Jan Fields is the Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of McDonald’s USA where she is in charge of the strategic decision and the overall business results of over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants based in the United States.
Jan Fields, a military wife, started her career at McDonald’s in 1978 at the age of 22 flipping burgers at one of the many McDonald’s restaurants established in the US. Since then she rose through the ranks by working at the various levels and positions of the company.
Before her current location, Fields worked as the president of McDonald’s Central Division where she oversaw the operations of more than 4,400 restaurants in the United States.
Her elevated status now requires her to manage the daily activities of over 14,000 fast food restaurants operated by the retail giant (Success Magazine, 2009).
Background of her Career
With no college degree or any job qualifications and experience, Jan Fields made a fateful stop for a drink inside a McDonald’s restaurant in Dayton, Ohio as she was on her way for an interview.
She spotted the hiring sign for crewmembers and decided to apply as she preferred the flexible work hours the restaurant was offering its employees. Fields applied immediately for the job and succeeded in the interview preceding her secretarial job interview.
After her first day at work, she was overcome with emotion and lamented to her husband that she was not able to do the job because it was too hard.
The reason for this was that the restaurant had many rules on how to make French fries which made them distinguishable from other French fries sold by competing companies such as KFC (Hartman et al., 2009).
Fields eventually decided to endure the hard working conditions in the restaurant by returning there the next day to work at the front counter. It was while she was serving customers that Fields realized she loved her job.
This enabled her to advance towards the various positions within the company as well as the various tiers of management. She was able to progress from being a crewmember to a fry chief and then to every restaurant-level position within the company.
Fields were able to manage the Dayton restaurant in Ohio for more than two years before she moved up again to manage multiple restaurants in the larger area of the United States (Hartman et al., 2009).
During her journey to the top, Fields held to her work ethics and philosophy where she focused all her strength and ability on the current job she held instead of concentrating all her efforts on receiving promotions.
She explained her philosophy by stating that if an employee focuses on their existing job by placing a lot of effort on the performance of the job thereby doing it better than other employees; then their advancement to the next position within the organization would come at a much faster and easier rate.
Fields noted that recognition within McDonald’s was easily rewarded for employees who performed their work duties at their best possible work effort.
She, therefore, attributed her career success to performing her work duties exceptionally well and not focusing on getting another job within McDonald’s (Success Magazine, 2009).
Since her humble beginning as a crew member at the McDonald’s restaurant in Dayton, Fields has worked for the company for over 28 years in the span of which she has become a senior vice president for the Central Division as well as a senior vice president for the Southeast Division of the company.
Currently, she is one of the six executive vice presidents at McDonald’s and she attributes this success to her ability to deal with limitations and obstacles during her work.
Her work ethics and philosophy of not letting situations or people get in her way has enabled to achieve career progression within McDonald’s.
She was also the regional vice president of the Pittsburg region in the United States before she moved to the role of senior vice president in the Central Division (McDonald’s, 2011).
As a senior vice president, her work duties involved visiting various fast-food restaurants operated by McDonald’s in almost half of the country.
At some point in executing her duties, she moved around with a stopwatch in her car to time the drive-through lanes in various fast food restaurants to determine the pace of service as well as the quality of food being served to customers.
Fields were able to advance from the position of senior vice president for the Central Division to be the chief operating officer and executive vice president of McDonald’s, a job that would require her to oversee the duties and responsibilities of over 800,000 employees working for McDonald’s.
Apart from being the executive vice president and chief operating officer at McDonald’s, Fields serves as a board of member for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Chicago Urban League and the United Cerebral Palsy Organization (McDonald’s, 2011).
Honorary Awards and Achievements
Jan Fields has been honored with many awards throughout her entire career with the first award being the President’s Award which she received in 1988 for being an outstanding employee of the Company.
She was also a recipient of the McDonald’s Golden Arch Partners Award in the same year for exemplary service and achieving considerable results in strategic initiatives within the company.
In 2001, she was honored with the McDonald’s Women Operators Network Recognition Award while the following year she was honored with the Women’s Leadership Award for her ability to serve in various managerial positions within McDonald’s (Businessweek, 2011).
One of her major work achievements has been that of being a longtime advocate for people development within the company where she has actively participated in employee mentoring and diversity programs.
She has also held the position of an executive sponsor for the Career Development program within McDonald’s where she mentors employees on the various career progression alternatives they have for progressing within McDonald’s.
As an executive sponsor, she has been able to speak in many diversity network meetings that are meant to support diversity in the workplace.
Fields is also a member of the Chicago Network which is an organization for professional women occupying high seats in the business, art, academic or government industries (McDonald’s, 2011).
Her career progression and achievements have made a notable mark on the rest of the world with Forbes magazine ranking her as one of the 100 most powerful women in America during the 2008 and 2009 edition (Forbes, 2010).
Fortune magazine also ranked her amongst the 50 most powerful women in the world during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Fortune lists (Fortune, 2011). Fields were also ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 50 women to watch for the 2007 list.
Businessweek (2011). McDonald’s Corp. Web.
Forbes. (2010). Janice L. Fields. Web.
Fortune (2011). 50 most powerful women. Web.
Hartman, L., Sheehan, J., and Mead, E., (2008). Started as a crew: Jan Fields and McDonald’s. Case Study No. UVA-E-0308. Charlottesville, US: Darden Business publishing.
McDonald’s (2011). Jan Fields. Web.
Success Magazine (2009). From fry to COO: McDonald’s Janice Fields says focusing on her job, not obstacles, paved her way to success. Web.