WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc., a leading sign, graphics and visual communications franchisor with more than 630 centers worldwide, has been elected secretary of the International Franchise Association (IFA).
“Catherine Monson brings more than 30 years of experience and leadership in all aspects of franchising to this position, which benefits the IFA and its members,” said IFA Chairman Aziz Hashim, managing partner for NRD Capital. “Catherine’s dedication to the franchise business model will be invaluable as we continue to promote the positive contributions franchising brings to economies and communities around the world.”
The IFA is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.
Monson’s franchising background began in 1980 with Sir Speedy, Inc., serving as western region operations manager. She received numerous promotions over the years including serving as assistant vice president of franchise development, vice president of franchise development, and group vice president of marketing and communications. In 1996 she became vice president of business development of Franchise Services, Inc. (FSI), the parent company of Sir Speedy. From January 1997 until April 1999, she was responsible for the turnaround of MultiCopy Europe, FSI’s European subsidiary, and in 1999, Monson was named President of another Franchise Services company, PIP Printing and Marketing Services (PIP).
She joined FASTSIGNS International, Inc. as CEO and President in 2009, during an economic downturn. Despite this, under her leadership, the franchisor has seen record growth in every metric – number of countries, number of locations, system-wide sales, franchisee unit level economics and franchisee satisfaction.
Catherine has served on the IFA board, IFA Executive Committee and is chair of the IFA’s Franchisor Forum. In 2009, she received the IFA’s Bonny LeVine award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments by women in franchising. In February of this year, she keynoted the IFA’s annual convention. In October, she will keynote both the Franchise Council of Australia’s convention and Associacao Brasileira de Franchising (Brazil Franchising Association) convention. In April of 2017, she will keynote the Canadian Franchise Association Convention.
She has been instrumental in helping to grow IFA’s grassroots program, the Franchise Action Network (FAN), and was awarded IFA’s first FAN of the Year award at the 2015 Annual Convention in Las Vegas.
Monson has received numerous other leadership awards and most recently was an inaugural winner of the Women in Print award from Big Picture magazine, and an inductee into the printing industry’s prestigious Soderstrom Society. Under Monson’s leadership, FASTSIGNS International, Inc. received the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition presented by the Department of Defense to employers for their exemplary support of National Guard and Reserve members.
Monson also serves on the board of directors of two franchise companies in the education industry (The Learning Experience and Brain Balance) as well as on the Board of Trustees for Pi Sigma Epsilon, a sales and marketing fraternity for college and university students.
“I am truly honored to have been elected Secretary of the IFA, and I am ready to begin working with the IFA leadership team and its members to ensure franchising continues to create opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs, marketers and business leaders, just like it did for me,” Monson said.
Monson was elected to his IFA leadership position by the IFA Board of Directors, along with the full slate of 2017 officers, including: Shelly Sun, CEO & co-founder of BrightStar Care, who will serve as IFA Chairwoman; Liam Brown, president of North America Select & Extended Stay Lodging & Owner Franchise Services at Marriott International who will become First Vice Chair; and David Barr, chairman of PMTD Restaurants and its affiliates will become IFA’s Second Vice Chair. Bill Hall, CEO, Treats Investments, LLC and CEO, Align Capital, LLC will continue to serve as IFA’s Treasurer. The 2017 slate of officers will assume their new positions Feb. 1, 2017, at the conclusion of IFA's 57th Annual Convention in Las Vegas.