Prior to becoming a franchisee, Tiffani Ruszenas was no stranger to Domino’s. From the young age of 14, the brand played a role in her professional life. Starting in customer service, she worked her way up in the company, assuming new leadership roles over time.
Following her time in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ruszenas rekindled her passion for the brand and took on a new level of responsibility as franchisee of the brand’s Biddeford location. 1851 caught up with her to learn more about how her experience in the military helped prepare her to take on this new role.
1851: Why did you decide to join the military?
Ruszenas: I decided to join the military when I graduated from high school in 2002. I knew college wasn’t the route for me, and with September 11, 2011 fresh in my mind, I considered my options and started talking with a recruiter. I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served for five and a half years, doing two tours in Iraq.
After serving with the Marines, I went back to work as a store manager at Domino’s in Portland, Maine. (I actually began working at Domino’s as soon as I could get a work permit at the age of 14. I started off as a customer service representative in 1998 and worked my way up.) After returning home, I went on to pursue my dream of becoming a franchise owner and purchased Domino’s in Biddeford in 2015.
1851: What was the most valuable thing your military experience taught you?
Ruszenas: The most valuable things the military taught me were the development of my leadership skills, a deep sense of comradery where you take care of each other no matter what and the never-give-up attitude. I do not care what challenges are put in my way, I will find a way around, under or through it.
1851: How did your military service prepare you for franchising?
Ruszenas: My military service prepared me for franchising by building/developing mental fortitude, leadership training and a willingness to succeed at all costs.
1851: What is it about Domino's that attracted you to the brand?
Ruszenas: I was around Domino’s my whole life. I began working as a customer service representative at Domino’s in Gloucester, Massachusetts when I was 14 and worked my way up. I love this company and everything it stands for. I love how we give back to our own team members who are in need through Domino’s Partners Foundation, as well as how we are a charitable giving partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I love that we are a global company with a small business mindset that takes care of each other.
1851: What advice would you give to veterans who are looking to get into franchising?
Ruszenas: Find something you love, with a great support system and chase your goals. Do not give up because nothing great comes easy and you have to persevere.
1851: What does franchising mean to you?
Ruszenas: For me, franchising is an opportunity to provide jobs and give back to the communities my stores are in.
1851: What would you like to achieve in franchising within the next 5 years? In 10?
Ruszenas: In the next 5-10 years, I hope to grow the franchise to provide even more jobs and allow a better life for team members with my company