Don Thompson was destined to be No. 1, not only as the first African American to hold the position of President and CEO of McDonald’s USA, but as the very first male keynote speaker in the 10 years of Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit.
‘When he comes in the room, the energy of the room changes,” says Derek Dingle, SVP/Editor-In-Chief of Black Enterprise. “He’s very powerful for men and women alike.”
Born in Chicago, Thompson began his career as a Perdue graduate and engineer before being recruited by McDonald’s in 1990. Quickly moving through the ranks from designing robotics to project management, he dared to roll up his sleeves to flip burgers, clean toilets, and co- manage a McDonald’s South Chicago franchise for 6 months as part of the company’s Accelerated Development Program. “Don’s a good example of an African American who has worked his way through the ranks,” says his mentor, Raymond C. Mines, “who hasn’t forgotten where he came from and the importance of mentoring those behind him. “
Thompson’s knack for personably managing and motivating employees, along with and bringing creative ideas to boost sales and attracted customers, led him to yet another promotion that landed Â him in a regional manager position where he took a bottom ranked San Diego franchise and raised it, within one year, to a #2 McDonald’s revenue maker in the nation. Elevating to President of the Midwest division overseeing 2200 plus restaurants in 2001, Thompson moved on to become executive vice president of Global Innovation Orchestration looking at strategies worldwide. In 2006 he was donned president of McDonald’s USA. “If you aspire to be with an organization, know how it makes its money, how it serves its customer base, and how it works internally,” says Thompson, named Black Enterprise’s 2007 Corporate Executive of the Year. “Don’t fool yourself. If your first response is that you’re not sure if you want to be here, you’ve already lost the game.”
Thompson’s power moves have been consistent making him a natural selection to Black Enterprise’s 2012 list of the “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.”
“It’s no accident that Don Thompson is the first man to be invited to address the Women of Power Summit and we’re thrilled that he’s agreed. His position as CEO of one of the globe’s most prominent brands is justification enough,” says Black Enterprise’s Executive Editor Caroline Clarke, Editorial Director of the Women of Power Summit. “But when the more personal aspects of his story come to light, anyone who questions the choice will fully understand. PS: No spoiler alerts from me. You’re going to have to be there to get it!”
Thompson sticks to foundational principals that have kept him on top including:
1) Being clear about professional and business objectives
2) Staying focused on goals
3) Being confident in one’s actions
As the keynote speaker of the Women of Power Summit’s highly anticipated master class “From the Corner Office,” Thompson’s story and strategy for success will empower countless women come in March 2015. “We have a rich heritage as African Americans. Don’t get into the pity party of what’s not going to be done for you, because there are so many things you can do for yourself,” he says. “Others will see what you do and will look to support and help you.
Celebrating 10 Years of POWER! JoinÂ Black Enterprise at the Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm, March 2 – March 5, 2015, at Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This exciting, executive leadership summit is designed to train, equip and encourage women to becomeÂ industry leaders, learn career strategies, and discover proven work—life balance techniques. Register Now for your Early Bird Discount http://dev.blackenterprise.com/wps. It’s time to Embrace your POWER. The Moment is Now!