Kat Cole – How to Operate: Lessons in Brand, Distribution, and Leadership – [Invest Like the Best, EP.184]

Read the full transcript

My guest today is Kat Cole, the COO and president of North America for Focus Brands, which owns famous companies like Cinnabon, Carvel, Jamba, and more. Kat’s story and career trajectory are remarkable, as are the lessons she’s picked up along the way which she shares with us all in this conversation. We discuss negotiation, distribution, brand building, brand extension strategies, and leadership. I always enjoy have a true operator on the show, so I was very excited to discover Kat and her thinking. Please enjoy this great conversation.

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Show Notes

(2:13) – (First question) – Her call to prayer

(2:16) – Kat Cole on Pomp’s podcast

(5:20) – Her positivity lens

(7:59) – Applying that positivity lens in business

(13:34) – How to show positivity in early interactions with someone

(17:37) – Overview of Kat’s career

(21:03) – Lessons learned building brands

(27:11) – Changing relevance or differentiation within a brand

(32:34) – Keeping a brands dominant position in people’s minds

(36:00) – The power of franchising and shared commitment

(40:50) – How her experience makes her a better investor

(42:55) – Lessons around distribution 

(46:24) – Effectively negotiating and getting your fair share in a partnership

(52:49) – Attributes of a brand that get Kat most excited

(56:34) – Transferring her brand lessons to software and tech companies

(59:09) – Biggest lessons in leadership she’s learned

(1:04:13) – Checking In: the power of intention, reflection, and action to be your best and help others do the same

(1:05:18) – Most effective questions in her check-ins

(1:06:29) – Personal check-ins vs professional check-ins

(1:10:44) – Balancing gratitude and ambition 

(1:14:37) – Kindest thing anyone has done for Kat

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag