Tag Archive: International Franchise Association


I attended the 14th Annual Leadership Conference, hosted by the IFA’s (International Franchise Association) Women’s Franchise Committee (WFC) in Orlando, Florida.  The WFC is designed to develop relationships with franchising professionals, to address issues, share ideas and offer solutions related to franchising in the local communities.

The conference theme was Dare to be Bold: Taking Risks For Reward – “It’s been said that if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. The great recession caused many organizations to drastically change the way they look and operate.” The Leadership Conference offered the opportunity to listen to top franchise leaders share stories of bold decisions they made that would forever change the shape of their brands.

The guest speaker was Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon; Inc. a division of FOCUS Brands Inc. Cinnabon operates more than 770 franchised locations worldwide. Prior to her role with FOCUS Brands at Cinnabon, Inc., she was VP of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc.

Kat shared her story of working as a server at Hooters at the young age of 19 and was handpicked to travel to Sydney Australia to open the country’s first Hooters. Kat had never flown before but she took her mother’s advice and “figured it out and made it happen” flying from Jacksonville, FL to Miami to get her passport and soon after traveling to Australia. By the age of 20, Kat was traveling all over the world to conduct new employee training and opening new locations. When Kat left Hooters in January 2011 she was Vice President of Training and Development.

As Kat told her story there was a recurring message: “figure it out and make it happen.”   We live in a time of change and Kat told us that no amount of change can work without connections and relationships.  She said the people you engage with, the connections you make and the relationships you have are with individuals that can and will be your biggest advocates.

Kat was an excellent presenter and listening to her validated decisions I have made over the last few months. Change is not easy and sometimes in order to change you must take risks. With the risks there is an uncertainty of the future. Getting pass the fear of the unknown and taking the steps to figure it out and “make it happen” is not as hard as I once thought.

Kat’s encouragement to build new relationships comes easy for me. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy attending conferences. I love social media and I have built strong connections using the various platforms but the in-person networking provides the face-to-face experience that I miss in the virtual world.

One of the new friendships that I built at IFA was with Tra Williams. Tra is more than 6’ tall so he is not easily missed in a crowd. But what really stands out is his passion for franchising and entrepreneurship. He exudes a deep commitment to helping others succeed and a strong drive to learn and share as much as possible.

Watch this video of Tra and I am confident you too will want to learn more about him and how you can connect.

Kat was right on the mark for me. I’m more than ready to “Figure it out and make it happen”. And as Dr. Beatrice Berry (author, sociologist, lecturer and educator) said; “When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.”

On March 1st I will leave what I have known and loved (Computer Explorers) for the last 16 years to start a new career as President of Deb Evans Consulting, LLC. I am confident it will be an exciting new adventure filled with new relationships, connections and risks!

The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” is attributed to an African proverb. Author Jane Cowen-Fletcher published a book with the same title in 1994. She wrote about a young African girl who searches for her brother and realizes that an entire village was watching over him.

Over the weekend my young grandson was ill with a respiratory infection. My son and daughter-in-law were capable of taking care of him at home but decided to let his village help and stayed with us over the weekend.

As I prepared to return to today,  I started thinking about my village or tribe at COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE). I am very fortunate to have a strong team of individuals that work together to support the franchise. They are amazing individuals and together an exceptional tribe. So who are they and why are they exceptional? Is it their passion, motivation and dedication to make the brand successful? Is it their ability to work as a team to complete goals and meet expectations? It is all of the above and so much more!

Cyndee Perkins

Cyndee Perkins: Cyndee has been an educator both in public and private schools, an advocate of using technology in the classroom since the “early days” of student-produced videos. Cyndee, with her husband Perk, became a CE franchisee in 1992. She and Perk moved to VA in 1996, where she held a position in Franchise Services at the corporate office until relocating to Texas in 2004. Her current position is Director of Curriculum and Program Development. Responsibilities include the development and program delivery of all CE products, franchise support and writing the corporate education blog.

Lorri Wyndham

Lorri Wyndham: Lorri has been working with the ICED Corporation (parent company of CE) for the last several years, in operations, training and support of new owners. In 2009, she was elected Employee of the Year by her colleagues. She has been a moderator for a social media panel at the International Franchise Association (IFA) international conference. She is currently working on a University degree in Business Management, as well as her certification as an IFA Certified Franchise Executive. Responsibilities include managing the CE social media marketing and Website development, has written social media professional development courses for teachers and for military veterans, and is responsible for CE internal franchise communications. In addition, Lorri writes Computers & Kids, a newsletter for preschool parents focusing on activities (both on and offline) to build parent/child relationships and enhance preschool learning.

Kathy Muller

Kathy Muller: Kathy has over twenty years of experience in training and personnel/organizational development. Kathy has over fifteen years of experience as an adult leader trainer. She has been an instructor for the Center for Corporate Training & Development at North Harris College and a guest instructor for Drug-Free Business Houston. She maintains professional relationships with several outside sales and marketing specialists, and brings up-to-date techniques to training classes and counseling sessions. Responsibilities include working with members of the several brands in the ICED community of franchises, developing processes to aid them in their sales and marketing efforts.

Other key individuals such as the curriculum writers, Director of Advertising, Franchise Development, Accounting, Legal …. too many to list here with their photos and bios.

Do you know anyone in my tribe and have something to add? Do you have a tribe you would like to share?