Date & Timestamp : 04/10/2017 by Kaitlyn Hiltz
Now & Then
We featured a “Success Story” (see Part 1, Part 2) on Visiting Executive, Distance Consultant, and Chick-fil-A Operator, Darrell Frick, about this same time last year. Darrell continues his mentoring of BDC Rwanda graduates, but he has expanded his vision. Through his energy and God’s grace, Darrell is exploring a hospitality internship program and a nationwide mentorship program.
On the mentoring front, Darrell is fully engaged with business owners, and brothers – Jean Bosco and Derrick, also known as the Trinitas brothers. Together these two young entrepreneurs own a brick company, making bricks and pavers; while currently employing 20 people.
Darrell holds weekly Skype meetings with them, both individually and in small group sessions. During these calls, Frick strives to cover a mix of the following: personal development and discipleship, business development, and the joint creation of a Rwandan non-profit for youth mentoring (more on that to come). From a business standpoint, they cover topics like team morale, staff management, customer care, marketing, controlling profits, and more.
Work-life balance is extremely important to Darrell. As a husband, father of five young children, owner-operator of a Chick-fil-A restaurant and visionary for business in Rwanda, Darrell realizes he must set priorities and manage his time well. He personally strives to prioritize family time versus time spent working on the business. “It can be hard to know how to manage all of that, so it’s something we cover extensively in our mentoring sessions as well,” Darrell tells us.
The relationship that Darrell has been able to create with these two young entrepreneurs has certainly had a tremendous influence on the purpose and direction of their lives from the office to the home front.
So much so, that Jean Bosco even named his newborn son after Darrell. “As you can imagine, it was some pretty cool news to hear”, Darrell tells us. “I’m certainly excited to see him grow up and be a part of his life.”
Derrick, on the other hand, is single, but interested in getting married one day, so Darrell has given him some Andy Stanley sermons on single life and how to look for the ‘right’ one.
A Spring Visit & The Possibility of an Internship Program
Although much of their communication has been at a distance, Darrell is returning to Rwanda this May to meet with the Trinitas brothers in their business, continue working with them on the development of a mentoring program for young leaders in Rwanda, and even hold a seminar on hospitality through an industry group in Kigali.
The seminar will be held at the Akilah Institute – which is Swahili for ‘wisdom’. The organization is an Associate’s level degree program in hospitality management for underprivileged women in East Africa. Some of their graduates have become some of the top candidates in the hospitality sector of business management. Darrell and his Chick-fil-A team will be doing three workshops, including one with a roundtable of 25 local leaders.
The future of Darrell’s involvement with Akilah doesn’t stop there. As Chick-fil-A is a global leader in the hospitality industry, he’s begun devising a way to give local students the opportunity to train in the U.S., within an actual Chick-fil-A store. There are obviously many details to be worked out with an international internship program, but Darrell feels the effort is well worth the future benefits.
Chick-fil-A has not yet tapped into the possibility of an international intern program, at least not in a systematic or structured way, and this might be a large step towards that direction.
“I’ve always wanted to be influential over there, from within the U.S. At this point more than one trip/year isn’t feasible, so I’ve had to get creative in terms of how I could have an impact beyond Skype mentoring. I want to play a role,” says Darrell.
Hospitality is the fastest growing industry in Rwanda, so there’s certainly some synergy. Darrell has also begun presenting the idea to and working with These Numbers Have Faces (TNHF), an international organization known for securing internships for Rwandans in the US.
Darrell will be able to meet with Akilah’s leadership team while there this spring to pitch the idea and also be able to assess their top 4 students, from a skills standpoint.
“I just keep thinking, what if we could get 10-15 Rwandan students/year to work in Chick-fil-A stores in the U.S.? What an incredible experience that would be for them” said Darrell. “And if we were finally able to create a more streamlined process for it, I know many Chick-fil-A Operators that would sign up for this tomorrow.”
Plans for This Spring & Beyond
In addition to meeting with Akilah’s leadership team and students, Darrell has worked through Advocates for Africa to help put him in contact with some 25-30 business, government, and church leaders for a roundtable discussion on mentoring. They will discuss the importance of mentoring, the current state of it, any cultural barriers or misconceptions, and gauge interest for participation in a future workshop.
Darrell tells us, “The hope is that it acts as a sort of field study to better understand the obstacles, challenges, and the level of passion behind mentoring in Rwanda.”
His passion for Rwanda is infectious. So much so, that the Rwandan Ambassador to the U.S., upon getting to know Darrell over dinner, asked if he’d ever consider dual-citizenship. Humbled by the question, Darrell has agreed to look into it and admires other U.S. leaders like Rick Warren who have preceded him in doing so.
When asked what advice he’d give to any business mentor or consultant, based on his own experience, Darrell shares:
“Jump in the deep end. Know there are going to be challenges and frustrations but if you can stick with it, the rewards and the outcome are really overwhelming, to the point that a mentee might even name a son after you! As a mentor, you might strike out a couple of times, but you will eventually find the right fit.”
Darrell is a great example of how God can use a busy business person to impact lives and businesses across the world. Here at RCE, we’re continually thankful for our distance consultants and visiting executives, like Darrell, and many others from Lifeshape International, that have been so willing to play a role in the lives of international entrepreneurs like the Trinitas Brothers. It’s the people like these that make what we do so worthwhile, and for that, we’re forever grateful. Find out how you can get involved here.