Leadership Development Program Success Story - Mandy Dawkins

Mandy Dawkins’ journey began in the Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is now a part of the Chick-fil-A Support Center’s Restaurant Training Department as the Operator Experience Lead. Let’s get to know more about Mandy and her story.

As a military spouse who had just moved to the area, I was looking for a career opportunity in HR. I went home to South Carolina for a wedding where I met Operator Luke Cook. At the time I did not know him or know that he owned a Chick-fil-A. After chatting with him for a few minutes he said “you need to work for Chick-fil-A.” My immediate response was “no thanks. I have a degree.” He quickly told me to get over myself and that he had a friend that owned a Chick-fil-A in my area that was worth working for. I met with Beau two weeks later in Virginia Beach for an interview. I was passionate about leading people and helping provide an environment where others can love their job. Beau offered me an opportunity to join his team as the Training Director. It was a unique opportunity as a young professional to develop my own skills while being a part of an incredible mission. I quickly said “yes!”

I worked in the Restaurant for 4.5 years. Six months into working for Beau, I got an opportunity to serve as a Unit Training Coordinator (now known as Training Director) Coach. This opportunity allowed me to partner with the Support Center to coach other Training Directors in their Restaurant across the chain. Soon after I began training at the Support Center, I was able to serve 1 week a month training classes such as Checkpoint, Fundamentals, and Basecamp. After about 4 years, my husband got orders to Fallon, NV, where there were no Chick-fil-A Restaurants in the entire state. I was very blessed to get the opportunity to work full time with the Support Center remotely as a Regional Training Consultant. I served in that role, mostly in the West Region, for 4 years. In 2017, I transitioned to the Operator Experience Lead for the Restaurant Training Department. 

Working for Beau was amazing, challenging, and fun. Beau took a bet on me. He believed in me even when I didn’t. He trusted me with his business. He valued my thoughts and opinions. He challenged me to a new level that I had never experienced before. He introduced me to what it truly meant to work for a greater good. Beau was incredible at developing all of his team and making each of us feel valued. He also expected a lot of us. Beau was a leader that I did not want to disappoint. He trained us for excellence and expected it. That was a challenge I knew would make me a better person and our Restaurant better for everyone that came through the doors.