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IFA - International Franchise Association : Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta to Headline IFA’s Annual Convention

11/06/2013 | 05:57pm US/Eastern

Matthew Haller, 202-662-0770
Jenna Weisbord, 202-662-0766

IFA's Community Service "Franchising Gives Back" Initiative to Support New Orleans Schools to Mark the Event

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2013- Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will be the featured Keynote Speaker at the International Franchise Association's 54th Annual Convention Feb. 22-25, 2014 in New Orleans, LA.  

"Leon Panetta is an inspiring, thoughtful and highly-respected leader on both sides of the political aisle. Secretary Panetta is a proven leader who possesses a keen sense of the impact public policy has on the business community.  In today's still challenging global economic and foreign-policy environment, he has been a key asset in national security and defense strategy," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira.  "His vast insights and wide-ranging experience on effective bipartisan leadership, operational skills and fiscal discipline will be of great value to the more than 3,000 business leaders at the IFA Convention."

Panetta served as the 23rd Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. He was confirmed 100-0 by the U.S. Senate. He oversaw the final removal of American troops from Iraq as well as the beginning of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. He led the effort to develop a new defense strategy to advance greater agility, protect national security and opened up new opportunities for everyone to serve in the military and protected benefits for wounded warriors and their families. Before joining the Department of Defense, Mr. Panetta served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011, where he most notably was responsible for overseeing the operation that resulted in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Mr. Panetta also served as an Army intelligence officer from 1964-1966 and received the Army Commendation Medal. From July 1994 to January 1997, Mr. Panetta served as Chief of Staff to President Clinton and prior to that, he was Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position that built on his years of work on the House Budget Committee. Mr. Panetta also represented California's 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, rising to House Budget Committee chairman during his final four years in Congress.

Mr. Panetta will share why he has devoted much of his life instilling the values of public service in young men and women and why he believes in cultivating leaders by teaching the skills he has learned throughout his career.  The  Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay continues to educate and mentor young leaders of today.

The 54th annual convention will attract more than  3,000 franchise community professionals seeking to build on their franchise expertise and professional networks. The theme, "Driving Growth in Challenging Times," highlights how franchising continues to create solutions that businesses need for growth. Attendees will hear from top business leaders about best practices and tools for business leaders today. 

Other keynote speakers include CEO of AFC Enterprises, Inc., franchisor of Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, Cheryl Bachelder who will share real-world experiences and best practices as the franchise industry works its way out of these still challenging economic and public policy times.  Attendees will also hear from Managing Director for Google's Global Channel Sales, Todd Rowe.  Rowe leads Google's $5 billion Channel Sales organization globally and is responsible for selling Google's AdWords, video and mobile products in 25 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. 

And back by popular demand, the franchising community will once again come together at the third annual Franchising Gives Back event as attendees travel to a local charter school in downtown New Orleans to work on projects that will make a difference for the students who call the school home.  Recognizing the year-round community service initiatives of IFA members, Franchising Gives Back is designed to highlight the strong commitment and impact of franchising to build vibrant communities through support for local organizations. This event was conceived in 2012 by IFA's current Chairman, Steve Romaniello, managing director, Roark Capital Group.

Other highlights of the 54th annual event include educational sessions, roundtables and summits designed to give business leaders the latest trends and information necessary to succeed.

For a complete schedule of events IFA 54th Annual Convention,  click here.


About the International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the more than 825,000 franchise establishments, which support nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.

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