PGP: You’re a bit of an everywoman here at Pivotal Growth Partners. Can you tell us a bit about your role?
Amanda Szparka: Yes! Since jumping in, I’ve basically been covering all bases as we need them covered. My role is ever-evolving, and that’s what I love most about it. I have never been a fan of routine when it comes to my work – my personal life, yes. But my work life, not at all.
The one consistent part of my job is keeping everything on task and on time as we prepare each of our brands for growth – so it’s a lot of project management in various buckets to move a team collectively down the path to hit the Green Light on franchising.
For each of our brands, depending on where they are at as it relates to franchising, I may find myself stepping behind the scenes to examine current brand positioning, research the competitive landscape, and propose a franchise messaging that highlights the brand’s uniqueness and sustainability.
From there, you’ll find me collaborating with our brands and vendor partners to refine the message and push upstream to our creative team, who then builds the framework for a successful digital and web campaign launch, in addition to the creation of sales materials and collateral. You may even find me dusting off my own design skills to put together sales pieces as we need them.
One thing I love about this industry (but which is also very challenging) – you’ve got to be the first to market. So, if we need something quickly – say a meeting just popped up two days from now – I will put together what we need to get it done.
When a brand is ready to launch full-steam ahead into franchising, our team is also working behind the scenes to assist with all the legal documentation, including the Franchise Disclosure Document and Franchise Agreements. In addition, in collaboration with our brands, we are examining and analyzing current procedures and systems to ensure the most seamless transition into franchising as possible.
If we identify something we need to solve for, improve, or execute against, I create an accountability board for it, and we continue to work through execution as a team. On any given day, you could find me researching supply chain strategies or identifying cost saving opportunities to ensure each one of the concepts under our umbrella is replicable, sustainable and presented as the best “business in a box” option out there.
For clients – Vitality Bowls, for example – their Franchisees asked for a more streamlined platform to collaborate, share resources and best practices, and founders Tara and Roy Gilad delivered. Since then, I have assisted in the transition from their current technology platform over to FranConnect alongside Casey and the Vitality Bowls ownership team, borrowing from the knowledge I picked up from my previous work experiences and my days at Marco’s Pizza to assist in the build-out of the Franchise Sales and Franchise Opener modules.
PGP: In what ways did your previous work/life experience prepare you for this position?
AS: I have never had a fear of stepping up to take on more, whether I already knew what I was doing or had to figure it out as I went along. So, when it came time to ensure PGP’s launch went off without a hitch, I adapted to the challenge and tackled it head-on.
In previous roles, I mastered email campaigns and social media marketing, learned to write proposals and create presentations to package brand strategies, and honed skills in Photoshop and InDesign, so I can create marketing materials when we need them. This wasn’t originally part of my job description, but we are finding it useful since, in my current role, I’m a touch point for our franchise marketing and PR efforts, as well as PGP’s own marketing efforts. So, you’ll find me putting together presentations and sales collateral as we interface with new and existing clients in order to meet tight deadlines or format requirements.
As described above, my experience with project management helps keep me on task with all things I do, facilitates multitasking and handling multiple priorities at once. I also handle everything on the administrative side of the PGP business as well, so the ability to juggle of ton of things at once is critical.
PGP: You’ve talked before about Bryon Stephens and Cam Cummins being important mentors for you. What have you learned from each of them?
AS: Cam drives full-steam ahead, Bryon is methodical. I like to think I am a complement to both of them. I am a hard worker, bar none. I give everything I have to everything I do. Rest assured if I am working on something for you, I am thinking long and hard about it, methodically attacking while still driving it home in a timely manner.
Cam and Bryon have always had faith in me. They have allowed me to take the wheel and drive, without looking back. They have empowered me to take action, plow through tasks and be confident. They are great at sharing appreciation and feedback. And, importantly, they don’t micromanage.
They set lofty goals and work toward them without hesitation. They’re both extremely successful but also extremely relationship-oriented. They genuinely care about the people they work with. I am a caring person by nature and, sometimes in business, that’s not a very appreciated trait – but Cam and Bryon let me know it’s okay to be that way.
PGP: Who else might you consider an important mentor in your life and career?
AS: I am a type-A that wears stress on my sleeve. My mantra is “Everything gets 110%.” I don’t like to settle. I cross all ‘t’s and dot all ‘i’s. Maybe I have a control issue… haha.
And because of that, if it weren’t for my husband, I would have never learned or recognized the importance of saying it’s okay if it doesn’t get done today. He has helped me realize that when I’m done for the day, I need to turn it off. Shift my focus. It’s all about prioritizing, and this is essential for a working mom of three under the age of 6.
My husband is also my #1 cheerleader. When I have taken on something and am not sure I know exactly what to do and start to second guess, he is the first person to say, “You will figure it out, you always do.” And I love him for that. Sometimes, that’s all you need!