Skip navigation
The Power List
Laura Ybarra, a MOD pizza district manager in the Phoenix market

MOD Pizza stays true to its community focus despite pandemic pressures

Laura Ybarra, a district manager in the Phoenix market, shares the importance of trust and flexibility. Meet the innovative, inclusive and industry changing leaders of the 2021 NRN Power List.

Laura Ybarra, a MOD pizza district manager in the Phoenix market, was chosen for the Power List leadership Scott and Ally Svenson for being a “true servant leader,” noting that Laura “consistently has the lowest employee turnover rate in the company, while delivering some of the best operational results.” Here’s what else they had to say:

Laura’s journey with MOD began in 2014, as our second general manager in the Phoenix market. Quickly identified as a stand-out leader, Laura helped open many of our Phoenix stores and was a key player during our expansion into Tucson. A true servant leader, Laura is known for building diverse and unified teams, and investing the time to develop them. Laura’s success speaks for itself — the Phoenix market consistently has the lowest employee turnover rate in the company, while delivering some of the best operational results.  As a company built around a people-first culture, we encourage our Squads to use the platform of MOD to make positive social impacts. Amid this crazy year, Laura and their Squads continued to support their community – delivering 4,500 meals to local food banks and hot pizzas to front line workers. Laura is also a proud member of the LGBTQ community, serving on the board of One-n-Ten, which supports LGBTQ youth and young adults. We have no doubt Laura will continue to positively impact lives for many years to come.

Nation’s Restaurant News talked with Laura Ybarra about how MOD’s restaurants can positively impact their communities. Here’s what they had to say:

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during this chaotic year? This year I learned the importance of being flexible. When the pandemic first hit the rules were changing daily, we had to quickly adapt to ensure the safety of our squad and customers as well as keep up with any new mandates set out by the county. My team and I grew closer as we had to trust each other on a deeper level to get through this.  They trusted that I would keep them safe, and I trusted that they were ensuring each and every squad member was up to date and trained on any new rollouts. Moving forward, I will continue to be as flexible as possible and trust that my squad will follow my lead. 


What are you most proud of in terms of company leadership and community impact as you look back at the challenges of 2020? There is so much to be proud of this year. Beyond taking care of our own, MOD still ensured that we took care of others. In September, we took part in Operation Hunger and donated 100,000 meals to our community. In November, we launched our Spreading MODness campaign where all MOD locations took part in raising funds for their local community food banks and shelters. We launched our Squad Cake to help raise money for the Bridge Fund, our employee assistance program. In a time where many people and businesses are struggling, it feels amazing to work for a company that continues to help those in need. I am proud that we stayed true to our vision in meaningful ways in the face of unprecedented circumstances.

How are you or your company fostering diverse and inclusive future leaders of foodservice? Fostering diverse and inclusive future leaders is about creating an environment where everyone who walks in the door feels welcome, affirmed, and safe to be themselves. This can be seen in our second chance hiring practices, impact hiring, support of LGBTQ+ communities as well as a variety of other social justice campaigns. In order to foster diverse and inclusive leaders, you have to start by having a diverse workforce. MOD does just that. We may not be perfect, but we are constantly and thoughtfully moving in the right direction. We strive to embody the 4 G’s: Grit, Generosity, Gratitude and Growth in all we do.  


Please note: Laura’s pronouns are they/them/their

Read more:

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.