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Chrissy Gregory of United Water Restoration Group Is Leading By Example as a Female in a Male-Dominated Industry

The vice president of franchise development for UWRG shares her journey into leadership as a woman in the restoration industry.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
Updated 8:08AM 04/11/24

Franchise Owners with United Water Restoration Group (UWRG), a leading restoration and reconstruction franchise with 119 units nationwide, benefit from the support of strong and experienced leadership. One of those key leaders is Chrissy Gregory, Vice President of Franchise Operations for the brand. 

Since she started with the franchise, Gregory has helped lead UWRG through years of successful growth. In 2023 alone, the company experienced substantial expansion with the addition of seven new franchise owners, resulting in the establishment of 34 new territories. 

But Gregory didn't plan to end up in the restoration industry: She had early dreams of making it big in sports management, even becoming the first female NFL commissioner. But life took her on a different path. Growing up in a family where her dad ran a plumbing business, she was familiar with the blue-collar environment. So when she needed a job, she landed in the service sector, fixing appliances for Sears.

Gregory worked her way up the ladder, eventually becoming the manager of a sizable team in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. She then switched gears and entered the plumbing world, getting involved in water restoration when her company decided to expand its services. This move allowed her to dive deep into the industry, learning as much as she could through both self-teaching and formal training.

In 2020, an opportunity with UWRG caught her attention. In particular, she was intrigued by the opportunity to work closely with franchise owners, something she had always wanted to do since witnessing her dad's experience as a business owner. She gained the trust and respect of the franchise owners she supported, moving up the ranks to become a key player in the company's leadership team. She started her role as vice president of franchise operations in 2023. 

“For me, working with people that own their own business in the restoration industry — it just felt so good,” said Gregory.  “I was able to gain the respect of our franchise owners, which I think is a big deal because you can't just come in and say, ‘Listen to me.’ They have to really be able to trust that the decisions and the direction that you're going to give them is something that will benefit them.” 

Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Industry

Earning respect from her peers in an industry that tends to be dominated by men is important to Gregory, but she doesn't feel it takes longer because she's a woman. Instead, she believes that gaining respect comes from demonstrating competence and dedication, regardless of gender. 

"I don't think the challenges that I face are really any different being a woman,” she said. “I've never put being a woman in the forefront of anything. We just have a job to get done."

UWRG’s Growth Under Gregory’s Leadership

Gregory attributes UWRG's successful growth under her leadership to the comprehensive support given to new franchise owners: “We put an onboarding and training program together that really developed the decision-making skills for new owners,” she said, “as opposed to just handing them a big operations manual.” 

She also stresses the significance of maintaining a focus on the fundamental aspects of operations. “We absolutely know that our success is only determined by the success of our franchisees,” Gregory said. “So we focus on the basics. I'm a big proponent of ‘There is no golden nugget.’ You just have to focus on the basics of your business, which will ultimately drive results. And I think that has allowed us to get pretty strong pretty fast.” 

Finally, Gregory credits the company for committing to  operational excellence rather than focusing exclusively on franchise sales. The success of UWRG's franchises has attracted interest from many other potential franchise owners.

Advice for Women in the Industry

For women looking to get into the restoration industry — or franchising in general — Gregory emphasizes the importance of not differentiating oneself based on gender. She advocates for finding a mentor who can offer guidance and support, regardless of whether they're within the industry or not. She believes that having a mentor can provide valuable insights and help navigate challenges along the way.

“This industry is unbelievably supportive, whether you are male or female,” she said. “And so if you don't differentiate yourself, other people won't either. Just go be your amazing self and focus on that.” 

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