After a meteoric rise from a Hooters waitress to Cinnabon president, 36-year-old Kat Cole has her own recipe for success.
In her four-year run as president, she built Cinnabon into a bakery brand with more than $1 billion in sales and a presence in more than 30 countries. Just last month Cole was promoted to Group President of Cinnabon's parent, Atlanta-based Focus Brands, owned by private equity firm Roark Capital.
In her new role, she's responsible for five franchise food brands in additions to Cinnabon: Auntie Anne, Carvel, Moe's Southwest Grill , McAllister's Deli and Schlotzsky's. Focus has more than 4,000 fast casual locations worldwide, and is reportedly mulling an initial public offering.
As a key to her success, she credits life lessons her single mother taught her. In an interview with CNBC, Cole describes personal characteristics she has learned that "seem to transcend industries and job titles." She calls it the "delicate balance of courage and confidence, with humility and curiosity."
In her career, she remembers instances where she vacillated between courageousness and being humble.
"In any case, I have paid the price for it as a leader," Cole says.