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Top Franchise Leaders of 2018

Meet the Visionaries Behind Today's Most Successful Franchises

As the inimitable Dale Carnegie once said, “You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie had a deep and unique appreciation of the qualities that make a great leader. He understood that social and communication skills distinguish a leader—not just technical expertise.

View this year's complete Top 50 Franchise Leaders award-winning companies

“Most of the franchisees we talk to are investing in a business to make a profit, certainly,” says Michelle Rowan, president & COO of Franchise Business Review. “But they also want to feel that the executive team cares about their personal success and communicates openly and transparently. That’s how you develop relationships built on trust and respect—and that’s what makes a great leader.”

We reached out to a few of the award-winning leaders from this year's Top 50 Franchise Leaders list and asked them to tell us what inspires them, and how they’ve created a winning culture within their franchise system. Here's what they had to say...


FEATURED FRANCHISE LEADERS

Michael Miller
Co-Founder and Chairman, Brightway Insurance

“We say that our franchisees’ dreams are our goals. It’s true and that’s how we manage this business. Very simply, our jobs are to do everything we can to support our franchisees and help them grow. As a franchisee, what better business partners could you ask for than people whose financial interests are directly aligned with yours, bring vast experience you can leverage and have fun doing their jobs?”

Brad Reed
CDO, Captain D's

“We take a lot of pride in our franchisees and value their opinions, which builds mutual trust. It is inspiring to be able to create opportunities for franchisees—to help them grow their businesses and their teams; to witness their success and work with them collaboratively to achieve their fullest potential.”

Becky Bongiovanni
COO, CarePatrol

“Listen to your franchisees. Don’t hold grudges. Allow them to make mistakes and allow them to teach you. I think our franchisees see us not only as leaders, but also as trusted partners in their success. We also live by our values at CarePatrol. Our values are not just written down in a manual. We make decisions based on our core values and ask our franchisees to help hold us accountable to them.”

Joe Hart
CEO, Dale Carnegie

“As someone who holds the position once held by Dale Carnegie, I aspire to lead as he did— with insight, innovation and service to others. I am inspired by making a difference in people’s lives. I get to do that every day in franchising, helping our franchisees achieve the dream of business ownership. Our brand’s culture is about seeing the inherent greatness that exists within people and our mission is to help unlock that; it’s about the Dale Carnegie Principles—about putting people first and teaching people “how to win friends and influence people.”

Debbie Fiorino
SVP, Dream Vacations

“Trust is the basis of all relationships and in order to gain trust, you must be transparent in both good times and in bad. I am someone who is inspired by working side-by-side with people who are in it to win it! People who take accountability for themselves, who I can trust and who have my back—because I have theirs, and who are passionate about everything they do. Those are the people that inspire me to be better and to help them be better.”

Catherine Monson
CEO, FASTSIGNS

“I am inspired by making a difference in people’s lives. I get to do that every day in franchising, helping our franchisees achieve the dream of business ownership. Our brand’s culture is about seeing the inherent greatness that exists within people and our mission is to help unlock that; it’s about the Dale Carnegie Principles—about putting people first and teaching people 'how to win friends and influence people.' I encourage every franchise leader to develop a positive culture and motivating environment where people know and understand the company’s objectives and how what they do each day contributes to achieving those goals. People are more motivated when they are well-trained, have the tools they need, can share their ideas openly, take chances, and innovate or improve processes.”

Jeff Bevis
CEO, FirstLight HomeCare

“We are deeply commitment to continual improvement, we’re supportive of all new ideas, and encourage brainstorming and collaboration across our franchisor and franchisee teams. I believe our leadership team was rated so highly by franchisees for three primary reasons: we say what we’ll do and do what we say; we put and keep franchise owner input as #1 relating to EVERYTHING we do in all facets of FirstLight Home Care business; and we see it only fair that we set the example by providing our franchisees with the highest quality of service, since we expect our owners to exude the highest quality of service.”

David Hicks
Co-President, HomeVestors of America

“First is listen to the franchisees. The best ideas come from franchisees. Second, give a clear picture of the future. I am most inspired by seeing the success of our franchises. I have never been around a better group of people than our franchise leaders. We tend to attract good people that care about helping others and participating in a team environment, which in turn attracts more of the same type of people!”

Kathleen Kuhn
President, HouseMaster

“Our culture, our mission, our vision actually is all about having pride, being profitable and also committing to our craft, if you will. So not for a minute do we ever kind of sit back on our laurels as one of the most experienced companies in the industry. Our owners take such great pride in what they do and they have fun doing it but they’re so committed and we’re so committed to always learning more and getting better.”

Tony Lamb
CEO, Kona Ice

“How can we expect our franchisees to give incredible customer experience if we don’t provide that to them?When nine out of 10 franchisees that are in your system got into your system because they wanted to give back to their community or wanted to make their community a better place. I can only describe our culture in one word….PERFECT.”

Todd Hopkins
President, Office Pride

“We recognize serving as a part of leading. As we serve and help our franchisees succeed, we succeed. Our culture is very strong and clearly understood. It is the glue that holds us together. When you ask our franchisees what they like best about Office Pride, most will answer ‘the culture.’”

View this year's complete Top 50 Franchise Leaders award-winning companies