As the franchising community adjusts to meet new economic challenges, we have renewed our efforts to equip members with educational resources and other tools to make them more competitive. Nowhere are these efforts more visible than in the programming for our annual convention, the premier educational opportunity in the franchising industry. The thousands of franchising executives who gather this month in San Diego will have the opportunity to hear from the industry's pacesetters and leaders, and attend programs designed to provide solutions in these challenging rimes.
Over the years, we have researched the needs of our members and have included convention programs in the topics that regularly rank at the top of the list. A recent IFA member survey confirms that educational and networking opportunities are two of the most valuable resources IFA can provide. Our convention is now in its 49th year and reflects those needs as it has evolved from a small meeting of IFA's visionaries to a sizeable gathering of franchising executives who exchange information, network with peers and learn business-building strategies from leading experts.
The theme of each convention has always addressed the key elements vital to the growth of business-format franchising. This year is no different. The theme "Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at A Time," is incorporated in the programming during this year's convention. The theme emphasizes the role of the franchising industry in creating economic development and building communities across the country, which is more important than ever in the current economic climate.
As the industry has expanded and diversified over the years, the convention--much like the association--has evolved in tandem. The increased involvement by members has been a decisive factor in the success of this event, and each year the quality of the programming content has improved to match the increased sophistication of the industry and our members.
IFA's Convention Committee worked diligently during the past year to design excellent programming and identify speakers and presenters who will deliver superb take-home value for attendees...