Tiffany Martin smiles beside flags of the world
UofL 2024 graduate Tiffany Martin is the second student to earn the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence certification. UofL Photo.

Tiffany Martin knew it was time for a change. In 2020, she found herself working long hours, with little time for her family. That’s when she decided to return to school.

“My husband said to me, ‘You don’t like this job, you don’t like what you’re doing. Go back to school and do something you want to do,'” Martin said.

In her previous job, Martin enjoyed training new talent and wanted to pursue a degree in human resources. Her stepdaughters were also an inspiration.

“I watched what they went through in their own lives and what inspired them. They needed a good role model,” said Martin. “No one ever thought I would be a college drop-out. I wanted to go back to get my bachelor’s degree for them but also for myself.”

This spring, Martin will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in management, completed online while working full-time. She will also become the second student to complete the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence management certification.

Established in 2021, the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence in the College of Business focuses on recruiting and educating underrepresented populations and women on the possibilities of franchising as a pathway to entrepreneurship. The franchise management course, which Martin initially intended to just be an elective, was a turning point in her academic journey.

“Ten minutes into the recorded orientation from center director Kathy Gosser and I knew they were the best thing ever,” Martin said.

Opportunities began opening for Martin. She applied to attend the 2024 International Franchise Association convention, where she joined three other students on a 5-day trip to Arizona to meet with franchisers, business owners and others.

“Without the College of Business and without the Yum! Global Center for Franchise Excellence, I would not have had that amazing experience,” Martin said.   

As she neared graduation, Martin felt a sense of accomplishment going from a college dropout to successful business student and she thought she was done. But then, a professor challenged her to think about what came next.

“I realized there is more out there,” Martin said.

Martin was accepted into the master of business administration program and will return to UofL in the fall.

“You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream,” she said. “Opportunities are out there; you just have to work hard and go for it.”