Kat Cole is the President of Cinnabon, Inc., which operates more than 770 franchised locations worldwide, primarily in high traffic venues such as shopping malls, airports, train stations, travel plazas, entertainment centers, academic institutions and military establishments. Cinnabon is the market leader among cinnamon roll bakeries serving fresh, aromatic, oven-hot cinnamon rolls and a variety of other baked goods and specialty beverages. As the President of Cinnabon, she is a member of the leadership team within FOCUS Brands Inc., which is the franchisor and operator of over 2,200 ice cream shoppes, bakeries, restaurants and cafes in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 35 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, and the franchisor of Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets.
Prior to her role with FOCUS Brands at Cinnabon, Inc., was Vice President of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc., the international company which operates and franchises restaurants and manages the Hooters Brand Entities and generated approximately $1 Billion in annual revenue. She moved up from working in the restaurants to various leadership positions over 15 years and ultimately reporting directly to the CEO as a member of the Executive Team for the last 6 of her tenure at Hooters. Ms. Cole directed projects, departments and change management initiatives contributing to growth of brand extensions and restaurant units to the current 470 in 28 countries.
Ms. Cole has over a decade of multi-disciplined experience in Change Management, Culture, Communications, Service, Training, Sales, Restaurant Operations, and Brand & Organizational Leadership and is a featured speaker and panelist on these topics for various industries, associations and universities. She has successfully created and evolved relevant, cost effective training and development programs, contributing to increased sales, profits and talent retention. Ms. Cole has played a key role in research, strategy and integration for various non-traditional brand extensions and revenue-building initiatives, and has led training and development initiatives on several continents for International and Domestic Operations. She is widely known in and outside of her industry for mentorship and development.
Outside of her role as Vice President of Hooters of America, Inc., Ms. Cole has been a strategic partner and on site facilitator for integration projects such as regional work on AT&T’s merger with BellSouth and Cingular Wireless. As a part of Greater Impact Communications, she has conducted Professional Presence, Accountability and Communications training and consulting for companies like The Home Depot, Sanofi-Aventis, and Turner Broadcasting (CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS). Ms. Cole is also a sought after speaker and consultant in the field of Leadership Development, Strategic Communications, Personal Branding, and Leveraging Social Media and Technology to enhance brands, professional networks, and philanthropic initiatives.
Ms. Cole is past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) and past President of the GRA PAC. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and the Certification Governing Board for the NRAEF, and has chaired various committees and projects in foodservice & hospitality industry organizations (WFF, CHART and ELI). She is a two time winner of her company’s Presidential Service Award, won the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s Volunteer of the Year Award, and was a finalist for The 2007 International Woman of Influence Award by GlobalExecWomen Magazine. Ms. Cole won the 2008 Motivator of the Year Award from the Elliot Leadership Institute and her department earned the 2009 Hooters Department of the Year. She is an avid volunteer with organizations that support women and children in need and fighting hunger and homelessness. She attended the University of North Florida and received her MBA from Georgia State University.
Kat Cole will speak on “Change Rules” – How to lead change while making a difference in the world.