Over the past few months, the franchising industry has come under attack, creating headlines around the nation. There are many threats to be concerned with – from discriminatory minimum wage increases to changes in joint-employer status – that could alter the franchise business model as we know it. The International Franchise Association (IFA) is working to neutralize these types of attacks and educate policymakers that locally-owned franchise businesses are America’s hidden small businesses that not only create jobs, but also provide incredible value to local communities around the country.
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I have spent many years in franchising, and it had always been a given that male leaders dominated this sector as they do so many others. However, it's becoming abundantly clear that a record number of women are not only leading franchise brands but are instilling in their companies a fabric of values-based decision making that is driving collective success for franchising overall. The evidence was on display and openly discussed at the Women’s Leadership Conference during IFA 2017.
This was clearly not your father’s IFA
If you were at IFA, you know what I mean. The IFA staff knocked it out of the park, from a sophisticated, fresh design for the event experience to the well-organized and efficient movement of 4000 people from place to place. The energy was well choreographed, especially when Robert Cresanti, IFA President and CEO, led the audience through a virtual political action activity. It left us with the undeniable observation that there is a focused effort to recruit the franchising community behind a common cause – the preservation of the business model that is the largest job creator in the U.S.