When Veronica Ruiz moved to Elkhart, Indiana at the age of 21 after immigrating from Mexico City, her dream was to make a home and ensure her young daughter would thrive. “A that time, my English wasn’t great. But I wanted to learn English for my daughter,” Ruiz recalled.
Ruiz applied for and secured a job at a new McDonald’s nearby, working in the kitchen. She hoped the position would allow her to provide for her family and practice her English. “I wanted to use my brain and knew working at McDonald’s would be fast paced and help me learn,” she said.
Ruiz credits the opportunity she had to work in a diverse team environment for helping her develop strong communication skills. “The day-to-day interactions with customers and restaurant crew helped me learn the basics of English I needed.” Then when she worked her way up quickly to the front counter, she became comfortable with phrases like: “how may I help you?” and “will that be all?”
Her confidence grew through everyday interactions which led to increased opportunities at McDonald’s. Within a year Ruiz became a supervisor and that led to future promotions to assistant manager and manager. During this time, she demonstrated her growing confidence by speaking up at team meetings.
“McDonald’s allowed me to not be ashamed of my accent – they helped me see that I have great potential. Today I encourage others to speak up and not be embarrassed of how they sound. When you get in a meeting and talk, be proud of it – because it shows you know two languages,” Ruiz says.
In her sixth year on the job, Ruiz was promoted to general manager and earned a national Ray Kroc Award, which recognizes the top one percent of McDonald’s managers in the United States for professional excellence.
McDonald’s flexibility in scheduling allowed Ruiz to take an active role in her daughter’s education.
“I wanted to make sure that she had help with her homework,” she recalled. Ruiz’ daughter flourished in school and working at McDonald’s offered opportunities for Ruiz to be present at school events and celebrate her daughter’s academic accomplishments.
Today, Ruiz’s daughter is 24 years old and about to graduate college with a double major. “She continues to inspire me,” says Ruiz.
McDonald’s continues to offer flexibility, competitive wages and opportunities to help employees on their personal pathway to success. Employees can improve their English skills, earn a high school diploma and earn college tuition assistance.
Ruiz is now a McDonald’s operations manager and oversees 16 restaurants and hundreds of employees for McDonald’s Owner/Operator Harry Smith. As she reflects on her 21-year career, she offers advice to others considering a first job and career path at McDonald’s.
“McDonald’s gives you the opportunity to do anything you want if you really put your heart to it. Don’t let your background or doubts – or others doubts – hold you back!”
Learn more about the flexibility, competitive wages and opportunities that McDonald’s offers at careers.mcdonalds.com, by texting APPLY to 36453 or by stopping by any McDonald’s location.