Top Franchise Leaders Who Are Raising the Performance Bar

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Strong leadership is vital to ensuring a franchise brand and its franchisees will thrive. When asked to describe a strong business leader, many would use the following adjectives - intelligent, tough, innovative, determined, and driven. Although these traits certainly are necessary, powerful leaders often have softer, yet perhaps equally important attributes, including being empathetic and kind. The best are visionaries guided by a strong work ethic and moral compass. The seven franchise executives below are featured on Franchise Business Review’s 2017 Top Franchise Leaders list as a result of their franchisees’ positive feedback regarding their brands’ leadership during a recent franchisee satisfaction survey of approximately 30,000 franchisees representing 334 brands.  



Michelle Fee
CEO, CruisePlanners, an American Express Travel Representative

Michelle Fee started her career as a full-service travel agent and believes one of the best ways travel agents learn is by traveling. In order to enable its travel agents to run their business from anywhere in the world so they can travel or work from wherever they please, Cruise Planners, under Michelle's direction, has created some of the most innovative technology tools in the industry. The Cruise Planners Family of Agents consists of over 1,700 agents in all 50 states.

Joe Hart
CEO, Dale Carnegie

Joe has built trust and open lines of communication between Dale Carnegie corporate and its franchisees, which has resulted in an engaged franchisee network. Under his direction, Dale Carnegie currently has 200 operations in more than 80 countries, and trains in over 30 languages. Joe's goal is to make Dale Carnegie even more relevant to this generation and future generations than ever before.

Catherine Monson

Catherine became CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc. in 2009, bringing over 30 years of franchising experience. In 2009, she received the IFA Bonny LeVine Award for her contributions to franchising’s growth. In 2012, Catherine appeared on TV series Undercover Boss. In 2015, she received the IFA’s first Franchise Action Network FAN of the Year award for her advocacy work in franchising. Catherine currently is Secretary of the IFA Board of Directors.

Jeff Bevis
CEO, FirstLight HomeCare

Jeff is a profound, high integrity franchise executive.  In a very short time, he has pioneered FirstLight HomeCare into a leadership position in the franchise industry. Under Jeff's leadership, FirstLight HomeCare provides extensive training, support, tools and vision to its franchisees. Annually, FirstLight HomeCare's franchise partners rank Jeff and its management team “exceptional” in the areas of integrity, honesty, trust and leadership in Franchise Business Review's franchisee satisfaction survey.

Kathleen Kuhn
President, HouseMaster

Kathleen's intense desire to stay ahead of challenges and opportunities has helped HouseMaster thrive. She strives to creates a culture of trust and satisfaction with HouseMaster's owners and inspires confidence by making herself accessible to her team and owners. HouseMaster says its franchisees gross almost a 1/3 more than any of its franchise competitors. HouseMaster ranks number one in franchisee satisfaction in its category from Franchise Business Review.

Dave Mattson
CEO, Sandler Training

Dave Mattson is a charismatic and visionary CEO/President of a global training organization of 265+ locations in 30 countries. He is a servant leader who encourages collaboration to maximize creativity and productivity, resulting in a driven and highly productive team that is passionate about furthering Sandler’s Mission. Dave is also a best-selling author, sales and management thought leader, keynote speaker, and sought-after presenter.

Rik Nonelle
CEO, Window Genie

Rik leads by example and coaches from a place of first-hand experience. Whether it’s how he approaches the day-to-day operations of the business, marketing, or another important aspect of the Window Genie system, Rik takes ownership and responsibility for his business. Window Genie's franchisees respect Rik and appreciate that he has been in their shoes.