Wisconsin 275
Wisconsin 275
BizTimes Media

Debbie Allen

Living Legends
President and CEO
DNA Network  |  Milwaukee

After working for Wisconsin Gas Co. for 20 years, Debbie Allen left her job to become a McDonald’s Corp. franchisee. She went on to grow her business, Nevada Corp., to 10 restaurants, which had 700 employees and $15 million in annual sales. Then, after selling her restaurants, Allen in 2016 launched her own consulting business, DNA Network, which provides coaching for executive leaders of small businesses.

Education: Bachelor’s, Concordia University; MBA, Marquette University; doctorate in business administration, Capella University

First job: “My first real job was as a cashier for McDonald’s. Twenty-five years later, I purchased my first McDonald’s restaurant.”

Hobby/passion: “My passion is two-fold. I compel and inspire people to live out their purpose and passion in life, and I help entrepreneurs learn how to ‘work on the business,’ not always in the business.”

Toughest business challenge you’ve ever faced: “The toughest business challenge I had to overcome was not understanding how to read financial statements. I made money when I overcame this challenge.”

Nonprofit cause that has special meaning to you: “MATC’s Promise Program. It allows both direct from high school students and returning adult learners access to higher education. So many are economically disadvantaged and first-generation students.”