Monique Vann-Brown, a 43-year-old owner-operator of McDonald’s restaurants in the Detroit area grew up in the McDonald’s family thanks to her mother, a franchisee of 29 years. Now, the proud recipient of this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Business Trailblazer Award, Vann-Brown is overseeing seven locations and is a respected figure in her community.

“Detroit is going through a renaissance right now and it’s so inspiring. It’s just good to be a part of the greater region knowing that we’re on an upswing.”

Learn more about how this Black woman is pushing McDonald’s and Black culture forward.

As a Detroit native, how has Detroit supported you in your path to becoming a franchise owner? Have you gotten a lot of support from the community?
Oh, for sure, and Detroit has supported the McDonald’s organization. They know that we are deeply rooted in our community. We have the support of the churches, the sororities, the schools… we support those organizations as well, either via donations or [through] services like, participating on panels.

How is Detroit’s entrepreneur scene helping push Black culture forward?
They have made an effort to make sure that there’s a good mix of women entrepreneurs, Black entrepreneurs and Black women entrepreneurs in the city. They’re recognizing them, providing them with grants and other resources to make sure they have what they need to thrive.

In your opinion, what are some top traits of a successful entrepreneur?
Someone who has discipline works hard, and who is flexible. You have to have the ability to adapt. And then you also have to be a risk-taker. You have to make sure that you’re able to go out of your comfort zone.

Why is it important for McDonald’s customers to know the “face behind the brand”?
Everybody initially thinks that McDonald’s is this huge global brand, which it is. But, we are also a group of local entrepreneurs who, in many cases, are originally from our communities, who do business in our communities and live in our communities.

How does it feel to be recognized among other women with a distinguished McDonald’s 365Black Award?
It’s so unbelievable to me that someone would even consider me for such an award. When you’re in your 20s, you look up to older women like, Wow, look at these accomplished women. Now, here I am being selected to be one of those people! It’s mind-blowing that somebody thought of me.

And lastly, McDonald’s Black Forward theme is all about progressive, forward thinking. What will you do next to leave your mark on the world?
I will continue to work hard and hope that I can impact, particularly, my female employees. I hope that I’ll be able to leave a legacy of hard work and work ethic, [which] includes kindness and integrity to the people that work for me, with me and who I come in contact with. 

To keep up on the latest on McDonald’s 365 Black Awards, follow @365Black on Twitter and #365BlackAwards on all social platforms.