We’d like you to meet Leigh Jacobs, WA Senior Business Consultant for both Oporto and Red Rooster. She’s loyal, approachable and above all, passionate.
Leigh started out working at Red Rooster when she was 15 and felt like she was right at home. After graduating high school Leigh tried out different jobs but nothing quite fit. “Everything pointed me back to Red Rooster,” she says. A few years later, Leigh returned to the business.
Her first taste of leadership was 11 years ago. Running a Red Rooster restaurant, she had over 35 direct reports. “I was 21, so still very much growing up myself. It was a great way to understand what it means to be a leader. To me, that means having a high level of emotional intelligence and caring for people’s well-being and mental health.” Leigh has since worked her way up the business and is now consulting franchisees on their businesses. “It’s my job to help franchisees have successful businesses,” she says.
Leigh says she couldn’t have done it without the help of her mentor, Craveable Brands’ Toni Spicer. “Toni has dealt with adversities and soldiered on and persevered. I reached out and tapped her on the shoulder to ask if she would be my mentor. It’s so important to have strong female leaders and I look up to her.”
To Leigh, being a leader has an important purpose. “Leadership to me is your north star. If the seas get choppy, your team is looking to navigate that storm. During covid, we all looked to our leader to understand our next steps and how to pivot.”
She believes that being a queer woman of colour means she has to work harder for approval as a leader. “People can be unsure of me for a bit. But I am a strong believer in bringing your authentic self to work and that’s why building trust and a rapport is so critical. “Having teams that are diverse makes your business richer. Businesses that champion diversity are more productive and profitable.”
For Leigh, watching her team grow is the most satisfying part of being a leader. “Watching their development is so exciting and gives you a sense of accomplishment that you’ve helped them on their journey.” Reflecting on her own experience, Leigh would advise anyone looking to move into leadership to stand by their convictions. “Speak up when you feel you need to. A good leader will do this. It takes courage and bravery, but it’ll be worth it.”