Browse By

Using the Power of Diversity to Accelerate the Mission of Franchising

The Diversity Institute has set its sights on helping International Franchise Association members accelerate the mission of franchising. Over the next few months, members will have an opportunity to hear and read about new and innovative programs to support its members and the community.

While the mission of the Diversity Institute remains to serve as a key catalyst for promoting and fostering diversity and inclusion within the franchising industry, how the institute supports these efforts will be enhanced. Since its inception, the institute has provided information to assist IFA members in expanding their diversity recruitment and multicultural marketing efforts.

Meet the Mayors

This year, the institute has added a new education and outreach program, Meet the Mayors. In year one of this pilot program, the institute will pilot test three cities before expanding the program across the nation. The carefully selected cities of Atlanta, Charlotte and Minneapolis/Burnsville metro area are based on the industry’s footprint in those cities along with key leadership within the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Meet the Mayors program will be designed to connect IFA members (franchisors, franchisees and suppliers) to their local mayor to discuss in a collegial manner items of most concern. The goal is to develop a plan on how to work most effectively with the Office of the Mayor or the city’s Economic Development Office. The program will also be an opportunity to expand and engage Franchise Congress members.

Topics will include, but not be limited to:

• New markets expansion

• Development issues such as permitting or zoning

• Creation of one-stop shops

• Establishment of economic development funds

• “Help me, Help you” sessions

• Open discussions

Minority Leadership Program

Franchise Resource Centers

IFA is also working to open Franchise Resource Centers in three cities over the next 12 months. The FRC will be housed in the city’s Economic Development Office and or the Small Business Resource Center.  IFA will provide franchise education materials for inclusion in the center.  IFA members wishing to have materials showcased in the FRC must be active MinorityFran members committed to diversity, as a result, accelerating the mission of franchising.

The Diversity Institute will continue to conduct its educational programming in major cities across the country, realizing not everyone can attend the three major expos. Its name recognition around the country has grown along with your brands. There is nothing like a member of Congress or a local mayor calling and requesting that IFA conduct a franchise education program in that city because it is understood what franchising does for the local community.


MinorityFranship, with strategic positioning and advice from premier leaders in franchising, will effectively cultivate and support minority franchisees new to the industry.  The program, an extension of IFA’s Franship program, will connect minority franchisees seeking to learn more about best practices within other systems and obtain feedback from a seasoned franchisee from a different system. The strength and value of an organization lies in the collective experience and wisdom of its members. Clearly defined expectations will be developed between the mentor and mentee at the onset of the relationship. The pilot group for the MinorityFranship program would be limited to 30.

Minorities Seeking CFEs

A smaller group of 10 minority franchisees will be recruited into the Minority Leadership Program to participate in the Certified Franchise Executives program. The Minorities Seeking CFEs participants will receive a scholarship to be applied toward the tuition for programs offered for ICFE credit. The total amount of the scholarship must be used within a two‐year period.

Minority Leaders in the Making

The third component of the Minority Leadership Program will be tailored for IFA member companies seeking to build their diversity internally at the corporate level. The Minority Leaders in the Making would help IFA member companies identify high-potential individuals of diverse backgrounds to put into the pipeline for future leadership positions. It has been documented that minorities remain under-represented at the managerial and executive levels.  A How to Develop a Successful Minority Recruitment Best Practices Guide would be a product for IFA members. In addition, a series of webinars featuring companies that have successfully executed such programs will be conducted.  As the trade association representing franchising, IFA will facilitate this recruitment and advancement program for its members.  The association will draw on models such as “Leadership at McDonald’s Program” and bring in partners such as the National Black MBA Association and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

To qualify for the Minority Leadership Program, the participant must be an ethnic or racial minority as defined by the U.S. Census. This would include Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, Asian Americans or Native Americans.

Now is an opportunity for IFA-member company representatives to meet the newest members of the Diversity Institute Board and reacquaint yourselves with those who are experienced in this area. These individuals are shaping the next phase of the Diversity Institute program. The next phase of Diversity Institute programming will accelerate the mission of franchising.    ⎯

Miriam L. Brewer is the senior director of education and outreach for the International Franchise Association.  She can be reached at 202-662-0784 or


Read previous post:
Franchise expo reflects renewed optimism for industry growth

Four hours after the ribbon-cutting to open the 21st Annual International Franchise Expo, several thousand of tomorrow’s would-be franchisees had...