Franchising Pride Council

Franchising Pride Council

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and leaders within the franchise industry want to spread the word that it embraces diversity and offers unlimited opportunities to entrepreneurs without prejudice. Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969, when patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, staged an uprising to resist police harassment and persecution that LGBTQ Americans have frequently faced. 

The Franchising Pride Council, which was established in September 2019, is spearheading the International Franchise Association’s efforts to support diversity and inclusiveness among its franchisors, franchisees and employees – at every level and in every corner of franchising. The council was established in September 2019 as a subgroup of the IFA Foundation's Diversity Institute. Pride Council co-founder Paul Pickett, chief development officer for Wild Birds Unlimited, said the council was formed as a way for the franchise industry “to be active rather than passive, reinforcing the idea that the IFA embraces diversity of all types, including the LGBTQ community.”

Pride Council Leaders

When the Franchising Pride Council was established in September 2019, franchising’s leaders came together to promote the initiative. Shown here, from left to right, Catherine Monson, IFA Chair and CEO of Propelled Brands; Mark Jameson, Chief Support and Development officer of Propelled Brands; Robert Cresanti, former President and CEO of the IFA; Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire; and Paul Pickett, Chief Development Officer for Wild Birds Unlimited.

The next major goal for the Franchising Pride Council is to develop a strong charter.

Paul Pickett is one of two current leaders of the Franchising Pride Council, which also boasts support from fellow co-founder, Mark Jameson, who is chief support and development officer at Propelled Brands (an umbrella company that includes FASTSIGNS Inc.). David Smith, who is Senior Manager of Diversity Programs is working to raise awareness about the council, increase participation and networking opportunities, and define a mission that will enrich the franchising sector’s journey in the diversity, equity and inclusion space. If you would like to learn more about the Franchising Pride Council or have questions about it, contact Paul Pickett at