Christine Specht, CEO, Evolving the Brand and Franchise Model at Cousins Subs – Episode 77

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Christine Specht is the CEO of Cousin’s Subs, a Wisconsin based sub shop chain started by her Dad and his cousin in 1972. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminology & law studies from Marquette University and a master’s in public administration from American University. Although Christine worked in the family’s restaurants as a teenager, it wasn’t a forgone conclusion that she would make a career in the business, much less become its CEO. Her parents encouraged Christine to forge her own path which led her to consider opportunities in the law and law enforcement, social work and in the Legislative Audit Bureau. In 2001, she was recruited back to Cousin’s when the company needed a Human Resource Manager.

While she was working in that role, the company went through significant structural changes including the death of her Dad’s cousin & partner and an experiment with multiple non-family member Presidents. In 2008, Christine presented her Dad with the idea of her taking over as President, convincing him that her experience in HR and her vision for the future made her the best candidate for the position. He agreed and she accepted. Since then, Christine has built a team that sees the company’s future the same way she does, lead new branding and growth initiatives, created a caring & giving culture and, most recently, transitioned to the role of CEO.

Mike and Christine cover a ton of great stuff in this episode, including the importance of pruning, how she balances the nuances that come of driving change in a franchise model business, how becoming the CEO has dramatically changed her day to day value proposition for the business, why she’s implemented EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System popularized in the book called Traction and the way she sees the future for herself and for Cousins Subs.

And now here’s Christine Specht.

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Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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