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Another award??? Franchising addresses the "recognition gap.".

This was probably the response of many in franchising who are not active in International Franchise Association (IFA) affairs when they heard the association's board of directors had approved at their June, 2003 meeting three new distinguished service awards--one for each major membership category: franchisors, franchisees and suppliers. For those members who have actively participated over the years, the response was probably "at long last." The leaders within IFA have recognized for some time that a "recognition gap" existed, but were unsure how best to solve it.

The IFA awards program began with the Hall of Fame award in 1979 to recognize "the pioneers and legends in franchising." Over the past quarter-century those identified for this most prestigious of IFA awards have been the founders, the innovators and the leaders within IFA who have contributed much to franchising far beyond their own franchise systems. With the maturation and growth of franchising, the board last year expanded the eligibility to include franchisees as well.

In 1982, two new awards were added to the awards program--Entrepreneur of the Year and Free Enterprise.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award provides recognition to that individual (franchisor, franchisee or supplier) who has demonstrated their talents in growing and building a successful business venture that exemplifies the "entrepreneurial spirit" that franchising represents.

The Free Enterprise award was designed to recognize either individuals or organizations in government, media, academia or business who, through actions, writings and policies have strengthened and fostered development of the free enterprise system in the United States and throughout the world.

A Lifetime of Service

By 1990, it became obvious that many dedicated members who had given much of their time and talent during their business careers promoting franchising and IFA in particular were retiring. Unfortunately, only a few with this profile would ever chair the association so it seemed fitting to create the Honorary Life Member award to express the franchising community's appreciation. In this way, IFA could extend recognition to a group who had contributed much in a manner similar to that accorded to past chairs.

The increasing role played by women throughout franchising prompted the creation of the Bonny LeVine award in 1994. This award, established in memory of Bonny LeVine, co-founder of PIP Printing, was designed to recognize a woman in franchising whether a franchisor, franchisee or supplier who best emulated the role model Bonny was during her lifetime.

Franchisee of the Year awards are determined by each franchise system according to their own criteria, although recognition may be given at the IFA annual convention.

The Legislator of the Year award is given when warranted to a lawmaker who has championed franchising and free enterprise during his career in the U.S. Congress. This award is normally presented during National Franchising Week in conjunction with Franchise Appreciation Day held in Washington, D.C. during the fall.

In 1999 a special Chairman's Award for Distinguished Service was presented as a posthumous honor for Harry Rudnick, the first IFA general counsel.

So where was the "recognition gap?" Activities within IFA require many people to sit on the board of directors, to chair and serve on the 24 standing committees, three forums plus various task forces. The fact is that a majority of the people giving their time and talent where it is greatly needed would never receive one of the above awards. Dunkin' Donuts and IFA founder William Rosenberg often voiced his concern about this oversight and one of his last actions as a member of the Past Chairmen's Council was to propose the establishment of these three new Distinguished Service awards. Many Awards Committee members and board members were at first leery of adding more awards, but as all carefully studied the "recognition gap" they became convinced of its need. Concern about overloading the three-day annual convention with more award presentations prompted the Awards Committee unanimously to specify in its recommendation that the three Distinguished Service awards be made during National Franchising Week when the Legislator of the Year award is presented in conjunction with Franchise Appreciation Day.

Forum Executive Committees Screen

The Executive Committees of the three forums (franchisor, franchisee and supplier) will screen the candidates and provide the Awards Committee each year with three new nominees from which to choose. Like all other awards, such nominees will be considered for three years before being eliminated from consideration. The Awards Committee will choose one person from a field of up to 12 nominees for each membership category. Each year one franchisor, one franchisee and one supplier whose peers consider them among the best qualified will be honored with the Distinguished Service award.

Nominations for all the above awards are collected by the association throughout the year. A June 30 cut off is made for those to be considered for the next annual convention. The Awards Committee meets in late August to review nominations for all awards. This committee is the only one in IFA where membership is by invitation and appointment by the IFA Chair. The terms are fixed, with about one-third of the members rotating off each year. The 17 members consist of four past chairs, four media representatives, three franchisors, three franchisees and three suppliers. Among this year's committee members are: two Hall of Famers, five past forum chairs, two Bonny Levine winners, a Free Enterprise and an Entrepreneur of the Year winner, six Board members and a William Rosenberg Leadership Award winner. From the count it is evident that some are "double hatted." With such a distinguished group, it is understandable to see why all who are invited to serve are highly honored to do so.

At long last persons with a minimum of 10 years active participation in IFA activities will be eligible for a Distinguished Service award. Will you strive to be eligible? All association members should because franchising needs your participation. When everyone helps a little, the total can be awesome and powerful.

Meanwhile, think of your colleagues in franchising who are outstanding and nominate them for one of the IFA awards. Some day in the future, someone may extend you the same courtesy.

The IFA Distinguished Service Awards

Approved by the International Franchise Association (IFA) Board of Directors in 2003, the IFA Distinguished Service Awards category was established to recognize individuals from each of the three categories of association membership who have devoted many years to promoting franchising through helping IFA fulfill its mission by active participation on committees, task loaves and the Board of Directors. The award(s) would be given when deemed appropriate and do not carry a requirement of regularity.

Any employee or owner of an IFA member, whether franchisor, franchisee or supplier, who has been actively involved in franchising for a minimum of 10 years and has served on one or more IFA committees, task force or Board of Directors for a minimum of five years will be eligible.

The Executive Committees of the Franchisor, Franchisee and Supplier Forums will each submit three new nominations each year from their membership category for the Distinguished Service Awards. Such nominations will be considered by the Awards Committee for three years before deletion. The forum executive committees may nominate the same person only once every five years.

The IFA Distinguished Service Awards will be presented during the association's annual Fall Leadership Meeting in conjunction with the presentation of the Legislator of the Year Award. The recipients of these awards will be acknowledged during the association's annual convention.

Bernard S. Browning, CFE, is a past IFA chair and is IFA Awards Committee chairman. He can be reached at
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Title Annotation:Leadership Recognition
Author:Browning, Bernard S.
Publication:Franchising World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
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