Investing in the future of franchising: each year when the International Franchise Association's annual convention commences, an air of excitement sweeps through the meeting halls as thousands of franchising professionals gather to embark on four days of networking, education and entertainment Feb. 14-17.

Position::IFA'S 49TH ANNUAL CONVENTION - Cover story
 
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Faced with a challenging economy, franchise professionals will be charged with a sense of urgency to glean tips and tactics necessary to guide their systems through the downturn and emerge stronger than ever. The theme "Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time" will be at the forefront of every discussion, since it's more important than ever to bolster the industry in the face of an adverse business climate.

IFA's Convention Committee strives to develop quality programming that provides benefits to all attendees. As always, convention-goers look forward to seeing familiar faces and making new contacts, exchanging ideas, and exploring trends and business-building techniques.

Highlighting this year's event will be the keynote address by former President Bill Clinton. Many world-class speakers have graced center stage at this premier event, and IFA is fortunate to have the opportunity to hear from one of America's most-famous leaders.

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Elected president of the United States in 1992, and again in 1996, President Clinton was the first Democratic president in six decades to be awarded a second term. While in office, his accomplishments in the White House include increasing investment in education, providing tax relief for working families, helping millions of Americans move from welfare to work, expanding access to technology, encouraging investment in underserved communities, protecting the environment, countering the threat of terrorism and promoting peace and strengthening democracy around the world.

Since 2001, President Clinton has dedicated himself to philanthropy and continued public service through the William J. Clinton Foundation, which is focused on finding practical and measurable solutions to address pressing challenges at home and abroad. In addition to his foundation work, President Clinton joined with former President Bush to help with relief and recovery following the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and to lead a nationwide fundraising effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also served as U.N. Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery from 2005 to 2007.

Another successful leader, former Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman and CEO Carly Fiorina, will deliver the Tuesday Luncheon and General Session keynote address. After joining HP in 1999, Fiorina headed the reinvention of the company's many associates with the birth of Silicon Valley, returning HP to its roots of innovation and inventiveness. She was in charge of HP's controversial merger with Compaq Computer Corp. Prior to joining HP, Fiorina spent nearly 20 years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she held a number of senior leadership positions and directed Lucent's initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T.

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Fiorina has received many honors including an honorary fellowship from the London Business School, the 2002 Appeal of Conscience Award and the 2003 Concern Worldwide "Seeds of Hope" Award in recognition of her efforts to make global citizenship a priority for business. The Private Sector Council honored Fiorina with its 2004 Leadership Award for her contributions to improving the business of government. The White House appointed her to the U.S. Space Commission to advise it on the nation's space science agenda and contribute a broad range of high-tech expertise. Fiorina also held positions on the New York Stock Exchange's executive board...

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