Restaurant Brokers Robin and Eric Gagnon have been juggling their workload amidst attending the International Franchise Association annual conference, held virtually for the first time over two weeks this month.
This blog will recap some of the special moments from this year’s conference. While we have missed being live, We Sell Restaurants has still been able to experience networking, learning and sharing via the virtual platform as a placeholder for the in-person event.
The first event of conference for the two restaurant brokers was the Annual Leadership Conference. As Vice-Chair of the Women’s Franchise Committee, this event was a high priority for Robin as she led the committee to plan and produce this portion of the program.
The theme of the leadership conference was, “The Power of Resiliency: Leading Forward.” It featured franchise leaders who inspire others amidst adversity while juggling work and family in unique and unfamiliar ways.
Robin led a panel of Leaders on the Spot from H&R Block, Goldfish Swim School and ChemDry as they presented in the Pecha Kucha style (i.e., storytelling within 20 slides and 20 seconds each slide) about the leadership skills required to shift their franchise business model amidst changing business conditions.
Ed Quinlan, President of ChemDry shared how his brand condensed a two-year research and development cycle in order to deliver an urgently needed product to the market in just five months. Tiffany Monroe, Chief People Office of H & R Block spoke of vulnerability and shared that it was “critical for a leader to have the courage to know when you don’t have all the answers,” a message that resonated with the crowd. Chris McCuison, Co-Founder and CEO of Goldfish Swim School spoke on the speed of message and need for team transparency in his approach to leadership. The messages from each leader was followed by a question and answer session moderated by Robin Gagnon of We Sell Restaurants.
The Women’s Franchise Committee also awarded the Crystal Compass Award. Since 2001, the Women’s Franchise Committee of the IFA has bestowed the honor of the Crystal Compass upon a successful leader in franchising. A compass is a device used to determine geographic direction and the crystal compass awardees direct the franchise community through their all- encompassing knowledge of franchising and their genuine willingness to share what they know with others.
Clarissa Bradstock, CEO of Any Lab Test Now, was the recipient of this year’s award. Clarissa has served as a Vice President of Client Services, COO, Vice President of Operations and CEO of both private and publicly held organizations. She has extensive experience with healthcare related organizations focused on physicians, insurance carriers, nursing professionals and dental practices. Clarissa served as COO for Any Test Franchising since 2007 and was appointed to the position of CEO in April 2014. Clarissa is incredibly involved in the franchise community as Chair Emeritus for the Southeast Franchise Forum, and on the Leadership Committee for the IFA Women Franchise Network, Atlanta Chapter.
The last segment of the Annual Leadership Conference was a case study assignment focusing on the good to great aspects of the Tropical Smoothie Brand. Participants discussed a real-world case study of a franchise system that remained a mystery until the end.
A tried-and true collaboration experience, each team considered leadership strategies, decision-tree techniques, and worked to unleashing the potential within each other to solve the business issues at hand. President of Tropical Smoothie Café, Charles Watson finished off the case study exercise with an insightful and inspiring recap of the brand and its position and growth in the marketplace. ed and offered up their opinions and
The Annual Leadership Conference was held on February 11 from 1 to 4 pm and despite the virtual environment, had the highest attendance ever recorded for the event that has been offered by the Women’s Franchise Committee of the IFA for more than twenty years.
Attendees shared their reviews. Natalie Barnes of BAI said, “Business does NOT pause and go on hold during a crisis, an economic downturn, or a pandemic. We still must learn, collaborate, and innovate. And I am thrilled the IFA and the ALC stepped up to the challenge. I attended the virtual 2021 IFA Annual Leadership Conference yesterday and I walked away inspired with the camaraderie of my peers, the professionalism of the WFN committee, and the appreciation of the work involved to put on the successful virtual event. Cheers to YOU.”
Stay tuned to more posts on our blog for additional recaps of the 2021 IFA Annual Convention from Restaurant Brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon.