Behind the Seams: Julieta Franco, Committed to Quality
What does it mean to Julieta Franco to be a Quality Manager? Yes, she’s responsible for overseeing enough product to make your head spin and maintains high standards across multiple sewing plants and departments within Kontoor Mexico’s Torreon complex, including cutting and parts, dry process and finishing, and laundry. But to her, the qualities she’s most concerned with lie in Kontoor’s people, and how talents can be combined to win together.
“A lot of what I’m doing is training individuals,” Julieta says. “What I tell people is that my team can stop the plant and reject the products if they don’t meet our standards for quality. But to be preventive, we need to work as a team.”
Whom she trains and works with isn’t limited to any one sector. Julieta collaborates with every employee she can, from engineering to production to mechanics—even HR—to keep Kontoor’s products a cut above. A true jack-of-all-trades, she’s also mastered plenty along the way. And in her mind, that’s why she’s where she is today. Over a candid conversation, we learned about Julieta’s career journey, what keeps her motivated and why your education doesn’t stop after school.
Tell us a bit about your background.
Well, I was born and raised here in Torreon, Mexico. I studied engineering, and I remember having good grades but hating school. When I finished, I moved to Toronto for two years, and then I had an opportunity to help with VF, and eventually Kontoor.
What was that first role you had with Kontoor?
I had the opportunity to support the planning team. The contract was only for a couple of months, but in my mind, I was determined to stay. I remember thinking that once I get there, once I have one foot inside, that I could prove my value. I tried to help with everything I could. I tried to give 120 percent. I even helped departments outside of my regular scope, and I think that’s the reason I stayed.
That’s quite the journey from a temporary contract to now managing multiple plants and departments. For anyone looking to grow professionally, could you give us an idea of how you did it?
When I was working in planning, it was a an office in a cutting room, but when I had my department organized and everyone was working together seamlessly, I’d get out. I got involved in inventories, engineering, even administrative duties. And when I messed up, I’d tell my boss, “You know what, I did this wrong. But I also provided options for how to improve the process.”
How would you describe yourself as a leader and manager today?
For me, it's very important that my teams feel complete support from me because I expect the same support from them. Everyone tells me I have a really good team and I love hearing that—I’m like a proud mom. When I see people on my team growing within the company and contributing to our business, that's when I feel really good. It goes back to one of Kontoor’s core values: We Win Together.
More About Julieta:
- Favorite item of clothing from Kontoor Brands: I love the Wrangler® retro collection, they make great gifts for my dad and boyfriend.
- Hobbies when off the clock: I love to dance. I have had a passion for Latin music since I was little and have been practicing salsa, bachata and tango.