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Kat Cole talks naps, eating bugs in new Grab Bag Q&A


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“I’ve eaten lots of bugs all around South America, particularly the Amazon. Beetles, ants, grasshoppers—it’s all weird.”— Kat Cole, President and COO, North America for Focus Brands

Who would play you in the biopic about your life?

I would hope Sandra Bullock. Reputationally she’s got a perception and she’s played roles of no bullshit and also lighthearted, so that seems fitting.

What’s your favorite franchise brand that’s not your own?

Right now—and it changes because there’s a lot of cool ones—but I think Orangetheory. I’ve done the workouts. They’re growing like a weed; they bring fitness to communities.

If you weren’t in franchising, what would you do?

Probably venture capital and being a professor on the side. I’d teach business.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

It was ‘Game of Thrones’ but they’ve put a knife in my heart. There’s so few shows that would grab me in that way and make me stay up past midnight watching. So I’ll say naps. Naps might be my guilty pleasure now. I’ve got a toddler and I’m pregnant, I’m due in August. So yeah, naps.

What’s something not many people know about you?

That I got married at Burning Man. If they follow me on Instagram they’d know. I’m a seasoned multi-year burner, so much so that I got married there.

Alive or dead, with whom would you most like to spend a day?

Nelson Mandela for dead, Barack Obama for alive. Nelson Mandela, just the inner conflict he endured and persevered through and then the external conflict that he helped an entire country move through. He got bigger in a time of complexity; I always admire people who can do that. For Barack Obama, I want to know what he’s thinking right now.

Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?

I had posters of Boyz II Men, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, New Kids on the Block, Mary J. Blige. There were more but I’ll stop there.

Laura Michaels

Editor Laura Michaels asks the tough questions—What superhero power would you most like to have? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?—to show a side of franchising execs you don’t normally see. To suggest an industry professional, email lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.

Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?

I love this guy, Pattie Gonia. It’s hard to explain, it’s a little controversial. He’s a man but he’s constantly in drag and he’s an outdoorsman. My husband is an endurance athlete so I appreciate anyone who pushes the limits of what’s possible. He’s out there in these elaborate costumes, 6-inch heels, hiking, posing on rock formations. He’s a rallying cry for positivity, for no bullying. It says to the world, don’t let yourself be typecast.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’ve eaten lots of bugs all around South America, particularly the Amazon. Beetles, ants, grasshoppers—it’s all weird, it all tasted super foreign … but I’d eat them again.

What do you absolutely HAVE to pack when you travel?

My reusable bottle. I’m obsessed with trying to eliminate every single type of single-use plastic from my life. That’s a big one. On the not so green side, lots and lots of chargers and cords. And because I constantly spill things, I travel with a completely black wardrobe.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s a version of what my mom writes on my birthday cards: Don’t forget where you came from but don’t you dare let it solely define you.

What superhero power would you most like to have?

To be able to snap my fingers and instantly make anyone around me happy.

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