Highlights from the 2018 CFA National Convention

From April 22-24, the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) welcomed franchise experts, inspirational keynote speakers, new and emerging franchisors, and hundreds of delegates from across the country as we hosted our 27th annual National Convention in Ottawa, Ontario!

Held at the Westin in the heart of the nation’s capital, this year’s festivities brought together the best of the best in Canadian franchising for three days of non-stop networking events, educational learning opportunities, and engaging presentations covering a range of pertinent franchise topics.

Day 1 kicked off with a special FSS/Supplier Forum hosted by TruShield Insurance’s Tony O’Brien. Along with an expert panel, O’Brien shared with franchise suppliers and support services providers how they can maximize the benefits of their CFA membership and network with top franchisors to achieve their business goals.

Next up was our high-demand Power Sessions where world-class franchise experts shared insightful knowledge on sales, marketing, business development, and management. It was a full house later in the afternoon for the Essential Legal Update. Moderated by a panel of some of Canada’s leading lawyers, franchisors learned about the latest legislative updates in Canada, how these changes could impact their businesses moving forward, and what they could do to mitigate potential challenges.

Delegates attend the Essential Legal Update on Day

New CFA members and first time Convention delegates were then treated to a special networking cocktail reception before learning more about the new CFA branding, purpose, and mission statement. The CFA’s Chair of the Board of Directors, John Wissent, and the 1st Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, John DeHart, were on deck to share with delegates the CFA’s new brand, created in partnership with the CFA Branding Committee and branding agency, Pigeon Brands.

The exciting unveiling was followed by the first Keynote Presentation of the Convention. Charlwood Pacific Group’s CEO & Chairman, U. Gary Charlwood, shared with delegates the inspiring story of how he worked his way up the corporate ladder before purchasing and growing Century 21 into one of Canada’s largest and most respected real estate organizations.

CEO & Chairman of Charlwood Pacific Group, U. Gary Charlwood, during his Keynote Presentation

The day ended with an informative presentation by the CFA’s Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy, Ryan Eickmeier, and President & CEO, Lorraine McLachlan, on the release of the much-anticipated Economic Impact Study, followed by the Marketplace Opening Reception. Open throughout Convention, Marketplace exhibitors got to showcase their innovative franchise-related products and services with franchisors.

Sales expert Todd Cohen got the crowd laughing bright and early Monday morning with his engaging Keynote Presentation on how to build a sales culture in your organization. Using relatable anecdotes, Cohen used his own business experiences to keep delegates engaged and drive home the point that creating a “sales” culture is a must to find business success. Click here for a special thank you message from Todd!

Todd Cohen speaks to delegates during his Keynote Presentation

There were non-stop learning opportunities throughout the remainder of the afternoon as Roundtable Discussions, Concurrent Sessions, and a special Closed-Door CEO Session with Todd Cohen took place. Moderated by franchise experts from CFA’s membership, these sessions were a great way for delegates to learn more about a specialized topic, discuss challenges and opportunities they face in their businesses, and develop effective and efficient solutions with one another.

Convention attendees participate in Roundtable Discussions

The day ended with the most anticipated event of Convention…the Gala Awards Presentation Dinner! Co-hosted by PropertyGuys.com’s Ken LeBlanc and Walter Melanson – who channeled Bob and Doug McKenzie from the “Great White North” – the night was filled with laughs and Canadian-themed jokes as attendees became true hosers for the evening.

Emcees Ken LeBlanc and Walter Melanson from PropertyGuys.com

In-between the on-stage entertainment, franchising excellence was celebrated with the presentation of the 2018 Franchisees’ Choice Designation, Recognition Awards, and Awards of Excellence in Franchising.

Kumon Math and Reading Centres received the Hall of Fame Award in recognition of their outstanding business performance and unwavering commitment to educating children across the world.

The CFA’s Changing Workplaces Taskforce took home the Volunteer Leadership Excellence Award, while the Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award was presented to BioPed Footcare Centres for their work helping underprivileged communities through the Goodytwoshoes Foundation.

Former President & CEO of Mister Transmission, Randy Moore, took home the Lifetime Achievement Award for his 40-year career with the automotive franchise, while Ruthie Burd, founder of The Lunch Lady, took home the first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award.

From left to right: The team from BioPed, Peter Snell, John Wissent, Larry Weinberg, and Matthew Badrov of the CFA’s Changing Workplaces Taskforce, Hall of Fame winners Kumon, Ruthie Burd of The Lunch Lady, and Randy Moore

Next up, excellence in Canadian franchising was celebrated as Wise Cracks, Lice Squad.com, Little Kickers, Symposium Café, Paul Davis Restoration, Triple O’s, and Pizza Nova took home Gold in their respective categories.

From left to right the teams from: Wise Cracks, Paul Davis Restoration, Pizza Nova, and Lice Squad.com

Lorraine McLachlan took to the stage to present two of the Gold finalists with the coveted Grand Prize for Traditional and Non-Traditional Franchise Systems. For the second straight year, Symposium Café took home the Grand Prize for Traditional Franchise System, while Little Kickers won big for Non-Traditional Franchise System!

Traditional Grand Prize winner Symposium Café and Non-Traditional Grand Prize winner Little Kickers

The night wasn’t finished yet though, as the celebration continued at Lowertown Brewery in the ByWard Market for the After-Party.

The final day of Convention started with a buffet breakfast in the Marketplace followed by more Roundtable Discussions, Concurrent Sessions, and a Closed-Door CEO Session with Nurse Next Door and LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic co-founder, John DeHart.

DeHart was on stage later in the morning for the final Keynote Presentation where he shared with delegates how they could build a hyper growth brand from the inside out by developing a positive work culture.

John DeHart talks building a hyper growth brand the right way

The closing luncheon immediately followed the Keynote Presentation, followed by Franchise Awareness Day, where a group of Convention delegates headed over to Parliament Hill for a full day of meetings with Members of Parliament.

Thank you to all attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors for making this year’s Convention one to remember. We’ll see you next April in Niagara Falls!

CFA knock-out Logo

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
116-5399 Eglinton Ave W
Toronto, Ontario
M9C 5K6

T: 416-695-2896
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