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The Power List
Betsy Mercado, senior vice president of human resources for Flynn Restaurant Group

Flynn Restaurant Group's HR executive on investing in employees and operators

Betsy Mercado shares how the largest U.S. restaurant franchise organization creates opportunity for women and minorities. Meet the innovative, inclusive and industry changing leaders of the 2021 NRN Power List.

Betsy Mercado, senior vice president of human resources for Flynn Restaurant Group, was chosen for the NRN Power List by CEO Greg Flynn for how she supports the growing organization and works to create opportunity for women and minorities within the company. Here’s what else Flynn had to say:

Flynn Restaurant Group’s business model is based on relatively decentralized operations within which support roles are more collaborative than authoritative. It takes a certain type of individual to lead effectively within this model. Betsy’s collaboration with our operators and leadership has fostered continuous improvement of our people metrics and established high expectations around talent at all levels. She is not afraid to speak her mind and challenge the teams as we together work toward continuously improving results. Betsy has been committed to the development of women and underrepresented minorities within the organization, most recently leading the Flynn Leadership Initiative (FLI!), a multi-faceted and comprehensive program promoting minority career growth throughout our brands. 

Nation’s Restaurant News talked with Betsy Mercado about navigating the challenges of 2020 and building a diverse, people-first company culture. Here’s what she had to say:

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during this chaotic year?

How important being resilient really is. I am a big believer that attitude is everything, and that much of how we face challenges and setbacks is influenced by how we view them. COVID took that to a whole new level and I had to challenge myself to stay true to those beliefs, push myself to embrace the change, stay positive, and remain hopeful.


What are you most proud of in terms of company leadership and community impact as you look back at the challenges of 2020?

There are two things I am especially proud of.  First, I’m proud and appreciative of how well the team at Flynn rose to the occasion and stayed focused on the needs of our people during the challenges of COVID. We faced tough decisions every day, many of which had the potential to impact thousands of people, determined to prioritize the best interest of our team.  Many issues we faced were difficult and complex but throughout we did our best to stay true to our people-first culture. 

Second, I’m proud of how Flynn Restaurant Group, led by Greg, reacted to the social injustice activities that ensued across the country, and challenged our team to have real impact for change.  As a result, we are excited to be launching the FLI! (Flynn Leadership Initiative) within which Flynn will actively work towards addressing systemic racism in this country. 

What does leadership and impact mean to you? 

There are many leaders I admire and have had the privilege of working with throughout my career.  What I aspire to be as a leader is someone that people respect for the work that I do, the results that I get and the person that I am. I believe in seeing the potential in others and creating space for them to realize it for themselves. Having incredibly high standards and expectations and challenging those around you to meet or exceed them is what great leaders have done for me and what I strive to do for others. I take great pride in the impact I have had on the business, our people, and my amazing team which I believe is the result of the passion, effort, and grit I’ve brought to my leadership.  

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