SANDY Cikara took over as state operations manager of McDonald’s in 2002 and has achieved record profits results in every year since. As the youngest operations manager in Australia, she has achieved benchmarks and records in all key areas of the business. Profit and people are the biggest challenges for the 2005 Telstra WA Businesswoman of the Year awards finalist. Upon her 2002 appointment, Ms Cikara realised that, if the 18 company owned stores were not made financially viable, they would be franchised. By looking at every individual profit line in consultation with accountants, consultants and store managers, she was able to generate change through monthly communication with her team and rewarding success with an attractive bonus program. Ms Cikara oversees 1,359 employees and has been the driving force behind McDonald’s WA becoming the most profitable operation in Australia. Celebrating wins, even the smallest, has become a powerful and important part of her business as it creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. One of her greatest successes is balancing work and life . She has become highly organised with a “road map” and plans all her professional and personal dates a year in advance. Ms Cikara has a degree in business management and marketing and an advanced diploma in management along the way. Her list of academic achievements will increase this year with the completion of an MBA. She mentors and guides other individuals in business, assists the community with employment, and helps with the Ronald McDonald House charity.