Lucy Grimm started at Restaurant Brands International (RBI) — the parent company of global brands Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons — as an Analyst in 2011. Less than a decade later, she is Head of Global Business Services & Performance Management, leading nearly 300 people who are charged with continuously improving RBI’s efficiency through global process design and ownership.
In a recent interview, Fairygodboss learned that Grimm’s story points to two qualities that helped her carve out a unique space at the $32 billion company: transparency and resilience to change.
Keep reading for her insights into how being honest about everything from your goals to the impacts of change on your business can make for a more fulfilling and fruitful career — especially at a company as supportive as RBI.
How long have you been with your company? What about it made you first want to join?
I joined RBI in 2011 as part of the company’s first Leadership Development Program (LDP) cohort. At the time, it was just Burger King. During the in-person interview, I was really impressed by the vision that the leadership team shared around growth — both personal career growth — and the company’s strategy. The program was also rotational and would give me an opportunity to explore different areas which appealed to me.
Tell me about the roles that you’ve held at RBI, as well as your current one.
I started as an Analyst on the Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB) team. After a few years, I joined the Real Estate Finance team as a manager and later, as a Senior Manager on the Real Estate team. In 2015, I was elevated to a Lead position as Director, Global Business Services, which was my first leadership role within the organization managing the Order to Cash team. In this role, I led the system and process integration between Tim Hortons and Burger King, set up a global team structure in Singapore and Switzerland, and led a team of over 20 people.
I was named Head of Global Business Services in January 2019, where I oversaw 70+ people in Canada and 130+ in India through our offshore outsourcing provider, and worked with stakeholders across the business with a focus on continuous improvement.
In October 2019, I widened my scope to become Head of Global Business Services & Performance Management. Now I also oversee RBI’s management by objectives (MBO) program, which couples our aggressive targets and results with our bonus payout and incentives.
What excites you most about this role?
The Global Business Services team is focused on process improvement through the implementation of new technologies centered on efficiency and user experience. This work is very exciting as we look toward the future of how we work. With my new scope in the Performance Management role, I’m able to expand my knowledge of the strategic priorities for the company, working closely with our Leadership Team.
What’s something you’re especially good at work?
Over the years, I’ve been able to develop my problem solving skills, identify the root cause of issues and connect the dots between different teams and processes to implement sustainable solutions
What’s the first and last thing you do at work every day?
At the start of every day, I review the list of critical routines and processes that need to be delivered by the end of the day.
Before the end of every day, I go through all of the emails in my inbox and sort through what needs to remain for the next day. Some can be deleted or filtered into saved folders. Having less than 25 emails in my inbox at the end of the day helps me feel on top of all priorities for the next day.
A lot of people believe that developing your career means changing companies, and not infrequently. What has enabled you to develop/advance your career without job hopping?
Always being transparent with my supervisor about what I find interesting or would like to develop. It’s great to look back and see all of the different areas that I’ve grown in along the way and work for a company that supports an employee’s career advancement. I’m also really proud of several of the employees that I’ve been able to develop along the way and have very impressive careers both inside and outside of my current team.
Ultimately, what has led you to stay at your company?
The people. It’s very inspiring to work with hard-working, motivated individuals in a high-performing culture that is also incredibly supportive – we’re all working together to achieve the same goals.
What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about RBI that you think they should?
Change is inevitable and it always brings a positive. I’ve been with the company through several acquisitions and restructurings. They can be challenging because they bring new processes, people and ideas. However, after the initial challenges that come with navigating the change, we always come out a better and stronger company.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
My current supervisor and I have worked together for several years. He’s great about empowering me within my space – allowing me to fix problems, come up with solutions and implement them without having to ask permission or for feedback. There’s a level of trust and credibility over the years that’s led to that empowerment.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
“Do what you say you’ll do.” It’s important to me to be considered a credible and reliable leader in our organization. I never want to be one of those people that never responds to an email or doesn’t show up to important meetings with relevant thoughts or feedback.
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