Women of Distinction Alumni: Debbie Allen

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Photo by Linda Smallpage, Boutique Photographer

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After 20 years working at Wisconsin Gas, Debbie Allen decided to take a chance – she had recently been told about an opportunity to buy and operate a McDonald’s franchise. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and many times we pass those up because of fear. If it doesn’t work, I can go get another job. But I’ll kick myself if I never try.” In 2016, after 18 years of owning and operating several McDonald’s franchises, Allen started the DNA Network, a business that provides coaching, mentorship and education to entrepreneurs running small businesses. It’s a chance for Allen to pass along the many lessons she’s learned along the way.

“Seeing people succeed at something they’ve always wanted to do – that’s what really keeps me excited.”

 

– Debbie Allen

Founder, DNA Network LLC

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Q&A

What led you to start the DNA Network?

It’s based on a premise that I believe in – that even though our DNA is 99.9% identical, we do have one tenth of a percent that makes us unique. I believe that if people can tap into that one tenth of a percent, it would help them to become their true authentic self, to venture out into things they’ve always wanted to do but just haven’t. I wanted to help people pursue that aspect of life, whether it be starting a business, or any other arena they want to venture out into. Seeing people succeed at something they’ve always wanted to do – that’s what really keeps me excited.

What advice do you have for young women looking to start their own businesses?

If I could tell my younger self something, I’d say dive in earlier, dive in sooner. There is no age too young, and no age too old, to pursue the things that are most passionate in your mind and your heart. Dig deep and just do it, don’t second guess yourself. My thought process for myself when I was moving from Wisconsin Gas to McDonalds was, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” And many times we pass those up because of fear. If it doesn’t work, I can go get another job. But I’ll kick myself if I never try. So I say, jump in feet first and go.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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