Jennifer Finds the Best Version of Herself

This is Jennifer, known around Summerwood as “the Philly girl” (even though she’s in south Jersey now). She’s grown up with our company — landing her first job as a teenager in one of our restaurants in the late ’90s. Now, Jennifer is an inspiring Area Coach (AC) who oversees seven Taco Bells!

Sharing candidly that she didn’t have the best home life, Jennifer recalls being immediately attracted to Summerwood’s family culture. For her, work became a safe, welcome escape.

Like so many we talk to, Jennifer’s favorite part about the job is the people.

“I love watching my RGMs succeed,” she says. “Watching them grow and learn, and just become better versions of themselves.”

This, in a nutshell, is Jennifer’s leadership approach — helping people transform into their best selves. And she leads by example.

When asked, she says her greatest achievement is overcoming her own personal challenges: a broken home in a “bad” neighborhood, being a single mom for a while, lacking self-confidence. But she didn’t let these define her, she kept growing. Now, Jennifer owns her own home and has a career to be proud of. A career at Summerwood could be yours, too!

“Just who I am today, I think that’s an achievement,” she says. “I’m relatable. When it comes to my people, it’s kind of like, I’ve been through everything.” 

Care at all Levels

In Summerwood, Jennifer says she’s found a company that genuinely cares about its people, “making you feel like you’re not just a number, believing in you when you don’t believe in yourself.” 

Becoming an AC wasn’t initially on her radar, she says. Then, around 2018, Summerwood created a class called “RGM of the Future” and invited her to participate. Jennifer had plenty to contribute and was noticed for it. Next thing she knew, the company asked her to share her story and best practices in front of the other RGMs. Much to her surprise, this became routine for every session of the class!

This is when Jennifer says she became the best version of herself and realized she DID want to become an AC.

“I wanted to influence people to be better at what they’re doing,” she says in reflection. She says it was probably self-confidence that held her back before this.

But she credits Summerwood for helping her to see herself differently. “It was the best thing that helped me.” Jennifer was promoted to AC eight months later.

“You can never fully prepare someone for this role, I don’t think,” she says. “Having the support is really what helps with the transition.”

As Jennifer talks, you realize she naturally passes on the same care and support to her team.

While “RGM of the Future” went away during the pandemic, Summerwood continues to invest in leadership training. Learn more from April, our Director of People Development

“I love what I do. I love working with my people and helping them grow in the same way that I did. – Jennifer, Area Coach

What are Jennifer’s focus areas? Helping managers get out of their comfort zones and be more flexible, teaching them to self-reflect and be more coachable while learning from their mistakes. She also says teaching leaders how to listen better to their teams is key.

Jennifer spends a lot of her time in the field. She says no two days are alike, but she typically visits two or three locations a day to support RGMs and help them deal with the opportunities or challenges of the day.

“Finding something to celebrate on the most challenging days,” she says. Hey, we celebrate YOU, Jennifer!