IFA convention: tools to chart a positive course: celebrating a milestone--a 50th anniversary--assures a particularly significant and memorable IFA Annual Convention.

Author:Fenwick, Laura

All eyes are on your event, especially when it marks a major milestone in the organization. The wedding of preparation and execution produces expectation and then congratulations from those attending the event. This process is now under way as the International Franchise Association executes its convention-planning activities.

The conference staff of the International Franchise Association is charged with developing and carrying out the plans that will result in a successful convention. They must be aware that what spells success to a franchisor might be different from what success means to a franchisee or supplier. IFA's conference staff combines its acute attention to details, superlative organizational skills and ability to transform what has worked in the past into what will work in the future. There is no singular formula to achieving an exceptional annual convention, but there are markers to check. And these markers become even more important in celebrating a 50th anniversary.

Stay the Course

Leading up to this year's gathering, IFA's 2009 Annual Convention made headlines with keynote speaker former President Bill Clinton whose message of encouragement advised that the franchising industry should "stay the course" by remaining a job creator to fuel the nation's economic recovery. That advice is evident as the focus and number of convention attendees vary from year to year, but the goal of presenting a convention of sound, practical insights that are applicable to a diverse franchise audience remains the same. A determination to provide attendees with the best networking and opportunities that they can't get elsewhere makes the job a challenging one. Staff isn't alone when it comes to devising informative general and exacting programs featuring the latest trends, strategies and best practices.

The Convention Committee, chaired by IFA First Vice Chairman Kenneth Walker, CFE, CEO of Driven Brands, is tasked with providing recommendations and a general direction for the event. This mission often takes the form of suggestions for sessions, developing a marketing plan, providing recommendations for sponsorships and exhibits. The Conferences Dept. is led by Vice Pres. of Operations Debra Moss, who meets with the association's committee two times a year. The committee includes 20 members who represent each of IFA's committees, forums, councils and several at-large members. In this way, the committee can produce a program that is attuned to the needs of the association's membership.

What About My Idea?

The work necessary to produce the next convention begins immediately...

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