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2022’s Top Franchise Influencers: 165–156

Once again, 1851 Franchise and SeoSamba have teamed up to find the most influential influencers in the franchise world.

Franchising is a big world, and it’s only getting bigger. Still, it’s a community, and a fairly close-knit community at that. Franchisors and franchisees across brands are constantly kept abreast of what their colleagues and competitors are up to, eager to implement best practices and leverage the industry’s best ideas. 

That’s why it’s essential for everyone in the industry to know who’s who. Whether you are buying a franchise, franchising your business, growing your franchise or looking for general information on franchising, tapping into the franchise world’s thriving community is vital to your success.

To that end, 1851 Franchise has teamed up with SeoSamba to bring you a list of the most influential people in franchising. 

Publishing throughout the month of February, this list is not a ranking, but a collection of 175 franchise industry professionals we think you should know. To help you connect, we’ve provided links to each professional’s LinkedIn page where available. So read on, and get busy building your network!

Angela Cote

LinkedIn Bio:

Angela Coté is the founder and CEO of Angela Coté Inc. Also known as AC Inc. Also known as the brand that improves franchise system performance - while having fun!

The main focus at AC Inc. is providing franchisors the tools, resources, and expertise that leads to a more profitable, successful franchise system. We do this through our signature strategy: The AC Method, a clear, actionable framework for franchise success.

Angela’s experience in franchising is over 25 years in the making. Growing up with the successful Canadian brand M&M Food Market, her unique background gives her a wealth of experiential wisdom that has helped formulate the signature AC Method for franchise growth.

Angela is passionate about creating actionable solutions and collaborative environments (like the infamous AC Roundtables) that serve the franchise community. Her bold, yet authentic, approach inspires the people around her to play bigger, achieve greatness, and GO BE AWESOME.


Angela firmly believes that franchising is a PEOPLE game and not an OPERATIONAL one. Dig in and get clear on WHO you are looking for, WHERE to find them, and HOW to properly vet them to optimize the odds of success.


Tightening unit economics, improving support systems and communication strategies, and ensuring you have the right infrastructure in place. The AC team is committed to optimizing your franchisee engagement and profitability using a simple, actionable approach.


Maybe you’ve got one location and you’re just killing it. And now you’ve decided it’s time for you to franchise. Well, odds are, you’re probably not ready. Franchising is no easy task. You need buckets of money, processes nailed down, and so much more. Let the AC team jump in and jump-start your dream business.

April Porter

LinkedIn Bio:

As an award-winning entrepreneur with a proven record of success in growth strategy through lead generation, sales training, and employee performance, I have experienced first-hand the joy of building a business that creates a dream life.

I am fulfilling my mission of teaching franchisees how to fill the gap between the franchise model and the executive-level know-how needed to increase revenues, build a reliable team, and scale to multiple locations.

When I started as a first-time business owner, I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of responsibilities in areas that I was unfamiliar with (marketing, sales, employee development and financial management), so I fully immersed myself in learning how executives think, strategize, and execute.

My approach to franchise ownership created explosive growth. We expanded to four locations in record time by cultivating a team of employees personally invested in exceeding expectations and maximizing performance. We used a strategic plan to motivate and empower everyone to drive toward the mission of reaching our BHAG, allowing me to delegate the daily operational tasks and become an absentee owner.

With a passion for mentoring Franchisees, Entrepreneurs, and Small Business Owners, I began teaching the formula to multi-unit success – an evolution from an employee role inside the business into an Entrepreneur overseeing growth and expansion.

I love finding ways to simplify business ownership by breaking down concepts into easy-to-implement, step-by-step processes and introducing out-of-the-box strategies that separate my clients from their competitors.

As a 3x winner of St. Louis’ Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies, an AAFD Trailblazer Award recipient, and an International Best-Selling Author, I am the go-to specialist for optimizing the systems that make delegation possible, implementing marketing and sales strategies with a high ROI, developing an elite team, and scaling to multiple franchise units.

As a former trial attorney and Judge, I understand franchise agreements and teach franchisees to think and act like CEOs within the brand standards of the franchise model they love, setting me apart from other coaches.

I believe that franchising provides an awesome business model that benefits from a franchisee proficient in leadership, marketing, sales, and financial management skills, with a growth mindset.

I am dedicated to mentoring franchisees that want to enjoy life, enhance their impact on the world and crush the competition.

Ashley Mitchell 

LinkedIn Bio:

Recovering perfectionist who values authentic people and meaningful relationships over most things in life.

Comprehensive understanding of brand management, marketing strategy, public relations, franchise marketing, team management and development, event marketing, promotions, market research and social media.

Proven availability to manage multiple projects with competing deadlines and separate budgets. Knack for developing holistic strategies while also ensuring execution of details.

Ashley Xu

LinkedIn Bio:

Managing Director at GreenTree Hospitality Group (NYSE: GHG). Former Estée Lauder Strategic Initiatives Chief of Staff (ELC) and Associate at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) interested in the strategy and translation of impact in the beauty, fashion, and hospitality industries. Prior BCG experience includes projects across consumer goods, industrial goods, and social impact. Economics major from the University of Chicago with a curiosity for the intersection of business and design.

Barbara Moran-Goodrich

LinkedIn Bio:

Barb is CEO and Co-founded of Moran Family of Brands. With over 130 franchise Brands; Mr. Transmission, Milex Complete Car Care, Alta Mere Automotive Outfitters and Smartview Window Solutions in 24 states and now expanding internationally.

Barb currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the IFA – International Franchise Association, as well as a previous term from 2006 through February 2012. She has also been an active member of several committees, focusing on franchise relations, franchise mentorship and women’s mentorship. Currently Barbara serves as Chair to a mentorship program, Franship and is past-chair of the Franchise Relations Committee for the IFA. In 2014 Barbara was honored as the recipient of the Bonny LeVine Award by the IFA for her support and mentorship of others.

Barb has authored articles on the subject of Developing Positive Relationships with your Franchisees, The Role of Mentoring to Improve the Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship, Succession Planning and Transfer, Developing Goals, Networking and Marketing go Hand in Hand and Franchisee Award Programs that Motivate. She has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Business, Franchise Times,, Window Film Magazine, Franchise Update and Gears Magazine and has been a contributor on Fox Business Network, America’s Nightly Scoreboard and MSNBC, Closing Bell.

Specialties: • Setting Corporate Vision & Strategic/Operational Planning• Reorganization & Turnaround Management• Partnerships• Acquisitions/Assimilation• Legal Analysis & Strategic Planning• Development of Operational & Structural Processes• Negotiating Franchise Contracts• Cost Reduction/Containment & Profit Optimization• National Market Penetration & Pricing Strategies• Ensuring Compliance Optimization within System • Forecasting & Budgeting (Operating & Capital)

Blake Smith

LinkedIn Bio:

Whether your business is newer or has been in your marketplace for many years, you have the same goals which are to grow your business. Seasonal businesses are often challenged with keeping a consistent flow of work all year. Growing your business is greatly impacted by seasonality:

  • Need to keep your staff working year around?
  • Looking to increase your revenue and business profits?
  • Want to cross sell to your existing customers?

We have a solution for you. Christmas Decor* was developed out of necessity: Quality Lawn Care (Lubbock, TX) had the need to fill an off-season void and provide year-round work for employees. Christmas lighting was a service people really wanted to buy, and were therefore willing to pay good money to receive.

As the pioneers of the holiday and event decorating industry, we have developed a program that is "consumer friendly"--which gives you a variety of decorating options for your home or business and the ability to add on over time. We also offer complete takedown and storage services for your convenience!

Upon learning the secrets of this business, Christmas Decor became the company's single largest profit center. It enabled the entire operation to grow over 500% in only five years because Christmas Decor generated three things most important in growing a business: Keeping Key Personnel, Growing Your Customer Base and Good Cash Flow. We believe Christmas Decor can offer you these same opportunities.

  • Keep good people all year
  • Offset fixed overhead
  • Utilize vehicles and other assets year round
  • Cross sell to existing customers
  • Expand your customer base
  • Offer a higher margin service
  • Reduce Unemployment Rates
  • Opportunity for personal growth

Bob Fish and Mike McFall

Bob’s LinkedIn Bio:

I would personally like to change the lives of 1 million people in a positive multi-generational way.

We all exist to love people, and support them in building a life they love.

Our company is in a quest to change and improve workplace culture in America.

I began life as part of a family that lived in many places in the United States and Europe, by the age of 17 when I started college at Michigan State University, we had moved 13 times. I put myself through MSU by working at a local family style pancake house restaurant. By the time I graduated I was the General Manger of that restaurant and two years later, after helping them grow from 1 to four locations I owned the third one. I took a year off, and created with my co-founder Mike McFall the concept BIGGBY COFFEE*. we started with one locations in 1995, added a second in 1997, and started franchising in 1999. Today we are 100% franchised and have 250 units open in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas.

Mike’s LinkedIn Bio:

Born and raised in Michigan, Mike began his journey with BIGGBY COFFEE as a minimum-wage barista at the original store in East Lansing in 1996. Over the span of 23 years, with business partner Bob Fish, he has helped create one of the great specialty coffee brands in America.

Today Mike is co-CEO with Bob, and BIGGBY has over 250 stores open throughout the Midwest. The company is in high growth mode, selling tens of thousands of cups of coffee each day. Mike is proud to say that BIGGBY is a healthy, awesome, thriving organization.

He is also the author of Grind, a book which focuses on early stage businesses and how to establish positive cash flow. If Mike’s business philosophy can be distilled down to its essence, it would be this: Be brave. Be humble. Be aware. Be yourself. Be aggressive and conquer the world.

Grind was released on August 6, 2019, and is now available online and in bookstores.

Brent Dowling 

LinkedIn Bio:

Growing a franchise company of just a few units into an industry leading organization requires the precise combination of marketing, sales and organizational strategy. Simply put, it requires a team of industry experts who are willing to get into this competitive world and fight for market share. At RainTree, we love the fight. We are a team of seasoned professionals with a track-record of growing promising young franchise companies into industry giants, reigniting growth for mature franchise brands and setting both up for successful acquisitions.

Brian Schnell

About Brian Schnell (From Faegre Drinker Website):

Brian Schnell is passionate about franchising and product distribution and has devoted more than 30 years to finding practical and often creative solutions for clients. He represents franchisors with headquarters based across the United States and abroad. Brian is committed to focusing on what matters most and making a difference in working with franchisors on their challenges and opportunities.

Brian Petranick

LinkedIn Bio:

As the President and CEO of the global Right at Home* brand, Brian Petranick continues to position this organization as the leading provider of in-home care for seniors and those living with disabilities. Along with providing a strategic vision for the Franchise and Corporate Owned System, he is focused on expanding services that make care in the home environment a solution for all by leveraging strategic partnerships, technology, and innovative ways to engage clients.

Throughout his decades in the healthcare industry and at Right at Home, Brian saw the immense challenges that people, especially seniors and those with disabilities face when receiving care outside the walls of hospitals and other healthcare institutions. With an understanding of all aspects of the care continuum and the global aging process, he is dedicated to inspiring franchisees and their caregivers to live the Right at Home mission: To improve the quality of life for those we serve. Those insights and experiences have helped him grow the Right at Home Franchise System from a single operating office in Fremont, Nebraska, to over 700 locations that span eight countries.

Brian is passionate about the organization’s commitment to delivering the right care to those who want to maintain their independence, health, and overall wellness, no matter where they are in their aging journey. He is also committed to those who deliver care, creating a caregiver community, and growing the company’s global network to serve as many communities across the globe as possible.

Brian frequently serves as an expert on a broad range of topics focused on the aging journey and its impacts on all segments of life, small business entrepreneurship, leadership development, and advocacy within the home care industry. In recent years, he has presented at numerous international conferences and events, and appeared on national media outlets, including Fox & Friends on Fox News, Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family, and The Weather Channel. He also serves on the board of directors for the Home Care Association of America and the Home Care 100, as well as various other boards, steering committees, and task forces within the industry.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.