Browse By

IFA’s Annual Convention—Pathway to Excellence

There are many tools to help advance your franchise business, but the International Franchise Association’s 53rd Annual Convention provides convenient access to practical and innovative strategies from a host of recognized experts in a myriad of fields.  This year’s convention is scheduled Feb. 17-20 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel.

Power-Packed Programming

Over the course of the four-day convention, here are just a few highlights of the high-caliber and widely diverse speakers you’ll hear from:

Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first African-American woman to hold the post, will kick off the opening General Session Feb. 18 to share her insights from her highly successful career in academia and public service.

Panel of the Pros panelists, who will include several franchise innovators, will participate in a lively morning exchange on Feb. 20 about successfully rejuvenating a fledgling brand and making hard decisions.  These masters of the turnaround—taking a challenged franchise company and grooming it to become a successful franchise system—will give attendees advice to apply to their brands.  Panelists will include:

Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels International (moderator), as well as speakers:

Julia Stewart, CEO of DineEquity (IHOP and Applebee’s); and

Russ Reynolds, CEO of Batteries Plus.

Closing Luncheon with MSNBC’s Morning Joe Hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough will present a candid, dynamic political commentary on issues affecting the nation on Feb. 20 in the afternoon.

Your Personal Lineup

With numerous general sessions, concurrent workshops, summits, roundtables, networking choices, IFA recommends members review the convention brochure to makes your selections before your arrival.  Below are a few highlights from the convention program that will help enhance your leadership skills.

The Annual Leadership Conference, set for Feb. 17, will focus on the key building blocks of a successful franchise brand:  culture, communication, relationship-building and preparing for and managing growth.  The keynote address, “How to be a 360 Degree Leader” will be presented by Rick Silva, CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. Silva, who has been seen on CBS’s popular “Undercover Boss” program, will provide advice on developing leaders, mentoring and creating trust.

This informative session will also include time for attendees to participate in the “Brass Tacks Council,” a rapid-fire segment where attendees will hear from senior-level executives as they share their “down to the basics” best practices and leadership tools. They will also share their lessons learned, books that have helped them develop their leadership style and close by answering questions from the audience.

Immediately following the council session will be roundtable discussions centered on a case study from an actual franchise system.  Attendees should plan to take away new ways to arrive at solutions to overcome business challenges.

The Women’s Foodservice Forum Breakfast on Feb. 18, which is open to all convention attendees, will address “The Power of Driving for Results.”  The discussion will be moderated by motivational speaker and author Marilyn Sherman, owner of Upfront Presentations.  Sherman will guide discussions with today’s leaders for an interactive exchange of views on striving for results.

The Franchisee Leadership Summit, new this year to the lineup of summits, details how companies can tap into the unrealized potential of their human capital.  The summit, scheduled Feb. 18 and titled “Leadership Through Accountability,” a topic that Bob Davies, president of High Performance Training, will address as the keynote speaker in a 90-minute presentation before a scheduled panel discussion.  Topics will include staying motivated regardless of the circumstances, educating and igniting management, using accountability to improve performance, properly utilizing existing talent and overturning obstacles to gain results.

The Opportunities are Yours

These are only a few of the IFA Annual Convention programs that attendees can take advantage of next month to raise their companies to the next level of achievement. Learn what else the convention has to offer by visiting the IFA website,, today. ⎯

Laura Fenwick is manager of publishing for the International Franchise Association. She can be reached at 202-662-0761 or

Read previous post:
Executive Leadership Conference—Photo Feature

Executive Leadership Conference Brings Thought Leadership and Networking to Colorado Springs More than 100 franchise executives and franchisees gathered for the International Franchise...