When it comes to choosing a career path, McDonalds may not be in the top ten most obvious choices, but for Ashburton’s recently announced ‘Restaurant Manager of the Year’ for McDonald’s NZ, Ruth Brokenshire, it’s been the best decision she ever made. Quietly unassuming, she’s a little fazed when Spirit Mag rocks up to interview her – she’s just doing her job, after all!

When Ruth was a teenager she had plans to go to Uni and study Law. She could see her life mapped out before her, and it looked amazing. Unfortunately, life got in the way and that dream wasn’t to eventuate. Undeterred, Ruth set a new path, this time focusing on furthering her qualifications and career through McDonalds.

At the time, she was working at McDonalds Ashburton, having started as a crew member while still at school. “I loved it. I was good at it, and that’s why I stayed.”

Owner Dave Whalley, who also started his career as a crew member, could see her potential. “Ruth is very grounded. She has excellent people management skills. Nothing fazes her.”

Dave encouraged her to continue studying through McDonalds and watched as she steadily worked her way through numerous courses and qualification from Operations Technology, HR, Marketing and Financial Controls, to achieve a Diploma in Business. “What’s great, is that Dave paid for it,” she grins.

“She’s now qualified, and capable enough to walk into a profile management position and be highly successful. I hope she doesn’t, but if she put herself in the market, she’d be sought after. She’s definitely got what it takes; the qualifications, the personal skills and the drive.”

For now, the 27-year-old mum of six-year-old twins is happy raising her kids in Ashburton, but who knows what the future holds. “Back in the day, Dave was Restaurant Manager of the Year twice, so I’d like to beat that. Three is a great number!” she laughs. “

The last word goes to Dave – he’s the boss, after all – “Ruth hasn’t had an easy ride, but she’s faced personal and career challenges with positivity. She’s an incredible person. I don’t doubt she’ll beat me. Just watch this space.”
Photo Caption: Ruth (centre) with Katrina Felton, Director of McDonalds NZ and David Howse – CEO McDonalds NZ.


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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.