Each year the International Franchise Association (IFA) produces a conference with educational sessions for franchise executives. The Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) track attracts corporate and franchisee participants, which is a great venue for sharing and networking. Thanks to active IFA Sylvan Franchisee Barry Miller, I've had the honor of presenting and facilitating educational sessions in past years, where I've met outstanding leaders. This year I treated myself to two CFE sessions as a full participant, and they were terrific.
During one of those sessions, I met Evan Hackel, the author of an excellent article about the merits of franchise engagement. I have always believed that a high level of franchisee engagement yields better results (and we have seven Sylvan advisory groups, monthly calls, and meetings to support that!), but Evan's article presents the power of franchisee engagement factually with statistical evidence.
We continue to seek ways to provide engagement, and it was not long after Evan's article that a great opportunity presented itself.
Sylvan has an active Franchise Owners Association (FOA). The 2014 elected FOA Board President, Susan Steron, a multi-unit Sylvan franchisee who operates Sylvan learning centers with her extended family in upstate New York, approached our CEO Jeff Cohen and I with the idea of a Sylvan FOA sponsored conference. Susan's idea was to engage and energize the franchise community with an informal conference to supplement Sylvan's Annual Conference. We heartily agreed to support this initiative.
The FOA conference recently took place in Las Vegas and was a resounding success. Susan challenged everyone to try something new and commit to it formally "Because I said I would". This has resulted in new activities and fresh energy across the system. We are gearing up to build on the great ideas from the FOA Conference at our upcoming Sylvan Annual Conference in Southern California.
We'll keep seeking ways to engage our franchisees, and I'll continue to collaborate and partner with the FOA Board on system-wide initiatives...because I said I would! Thank you to Susan, to the FOA Board, and to my IFA colleagues, for continuing to serve as sources of inspiration.
Image: Franchise executives attend IFA's Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) sessions.