aspire to,” says Daniels-Carter. “You represent your definition of excellence. We try to impress upon each individual that the organization has a standard, and that standard represents a level of excellence that we want to deliver every day. Either you can sit back and watch destiny pass you by, or you can walk with it.”
The CEO stays grounded by engaging in local and international philanthropic projects. On the campus of her church, Holy Redeemer, she’s opened a 150,000- square-foot community center that houses a Boys & Girls Club, adult learning center, senior center, and medical facility. And she’s partnered with other Burger King franchisees, her church, and Save Africa’s Children to open three orphanages in Kenya and Ghana for children whose parents have died of AIDS.
Daniels-Carter plans to take V and J Holding international within the next five years. “We want to grow and expand our brands,” says Draper. “Our plan in 2007 had us in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Africa by 2009, but when the economy pulled back we had to delay those plans. We hope to expand in those areas in the near future.”
Daniels-Carter offers this advice to budding CEOs: “Make sure it’s what you want. Understand what your passion is and what you’re good at. You have to decide whether you’re the employer or the employee. You may not want to work 18-hour days or make all the necessary sacrifices. Owning your own business isn’t for everyone. The right thing is what fits your personality, skill set, and God-given directive.”
Those who want to succeed in the quick-service industry must also anticipate the needs of the restaurants they manage, especially during times of economic uncertainty, says Draper. “Internally, we had to make sure we ordered enough food, but not too much. We made a point of purchasing the products we used at the restaurants more efficiently. We also split cases of cleaning supplies among restaurants.”
No matter the challenge, Daniels-Carter says she is determined to stay in the franchise game. “Nothing is ever going to knock me out unless I choose to leave. I’m never going to allow man to define who I am or where I should be. To me, that’s a God thing.”