MITcon | International Franchise Association

2019 Franchise Marketing Innovation & Technology Conference (MITcon)
October 23-25, 2019 // Austin, TX

Thank you to all 2018 MITcon attendees!

For those who missed out this year, see below for what our 2018 conference had to offer!



IFA’s Franchise Marketing Innovation & Technology Conference (MITcon) is an interactive, results-focused event where you will learn innovative and effective marketing and technology solutions to help you grow your brand. Hear directly from experts in your field about how to drive customer demand, increase customer loyalty and much more! As the evolution of FranTech, this event will be better than ever.  

You will earn 300 CFE Education Credits towards the completion of the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) accreditation by attending this program.

NOTE: This event is for Franchisors and Franchisees ONLY. Supplier companies are only permitted to attend if they are sponsoring the event.


  • Learn innovative solutions to grow your brand
  • Hear from cutting-edge speakers 
  • Collaborate with marketing and IT professionals


Nick Westergaard

Chief Brand Strategist, Brand Driven Digital

Kris Zanuldin

Head of Connected Commerce, Amazon Pay

Phillip Rather

Head of Local, Facebook

Brad Haley

Chief Marketing Officer, IHOP

Sherif Mityas

Chief Experience Officer, TGI Fridays, Inc.

Kelly Roddy, CFE

President, Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery


3:00 pm – 5:30 pmRegistration Desk Open

4:00 pm – 5:30 pmMarketing & Innovation Committee Meeting

5:45 pm – 6:45 pmKick-off Happy Hour

The MITcon 2018 Kick-Off Happy Hour will take place at Maggie Mae's - right on 6th street, a short walk from the Hilton Austin!

7:45 am – 5:00 pmRegistration Desk Open

7:45 am – 8:15 amContinental Breakfast with Exhibiting Suppliers

8:15 am – 9:30 am

Welcome and Opening General Session with Keynote Speaker

What’s Next? The Future of Digital Marketing and What You Can Do to Be Ready

With over a billion users on Facebook and half of U.S. teens creating and consuming content on Snapchat, it’s safe to say that social media and new forms of content continue to dominate our marketing. As new networks emerge and existing platforms add even more features, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of these rapid shifts. This insightful and engaging keynote takes a look at seven digital marketing trends that need to be on your radar, what they mean, and what you can do to be ready for them.

Keynote Speaker: Nick Westergaard, Chief Brand Strategist, Brand Driven Digital

9:30 am – 10:45 am

Table Exercise: Problem-Solving

In order to prime attendee's minds and set objectives for this conference, we will start off with a group activity meant to add value to each attendee by connecting then with seasoned franchisor and technology experts (“Mentors”) in a problem-solving setting specific to one of two focus areas: Marketing or Technology. All participants should come prepared with a specific problem in their field they would like to find an innovative solution for. Each table will have one Mentor assigned. After a brief introduction, the Mentor will ask participants what their specific problem is and then other attendees at the table can offer relevant feedback and options based on experience.

10:45 am – 11:15 amRefreshment Break

11:15 am – 12:15 pm

Concurrent Learning Labs

Winning Franchise Development Deals from Social Media

Learn how to optimize your Social Media and Facebook advertising methods to drive franchise sales leads. Franchisors on the panel will share their cutting-edge tactics and real-world results that can help you give your brand a boost when attracting new, qualified franchisees.

Moderator: Jack Monson, Chief Revenue Officer, Social Joey
Speakers: Laura Meads, Senior Marketing Coordinator, Neighborly; Cindy Phillips, Director, Marketing, CMIT Solutions, Inc.; Thomas Scott, Area Developer & Multi-Unit Franchisee, Woops! Franchise LLC

IoT/Sensor Technology: A Case Study on How It Is Used in the Restaurant Industry

In this session, we will go through the journey eatsa has taken to incorporate IoT/Sensor technology into their concept. Learn how it has changed the way consumers interact with this concept.

Speaker: Alexander Price, Director, Business Development, eatsa

12:15 pm – 1:45 pm

Annual Franchise Marketing & Technology Awards Celebration Luncheon

The Franchise Marketing & Technology Awards will recognize and feature best-in-class marketing campaigns that leverage technology platforms to create innovative programs that have helped franchise companies increase sales and enhance their brands. Winners will be announced during this luncheon.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Concurrent Learning Labs

The Psychology of Marketing with Your Franchisees: Practical Ways to Gain Franchisee Adoption of Marketing Initiatives

Learn how you can make complex or multi-step marketing initiatives digestible and actionable for your franchisees. You will also learn how to ensure franchisees are utilizing the toolbox of materials and campaigns you created for them. This session will also share insights as to what initiatives you should be asking a franchisee to outsource vs. what you should be asking them to do on their own.

Moderator: Jillian Koeneman, CFE, VP, Marketing, Ben’s Soft Pretzels Franchising, Inc
Speakers: Chris Fisher, CEO, Shine Window Care and Holiday Lighting; Fred Mastropasqua, President & CEO, Synuma, LLC; Ali Rauch, Director, Marketing, Chicken Salad Chick; Jenna Shaffer, Partner Enablement and Content Manager, Constant Contact

A Simple Introduction on What is Blockchain

Blockchain - you're hearing about it constantly but what is it, really? Why does it matter to you as a business owner? And what does it have to do with Bitcoin? Blockchain is a utility of trust - and it's far more important of the whole crypto-currency craze: It creates secure trusted for ecosystem interactions. Blockchains reduce complexity and risk in business transactions while optimizing processes across business partners. We'll take a few minutes to unpack the jargon and then get down to where Blockchain shows promise to small business and their partner networks.

Speaker: Sumabala Nair, Engineer, IBM Watson IoT Blockchain

3:00 pm – 4:00 pmOptional One-On-One Appointments with Sponsors

4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Case Study

Come hear from IHOP, this year’s overall winner of the MITcon Awards. IHOP will share their winning campaign with the audience, including best practices and lessons learned.

Speaker: Brad Haley, CMO, Dine Global Brands, IHOP

5:15 pm – 6:30 pmReception

7:30 am – 1:00 pmRegistration Desk Open

7:30 am – 8:00 amContinental Breakfast

8:00 am – 9:15 am


Sit at a table with 8-10 of your fellow attendees and share ideas, challenges and solutions focused on a specific topic assigned to that table. This is an opportunity to have an open forum discussion with a small group of your peers and discuss mistakes, lessons learned and success stories. Everyone participates at the table to get the most out of the discussions, which are led by franchise experts.

9:30 am – 10:30 am

General Session

Facebook: Future is Local

A presentation with Q&A that will cover the value in how a franchise brand can scale growth on the Facebook platform for both national and local efforts. Covered topics would include trends and how to act on those trends, measurement (traditional vs. FB) and solutions to scale (FMP, creative, measurement).

Speaker: Phillip Rather, Head of Local, Facebook

10:30 am – 10:45 amRefreshment Break

10:45 am – 11:45 am

Concurrent Learning Labs

Legacy Franchised Brand Panel: How to Ensure Your Brand Lasts

Hear from franchise leaders on how they have sustained their customer’s trust and remained relevant through the years. You’ll learn what’s worked and what hasn’t from these long-term brands as they have evolved and grown.

Speakers: Adam Gogolski, Marketing Director, Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.; Amanda Ploger, Marketing Director, Moran Family of Brands; Larisa Walega, CFE, Director, Marketing, Ziebart International Corporation

AI: How is This Changing the Way We Live?

We hear the buzz word AI all the time in tech talk. During this session, we’ll explore concepts, like Alexa, to see how they are using AI to enhance their customer experience.

Moderator: Faraz Iqbal, COO, Naranga
Speakers: Sherif Mityas, Chief Experience Officer, TGI Friday's, Inc.; Kris Zanuldin, Head of Connected Commerce, Amazon Pay

11:45 am – 1:00 pm

General Session & Luncheon Presentation

From Quick Serve to Fast-Fine Dining

Originally inspired by the Austin street food scene over 37 years ago, Schlotzsky’s has evolved its business model to keep up with the changing consumer. Today, that model is referred to as “fast-fine” by industry enthusiasts. Schlotzsky’s President, Kelly Roddy, will share the key indicators that change was necessary to keep the brand relevant and competitive in the market. Roddy will discuss the progression from QSR sandwich shop to “fast-fine” eatery, including key learnings on what he coined the 3 Ps: Pace, Personality, and Perseverance. Setting the pace begins with market research on consumer behavior and food trends, finding inspiration and ultimately designing a strategy for execution and delivery. Personality is how the brand is defined by both its owners and guests, addressing the struggle to maintain consistency and stay true to brand origins while facilitating change. Lastly, perseverance is examining and managing obstacles that derail the process. Under Roddy’s leadership, Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery will be the first to bring the fast-fine dining experience to scale in over 35 states across the U.S.

Speaker: Kelly Roddy, CFE, President, Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery

1:00 pm 2018 MITcon Officially Adjourns

Hilton Austin
500 East 4th Street
Austin, TX 78701

MITcon 2018 will be held at the Hilton Austin, located in the heart of downtown and only a block behind the famous 6th Street! IFA has reserved a block of rooms at the hotel for a rate of $256/night for a single or double standard room. Reservations under our block will be made available in early 2019, please check back soon! For now, click on the links below to explore the city of Austin and the Hilton Austin.





To contact the IFA Conferences Department, please email or call 202-662-0763.

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