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From Crew to Latin America Operations Director

May 29, 2018

Yokasta Rodrigues

Yokasta Rodrigues’ Journey at McDonald’s has Led Her to Her Dream Job

For Yokasta Rodrigues, the golden arches opened the door to a whole career. Yokasta moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic at age 16 and started her first job working at her local McDonald’s a few months after. She moved to the United States to learn English and originally planned to go to medical school after graduating college, but decided to stay in the restaurant. The choice paid off: Yokasta worked her way up through the restaurant ranks, eventually becoming a field consultant, field service manager before she was promoted to her current position – Director of Operations for Latin America. Yokasta is currently perusing a MBA with a concentration in Global Leadership. Read more about Yokasta’s story and experience with McDonald’s below. 

Question: Why did you decide to stay with McDonald’s instead of going to medical school? 
Answer: “I realized that McDonald’s offered me an amazing opportunity to be part of a team. The interaction with people that treated me like family in a foreign country was priceless. After a few months I learned about the possibility of moving through the ranks and the opportunity to experience other disciplines... I knew I was in the right place! Working with markets internationally was always a part of my plan. When the opportunity to work in Latin America as Operations Director was presented, I knew that it was perfect for me and in line with my career path.”

Question: Why did you want to work internationally? 
Answer: “I really enjoy traveling and immersing myself in different cultures. Learning languages is also a passion of mine and what better way to practice when I’m spending 50% of the time traveling to other countries.”

Question: As the Operations Director for Latin America, what do you do each day? 
Answer: “I provide strategic consulting and tactical recommendations to Developmental Licensees, country Managing Directors and country operations leadership on operations and customer satisfaction. I am also an advocate for the markets and countries to ensure that both points of view are clearly communicated, strategies are aligned and decisions are based on what's best for our customers. I partner with department functional leaders (e.g., Marketing, Development, HR, supply chain) and other departments to identify best practices and align strategies to optimize country potential.”

Question: What has been your biggest career accomplishment to date? 
Answer: “My greatest accomplishment is to have a successful career, while raising my beautiful daughter Daymara with my husband David. Throughout my life I have had the great fortune of having inspirational and encouraging figures around me. They motivated and pushed me in every endeavor I took. During the last few years I have had the opportunity to act as a mentor. This has been the most fulfilling experience of my career.”

Question: How has your first job working at a McDonald’s restaurant helped you in your role today? 
Answer: “In my first job at the restaurant, I always looked for new things to learn. I remember being a sponge and having a thirst for knowledge. I still practice this today. One of my mentors said “be a student of the business” and I knew we were talking about the same thing.”

Question: What skills do you feel you learned while working your first job at a McDonald’s restaurant? 
Answer: “I learned English by working in the restaurants. I was constantly asking people to correct me and having the opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment helped me pick up on English very quickly. I really learned to break out of my shell, communicate effectively with people and be successful working under pressure. The skills I learned at the restaurant have been invaluable.”

Question: What upcoming trip are you most excited for? Work or personal. 
Answer: “I’m going to Italy and Greece soon with my husband and daughter. I also want to find time to go to Egypt and China– they have been on my list!” 


McDonald’s created a program called English Under the Arches, which allows eligible restaurant employees the opportunity to learn English as a second language. To learn more, please visit McDonalds.com/education