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Welcome to the 52nd IFA Annual Convention

As you walk into the Orlando World Center Marriott Hotel for the International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention, try not to be overwhelmed. There will be an outstanding wealth of relevant issues; expert industry, government and policymaker speakers; educational sessions; and networking events scheduled for the next several days. Keep your schedule close by, turn on your phone to access the IFA Convention Mobile App and relax. You’re among friends and during the course of the next few days, you’ll make even more friends and important contacts.

Whether you and your team traveled 10 miles or several hundred miles, the journey will be worth it. Be prepared to learn some best practices and to take some practical steps to overcome some of the most frustrating challenges affecting your franchise business today from fellow executives, franchisees, suppliers and IFA staff.
If you read the January issue of Franchising World, you learned what some members of IFA’s 2012 Board of Directors thought are some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today. It probably comes as no surprise that increasing the flow of credit access, relieving regulatory and economy uncertainty and continuing to build relations between the franchisor and franchisees were repeatedly listed.
Those industry leaders seeking to be better prepared to understand and manage credit issues affecting the growth of their franchise businesses can take advantage of the Financial Summit on Feb. 12. During the course of six panels lasting about 30 minutes each, franchise community and lending industry experts will touch on those subjects that will help your company make sense of and come to better-informed decisions about access to credit and lending issues.
The Financial Summit sessions will include:
State of the Industry
What the Credit Access Campaign is Doing At the Loan Officer’s Level
Why Franchisee Loan Applications Get Rejected
Conventional and SBA Franchise Lending Programs
New Financing Solutions
Panel of the Pros

Advancing Your Career
IFA’s Annual Convention will provide numerous opportunities for members of the franchise industry to learn about policy and regulatory issues affecting franchising, as well as gain career-building advice.  One opportunity is the Women’s Foodservice Forum Breakfast, Feb. 12 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., where panelists will provide insights and perspectives about how the competency of influence and diplomacy has advanced their careers. IFA is co-sponsoring this session which will help participants build and leverage interdependent relationships with key stakeholders.
This year’s power-packed program will address many of these issues in various forums that include General Sessions, concurrent workshops, summits and roundtables. Expect that by the end of the convention that you and members of your franchise team will return home with some practical measures to apply to your company to make a positive difference.
And while participants will be using the IFA Convention Mobile App to keep track of sessions and presentations, numerous networking opportunities are also available throughout the convention. They will include:

Feb. 10
Franchising Gives Back Reception
5 p.m.-7 p.m. (Franchising Gives Back participants only)
Feb. 11
Annual Leadership Conference Reception, 4:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (Annual Leadership Conference participants only)
New Member & First-Time Attendee Reception, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
(By invitation only)
Taste of Franchising, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Feb. 12
International Reception
7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
VetFran and Lenders Reception
7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Women’s Franchise Committee Reception, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.

Feb. 13
Gala Party with the Franchise All-Start Band, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.

The Exhibit Hall
The IFA Exhibit Hall provides a host of exciting activities, including door prize drawings for $1,000 during the official exhibit hours:

Chairman’s Reception with Exhibitors, Feb. 12, 4:30-8 p.m.
Networking Lunch with Exhibitors Feb. 13, noon -2:30 p.m.
Optional Exhibit Hall Hours for appointments and networking
2:30-5 p.m.
Reception with Exhibitors
5 p.m.-7p.m.

Visit the comprehensive Exhibit Hall that will showcase nearly 250 companies that are offering tools and responses that franchise professionals need for continued success. 

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