Climbing up the corporate ladder led this Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) alumna to make history in the restaurant industry.

During Tanya Hill-Holliday’s time of studying management at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, she also worked as a part-time employee at McDonald’s, according to WPVI-Channel 6, an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, PA. She says she landed the job after cold calling the restaurant and being hired on the spot.

Then, after graduating from the university, she joined the McDonald’s management training program, which took her “through the ranks on the corporate side and at locations around the country,” the outlet details. Within McDonald’s corporate ranks, Hill-Holliday held 13 positions.

“From an assistant manager to a store manager to a supervisor,” Hill-Holliday told the outlet. “I worked as a vice president overseeing company-owned McDonald’s restaurants.”

Landing at a McDonald’s location in Philadelphia went on to transform Hill-Holliday’s career. According to the outlet, she became the Black woman to own and operate a McDonald’s franchise in the “City of Brotherly Love” when she took over her first location about 20 years ago.

Hill-Holliday is the owner of 12 McDonald’s restaurants including three on the Main Line and one in Allentown, per the outlet.

“There are some prototypes that McDonald’s gives to you, but then as a franchisee, as an owner, you can put some of your own personal touches onto the basics,” Hill-Holliday explained about how she has each of her franchises set up.

Throughout the years of being a McDonald’s franchisee, Hill-Holliday is thankful for her team being along with her on the journey.

“They are my pride and joy,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for my people, so it’s about my people.”

While Hill-Holliday has been loyal to McDonald’s for decades, she has no plans on letting up anytime soon as she loves what she does. In addition, she shared a piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that she once gave herself.

“When you think you’ve hit a brick wall, go over the wall, go around the wall — if you gotta go under the wall — do what you have to do but just don’t let roadblocks stop you. Be persistent. Be strong.”