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Bonny LeVine Award Winner


Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE President Mr. Rooter Corporation

Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE
Mr. Rooter Corporation

This award was created in 1994 in memory of esteemed IFA member and Postal Instant Press co-founder Bonny LeVine in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments in franchising and of her status as a role model for women in the franchise community. The Bonny LeVine Award is bestowed upon a female franchisor or franchisee who has demonstrated ability in franchising as evidenced by her contributions to the growth of the business, contributions to her community through board positions, volunteer work and activities that promote the professional advancement of women, and her contributions as a mentor to women in franchising.

Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE, who is IFA’s Bonny LeVine Award winner, has participated in every IFA Women’s Annual Leadership Conference event since 2001. For three of those years, Thompson was a roundtable facilitator, leading the sharing of best practices during IFA’s Women in Franchising Committee. In 2011, she was a panelist for the keynote panel discussion “Leading Through the New Normal.”

Thompson became president of Mr. Rooter Corporation in 2006. She came to Mr. Rooter from national franchisor Cookies by Design, where she was president of the corporation. Her career in the franchise industry began in 1994, when she opened a Cookies by Design franchise in Austin, Texas. In the next three years she opened two additional locations. As a multi-unit franchise owner, Thompson led the company in market penetration and sales, earning awards for Top Performer, Outstanding Customer Service and Masters Award.

In 2000, after selling her businesses, Thompson was recruited to the home office to build the first field program for site visits and training. During that time, she also created and taught the first marketing training programs for franchisees. Once promoted to executive director, she led the largest team in the home office for supply chain management, training and development, field coaching, customer service and product development.

Thompson earned her Certified Franchise Executives’ certification from IFA in 2003. She was promoted to president of the company in 2004. Her initiatives resulted in alliances with Universal Studios, a new website that provided an immediate increase in sales and renewed franchisee-franchisor relations. Under her leadership at Mr. Rooter, the plumbing and drain cleaning company has been included in the following prestigious rankings: AllBusiness’s “AllStar Franchise Rankings;” Entrepreneur magazine’s “Franchise 500,” “Top 101 Home Based Franchises,” and “Top Global Franchises;” Franchise Business Review’s “Franchise 50 Awards (2008-2011); Franchise Times’ “Top 200” (2007- 2012); PHC News’ “Top 100 Contractors” (2008- 2012); Plumbing and Mechanical’s “Pipe Trades Giant 2012;” and USA Today’s “Top 50 Franchises for Minorities,” as selected by the National Minority Franchising Initiative 2010.

At the end of her first year as president of Mr. Rooter Corporation, U.S. Business Review selected Thompson as one of its 2007 “Editor’s Choice Executives of the Year.”

Thompson was commissioned a U.S. Marine Corps officer in 1985. In her eight years as a Marine, Thompson served as a logistics officer, achieving the rank of captain while on active duty. Thompson was stationed around the world, including Camp Lejeune, N.C., Treasure Island, Calif. and Okinawa, Japan.

Thompson is chairman of IFA’s VetFran Committee. Under her leadership, nearly 65,000 veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors have started careers in franchising, including 4,314 who have become veteran franchise business owners, since 2011 through Operation Enduring Opportunity. The campaign is part of IFA’s VetFran Strategic Initiative to provide incentives and discounts for honorably discharged U.S. veterans to buy franchises. As a former officer in the Marine Corps, this is very important to her. ⎯

Special Thanks to the 2012 Bonny LeVine Award Sponsor 

This award recognizes individuals who are role models for all, but especially women, by their business and professional accomplishments within franchising and their contributions to our entire society. Any IFA member involved in franchising, whether as a franchisor, franchisee or supplier is eligible for this award. Express Services, Inc. is the franchisor of Express Employment Professionals. Express offers a full range of staffing services, including temporary placement/contract staffing, evaluation hire, flexible staffing, and specialized recruiting for professional positions. With more than 600 offices, Oklahoma City based Express Services’ client base extends through three countries and employs over 350,000 people annually. Express Employment Professionals is represented at IFA by Robert A. Funk, CFE, chief executive officer and Harvey Homsey, CFE, vice president, franchise systems.

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