For the past ten years, I have attended the Leadership conference at the International Franchise Association convention. Put on by top women in franchising, this event continues to be a highlight for me. Mary Thompson, President of Mr. Rooter was the key note speaker. A former Marine, she spoke on leadership. Her leadership style was changed by a top officer in her unit. She spent the day fulfilling her duties, filling out paper work and making sure those underneath her were working. The officer challenged her by asking, “How many of those people did you spend any time with today asking about their needs?” Since then, her focus on leadership has been one of not only setting the vision and making tough choices but caring for those who are under her.
A highlight of the event is the Crystal Compass that recognizes a franchise executive for extraordinary leadership. This year it went to Marianne Murphy, Director of Operations of Floor Coverings International. I have the privilege of knowing and working with Marianne, a woman who like Mary Thompson exhibits passion and compassion for all of those around her. The last portion of the day involves a roundtable discussion in which participants are given a case study to solve without knowing the name of the company. Groups meet to outline issues and identify areas that the company needs to work on. When the session ends, the company is revealed by a spokesperson who tells the real life story behind the case study. This year to my surprise it was Popeye’s. Re-branding and reforming their organization, they are now expanding and growing.
This conference continually ranks as one of the top events of the convention. I wouldn’t miss it!
Next year’s IFA is slated for February 15th – 18th, and will be held in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. Click here for a list of upcoming franchising and small business events.