International Franchise Association Elects Eight New Board Members

October 17, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced the election of eight new franchise professionals to serve on its Board of Directors. The new directors represent both franchisees and franchisors from a variety of industries and roles across the business model. The new directors will take their positions at IFA’s Annual Convention in February 2023.

“This new group of directors will bring a wealth of experience to the IFA Board, at a time critical for franchising,” said Matt Haller, IFA President and CEO. “The IFA Board is integral in guiding the organization in our mission to protect, enhance, and promote franchising – representing some of the best in franchising and working to continually move the organization and the entire franchising sector forward. They each bring unique contributions and perspectives, and we look forward to the leadership they will provide to the Association in the years ahead.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the eight franchise professionals joining the IFA Board of Directors and look forward to all they will bring to the table,” said Charlie Chase, Chair of the IFA Board of Directors and President and CEO of FirstService Brands, Inc. and California Closets. “This group will help move both IFA and the franchising sector well into the future, and we appreciate their dedication to the business model and all the people it serves.”

The IFA Board of Directors voted to expand the size of the Board in 2020 to ensure diversity of industry, thought, and background among its most senior volunteer leadership team. The 2023 IFA Board of Directors will be comprised of franchisee, franchisor, and supplier members who provide critical guidance to the IFA on the association’s key initiatives. 

The new 2023 IFA Board members are:


  1. Rob Branca, President, Branded Management Group, Inc. (Dunkin')
  2. Azim Saju, President & CEO, HDG Hotels (IHG, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Marriott, and Wyndham)
  3. Omar Simmons, Managing Director, Exaltare Capital Partners (Planet Fitness and Urban Air)


  1. Shane Evans, Co-Founder, Massage Heights Franchising
  2. Karen Finberg, Chief Franchise Officer, Marriott International
  3. Tom Krouse, CEO, Donatos Pizzeria LLC
  4. Christina Russell, CEO, Radiance Holdings
  5. Michael Seid, Chief Concept Officer, CFW Clinics and One Family Health

The directors’ full bios are available here.

The new directors' term will begin in February 2023 at the IFA Annual Convention and will serve an initial term of three years.

At that time, the new officers of the IFA Board of Directors will also assume their positions: 

  • Chair – David Humphrey, Vice Chair, Ignite Fitness Holdings
  • Vice Chair Mary Thompson, COO, Neighborly
  • Second Vice Chair – Steve Hockett, CEO, Great Clips
  • Immediate Past Chair – Charlie Chase, President and CEO, First Service Brands and California Closets 



About The International Franchise Association:

Celebrating over 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations, and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the approximately 775,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.2 million direct jobs, $787.7 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and almost 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.