At 29, California Baptist University alumna Adaobi Gwacham is exactly where she envisioned herself since high school: as an owner and operator of a Chick-fil-A store.
Gwacham began working at the Chino Hills Chick-fil-A after she was recruited by the operator while working at McDonalds in high school.
“There is something different from this company,” Gwacham said. “They really care about the people and are genuine about what they do.”
Gwacham initially pursued nursing as a major at CBU, but after her junior year she changed her major to business administration because she wanted to better understand the business world.
“CBU definitely helped with my background and culture,” Gwacham said.
Throughout her undergraduate career she continued to work at Chick-fil-A, which molded her decision to own and run her own Chick-fil-A.
Gwacham said attending CBU helped her learn how to be a leader. She said developing strong communication skills with her classmates and her peers on the women’s basketball team allowed her to succeed in the business world.
Pursuing a position as an operator did not happen immediately after graduation.
After graduating from CBU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she became a general manager at the Chino location.
While working in Chino Hills, she was offered a job to travel the United States and help other operators open up their own restaurants. She took the job as an opportunity, knowing this was her chance to prove she was an exceptional candidate as a future operator.
After 10 years, Gwacham finally accomplished her goal of becoming an operator of her own Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Pasadena, California.
Gwacham has been running her own Chick-fil-A for two months and aspires to own and operate several other Chick- fil-A restaurants in California.
“Five years from now, this is not where I will be and this is just the start,” Gwacham said.
With a passion to serve, learn and cherish Chick-fil-A values, Gwacham gives back to her community by mentoring her employees.
“She is a caring person and loves to serve and loves to help people,” said Jasmine Holliday, marketing director at Chick-fil-A’s Pasadena location. “She wants to help out Pasadena through Chick-fil-A.”
One way Gwacham mentors her employees is by encouraging their education.
Fifty of the 85 employees under her watch attend Pasadena Student College.
She has employed a large number of staff because she expects them to ask for time off to study and focus on school.
Gwacham is also planning to expand her service throughout Pasadena by implementing a series of fundraising nights for grade schools.
“She is also starting to do spirit night for different schools in the community,” Holliday said regarding Gwacham
Gwacham’s education and values derived from CBU have helped her reach out to others who are in the same situation she found herself at 19.
“Don’t be too prideful with the job you get now,” Gwacham said. “Hard work pays off. Don’t be afraid to take that job now if you know that it will be able to help you in five years.”