bannerFranchise News

2022’s Top Franchise Influencers: 175–166

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!

Aaron Chaitovsky

Nominator’s rationale:

Aaron has been a key leader during critical periods in recent times regarding the franchise business model, including major changes promulgated by regulators, such as FASB and NASAA. His accounting expertise, combined with over 40 years of experience working with franchisors and franchisees, has prepared him to make significant contributions to the preservation and growth of the business model. He is the founder and co-chair of Citrin Cooperman's Franchise Accounting and Consulting Practice; immediate past chair of IFA Supplier Forum; past member of IFA Executive Board of Directors; member of IFA FASB task force; member of the IFA budget and Finance Committee; ember of IFA steering committee on Franchising in the Social Sector; member of IFA membership Committee Task Force; FranPac Max donor; past instructor for NASAA examiners; frequent lecturer and speaker regarding all things franchising.

Aaron-Michael Sapp

About Aaron-Michael Sapp (from Cheng Cohen LLC website):

Aaron-Michael is a commercial litigator and trial lawyer. He has been lead counsel on numerous matters in state and federal courts across the country and in arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association and JAMS. Aaron-Michael handles a wide range of franchise disputes, including defending against franchisee-initiated claims (individual, consolidated, and class actions); prosecuting franchisor-initiated claims (franchisee abandonment, enforcement of restrictive covenants, violations of trademark and unfair competition laws); and handling disputes with third-parties (tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets).  Aaron-Michael has also litigated matters involving beer distribution rights and regularly advises suppliers and wholesalers on issues arising under various states’ beer distribution statutes. Aaron-Michael similarly advises his clients on matters arising under state franchise statutes and relationship laws, such as termination and nonrenewal.

Before joining Cheng Cohen, Aaron-Michael practiced at a large law firm, where he worked on a broad range of complex commercial matters and investigations.

Alesia Visconti

LinkedIn Bio: 

As the CEO and President of FranServe Inc, the world's largest franchise consulting & expansion organization, and the CEO and Publisher of Franchise Dictionary Magazine, a digital and print publication, Alesia provides vision and leadership to two extraordinary franchise industry organizations. She has 20+ years experience as a CEO & President, driving organizational development and taking companies to the next level, both domestically and internationally. An author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur, her motto in life is “Work hard, play hard, help others, repeat.”

A savvy entrepreneur, Alesia acquired the struggling start up publication, Franchise Dictionary Magazine shortly after it was formed, and turned it around in record time. The magazine is now one of the leading sources of information that potential franchise owners turn to for information and advice. It receives praises and accolades by experts throughout the franchise industry.

Highly active in the International Franchise Association (IFA), Alesia is on the Board of the Diversity Institute, the VetFran Committee, the Legal Legislative Committee, and the IFA Membership Committee. She travels to Washington DC every year to speak with legislators on the laws impacting franchising and small business ownership. She is also a member of the Franchise Action Network (FAN).

Alesia is passionate about the franchise industry as well as ensuring people have the opportunity to take control of their future and find career bliss. To that end she never loses sight of her mission: to help others achieve their dreams of business ownership through franchising!

Alex Porter

Nominator’s rationale: 

As a Certified Franchise Executive, Alex Porter has been a key leader in franchising and franchising marketing for more than 15 years. As the CEO of Location3, a digital agency that specializes in franchise marketing, he has led the bootstrapped organization to annual gross revenues of nearly $50 million in 2021 with a franchisor partner roster that includes more than 40 brands. He has served on the International Franchise Association’s membership, convention and marketing and innovation committees over the past five years and continues to help support the mission of franchising through a number of business and charitable initiatives annually. As a result of his leadership throughout the pandemic in fostering a strong team culture despite a remote work environment, Location3 has also been recognized as a top workplace by Built In Colorado for the second straight year.

Ali Kraus

LinkedIn Bio: 

Experienced Director Of Event Management with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Event Management, Corporate Events, Special Events, Event Planning, and Meeting Planning. Strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Applied Science - BASc focused on Elementary Education & Special Education from Towson University.

Alicia Miller

LinkedIn Bio: 

Alicia Miller is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Catalyst Insight Group. She supports franchise organizations facing growth, disruption or transformation challenges, and helps them accelerate their businesses. She is also responsible for business development and buy-side M&A advisory services at the firm, including the sourcing, origination and evaluation of investment opportunities for platform operators, private equity, and family office partners.

Ms. Miller is a recognized thought-leader in franchising, serving as an advisor to franchisor leadership, private equity and family office investors, sector influencers, suppliers and franchisees. She currently serves on the board of the International Franchise Association’s certification program, promoting franchising best practices and regulatory compliance. She also serves on the board of Women’s Campaign International and is a director and campaign chair of a regional board of the American Cancer Society. Previously, Ms. Miller was a multi-unit franchisee, led global go-to-market at a $9.5B consumer electronics firm, led sales and marketing for a $750M direct sales company, and held a number of sales and operations leadership roles at firms in the telecommunications and artificial intelligence sectors, ranging from pre-IPO start-ups to large public companies.

Alicia holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MS from the University of Maryland. She graduated from Smith College, with a BA in Economics and Government, and earned a Graduate Certificate in Administration & Management from Harvard University as well as a Graduate Certificate in Franchise Management from Georgetown University. Alicia is a Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor™ (CM&AA), a Certified Franchise Executive™ (CFE), and is Directorship Certified™ by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD.CD).

Alysia Heun

LinkedIn Bio: 

Results-driven Operations & Marketing leader with over 10 years’ experience and substantial success in directing initiatives to support franchise operations at diverse global locations to ensure brand success. Provides strong leadership, implements strategies to ensure the achievement of corporate objectives, and inspires high-performing teams to success. Cultivates trusted relationships with key stakeholders, successfully manages multiple projects concurrently, and is committed to customer service and operational excellence.

Amy Cheng

LinkedIn Bio: 

Amy concentrates her practice in domestic and international commercial transactions, general corporate, and franchise, licensing and distribution law. She represents franchisors on the structuring and operation of their franchise programs through all phases of development. She also represents non-U.S. based franchisors expanding into the U.S. market. Amy has extensive experience in structuring and drafting agreements for complex franchise, licensing and distribution relationships and in regulatory compliance. Her experience includes advising clients in connection with complex issues arising from the ownership of multiple brands, non-traditional opportunities, system restructuring and brand acquisition. Amy also has extensive experience in representing private equity firms in connection with their acquisitions of franchise companies.

Amy represents clients of all sizes, from start-ups to mature companies with multi-national operations. Representative clients include leaders in the restaurant, retail and home services industries. With her broad range of experience, Amy essentially acts as general counsel to her clients, collaboratively maturing their businesses from infancy to prominence within their various industries.

Amy’s commercial transactional practice includes counseling clients on mergers and acquisitions, complex commercial relationships, structuring, and drafting contracts for business transactions; while her general corporate practice includes corporate formation, strategic business alliances and joint ventures. Amy’s unique combination of corporate and franchise experience provides franchisors with comprehensive legal services to expand their franchise systems. Her experience includes representing franchisors in a myriad of industries to acquire and sell franchise companies of all sizes.

Before forming Cheng Cohen LLC, Amy was a partner with DLA Piper US LLP and its predecessor firms.

Andrea Bailey-Brown

LinkedIn Bio: 

Hi! I am Andrea! I have owned five different Jiffy Lube franchises and now I help franchise and business owners to grow sales and increase profit in their business.

As a franchise consultant, I help entrepreneurs to buy, build, and scale their business.

The tool I use to help increase profit in companies is The Bailey Brown Methodology-The 6 Pillars of Profit. It is a framework to help you find profitability in your products and services, clarify your perspective, discover your positioning in the marketplace, identify your ideal audience, and learn the key metrics that affect profitability and cash flow.

A little more about me:

I am a former teacher turn award-winning entrepreneur. I bought my first business when I was in my third year of University when the store I was working at came up for sale.

After I completed University, I graduated with a French major and German minor. I decided to get a J.O.B as a teacher. Although I enjoyed it, I missed the challenge of being an entrepreneur.

In 2008, I went into direct sales with a jewelry company called Silpada. This time, I built a team of 450 people and became one of only four Directors in Canada.

I went back to complete my Masters in Business (MBA) and was given the Entrepreneur in Residence award.

My mission is to help entrepreneurs to become financially independent through their business. I would love to connect with you here on LinkedIn!

Andrii Kawaii

LinkedIn Bio: 

Our company helps people solve complicated problems in a simple and sustainable way.

I really care about the environment, and I carry that dedication through in the choices that my company makes. We prioritize the environment when choosing materials to complete your job, and always use the most innovative technologies and products available. We help you choose biodegradable/hospital-grade materials that solve your problem quickly and safely, and help you feel good about your commitment to the planet.

When I'm not working with customers or franchise owners, I enjoy yoga, running, spirituality and sustainable choices.