March 4, 2020 4:00 am Published by

Episode 46:

Female Leader | Making a Sustainable Impact

Rhoda Olsen is one of our earliest intentionally great guests, and she first joined us on the show back in episode #6. Today, Rhoda is with us Female Leader | Leadership and Philanthropy with Rhoda Olsenagain to discuss the most recent leg of her personal and professional journey. I encourage you to listen to our last discussion because it offers a completely different perspective on the challenges Rhoda has been facing as a female leader. With over thirty years of executive experience in leadership positions at Great Clips, Rhoda developed a deep understanding of how successful organizations work and how leadership ties into that. In the latest episode of Intentional Greatness, Rhoda discusses these ideas in-depth and talks about the philanthropic side of her role.

More Than a Franchise

In 1987, Rhoda joined the corporate team at Great Clips as an executive as an owner, in 1998 she was promoted to president, and in 2011 she became the CEO. Establishing herself as a capable female leader early-on, Rhoda led Great Clips on a growth spree from 1,000 salons in 1998 to 4,100 by 2017. She has been a driving force behind the company’s success for nearly three decades, but there is much more to the work she does and it extends beyond the organization itself. She currently serves as the vice-chair on Great Clips’ board of directors and has leveraged her position to pursue even more philanthropic opportunities than Great Clips has already been involved with. Great Clips may be a franchise, but Rhoda and the leadership team have created a model that treats each location as a unique small business and encourages them to establish deep ties with the local community.

Changing the Face of a Community

Many people tend to observe the philanthropic efforts of companies at this scale and question their tactics. It is intuitive for a company to help its country and the people it before all else. But as an experienced female leader and philanthropist, Rhoda explains that our roles change as our companies grow. Great Clips’ size provides them with resources to make a difference beyond our borders, and in South Africa, the dollar goes further and the impact is more sustainable. With the Phakamani Foundation, Rhoda is helping women in South Africa get business loans and start companies that will change the face of their community. The foundation empowers poor women to succeed at micro-enterprise and it is just one example of the work Great Clips is doing. To learn more about Rhoda’s perspective on leadership and the philanthropic work she is doing, listen to the latest episode of Intentional Greatness.

About Rhoda Olsen

Rhoda Olsen began consulting with Great Clips, Inc. in 1984. She joined the corporate team as an executive and owner in 1987 when Great Clips was a regional chain of 180 salons owned by three partners. Rhoda was named president in 1998 and promoted to CEO in 2011. She led Great Clips from 1,000 salons in 1998 to 4,100 salons at the end of 2017.

Rhoda earned more than 30 years of executive leadership experience through various positions at Great Clips, including a deep understanding of what makes successful organizations work. She was named vice-chair of the Great Clips board of directors in January 2018.

Rhoda has prior experience in human resources, business leadership and consulting with various leading companies, including food and agricultural giant Land O’ Lakes.

What You Will Learn:

  • Great Clips’ philanthropic work in South Africa
  • Rhoda Olsen’s role as a female leader and CEO of Great Clips
  • How we can give back to our communities and make an impact
  • Why Rhoda Olsen chose to move beyond U.S. borders with her philanthropic efforts
  • How Rhoda’s philanthropic work changed her leadership perspective
  • How you can go on one of the Phakamani trips and make a difference


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