Hand & Stone's First Franchise Leadership & Development Conference

What an event! Last week, in my role as Hand & Stone’s Franchise Development Marketing Manager, I had the pleasure of attending the Franchise Leadership & Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia hosted by Franchise Update Media. This was my first time at the annual meeting of the top franchise development leaders in the industry. It was an extra special conference because my CEO, John Teza, was the 2021 Chairman. He writes in his welcome message to the attendees, “The opening workshops, general, and breakout sessions will address different aspects of the conference theme. Our speakers and session leaders will bring the inspiration, ideas, and innovation so you can bring them back to your brands to drive superior results.” He couldn’t have been righter!

As I mentioned in my first blog post back in March, I am very new to the franchising industry. I had no idea what the franchise community was about until I attended Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in Las Vegas only a few months ago. I quickly learned that this community is filled with intelligent, driven, and fun people.

I tried to be a sponge as much as possible. I took tons of notes, making sure to capture the ideas that I’d like to implement at Hand & Stone. I attended great panels, such as Build Your 2022 Recruitment Program and Budget, Understanding Today’s Customer, and Digital Tools for Lead Generation. Every session had an all-star roster of panelists, that was both informative and charismatic. Though our background and brands were diverse, I am confident that everyone in the room was able to take a best practice or a piece of advice from at least one of the panelists.

I attended the conference with my two teammates, Nicole Alburger and Sarah Moudry. Between the three of us, we attended every session offered. We would meet at the end of each day and discuss what we learned. We were tossing around ideas to improve our team and processes before even landing in Philly. This was also Sarah’s first time attending the event, and she raved about the content, “I love events like these because they force you to look at yourself and reevaluate your goals, both professionally and personally. I enjoyed every aspect of the event, but Jesse Itzler inspired me the most. The biggest takeaway from his motivational speech was, ‘pressure is privilege,’ meaning you can’t grow if you’re stuck in your comfort zone. This Conference forced me to step outside of my comfort zone numerous times and I feel mentally stronger for it. I’d say that’s a win. Can’t wait for next year. Thank you, John, for the memorable and fun experience!”

My team and I are so proud of John’s leadership last week and how well he represented our brand. I caught up with him after his closing session where he explained, “I’ve been attending FLDC since 2007. It is my favorite conference of the year because the presenters, content, and education never fail to inspire. I also enjoy the opportunity to network with industry icons, franchise friends, and to meet the next generation of up-and-coming franchise development leaders. I was honored to be this year’s Chairman and look forward to supporting the Franchise Update Media Group team in the future.”

My main takeaway from the #FLDCon is that there is always room to learn and grow, whether that relates to my lead generation plan or how our team communicates. Going to industry events like this reignite the fire you had when you initially join a company or start a new position.

Now, it’s time to get to work!