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She started scrubbing toilets at McDonald's - now she owns 12 locations on the Main Line

She started out scrubbing McDonald's toilets - then rose up to own 12 franchises
She started out scrubbing McDonald's toilets - then rose up to own 12 franchises 03:43

ROSEMONT, Pa. (CBS) -- Tanya Hill-Holliday has defied the odds and made quite the name for herself. At just over 5 feet tall, she may be small in stature, but her fight and dreams were always big.

As Women's History Month kicks off, we sat down with Hill-Holliday, a McDonald's franchise owner who went from scrubbing toilets in Baltimore to becoming the proprietor of 12 McDonald's locations on the Main Line in Pennsylvania.

It was a journey from crew member to corporate executive.

"I was told I wasn't supposed to be here I was called every name but my name," Hill-Holliday said.

She's defied the odds and made quite the name for herself, owning a dozen franchise locations.

"You are in my very first McDonald's that I purchased in 2005, that's the Rosemont McDonald's right next to Villanova University," Hill-Holliday said.

Born in Virginia but raised in West Philadelphia, Hill-Holliday attended Morgan State University where she landed her first job.

Tanya Hill-Holliday shows the first crew at the first McDonald's restaurant she owned in Rosemont, Pa. CBS News Philadelphia

"I picked up the Yellow Pages at that time, started flipping through and I saw a listing for McDonald's," Hill-Holliday said.

She started out as a crew member at McDonald's in Baltimore, Maryland.

"I always enjoyed what I was doing, as difficult as it was to be told, 'You got to clean a table, you got to clean the toilets, you got to scrub the baseboards. You got to do...' I did it," Hill-Holliday said.

Hill-Holliday has been in been in the McDonald's system for 44 years now, and has worked 13 positions including vice president. And then the opportunity presented itself to own a franchise that now goes for close to $1.5 million.

Hill-Holliday now oversees more than 600 employees, while her team who she considers family runs the day-to-day operations.

Hill-Holliday makes it her mission to also give back, serving as the National Black McDonald's Operators Association Chair and CEO of 168 entities across the U.S.

Holliday poses outside one of the McDonald's she owns in these undated photos. CBS News Philadelphia

She hopes her journey inspires young people working their first job.

"Stay motivated, stay encouraged, stay prayed up. I stay prayed up all the time," Hill-Holliday said.

Hill-Holliday's success is truly because of her heart and hustle and the golden arches so many of us call home.

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