Class Notes

Wendy's Travels

Wendy's Travels
Spring 2019 – Class Notes – Wendy's Travels

Abigail Pringle ’96 never thought fast food or restaurants were her thing. It’s also not the first place you’d expect to find a religion major. But here she is, 17 years into her tenure at Wendy’s, now in a role as the chief global development officer and head of international.

Over those 17 years, and her prior years at consulting firm Accenture, she’s had what many people would consider six different careers. She’s grown and evolved her skills as she worked her way across and up in the Wendy’s organization. She credits her time at Denison and her liberal arts education with giving her a lifelong curiosity and desire to grow.

“That’s something I learned at Denison,” says Pringle, “to be a student all the time. To challenge myself to always keep learning.”

At Denison, Pringle started as a political science major. Funny enough, she never actually took a political science class. Her friends in her dorm raved about an amazing class called Introduction to Theology, taught by Professor David Woodyard ’54. Intrigued, she signed up for the class.

“I took that class, and I fell in love. I became a religion major, with sociology and anthropology minors. I chose it because it was intellectually challenging. There weren’t necessarily clear answers. It was history and debate and discussion around views around religion—but not just religion for the sake of religion. It was about how we live in our world, how we make decisions, and how people interact with each other and why.”

After a career in business consulting, Pringle was referred to Wendy’s by a fellow Denison grad. Wendy’s was building an internal consulting department within the information technology business unit. “I was really lucky,” says Pringle. “I got to help create a department from scratch and work with all the different units on how technology could be an enabler for the business.”

She worked in this role for four years before taking  a role in operations. “That role led to me being involved with some really key projects that affected the business. I learned about operations and marketing and how we manage our facilities, and I was always able to leverage my technology background. Every one of those experiences led to a different role.”

It’s why she’s stayed at Wendy’s for so long. She’s followed a multitude of career paths and held diverse roles—and she’s been lucky enough to do it all within one organization that invested in her.

Now, she works on the development side of the business, growing the Wendy’s footprint in North America, and most recently expanding the business internationally. “One of the reasons I wanted to take on the international role was that our international business is a full business unit. It has marketing and operations, product, and research and development. Everything across all the functions of a business are in the international business.”

She sees it as training for her future career goal—to become the ultimate general manager as a CEO. To grow talent, technology, and ultimately the business.

“Because growth,” says Pringle, “growth is magic.”

Published June 2019