Taco Bell's Women's History Month Spotlight - Amy D.

Amy D. (She/Her/Hers) – Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell International
Mar 28, 2024 3:00 PM ET
Amy D. "Celebrating women's history month".

Taco Bell blog

Another month, another celebration! March is dedicated as Women’s History Month in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia and many other parts of the world. In 1982, Women’s History Week was officially launched in the United States, and eventually turned into a month-long event in 1987.

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion. So, to honor and celebrate the courageous women of the world (and at The Bell!), we will continue to tell their stories and amplify their voices. We hope that they not only educate, but also inspire inclusion and drive positive impact in your community to uplift those around you.

Mother of three, wife, and Taco Bell International’s Chief Marketing Officer, Amy D., was born and raised in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The northeast was her home as she moved to Boston for undergrad and then New York for her MBA.

Then, she left for a completely different country.

“I only left the Northeast when my husband (boyfriend at the time) convinced me to move to Brazil and go on an adventure. It was a life-changing event for me. In Brazil, I learned so much about new cultures, languages and ways of working that it got me interested in working outside the U.S.”

After her travels abroad, Amy found herself back in the States where she learned what it meant to be with a company that aligned with her values.

”Early on in my career, I noticed that the focus for many companies was on the savings and not on the people or the brands. It encouraged people to grow at the expense of others, which really challenged my value system. So, I decided to leave and look for a company that shared my values and focused on a culture of collaboration. That’s how I found my way to Yum!”

Amy started with Yum! Latin America doing consumer insights for Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. She then moved to KFC Latin America & The Caribbean to work in insights, innovation and marketing.

“I spent six years there until I got pulled over to KFC Global in Dallas where I led retail marketing. Then, I got an opportunity at Taco Bell, which brought me here to California.”

Amy’s career within Yum! had her traveling and working on many exciting projects on an international scale. However, she faced her own challenges.

“When I first started at Yum!, my role revolved around insights. As I grew, I knew that I had an option to stay hyper focused on insights or stretch myself into a broader marketing role. Doing that meant stepping into an area that wasn’t as comfortable. However, my coach, Javier B. in KFC LA&C really encouraged me to do more. When I decided to move into my global role at KFC, they wanted me to lead retail, which was an area of growth for me, but I leaned into yes.”

“Lean into Yes” is Amy’s mantra that has taken her to greater heights. After reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Amy was inspired to change her outlook on decision making, especially in her career.

“The idea in the book is that women need to lean into the current moment. Women tend to make decisions in their current career based on potential things that could happen in the future. For example, a woman might decide not to take a promotion because she might have a child next year. Meanwhile, she is not pregnant and, even if she is, why would a promotion conflict with that? I merged this advice with the idea of just saying ‘yes’ because doing so can take you down a path you didn’t think existed. So, when you have the urge to overthink and question your capability or logistics, and your reaction is an immediate no, please LEAN INTO YES.”

Not only has Amy found guidance through the literature she’s read, but also from trailblazing women in society and around her.

“When it comes to pop culture, two influential leaders are former Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Both women are examples of leadership that came against social headwinds but ended with creating many firsts for women on a global platform.”

Closer to home and within the Yum! system, one of Amy’s former coaches, Catherine G., General Manager of KFC Canada, has been a true inspiration who has helped Amy become the leader she is today.

“First, Catherine is incredibly smart, and I always learn something from every conversation that I have with her. Second, she is authentically herself with her wild curly hair and approachable leadership style. But lastly, and most importantly, she’s never said ‘no’ to me. Catherine always encouraged me to take an idea and run with it, and for that I am forever thankful. I am a better leader and I take bigger swings because of her.”

Looking to the future, Amy hopes to inspire inclusivity and provide women in leadership a new perspective on work.

“I hope that I can pave the way for young female leaders within Yum! to see that leadership can look and feel differently. You can have a family and still opt-in to challenging roles.”