Brand & Business: Two of McDonalds’ women leaders weigh in on how to stand out in male-dominated industries

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES – While the annual celebration of National Women’s Month has already ended, McDonald’s Philippines continues to celebrate its women leaders — the quick service restaurant giant recognizes its strong and innovative women who thrive in fields dominated by men, and lead in creating and sharing safe spaces.

Camille Toledo, Assistant Vice-President for Technology of Golden Arches Development Corp.

“In McDonald’s we operate in cross-functional teams, where inputs of the different team members are sought on their respective fields and even beyond that. It makes me feel respected and heard when my inputs are valued and put to use by the team and by management,” shares Camille Toledo, Assistant Vice-President for Technology of Golden Arches Development Corp.

Camille is responsible for technology strategy and leadership for the organization. Her team provides technology solutions and services across the business areas in the company, including restaurant, digital, business, infrastructure and security, and network and collaboration. She has led the team to enable technology innovations in the Philippines such as NXTGEN stores, McDelivery digital, and cashless payments. She was awarded the Technology Leadership award in Asia McDonald’s Corporation in 2019.

“The field of technology is a broad and ever-evolving one,” she says, when asked what she would tell other women in her field. “Learn what you can about it, and determine that intersection where you can leverage your unique strengths as a woman, find joy in what you do, and bring you closer to your aspirations.

“My female bosses and mentors throughout my career [have inspired me]. They have taught me to begin with a vision of the kind of woman I want to be for myself and for others, the value of hard work towards fulfilling that vision, and the importance of self-renewal to have energy for the things that matter.”

Melon Salazar, Senior Vice President, Business Development Group, (BDG), Golden Arches Development Corp.

For Melon Salazar, Senior Vice President, Business Development Group, (BDG), Golden Arches Development Corp., working at McDonald’s has allowed her to expand her potential.

“As head of Business Development in McDonald’s Philippines, I am very fortunate to experience and work with multi-faceted teams that have tremendously enriched my knowledge and skills as a person,” she says. “Having always been a frontliner, as the former head of operations before I took the helm for Business Dev, the company gave me the opportunity to understand what happens behind the scenes, from site identification, building the restaurant and later on managing the asset and its facilities.”

Salazar is the mind behind McDonald’s Green & Good stores, the company’s thrust for environmentally sustainable restaurant solutions through green building construction, utility efficient solutions, and bike-friendly features. Under her guidance, McDonald’s aims to become the leading QSR giant to adopt such sustainable restaurant solutions. She is also the first woman lead for development in the company’s 40 years of business.

“This speaks for itself how the company recognizes the important role of women, gender equality and women empowerment,” she says. “While Business Development is still a male dominated department or group, being a female lead has its advantages. As a female lead, men around me don’t need to intimidate me. I acknowledge that they may know more than me in their own specific area of expertise, but I am here to learn, listen to their input to make the best decisions for the company’s growth. There is mutual respect and appreciation for what each of us does well.”

To date, women employees account for 60% of McDonald’s Philippines’ total workforce, exceeding global benchmarks for a gender-equal workforce. Across over its 670 restaurants, an average of 58% cover Restaurant General Managers. Meanwhile in the boardroom, women from the executive committee take up 56% of the company’s top leadership posts, while 69% of senior management are women. McDonald’s Philippines remains steadfast to its commitment to cultivate a diverse and inclusive community that champions equal opportunities for its people.

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