bannerGrowing a Franchise

The Top Franchise Influencers of 2023

1851 Franchise has enlisted the help of the franchise community to compile a list of the top people in the industry you should know.

The franchise industry is growing at an unprecedented pace, and this momentum is also giving rise to a wave of influencers who are transforming the space and setting new standards for success. This month, as part of 1851 Franchise’s annual Influencer Issue, we are celebrating the top franchise industry influencers who are leading the charge and shaping the future of franchising in 2023, based on nominations sent to us by our readership. 

These influencers were selected based on their ability to impact the industry through their thought leadership, innovation and influence. From franchisors to franchisees, consultants to industry experts, these influencers represent a diverse cross section of the franchise industry.

Some of this year’s nominees include Catherine Monson, who currently serves as CEO of Propelled Brands, parent company for FASTSIGNS InternationalNerdsToGoMy Salon Suite and Salon Plaza, and as the Immediate Past Chair for the International Franchise Association (IFA). As a woman who has been in this business since 1984, she has seen the marketplace shift and expand over time, an ever-dynamic arena. 

Another nominee is Jana Bailey, CEO of franchise consultancy concept FranNet. She has been a franchisor and executive for decades, and understands the industry from every angle, including board membership for the International Franchise Association (IFA). She's been an innovator who has changed the face of what franchising is today.

Also featured on the list is Charles Internicola, the founder of The Internicola Law* Firm, P.C., a nationally recognized franchise law firm that serves as go-to franchise counsel for start-up, emerging and growth-focused franchise brands. 

Notable franchisor executive influencers on the list include Gigi Schweikert, CEO of fast-growing early education and child care franchise Lightbridge Academy*Wayne Berger, CEO of the Americas for flexible workspace juggernaut International Workplace Group (IWG); Gary Baeur, Brand President of cleaning franchise JAN-PRO Systems InternationalRich Matherne, CEO of ice cream concept Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream; and Randy Shacka, President of the industry-leading moving and storage franchise TWO MEN AND A TRUCK*.

In addition to the individuals on the list, there are several emerging trends in the franchise industry that are shaping the future of franchising. One of the most significant trends is the rise of technology and digital marketing within franchising. Influencers like Greg Macchia, founder of Franchise Hounds Podcast, and Lance Graulich, founder of the Eye on Franchising podcast, for example, are utilizing conversations to put a spotlight on some of the best franchises in the business. Influencers like Trevor Rappleye, founder and CEO of Franchise Filming, are bringing a higher level of multimedia quality to the industry as a leading, full-service video production provider. 

Another trend that is shaping the franchise industry is the increasing focus on health and wellness. Influencers like Brittany Driscoll, CEO and founder of tech-driven massage franchise Squeeze MassageBrianna Keefe, CEO and founder of health food concept Toastique; and T.K. Pillan, founder and chairman of vegan and vegetarian franchise Veggie Grill, are some of the founders leading this charge with their brands. 

Overall, the Top Franchise Industry Influencers are a testament to the vibrancy and innovation of the franchise industry. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, these influencers will continue to play a critical role in shaping its future and ensuring its success for years to come.

Without further ado, here is the full list of 2023's top franchise industry influencers, listed in alphabetical order. 1851 Franchise will also be posting individual profiles on each candidate throughout the month of March. 

Megan Allen, FranPromise

Jania Bailey, FranNet

Wes Barefoot, Path 2 Freedom

Gary Bauer, JAN-PRO

Kevin Bazner, A&W

Wayne Berger, IWG

Charlie Bever, The Entrepreneur Authority

Jeff Bittner, AlphaGraphics

Jackie Bondanza, Houndstown USA

Don Boroian, FRANCORP

Tim Butters, City Cave

Dennis Campbell, Big Blue Swim School

Peter Cancro, Jersey Mike’s Subs

Steve Carey, CertaPro Painters® of Mobile and Baldwin Counties

Liane Caruso, Entrepreneur Magazine

Bill Cesak, Workout Anytime Ellijay

Sharon Cupach, ecomaids

Christo Demetriades, Conscious Capital Growth

Brittany Driscoll, Squeeze Massage

Brent Dowling, Raintree*

Linton Dowling, Raintree

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team

Keith Dziki, Wireless Zone

Kristina Eastman, Level 5 Capital

Corey Elias, Franchise Captain, LLC

Chris Elliott, FSC

Heather Elrod, Conscious Capital Growth

Brandon Ezra, Grand Welcome

Blas Escarcega, Pollo Campero*

Ray Fabik, Caring Transitions

Kyle Farley, Scale Franchise Solutions

Laura Fetters, KidStrong

Jerry Flanagan, JDog Brands

Rhyan Finch, 1st Class Franchising

Rocco Fiorentino, BeneTrends

Bob Fish, BIGGBY Coffee*

Sean Fitzgerald, TruBlue Total House Care

Paul Flick, Premium Brand Services

Cassidy Ford, Entrepreneur Magazine

Rob Gannett, Clintar

Emily George, Franchise Business Review

Toni Gilbert, HoneyBaked Ham Company

Lance Graulich, Eye on Franchising

Michael Haith, Teriyaki Madness

Bob Hammond, Melting Pot

Steve Hart, Property Management Inc

Margaret Haynes, Right at Home*

Erin Hicks, Teriyaki Madness

Jeff Horst, Rocket Barn

Michael Hyam, National Events Management

Charles Internicola, Internicola Law Firm

Danessa Itaya, Bio-One

Jack Johnson, The Franchise Insiders

Jill Johnson, The Franchise Insiders

Bob Johnston, Melting Pot

Faizun Kamal, The Franchise Pros

Brianna Keefe, Toastique

Kristin Kidd, The Lash Lounge

Mark Kushinsky, Threshold

Rob Lancit, Stratus Building Solutions

Matt Lovasz, T.A.C.T.

Adam Long, HomeTeam Inspection Services

Greg Macchia, Franchise Hounds Podcast

Curt Maier, IBA

Eric Martin, Happinest Brands

Tanashe’ Martin, PuroClean

Jackie Martinez, Elements Massage Concord NH

Jason Markowicz, Franchise Fit For You

Rich Matherne, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

Lana Mazin, Raintree

EJ McCoy, Scoop Soldiers

Mark Mele, Paris Baguette*

Katrina Mitchell, Franchise Speakers

Catherine Monson, Fast Signs

Bob Moore, United Water Restoration Group

Thomas Nieto, Main Squeeze Juice Co.

Nick Neonakis, The Franchise Consulting Company

Omar Al-Massalkhi and Mohammad Farraj, Talkin' Tacos

Amanda Palm, Sport Clips* Haircuts

Bryan Park, Footprints Floors*

Kim Perrotta, Worldwise Franchise Development

Paul Pickett, Wild Birds Unlimited*

T.K. Pillan, Veggie Grill

Andrea Prunella, Chip City Cookies

Gara Post, The NOW Massage

Adam Povlitz, Anago Cleaning Systems

Trevor Rappleye,

Kenny Reinbold, Express Employment

Meg Roberts, Franworth

Kelley Rosequist, Dog Training Elite*

Patti Rother, The NOW Massage

Michelle Rowan, Franchise Business Review

Christian Saab, CPG Recruitment

Jaime Sanchez, Interlink

Ian Sapelli, FranchiseSource

Tom Scarda, The Franchise Academy

Ingrid Schneider, Stay in Your Lane

Paul Segreto, Acceler8Success

Sajad Shakoor, Falafel Corner Franchising Corp 

Mark Siebert, iFranchise Group

Ron Silberstein, Bud’s Place Franchising

Gigi Schweikert, Lightbridge Academy


Michael Slupecki, Griswold

Tom Spadea, Spadea Lignana

Ari Stern, Ruberto Israel & Weiner

Steve Strickland, Workout Anytime

Scott Thompson, L5 Capital

Nick Titus, Minuteman Press International

Andrea Trout, Prime IV of FL LLC

Justin Waltz, Level 5 Capital

Samir Wattar, Layne's Chicken Fingers

JW (Jonathan) Weathington, Shuckin' Shack

Karen Wenning, Suttle-Straus

Doug Willmarth, MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes*

Carlie Wilmes, Reimagine CRE

Kevin Wilson, Buzz Franchise Brands

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