December 21, 2017 |

7 Lessons From a Woman Owner-Operator

By Pizza Expo

Develop Your Superpowers

Brittany Saxton, owner, Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio

Brittany Saxton, owner, Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio

“It’s a man’s world.” We’ve all heard it and most of us have lived it, but why?

Why are we perceived as only “assistants” or as someone who “only answers phones”? My options in a pizzeria were actually described to me this way very early in my career by a person I will not name.

From that moment I decided that I would never just be a “phone girl.” I was worth more than that and I could easily make a pie as good as any of the people in the industry. I would not be stuck in a gender-biased industry and just take it.

What I did not do was raise my voice and scream from the rooftops, “I am WOMAN! Hear me roar!” I did not cry and whine that I was more than an order taker (though there is absolutely nothing wrong with being just that). I proved myself. I worked my tail off, working under my mentor and developing myself on my own in an industry that threw a cold shoulder. Here are the seven things that I have learned growing up in an industry where I wasn’t supposed to fit in.

  1. Read self-help books for your own personal growth. A few that have really helped me are: “Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur” by Cara Alwill Leyba; “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie; and “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. Not all are written by women, but each offers things I can incorporate within my own life and business.
  2. Remember who is watching. I am a mom of three, and I always want them to know that no matter their gender all things are possible with hard work.
  3. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be your best. Mentors can be so powerful in giving advice, truths and guidance.
  4. Develop and know your superpowers. For me perseverance and dedication are my strengths. No matter the struggle, I will show up and give all my best efforts.
  5. Hold yourself accountable. You will make mistakes and things will go wrong. Always be the first to own it.
  6. Stop thinking, “I cannot.” Let others act like there’s a gender gap. Leading ladies never became leaders by believing they couldn’t because they were female.
  7. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You’re giving your staff direction when you talk directly to them. Say what you mean; some may not realize that you were upset or that you needed something.

I’ve had many amazing experiences in this industry. I was, and always will be, aware of the gender divide. However, I strongly believe if you ignore it and demand equal respect, you will earn it.

Brittany Saxton is a five-times World Pizza Games champion and the owner of Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio, which she purchased from the pizza restaurant’s founder in 2016. Brittany will appear in the panel discussion Women in Pizza on Wednesday, March 21, at Pizza Expo.

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