International Women's Day: West Frankfort mother-daughter team own 21 McDonald's across region

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8, local McDonald's restaurants are celebrating owner/operators Mary Moreland and Stephanie Bishop. Together, the mother and daughter own and operate 21 restaurants across southern Illinois along with their family.

The Moreland-Bishop McDonald's organization makes it their mission to provide significant contributions to the southern Illinois community, by donating thousands of meals to local schools and health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and hosting school fundraisers called McTeachers Nights. They enjoy having the ability to be part of the solution to needs within their communities.

Moreland has been a community activist for years, including serving on the West Frankfort school board for 20 years and coaching golf there for 21 years. She was inducted into the Frankfort Community High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. Now, Moreland is a trustee on the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation board.

Moreland has a long history with McDonald's, joining the organization more than 40 years ago. She, with her husband and fellow owner/operator John Moreland, opened their first restaurant together in 1981. Bishop began working in the family business as a crew member through high school and became an official owner/operator in 2009 after working her way through the ranks of shift manager and general manager.

"I credit my work ethic to my mother," said Bishop. "I've learned so much from the example she set for me both as a hands-on businesswoman as well as an involved member of our communities.

"She loves the details of the business and has shown me that no act is too small to make a difference."

Bishop says one of her favorite traditions is participating in hometown parades every year and handing out treats from the McDonald's float. "I love that something so simple brings so much joy to the children in our towns," she said. "It's great that we're able to make a big impact through larger programs, but sometimes the smaller gestures have the most lasting impression."

Bishop grew up watching her parents navigate the business and says her mother has always been a very strong influence in her decision to stay within the McDonald's network.

"When I was in my early 20s, my mother took me to my first Women Operators Network meeting and it truly had a major impact on my life," Bishop said. "I was surrounded by strong, independent women who were asking tough questions and encouraging me to think critically about my future, while at the same time genuinely enjoying life. I knew that's what I wanted."

Moreland was honored with the Women Operators Network Founders Award in 2017. This national, biannual honor recognizes a woman owner/operator who works beyond her own life and community and makes a difference in the lives of other women.

Like her mother, Bishop also enjoys playing an active role in community groups outside of McDonald's. In 2017, she was the first woman voted onto the Bank of Herrin board. "I've really enjoyed getting to apply my professional experiences to contribute to a completely different industry," said Bishop.

Moreland and Bishop also actively support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Tri-State area, raising funds directly for the charity within their restaurants.

Bishop is the youngest of Moreland's two children, and her brother, Michael, is also a southern Illinois McDonald's owner/operator. She and her husband, Shane, have four children.

"My kids already recognize what a strong and positive leader my mother is within our organization," said Bishop. "I'm just so blessed that not only is she my mother, but that I also get to spend so much extra quality time with her as my business partner."