Freda Thornton

Freda ThorntonFreda Thornton
FWL & Sons Inc.
President and CEO
Owner Operator of Five McDonald’s Restaurants

Freda Thornton’s career with McDonald’s began in 1980 as a crew person.  It wasn’t long before her leadership skills were recognized, and she was asked to transition into the corporation’s management training program. Freda spent 21 years in various, progressive positions within McDonald’s corporate Norfolk Region.

In 2001, FWL & Sons Inc. was formed and Freda became an owner/operator in the Greater Richmond Area, where she operates five stores.

Freda is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, spending nine intensive months engaged with 63 other emerging leaders examining challenges facing the city.  She is vice president for the regional chapter of the Virginia Black McDonald’s Owners Association; vice president of the Richmond co-op executive board; the QSC lead for the Richmond co-op; a member of the executive board of the Richmond Ronald McDonald House; board member of the National Black McDonald’s Operators of America, representing Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. And she is also a proud member of The Links Inc., Commonwealth chapter.

Freda has received numerous awards throughout her stellar career as a corporate employee and owner/operator. She has earned the Partners in Paradise top sales award, the Street Fighter Award, and is a three-time recipient of the People Award. But the honor she holds most dear is the Ronald Award, the honor the company gives to only 1 percent of its franchise owners. She also has received the Shining Star Award, which celebrates the top 10 percent of female operators in the country.

Recognized as one of the most powerful women in Virginia business, Ms. Thornton has been invited to be a guest panelist of female entrepreneurs and professionals at the Women Who Mean Business Summit in Richmond. And she was recently a keynote speaker at the National Association of Women Business Owners.

A firm believer in “to whom much is given, much is required,” Freda has made countless donations and volunteered her time within the community. She also believes in the value of a good education. At each of her stores, one high school senior is selected to receive a scholarship to attend college the following year.