International Franchise Association Elects Eight New Board Members 

November 13, 2023

WASHINGTON – The International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced the election of eight new franchise professionals to serve on its Board of Directors. The new directors, who will take their positions at the 2024 IFA Annual Convention in February, will join one of the most diverse IFA Boards in history, bringing a variety of experience and expertise to lead the franchise sector’s oldest and largest global trade association.  

“We are excited to welcome an outstanding group of new directors to the IFA Board, bringing significant experience in franchising at one of the most consequential times for the business model,” 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 – and these new directors will play a critical role in moving 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.” 

“This is a fantastic group of new directors, whose leadership comes at a pivotal time for franchising,” said David Humphrey, Chair of the IFA Board of Directors and Vice Chair of Ignite Fitness Holdings. “We look forward to their guidance and the leadership they will provide in the coming years, as we work together to build an even stronger future for the franchise business model.”  

The 2024 IFA Board of Directors is comprised offranchisee, franchisor, and supplier members, with a diverse representation of industry, thought, and background, who provide critical guidance to the IFA on the association’s key initiatives.  

The new 2024 IFA Board members are:  

  • Christopher Fuller – Chief Communications and Impact Officer, Inspire Brands 
  • Robin Gagnon – CEO/Co-Founder, We Sell Restaurants 
  • Michael Gonda – Senior Vice President, Chief Impact Officer, North America, McDonald’s 
  • Jon Hixson – Chief Sustainability Officer and VP, Global Government Affairs, Yum! Brands 
  • Lillian Kirstein – Senior Vice President and General Counsel, 7-Eleven  
  • Sarah Powell – EVP, General Counsel, and Secretary, Focus Brands  
  • Christine Son – Senior Vice President, Legal, General Counsel and Secretary, Dine Brands Global 
  • John Teza – CEO & President, Hand & Stone Franchise, LLC 


The 2024 officers for the IFA Board of Directors include: 

  • Chair – Steve Hockett, CEO, Great Clips  
  • Vice Chair – Mary Thompson, COO, Neighborly 
  • Second Vice Chair – Sam Ballas, CEO, East Coast Wings + Grill 
  • Immediate Past Chair – David Humphrey, Vice Chair, Ignite Fitness Holdings 

The directors’ full biographies are available here. 

The new directors will assume their positions in February 2024 and will serve an initial term of three years. 


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. 


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