Leaders in Franchising

Now that the successful IFA Annual Convention is concluded, it’s a good time to pause and consider how great this industry is thanks to its many talented, dedicated and innovator leaders.  We heard them preside over educational sessions during the convention and read about them in issues of Franchising World magazine.  But what do we know about them before their prominent franchise careers?

Let’s look at just three.  Besides the impressive summary below of IFA’s 2015 Chairwoman Melanie Bergeron, CFE, did you know she had a career in pharmaceutical sales and in college she was a magician’s assistant?  Or did you know that IFA 2014 Chairman Steve Joyce (president and chairman of Choice Hotels International, Inc.) worked in restaurants from the time he was 12?   Or did you know that IFA Pres. and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, began his career on Capitol Hill as a legislative correspondent?

The reasons behind the power of franchising are as numerous as its best and brightest franchisees, franchisors and suppliers!

Check out the #IFA2015 recap video!

IFA Chairman’s Snapshot — Melanie Bergeron, CFE

Current Posts/Achievements  

Chairwoman, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK/INTERNATIONAL, Inc., which has 298 domestic and 24 international locations.

Joined the family business in 1989 when she was awarded the first TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise in Atlanta.

Joined the home office in Lansing, Mich. in the 1990s.

Named TWO MEN AND A TRUCK president in 1994.

Became chief operating officer in 2002.

Assumed role of CEO in 2007.

Named chairwoman in 2009.

 Previous Posts

Career in pharmaceutical sales.

IFA Involvement

Member, IFA board of directors since 2008, holding such posts as Vice Chairwoman (2014), Treasurer (2013), Secretary (2012).

Chairwoman, Convention Committee (2014)

First Vice Chairwoman, Educational Foundation Executive Committee (2013-2014) and member since 2008; First Vice Chairwoman Educational Foundation Board of Trustees (2014).

Secretary, ICFE Board of Governors (2006-2011) and member since 2001.

Member, Franchisor Forum Advisory Board since 2006.

Member, FranPAC Advisory Committee since 2004.

Member, International Committee and International Interest Group since 2014.

Community/Business Organizations  

Member, Young Presidents Association.

Member, Central Michigan University Dean’s Business Advisory Council.


Winner, 2009 IFA Bonny LeVine Award


Bachelor’s Degree, Marketing and Business Administration, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Mich.




Excellence Celebrated During IFA Annual Convention

The IFA Annual Convention celebrated numerous individuals for their outstanding and inspiring achievements.  Let’s look at them by the numbers:

 Four Major Awards

  • Steve Siegel, managing partner of Brookside Consulting, was inducted into the IFA Hall of Fame for his extraordinary contributions to franchising and to the franchise community.
  • Aslam Khan, CEO of Falcon Holdings and multi-unit franchisee of such brands as Church’s Chicken, Long John Silver’s and A&W, was named IFA Entrepreneur of the Year.
  • Yoshino Nakajima, chief development officer of Home Instead Senior Care, was honored as the recipient of IFA’s Bonny LeVine Award.
  • Rafael Alvarez, president, CEO and founder of ATAX Franchise, Inc., earned the IFA Ronald E. Harrison Award for accomplishments in diversity and inclusion.

 Two New Entries

  • The 50 winners of the first Young Entrepreneurs In Franchising Global Contest that was conducted as part of the first NextGen in Franchising Summit.
  • Catherine Monson, CFE, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, became the first annual FAN of the Year Award recipient for her tireless efforts to protect, promote and enhance the franchise industry through IFA’s grassroots advocacy program, the Franchise Action Network in 2014.

Highest Number of Recipients

That would be the more than 160 franchise executives and professionals who achieved Certified Franchise Executives™ program designation.

A Singular Crystal Experience

Mary Ann O’Connell, CFE, FranWise founder, earned the Crystal Compass for outstanding leadership from IFA’s Women’s Franchise Committee.

Sounds like the more than 3,800 IFA convention-goers who attended and had the opportunity to connect, innovate and evolve also had good reason to celebrate!




Franchising Looks to the Future via NextGen Franchising Program


You’ll have to wait until the IFA Annual Convention to participate in the launch of the NextGen in Franchising program. But you might be surprised to learn the scope of this global competition as the IFA Educational Foundation leads the way in recognizing the huge pool of talent available in young entrepreneurs from around the globe.IFANextGenContestLogo_Final

Quick Facts

The CompetitorsIFACampaign_ContestOnly_opt3

  • 450 applications from 46 countries.
  • The 50 winners represent 22 countries.
  • 70 percent of applicants were men, 30 percent were women and 20 percent were students.
  • Winners came from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Germany, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom and the United States.

Winning Concepts

Water salinization systems, eyesight clinics, roadside reflective strips, mobile made-to-order gelato, recycling plants, an indoor tennis facility, study class notes, emergency baby clean up, custom dog breeding, global education awareness and much more!

Business Challenges

The top three challenges were identified as financial strategy (45 percent), development of the idea (26 percent) and development of a business plan (19 percent).

Learn more about the NextGen program here.  Don’t forget to attend the NextGen in Franchising Network Reception, Summit and Roundtables Feb. 15-16 during the IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas.





IFA’s 2015 Board Members Discuss What’s Ahead for the Franchise Industry

You don’t have to wait until IFA‘s Annual Convention in Las Vegas next month to find out what some of the franchise industry’s leaders think this year holds for their businesses and the industry overall. Below are excerpts from some of the 2015 Executive Committee members. Find their full comments, along with their board colleagues, in January’s Franchising World magazine. In the meantime, here’s a quick peek:

Melanie Bergeron, CFE
Chairwoman of the Board

While I am optimistic for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, I am very concerned about the political landscape for franchising. In the coming year we are going to need to continue the battle to protect our franchise business model from the local, state and federal levels. Please consider joining the Franchise Action Network if you haven’t already.

Aziz Hashim
President and CEO
NRD Holdings, LLC
Vice Chairman

The resilience of the franchise industry and the U.S. entrepreneur will once again shine in 2015. As the economy muddles through this unprecedented period of uncertainty, as well as consumer demographics and demands changing ever so rapidly, few industries will be as adept to managing change as the franchise industry.

Shelly Sun, CFE
CEO and Co-Founder
BrightStar Franchising, LLC

Looking toward 2015, the franchise industry as a whole will experience modest growth, hampered by the concern over the National Labor Relations Board joint employer impact. Without the constant impediment of government regulation, 2015 should be a solid year for the industry.

Liam Brown
President, U.S. and Canada
Select Service and Extended Stay Lodging and
Owner and Franchise Services
Marriott International

We expect new franchise development activity to continue at a strong pace. Interest rates remain low and the industry is performing at historic highs, enabling strong underwriting of new franchise projects.

Steve Joyce
President and CEO
Choice Hotels International
Immediate Past Chairman

There have been solid gains in household employment and improvement in the labor participation rate. Job and wage forecasts indicate modest growth, which makes us optimistic for the year ahead.

Jeffrey Tews
Multi-Unit Franchisee
BrightStar Care of Madison, WI
Franchisee Forum Chairman

Providing a quality experience has created a very positive reputation in a business that relies upon trust.

Catherine Monson, CFE
FASTSIGNS International, Inc.
Franchisor Forum Vice Chairwoman

To preserve the proven, successful franchise business model, everyone in franchising must commit to grassroots advocacy/government relations involvement.

Ryan Cunningham
Javelin Solutions
Supplier Forum Chairman

Franchisees will need to think outside the box to find new locations, considering redevelopments of older projects, moving into newly gentrified neighborhoods or buying out mom and pop retailers.      

Convention Time — Your Time to Connect, Innovate and Evolve

GIF_forhomepage_noearlybirdWhether you’re at franchise corporate headquarters, an individual small-business franchise owner or franchise supplier, you’re concerned with building your business, staying on top of federal, state and local regulations and attracting and retaining staff.  Are you making the most of one of the year’s best opportunities to tackle all three areas, and more, at one time?

If you aren’t yet signed up for the IFA Annual Convention, Feb. 15-18 in Las Vegas, there’s still time.  Sure, it’s hard to get away for a few days and yes, it does take time and money, but your return on investment is in terms of:

  • How many leading franchise experts will I meet over the course of the convention?  When will I have another opportunity to seek advice from executives from mature, emerging and cutting-edge franchises, as well as high-achieving franchisees and Supplier Forum members?
  • How many proven strategies will I learn from convention speakers that I can immediately apply to my franchise business?
  • What’s the number of general sessions, breakout meetings, roundtables and concurrent workshops that I can attend to augment my understanding of critical issues affecting my franchise business?
  • Do I have enough business cards with me to make the most of such networking events as the Hall of Exhibits, Taste of Franchising, receptions, the Franchise Party and breaks in between sessions?
  • How many Certified Franchise Executives™ program credits can I earn?
  • How inspired will I be from participating in Franchising Gives Back to contribute to a worthy cause for a local community?

Learn more about the convention and register today so you and your business can take the steps — connect, innovate and evolve — to excel.