Kat Cole: From Hooters Waitress to CEO

To be honest, I knew nothing about Kat Cole until I came across this interview on Lenny.

Kat Cole

Described as irrepressible, Cole is currently a group president at food conglomerate Focus Brands, and the 37-year-old exec has been heading up billion-dollar businesses since she was just 32, when she took the reins at Cinnabon. That’s after she rose the corporate ranks at Hooters and managed to get an MBA without ever finishing college—no small feat.

With her humble beginnings and killer work ethic, Cole has a lot in common with Joy Mangano, the real-life heroine that Jennifer Lawrence portrays in the movie Joy, out Christmas Day. Mangano invented the Miracle Mop, a product that went on to gross hundreds of millions of dollars. Like Cole, Mangano had been working since she was a teenager. Yet despite the tough hand she’d been dealt, Mangano, a single mom of three, proved that major wealth and cred await those with brains, grit, and a healthy dose of American hustle.

 Lenny talked to Kat Cole about how she went from a Hooters girl in bright orange hot pants to Cinnabon president in just over a decade, how tough circumstances ultimately bolstered her leadership skills, and the importance of developing what she calls a #hustlemuscle.
(Read the full interview here.)

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