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IFA Names Marketing and Digital Communications Senior Director and Political Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy Director

The International Franchise Association has recently added Daniel Gibson as director of marketing and digital communications and Erica Fitzsimmons has been named director of political affairs and grassroots advocacy.
“Dan brings a wealth of experience in marketing and digital communications to IFA,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE. “He is a great addition to our communications and marketing efforts as we continue to enhance our internal and external outreach programs.”
Gibson joins the IFA from the American Gas Association where he served as director of internet communications & marketing since 2008. While at the AGA, he was instrumental in developing and implementing their social media programs and upgrading their content management system. He has also held communications and marketing positions with the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, the National Association of Workforce Boards, Moore Stephens North America and the American Correctional Association. He has extensive experience in Web and graphic design.
“We are thrilled that Dan will join the IFA Communications and Marketing Department,” said IFA Vice President of Communications and Marketing Alisa Harrison. “His demonstrated results will greatly aid our efforts to further strengthen our communications platforms with our members and other key constituencies about the programs and services that IFA offers, as well as the importance of franchising to the U.S. economy.”
As a senior member of the Communication’s and Marketing Department, Gibson will oversee all of the marketing and promotion of IFA educational services and events, as well as design and production of IFA communications vehicles, including IFA’s monthly magazine Franchising World and content development of the organization’s Web site franchise.org. He will also support IFA’s strategic initiatives to position IFA as an increasingly relevant thought leader and voice on small-business issues.
Gibson received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md. and has received numerous awards in marketing and communications.
Gibson started at IFA in February and reports to IFA Vice Pres. of Communications and Marketing Alisa Harrison.
Experienced Political Fundraiser and Grassroots Professional Joins IFA
Erica Fitzsimmons, an experienced political fundraiser and grassroots professional, will be responsible for elevating FranPAC, IFA’s political action committee, and the association’s grassroots advocacy.
The association continues to increase its influence as a leading small-business voice in Washington on small-business issues.

“Erica’s wide range of political, grassroots and public policy experience will be vital to IFA and the franchise small business industry as we continue to highlight the economic impact and job-creating prowess of franchising to policymakers in an election year,” said IFA Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Judith Thorman. “Franchise businesses have a presence in every state and congressional district and Erica will provide additional focus on raising money for FranPAC to support pro-business candidates for the House and Senate and to connect franchise business owners with lawmakers and their staffs on the issues impacting the franchise industry’s ability to create jobs,” Thorman said.
Fitzsimmons will lead the fund-raising efforts for IFA’s political action committee, FranPAC, which supports pro-business, pro-franchising candidates at the federal level. As part of the IFA Strategic Plan, FranPAC was slated to become a $1 million PAC by the 2013-14 election cycle. However, with the success of FranPAC in 2011 (more than $600,000 raised against the yearly goal of $375,000), IFA will meet this goal this year.
Fitzsimmons also will oversee Franchise Congress, IFA’s grassroots advocacy program. Franchise Congress members create relationships and hold events with their members of Congress at the local level and serve as a bridge between IFA’s Government Relations & Public Policy team in Washington, D.C. and its membership around the country on the issues of importance to the franchise small business community.
Fitzsimmons joins IFA from The Herald Group, a public affairs firm representing trade associations, corporations and coalitions supporting pro-business initiatives in Washington, D.C. Previously, she held several positions with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Political Affairs division, where she managed various aspects of the Chamber’s voter education, get-out-the-vote and fundraising campaigns. Fitzsimmons graduated from the University of Richmond and received a master’s degree from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.
Fitzsimmons began at IFA in January, reporting to IFA Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy Judith Thorman. 

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