A Conversation with the Incoming IFA Chairman Steve Joyce
Steve Joyce will assume the International Franchise Association’s chairmanship following the 54th Annual Convention in New Orleans. Franchising World spoke with Joyce to learn about his views on the industry and priorities for IFA during his tenure.
FW: As the 2014 IFA Chairman, what do you see as the most pressing issues facing the organization and the industry as a whole?
Joyce: In addition to the growing threat of adverse legislation at the state level, there are three key issues facing our industry which we must address as a unified front:
Health care: It is concerning that current legislation incentivizes employers to move full-time employees to part-time status. I believe this will have an adverse effect on the quality and culture of our work force. Under the new law, a 20-person restaurant is being treated the same as a 20-person law firm even though the revenue per employee could be 100 times higher at the latter. This is a poor solution to a complex issue.
Immigration: As employers, we are fully supportive of ensuring that our borders are secure. However, it’s wrong to think that immigrants are not part of our economy. To treat them as invisible is unfair and wrong. A pathway to citizenship for workers seeking better lives for themselves and their families is needed. Pending legislation includes the outlines of what could be good, comprehensive reform. In the meantime, we should all be interested in having access to legal workers and not be penalized under the verification system that chills compliance by burdening employers with excessive expense and liability.
Tax Reform: What is currently being considered by Congress could discriminate against franchisees. Since more than 80 percent of franchise businesses file their business income on their personal income tax return, reform of both individual and corporate rates is needed to ensure that franchise owners and other businesses organized as pass-throughs are not disadvantaged by an approach that only reforms corporate tax rates. That’s unbalanced and an inefficient way to spur economic growth, especially considering 60 percent of jobs are created through small businesses that are mostly partnerships or Subchapter S corporations. The goal of tax reform should be a tax code that is fundamentally fair.
FW: Throughout your career, you have been a strong proponent for franchising. What is it about franchising that makes you such a strong supporter of the franchise model?
Joyce: Franchising is a uniquely American creation. Making enterprises of this kind available to people who want to run their own businesses, who have a family investment in the company, and who want to raise their standard of living creates family and enterprise wealth. It allows individuals who possess business drive and entrepreneurial flair, but lack subject matter expertise, to participate in various industries and to succeed by utilizing tools and infrastructure put in place for them. Most importantly, franchising generates jobs and helps to grow the economy.
FW: What will your top priorities be for the IFA in 2014?
Joyce: I will call upon all members to actively support issues of importance to the franchise industry as laid out in our strategic plan and as I’ve detailed in this article, and beyond. I also want to spend my time as chairman elevating the position of the franchisee membership within the IFA to truly create an organization that equally represents franchisors and franchisees. Membership in an industry organization such as the IFA is important, but members making a contribution to our marketplace of ideas and policy is critical. It is also essential that members not only contribute to the PAC and the Foundation, but participate in the legislative efforts locally, statewide, and in Washington and play a role in the committees’ structure. My predecessor, Steven Romaniello, has done a wonderful job at the helm of the IFA and I look forward to building on his success.
FW: What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
Joyce: I’ve been employed since a very young age, having started my career as a kid with a paper route, but I was working in restaurants from the time I was 12. In college I was the manager of the largest disco in Charlottesville, Va. and had to manage a team of people, many of whom were much older than I was. (Which by the way, it was the best job I’ve ever had.) These opportunities gave me the chance to learn some important lessons about management and leadership early on.
IFA Chairman’s Snapshot
- President, CEO and member of the board of directors for Choice Hotels International, Inc., which has more than 6,300 hotels worldwide.
- Joined Choice Hotels in 2008
- Led Choice to outpace industry supply growth and increased market share
- Improved system hotels’ guest satisfaction results and the revenue-per-available-room index
- Launched the industry’s first global iPhone application
- Launched company’s Choice Privileges rewards program that surpassed 18 million members
- Established multi-year signature cause partnership with Rebuilding Together, a non-profit that works to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize U.S. communities resulting in Choice associates and franchisees donating nearly 10,000 volunteer hours and serving nearly 11,000 people
- Executive Vice President, Global Development/Owner & Franchise Services for Marriott International
- Numerous positions on the IFA board of directors since 2001, including Vice Chairman (2013), Second Vice Chairman (2012-2013) and Secretary (2010-2011)
- Convention Committee Chairman (2013-2014) and Vice Chairman (2012-2013)
- IFA Educational Foundation Executive Committee First Vice Chairman (2012-2013) and member (2002-2010)
- Nominating Committee member (2002 and 2013)
- Franchisor Forum Chairman (2003-2010)
- FranPAC Advisory Board Co-Chairman (2001-2004)
- ServiceSource Foundation Board of Trustees Vice Chairman
- Member of board of directors for DineEquity Inc., the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the Autism Learning Center and the Real Estate Roundtable
- U.S. Travel Association Chairman (2010)
- 2012 Hospitality Division of the UJA-Federation of New York for outstanding professional and philanthropic work
- 2010 Community Partner Award from ServiceSource Foundation
- 2010 Maryland Business Gazette’s Executive of the Year
- Univ. of Virginia Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce
- Cornell Univ., Wharton Business School and Aspen Institute graduate work