Mr. Rooter president recognized for leadership in franchising industry

Mr. Rooter president recognized for leadership in franchising industry
Mary Kennedy Thompson accepts the Bonny LeVine Award from Robert Funk, founder of Express Employment Professionals, at the International Franchise Association's 53rd Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Created in 1964, the Bonny LeVine Award is a prestigious award bestowed upon women who serve as industry role models through their business and professional accomplishments. This year’s winner, Mr. Rooter LLC President Mary Kennedy Thompson, has done it all from bottom to top in the franchising industry. “I’ve done everything from cleaning the bathroom to running the company,” she says. 

Thompson received the award from the International Franchise Association (IFA) at the 53rd Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nev., in February. “The association presents the award each year to somebody in the franchising community that they really believe has epitomized mentoring and growing the franchising as a whole, and been in franchising for quite some time,” says Thompson. “And they particularly seek out women who they believe have mentored others and helped grow franchising.” 

Coming up on her seventh year as president of Mr. Rooter, Thompson started out in the industry as a franchisee with Cookies by Design. She was a multi-unit franchisee until she sold her locations and the owners asked her to join the corporate headquarters team and take a more executive role. “They asked me to come to the franchisor side of things,” she says. “I moved into the franchisor side and did just about every job in that company until I was president. I enjoyed learning from the ground up.” 

And earning the esteemed Bonny LeVine Award has not changed Thompson’s perspective on her role as a mentor for other women in the industry. “It is such an honor to represent Bonny LeVine and all that she represented in franchising,” she says. 

She also says her life as a Marine played an important part in shaping who she is and what she has to offer franchisees. “I tell people all the time, I think plumbers are a lot like Marines,” she says. “This is probably why I felt like I was coming home when I came here because Marines do a hard and dirty job that not many people want to do and they protect the health and safety of a nation. And so do plumbers. I love that about plumbers. They do a job that many people don’t want to do and they serve others and sometimes sacrifice their comfort to get the job done.” 

Thompson’s passion for franchising is evident in the guidance and support she provides her Mr. Rooter franchisees. “I love our franchisees,” she says. “I tell my franchisees, the day I forget what it felt like to be a franchisee is the day I leave franchising. I adore franchising. I think it’s a great American dream. It helped me build wealth for my family. And I believe it provides a system to people who want to run a business successfully. It gives them something to model after. We provide a system that allows them to train and bring in the best technicians so they can provide the best experience and they can continue being a trusted plumber in their community.” 

She continues to use her role as president of Mr. Rooter to lead franchisees and plumbers in the right direction for success. “It’s a great match in that plumbers really do protect the health and safety of a nation, and franchising creates this great dream that you get to be part of,” she says. “I help business leaders grow their businesses beyond their hopes, wishes, dreams and goals. I wake up in the morning excited that I get to do it and I go to bed happy and satisfied that I got to be part of that.”  


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