Leadership Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Leadership Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It sounds liberating and exciting to own your own business, but it also feels risky — a drawback that’s been clearly exposed this past pandemic year. Our next Inspiring Conversations speaker knows all about the risk and reward of entrepreneurship. John Ebert ’82 left the comforts of a stable career with an established firm for the possibility of becoming a McDonald’s franchisee. He found success, but then COVID-19 bought the world to a standstill. Join us Tuesday to hear how Ebert’s leadership brought rise to more than 40 McDonald’s restaurants and kept more than 2,000 people employed during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Introducing John Ebert ’82

Presented by Chris Stevens

Chris Stevens, Co-Founding Director of the Inspired Leadership Initiative, provides an introduction to this week’s topic: Leadership Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic and special guest, John Ebert, President of the J.W. Ebert Corporation.

John Ebert '82

Presented by Chris Stevens

Owner of J.W. Ebert Corporation & 40 McDonald’s franchises

John Ebert is a 1982 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in accounting. He attended Notre Dame on a baseball scholarship, played varsity baseball for four years, and is a member of the Monogram Club. John also attended entrepreneurial classes at M.I.T.  in 1994 and 1995.

In 1982, John went to work for a Big 8 accounting firm, Arthur Young & Co., in Dallas.  Arthur Young’s clients there included Frito Lay, American Airlines, Haggar Slacks, and the Dallas Cowboys. One of his mentors was a manager named Gary Kelly. Kelly is now the CEO of Southwest Airlines.

In 1988, John was accepted into the McDonald’s training program as a registered applicant to purchase a McDonald’s franchise. He purchased his first store in July of 1990 in Bridgeport, W. Va. John now owns 40 McDonald’s franchises and is the 11th largest operator in the McDonald’s system.

John is the former chairman of the East Division profit team and former winner of the Golden Arch Award, which is presented to less than one percent of McDonald’s owner/operators. In 2016, John received the Al Golin brand trust award which is presented to one operator in the McDonald’s system. He has spoken to numerous McDonald operator groups on how to improve their profitability by focusing on key drivers of the business.

John and his wife Cindy live in Bridgeport and have three children — Rachel (27), Jack (23), and Grace (20). Grace is a sophomore at Notre Dame. John is also co-chairman of the local 10k committee and is a board member of MVB Bank.  

Beginning in September 2012, John began sponsoring a math ACT prep class which he taught with two other teachers. More than 3,000 students have attended this free class. This class has helped many students improve their math ACT score and helped them earn et the West Virginia Promise scholarship. He taught the class with his daughter to South Bend TRiO students at Notre Dame’s Jordan Auditorium in 2017 and 2018. John has completed two marathons and in the last seven years has completed more than 20 triathlons.  

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Presented by Chris Stevens

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Featured Speakers: 

  • John Ebert, President, J.W. Ebert Corporation
  • Chris Stevens, Co-Founding Director, Inspired Leadership Initiative

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