In 2022, the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA) celebrated 50 years of Black equity within the Golden Arches franchise. Since the initiation of the association, the ownership opportunities have not only grown, but scaled and sustained as well. The leadership displayed in NBMOA mirrors McDonald’s Corp’s C-Suite leadership where a number of Black women lead diverse staffs and departments to carry out the company’s mission. With every leadership role, the story lies within the journey and process it took to obtain such a prestigious responsibility. 

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“I started as a crew member in New York in 1988,” says Bridgette Hernandez, McDonald’s Senior Director of Franchise Relations. 

“I started at McDonald’s as a summer intern as I was graduating from high school,” says Christa Small, VP of US Operations. 


“I graduated with a degree in supply chain and kicked off my 30-year career with the McFamily working for a McDonald’s supplier. A few years later I joined McDonald’s Corporation,” says Marion Gross EVP of Chief Supply Chain. 

Hernandez, Small and Gross are three of many examples of longevity paired with upward mobility within the “McFamily.” 

With longevity comes evolution. McDonald’s Corp’s leadership has experienced the evolution of the brand, its commitment to customer loyalty and the employees that engage with the customers on a daily basis. 

“It’s been great to see McDonald’s and participating owner/operators’ ongoing commitment to investing in restaurant employees with tuition assistance programs like Archways to Opportunity,” says Vicki Chancellor, a franchise owner and operator, who also chairs the Operator’s National Advertising Fund. 

Eligible restaurant employees who work at company-owned restaurants or participating franchise restaurants can learn English as a second language, earn a high school diploma, and receive tuition assistance for college. In 2019, Chancellor became the first person and woman of color to hold the position. 

The one commonality shared is the people that Marion Gross, Bridgette Hernandez, Vicki Chancellor and Christa Small all work with. 

“We have a saying at McDonald’s that we are all McFamily,” says Small. “That is really true. I have so many people that I now count as not only colleagues, but also friends. We are truly a people business and it’s the people I spend time with every day that are part of why McDonald’s is such a great place to be.” 

“I have the chance in my role to work with our franchisees,” says Bridgette Hernandez. “Our owner/operators renew my passion for the brand again and again, while giving me an opportunity to do what I excel at, which is helping drive strong business results.

Hernandez also met her husband at McDonald’s 26 years ago. 

Throughout their careers endowed by service and upward mobility, success has been redefined for each of them, but community and service to those around them remains a prioritized catalyst. 

Marion Gross: “Success means helping to develop and coach the next generation of business leaders, especially women of color,” Gross says. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to provide opportunities for these able and ambitious leaders, just like the opportunities that were afforded to me throughout every stage of my career.” 

Vicki Chancellor: “Success for me is leaving a positive impact on my business and my community. Whether that’s supporting one of my crew members by helping them attend college or mentoring a young Black woman, if I can support them and leave them better off, that’s success.” 

Christa Small: “Initially success for me was about what projects I worked on and growing my career. Today as a mom and a more senior leader, having my family in a great place while continuing to have impact at McDonald’s and see new innovations come to life for crew and customers is really satisfying.” 

Bridgette Hernandez: Success is continuing to grow, working hard, and respecting and valuing the teams and collaborators I have a chance to work with. 

As the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association celebrates its 51st operating year, it is safe to say that Black women will continue to be a monumental part of its ascendency.

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