What Do The First Tee and Auntie Anne's Have in Common? More Than You Think!

Auntie Annes_partner_webThe First Tee and Auntie Anne’s partnered to create the Auntie Anne’s Leaders & Entrepreneurs Forum that took place in Orlando, Fla. from Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Lisa Fullerton, Franchise Partner of Auntie Anne’s, was asked to be a guest panelist at the event that introduced junior golfers to interactive sessions covering career development and community leadership. She shares her impressions of the forum and of The First Tee participants.
Lisa Fullerton, third from right, with a few of The First Tee participants
Lisa Fullerton, third from right, with a few of The First Tee participants
“When I was asked to participate in the inaugural Auntie Anne’s Leaders & Entrepreneurs Forum with The First Tee in Orlando, I was flattered. Since Auntie Anne’s is a corporate sponsor of The First Tee, they co-designed a program around the shared core values of both organizations. Out of The First Tee Nine Core Values, the two organizations had six that were almost identical. Both companies feel it’s important to act with Honesty, Respect, Integrity, Courtesy, Confidence and  Responsibility. These business ethics are precisely the reason why I chose to join the Auntie Anne’s system in the first place in 1998. As a Franchise Partner of Auntie Anne’s, I was asked to share my entrepreneurial experience and serve as a guest panelists for the three-day event. We covered the spectrum of getting into business, why we chose to become self employed by opening an Auntie Anne’s, selecting a location, designing a store, going through training and marketing our location. As a business owner, it’s hard to get away from your business–especially one that is open seven days a week, 362 days a year. However, the more I witnessed the level of participation, peer interaction and engagement from each of The First Tee participants, I felt the stress of being away from the stores melt away. At the end of each module, The First Tee representative asked the participants to take what they learned and tie it back to a life lesson or core value. Seeing each student easily recall one of the nine core values, nine healthy habits or code of conduct was a testament to the success of The First Tee program. This experience left such a positive impression on me that I feel I got more out of the program, than I put into it.
Showing the participants how to make a famous Auntie Anne's pretzel!
Showing the participants how to make a famous Auntie Anne’s pretzel!
If there is one point I hope the participants took away from the forum it would be that they learn everything they can from others, and always be a student of any subject someone is willing to teach and mentor. Prior to starting my own business, I was afforded many opportunities to improve my business acumen because my bosses and peers were willing to teach me. Those experiences gave me the confidence to go into business for myself and become a teacher and mentor to others. The founder of Auntie Anne’s, Anne Beiler, had a favorite saying that defines this business approach: ‘You give, to get, to give again.’ If these sophisticated, intelligent and articulate participants can put that mantra into action, they will be the business leaders of tomorrow.”