07/25/2014 10:32 am ET Updated Sep 24, 2014

Women in Business Q&A: Glory Gallucci, Franchisee, Any Lab Test Now

After receiving an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts and an MBA from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Glory Gallucci worked in various business positions taking her from Chicago to North Carolina including stints as Director of Marketing for Cardinal Healthcare as well as a small pharma company in Greensboro, North Carolina. After taking a self-declared sabbatical for 6 months, she wound up in the world of career consulting starting her entrepreneurial career as an Independent Consultant and later as a Senior Consultant for Right Management, a division of Manpower, Inc. Deciding she wanted to return to her entrepreneurial roots, she researched buying an existing business as well as franchises that fit her interests and background. She discovered Any Lab Test Now and opened her first location in November of 2008. She left her full time position in May of 2012 to focus on growing her business and will be opening her second unit soon. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I have had my share of challenges and success with each one providing something different from which to learn. I was the first person in my family to go to college, so I had to really want it and push for it. However, being brought up by working class parents with no business experience, I became your more typical female people-pleaser and was comfortable just keeping my head down and working hard. This did provide the foundation for a more collaborative leadership style, but did not give me the wisdom of knowing when to tout my own accomplishments. However, as I gained experience, I learned to "lean in" to make sure my voice was heard and opinion known. It is interesting to note that once I started doing this, I was encouraged by both male and female leaders/mentors to do it more. Sheryl Sandburg gets this one right.

How did your previous employment experience aid your position at Any Lab Test Now?
I have worked in several functions and industries for both large and small companies, which allowed me to see the big picture of how things fit together in an organization to create success. Small business owners have to wear multiple hats and having skills in several areas has made the learning curve less steep. As a career coach for 10 years, I have encouraged people to look at other careers or functions if they were dissatisfied with previous positions or opportunities. Each new path or position broadens the skill set that we can draw upon.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Any Lab Test Now?
Opening the doors that first day was both exhilarating and frightening. Highlights include watching the business grow year over year and customers returning and referring others. We can make a difference in people's lives and it is rewarding when that happens. It is a challenge to balance providing the best customer experience possible against the costs of running the business.

What advice can you offer to an individual looking to be a franchisee?
Franchises can offer a proven system of success, however, you need to set realistic expectations for hard work and profitability. There is no overnight success or easy money. It is also important to find a product or service you can get excited about day in and day out, so do your research. Additionally, use the resources available to you. One of my favorite things about being a small business owner is the camaraderie of other small business owners. They understand your struggles and celebrate your successes. Look into services offered by organizations such as the Small Business Association. Don't feel because you own your business that you have to do it on your own. Use the expertise of others in areas you are lacking and get the support you need. You still get to make all the decisions, but don't be afraid to ask for advice. One of the biggest hurdles that can arise is financing your business, whether you're just starting out or looking to grow. There are many options outside of borrowing from your local bank and I highly recommend working with someone who knows the ins and outs of franchise funding. I was able to get great advice on how to use my 401K/IRA savings, tax deferred and penalty free through a company called Benetrends. Benetrends has been helping people like me fund franchises for more than 30 years. Its funding specialists were there every step of the way to guide me as I went down the path toward owning my own business, providing all the necessary administration and compliance requirements needed to have access to my funds.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Sometimes it is very hard, especially just getting started, but I know what my priorities are and give myself permission for downtime. I am single, so it would be very easy to work around the clock, but I take time to catch up with friends or simply go for a long walk with my dog. You have to find something that takes your mind off the business once in a while and give yourself perspective.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
While things have clearly improved in past decades, we still have far to go. We can hope that attitudes continue to evolve and women take over more high-level roles. Unfortunately, changing attitudes is a long-term process.

What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement?
I think anything that gets people talking and focusing on developing more female leaders at the top is a good thing. Sheryl Sandberg is clearly an accomplished individual that we can learn from. And if her leadership and movement helps us to evolve more quickly, I am all for it. I believe that woman do have to take a seat at the table and want to take that seat.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have had the good fortune of being part of both formal and informal mentoring relationships. These relationships have provided sounding boards and the ability to seek and receive honest feedback. I am a firm believer that feedback is a gift leading me to one of my personal mantras: "I cannot change what I do not know." I want to continue to grow as a person and leader so while self-reflection is important, so is feedback from others. I encourage individuals to develop mentoring relationships in all aspects of life.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Mary Barra. It is great to see someone still fulfill the American dream of working hard, using the resources made available to her, and making it to the top of one of America's biggest industries.

Hilary Clinton. She has had her ups and downs, but continues to show remarkable strength and resilience.

Amy Poehler and her Smart Girls initiative. Isn't that what we all ultimately want to be -- our genuine selves?

What are your hopes for the future of Any Lab Test Now?

To continue to grow both in size and number and to see Any Lab Test Now develop into a brand that evolves with our changing healthcare landscape, partnering with consumers and businesses to give them more control over their health.