MBA Alumna Named Vice President at McDonald’s USA

An alumna of Meredith's MBA program is helping shape the menu strategy of the world's largest fast food restaurant chain. Karen Wells, '98, was promoted to vice president, U.S. nutrition and menu strategy, at McDonald's USA in July 2010.

In this new role, Wells is responsible for all aspects of U.S. menu innovation as well as nutrition strategy for McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Wells oversees a staff of registered dietitians, culinary, food and beverage scientists, and other menu experts responsible for shaping McDonald's menu.

"My goal is to continue to support our brand mission to be our customers' favorite place and way to eat and drink," Wells said. "Now, with the addition of our nutrition team of registered dietitians, which complements our existing talented culinary experts, food scientists, and marketing and operations professionals, it will only further enhance our ability to evolve our menu to meet the changing nutritional needs of our customers."

Wells says her team shapes McDonald's customer experiences and the food that feeds more than 27 million people a day. One example is the chain's recent introduction of Real Fruit Smoothies.

"We do not take this task lightly. We work closely with our customers to develop new food and beverage choices that meet their evolving needs as well as create restaurant innovation that delights them," said Wells. "It is extremely rewarding for our entire team."

Serving as a mentor to her team members is also rewarding to Wells. "I consider my role as a leader and a coach as a unique opportunity to provide support for others' personal and professional goals," she said. "So many people have done and continue to do that for me, and I consider it an honor to help others in that same way."

Attending Meredith inspired Wells as a woman business leader.

"The experience I gained working side by side with other women learning from each other, challenging each other and supporting each other catapulted my appreciation for women in business," Wells said. "It began my continued commitment to help, advocate, support and learn from my women colleagues as we all pursue our professional and personal goals. As a result, I am a member of McDonald's Women's Leadership Network as well as the McDonald's Global Women's Network Core Team.

Wells said she treasures the time she spent at Meredith pursuing an MBA.

"That experience has certainly supported my career goals by providing a sound foundation for my continued pursuit of learning," Wells said. "The principles and discipline I learned while there has assisted in helping me navigate successful transitions into various functions."

Date Submitted: 2010-12-07

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