CEO & President, FASTSIGNS International, Inc.
Catherine Monson was named CEO of the international sign and visual graphics franchise, FASTSIGNS International, Inc., in January 2009, bringing a strong background in franchising and digital printing. Since joining FASTSIGNS, Catherine has repositioned the brand and accelerated both the growth of average unit volume and the number of locations. Her team is focused on improving franchisee profitability and further increasing already high franchisee satisfaction. Monson is known for her mentoring leadership style and concern about her franchisees on both business and personal levels. She brings that style to the over 660 franchised FASTSIGNS centers worldwide. Her background in franchising began in 1980 with Sir Speedy, Inc., serving as western region operations manager. She was promoted to assistant vice president of franchise development in 1984 and later vice president of franchise development; she and her team opened over 400 Sir Speedy locations. Monson was promoted to group vice president of marketing and communications in 1991, playing an integral role in Sir Speedy’s growth and it becoming the first printing franchise to launch a Web site. In 1996, she became vice president of business development of Franchise Services, Inc. (FSI), Sir Speedy’s parent company. She was responsible for the turnaround of MultiCopy Europe, FSI’s European subsidiary. In 1999, she was named president of PIP Printing & Document Services (PIP was acquired by Franchise Services, Inc. in 1996). Monson successfully reorganized the company and changed the strategic marketing direction increasing franchisee satisfaction and average unit volume, after six years of decline. In 2009, she received the International Franchise Association (IFA) Bonny LeVine Award in recognition of her contributions to the growth of the franchising industry. In 2010, the Dallas Business Journal named her a Top Women Industry Leader in the Dallas Metroplex. In 2012, Catherine appeared on the Emmy Award-winning series Undercover Boss to learn new ways to advance the FASTSIGNS brand. In 2015, she received the International Franchise Association’s first Franchise Action Network FAN of the Year award for her advocacy work in the franchising community. In 2016, she was selected as a Soderstrom Society Inductee for her contributions to the printing and graphic communications industry and was also honored with the 2016 Leadership Award from the Women That Soar organization. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Women’s Award from Northwood University. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for two franchise companies–The Learning Experience® and Brain Balance–and one other print industry association, Idealliance. Catherine currently serves on the Board of Directors of the IFA and was elected Secretary in 2017. She has been involved in the Women’s Franchise Committee, Franchise Relations Committee, Research Committee, FranPAC Task Force, Franchise Relations Best Practices Task Force, Franchise Business Network meetings and the IFA conventions and meetings as a presenter.