One of the reasons entrepreneurial people open their own business is to use the business to do good in their community. WellBiz Brands portfolio brands’ franchisees are encouraged to support philanthropic causes – but given flexibility to decide how they do that.
“We expect and want owners to be engaged in their communities, but we believe that community engagement works best when people engage with causes they believe in,” says Jeremy Morgan, CEO of WellBiz Brands. “That’s not to say we won’t do nationwide promotions and charitable sponsorships, but we leave it up to franchisees to decide how they carry that out.”
The owners of Drybar Sacramento and Drybar Roseville, Kristine Hyde and Brenda Deary, both have a long history of supporting education, women and children’s programs in their community. As Drybar® franchise owners, however, they love having a platform to touch even more women’s lives.
One of Hyde and Deary’s passion projects is to raise awareness about women’s heart health issues. Both women sit on the executive leadership team of the American Heart Association and helped raise more than $700,000 last year for their region. “We have the ability to reach more than 500 women who come into our shops each week,” says Hyde. “We have the ability to educate, recruit volunteers and donors and share information with our predominantly female clientele who may not have had exposure to our community resources and community programs.”
They also offer free blowouts to women with breast cancer before they start chemo treatments. “It is heart-breaking to see the fear on the face of a breast cancer patient going in for her first round of chemo,” Hyde says. “If we can do something nice that helps them forget for a minute and enjoy some pampering, we love having them. So do our stylists, who say we don’t have to pay them for doing these blowouts. We do – but it’s very sweet.”
Company leaders set the tone for the philanthropic endeavors that corporate staff and franchisees undertake. Morgan, a longtime volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club, also serves on the board of the Liniger Center for Franchising at the University of Denver. “My wife and I have lived in Denver for years, we have built our careers here and we have two small kids. So of course, it’s important to me that the broader community of Denver and Colorado have a strong standard of living. Whether on the board at University of Denver or the Boys & Girls Club, I believe in giving what you can – time, talent or treasure.”
The opportunity to get involved with the University of Denver’s Liniger Center on Franchising appealed to Morgan on several fronts. Because he has built his career in franchising, an article about the Liniger Center caught Morgan’s eye and he contacted the college to ask how he could help. As it turns out, a former WellBiz Brands employee had been hired to develop the program. Morgan and others on the board are supporting that development.
“While franchising is a big industry, it’s not a business model that is often taught in conventional business programs. The Liniger Center is building a great program to provide this type of education for the next generation of franchise leaders in our own backyard,” he says.
The executive leadership team comprises active, caring individuals who are all avid volunteers with causes that are near and dear to them. For example:
- Chief Marketing Officer Ariel Clay is on the board at Playworks Colorado, which focuses on helping kids stay active and build social and emotional skills through outdoor play – a charity that aligns well with the company’s values. A team from WellBiz Brands helped the group build a playground and participated in a charity kickball game.
- Chief Legal Officer Sherin Sakr serves on the board for the Morgan Adams Foundation, which funds research for childhood cancers. She had a personal connection with the family that founded the charity, which WellBiz Brands supported by sponsoring a charitable event.
- President and Chief Financial Officer Bob Bell’s family started a charity called Food for Thought Denver, which provides weekend meals for Denver’s underprivileged schoolchildren and their families. WellBiz Brands has contributed financially to the group and provided manpower to pack bags of food.
“We use opportunities with these organizations to mentor the mid-level and junior folks on our team, like encouraging a mid-level person to become a director on a board where an executive already serves,” Morgan says.
He encourages franchisees to consider where their own passions lie and support related charitable causes. “Franchisees are brand ambassadors in their own communities,” Morgan says. “Being a small business owner can give you a platform to get involved and make a difference, and all of the brands provide that opportunity.”
Morgan says the brands in the WellBiz Brands portfolio are good corporate citizens. “Being in the wellness industry, we are bringing wellness to the masses. That makes all of our communities better places to live because it leads to healthier communities. Franchise locations also employ dozens of people and serve hundreds more. I’m a big believer in the adage ‘Do well and do good.’ I think giving franchise owners the flexibility to do those endeavors makes their communities even better.”