Answering Your CFE Questions

Cresanti's Corner
cresantis corner


When I joined IFA in April 2014 as Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy after working in government relations and technology most of my career, I knew a good amount about small business and franchising. There was more to learn – I needed to dig into the details as quickly as possible.

The IFA Foundation’s Certified Franchise Executives™ (CFE) program took care of all that. Over a short period, this program gave me the ability to speak with more authority about franchising and the confidence to take on the role as IFA’s CEO in September 2015. It has also guided my continuing education since then to ensure my skills as a trade association leader stay sharp and up-to-date with industry practices. Having a CFE has made all the difference for me when speaking with IFA members and executive leadership at franchise businesses. It can be that way for you, too. 

I went through some of your frequently asked questions about the program and answered them below:

How beneficial is CFE status to someone just starting out in franchising?

This is a crucial benefit. The CFE program gives you a compass to navigate your pathway through franchising. For those new to the industry, it provides the chance to strengthen your knowledge base and meet other experts who can help you improve your business. 

Where can I find a good summary of what the CFE program offers?

Start with the web. There’s information on the and websites. The brochure for the CFE program can be found here.

How many people are enrolled in the CFE program?

Currently there are nearly 2,300 graduates and candidates active in the program. The 2019 class was the largest ever, and the international participation reached its highest point, with 25 percent of the class from countries outside the U.S.

What advice do you give to small business owners looking to earn their CFE?

It’s easier than you think. Everyone starts somewhere. Why not go straight to the experts? CFE is the only program that is recognized by several countries as the official training program for franchise professionals. The CFE program is focused on educating you to become the next expert in franchising. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up teaching a CFE course one day.

What about people who have already worked in franchising for decades? What use could they get from having a CFE?

Bragging rights! Seriously, getting a CFE is not just about improving your standing with your current employer or thinking about how it can benefit your next career move. Having a CFE is about achieving goals and being an expert in your field – something that goes way beyond working for a franchise business. 

Start your CFE journey today — we would love to see you at a future CFE graduation ceremony during IFA’s Annual Convention. Learn more at the CFE page on, and contact IFA’s Rose Dupont or Casey Mensinger for more information.