also visit her website at As a special gift, listeners can text "Monica" to 33777 to receive a PDF with wisdom from frontline coaches.

Monica Rothgery, First female COO of KFC USA

Monica Rothgery's leadership journey began 30 years ago as a Taco Bell Restaurant General Manager, where she faced challenges like high turnover and low morale. One night, she vowed to make managers' lives easier if she ever got promoted.

As her career progressed, Monica discovered the secrets to achieving great results and building exceptional teams. Her insights helped her rise from managing one restaurant to leading 4,000 as KFC's Chief Operating Officer. Today, she continues to empower frontline leaders through keynotes, coaching, and workshops.

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