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Join the Franchise Fan Club – Attend the 2014 IFA Annual Convention

The opportunity to recharge your franchise career is only a month away.

You’ve probably seen an announcement, story or news release describing the 2014 International Franchise Association Annual Convention.  You may even be able to name the headline speakers: former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta; Cheryl A. Bachelder, CEO of AFC Enterprises Inc., franchisor of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen; and Todd Rowe, Google SMB Global Sales.  Even the date and location may have created a place in your memory: Feb. 22-25 in New Orleans.

Still there’s that voice, “It was great least year, but what’s in it for me this year?”  Or “I’ve never been; what do I compare it to?”  Glad you asked.  Let’s hear what some franchise business experts have to say about the experience.

Issues of Our Time

How will franchising fare in Washington next year? Your voice on Capitol Hill can make a difference. IFA reminds members of the significance of participating during the annual Public Affairs Conference in the nation’s capital to educate federal lawmakers about the contributions the franchise industry makes to the national economy as a job creator.  It’s important to begin the year by focusing on the strategies the association and its members will use to promote the industry.

“There has never been a more important time to get together than during the 2014 IFA Annual Convention, as we face a historic confluence of some of the most fundamental issues of our time – for our economy, our government and our businesses,“ said Steve Joyce, Choice Hotels International president and CEO and incoming IFA  chairman.  “It is our time to use the strength of our numbers to make our voices heard and to ensure the continuing vitality of the franchise model.”

Educational Opportunities

In addition to the quantity and quality of franchise experience represented during this premier event, attendees can be sure their educational levels will be boosted.

“When I think of the IFA convention, I think, ‘fire hose of franchise industry information,’ which equates to invaluable networking with peers, education on all levels and best practices galore,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Chairwoman Melanie Bergeron, CFE, who will serve as the 2014 IFA vice chairwoman. “It is a can’t-miss event no matter where you are on your franchise journey.”

Lorne M. Fisher, CFE, CEO and managing partner of Fish Consulting, LLC describes the educational advantages this way:  “Even after more than seven years attending the IFA Annual Convention and earning my CFE, there is always more to learn about franchising. The educational sessions, speakers and roundtables are always great sources of new information.”

Networking Environment

So you heard the convention is a great networking environment. Yes, that is true and the sheer numbers contribute to that fact.  But there’s more.

Laura Fenwick is manager of publishing for the International Franchise Association

Laura Fenwick is manager of publishing for the International Franchise Association

“I attend the IFA Convention for the three P’s: People, people, people,” said FranWise Pres. Mary Ann O’Connell, CFE, who adds:  “People with whom I can share ideas, learn and grow; people who are interested in our services and grow our business base; and people who have become the best of friends and a great support network.”

Another IFA member agrees on the value that the three P’s represent. “The IFA and the Annual Convention have consistently served as a great way to connect with current clients and meet new executives within the franchise community,” said Fisher. “With more than 3,000 people attending, there is always someone new to connect with.”

Be a Franchise Fan

If these reasons weren’t enough, consider this advice:  “The IFA annual convention is the Holy Grail event for franchising – globally,” said Amit Y. Kleinberger, CEO of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. “It is the place where I recharge my franchise knowledge, and add new tools to my toolbox of franchise leadership. I recommend to all franchise fans to take part in this pivotal event.”

Building Your Brand’s Awareness

There is yet another aspect to keep in mind in trying to make the final determination about participating in an IFA Annual Convention, especially if you’re an IFA Supplier Forum member.

“Being a supplier, there is not a better convention during the year to raise awareness of my company,” said Fisher.  “As the premiere event for the IFA, it is the perfect platform to introduce Fish to new companies and re-introduce our brand to others.”

Laura Fenwick is manager of publishing for the International Franchise Association.  Find her at via the directory.

Get more details about the IFA Annual Convention by reviewing the brochure that was included in the December issue of Franchising World magazine. Visit



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