Muriel Powell owns five McDonald’s restaurants in the Atlanta area, where she employs about 250 people.
A native of South Carolina, Powell has a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from the University of Virginia and is actively involved in several community organizations. She currently serves as president of the Wheels of Dream Youth Foundation, which provides young people interested in business with positive role models, entrepreneurial skills and employment opportunities. She also is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Jack & Jill of America and the board of directors of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.
What inspires you to go to work every day?
What inspires me to go to McDonald’s every day is when I think about what the purpose is. I tell my children as well as those the young people that I work with that my ceiling needs to be their floor. As high as I go, it needs to be where they start. When I think about what’s next for them, that’s what motivates me every day and keeps me passionate about doing what I do.
Describe the impact of your business in the community?
Our purpose is to deliver great quality food as well as exceptional service. We know that we have a higher calling, so as business leaders and folks who live in our individual communities, we feel like it’s very important that we’re engaged not only from a business perspective but also from a community perspective. We feel like it is important that we’re great corporate citizens and that we make a difference in our local communities.
Finish this sentence: Teamwork is important because …
Teamwork is important because none of us is as good as all of us. Ray Kroc was the founder of our company, and he was known for being very vocal and saying that if we’re going to make this business successful and take it to the next level, we have to recognize none of us can stand on our own.
Name two best-of-generation role models.
President Barack and Michelle Obama, for me, are inspirational. They chose to make it their life’s mission to do something that was bigger than themselves. They sacrificed and struggled, but they also provided access to people who probably would never have it. I think they truly understood that at the core they were servant leaders.
What insight could share with the next generation?
Your time, your talents, your skills, and your education can get you in the room, but it’s your character and your integrity that is going to help you stand up in that room. The second thing is that 20 percent of life is what happens to you, and 80 percent is how you react to it. Recognize that life is going to come at you, but it is a choice and a decision of how we react to things.
Favorite McDonald’s meal: Southwest grilled chicken salad, small fry and a half-and-half sweet tea.
Favorite McDonald’s guilty pleasure: Caramel Sundae.