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Top Women in Franchising: Jania Bailey, FranNet CEO

With over 20 years of experience in the franchise world, this executive has helped countless other businesswomen achieve their entrepreneurial dreams through franchising.

Jania Bailey didn’t start out in franchising, but her career path led her to it around the turn of the century. During her time in the industry, she has climbed corporate ladders and shattered glass ceilings. Now, 20-plus years later, she is the CEO of FranNet consultant group, a vital part of the International Franchise Association (IFA)a published author and a distinguished speaker. 

After graduating from Murray State University in Kentucky, Bailey had an 18-year career in banking. She served as vice president for several local banks before pivoting to dive deep into the world of business management.  

Bailey was the president of Advanced Management & Training Solutions for a few years, then went on to enjoy more than eight years as Regional Vice President and then Regional Director for Fantastic Sams, a popular salon brand concept. There, she oversaw operational development and support for franchises, maintained the company’s budget, implemented training protocols and more. It was her first taste as a part of a big franchise system, and she quickly found she really enjoyed the segment.

In 2006, Bailey accepted the prestigious role of President at FranNet, consulting service firm. She served in that position for nearly a decade before being promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the company in 2015, a title she still holds today. Her primary responsibilities as head of the company are budgetary matters, vetting new franchisor partners and securing vendor relationships. 

“35 years ago, the brand's founder saw the need for that middle person between the franchise buyer and the franchisors to help match the two. At that time, that was not happening in the industry,” said Bailey. “Frankly, they had a big hill to climb. Many franchisors didn’t see the need and didn’t want to pay a fee for leads. There was a lot of evolution before the broker idea really caught on.”

With Bailey at the helm, FranNet itself was converted into a franchise model with more than 100 owners. She has also been a major influence on the company creating a Broker Disclosure Document and Client Bill of Rights, which have been monumental for transparency in consulting. 

“The company fills a need in the industry,” said Bailey. “We feel connected to our clients and feel we are making a difference in helping them find the right franchise. We also provide a major service to the franchisor because we bring them highly qualified, pre-screened franchise candidates. With our 35-year history, we have people who have been with the company for over two decades. We have five second-generation FranNet franchisees. Our group is like a family. Many people here have been with us for years and are now handing it off to their sons and daughters; the continuation of that family-like feel has been a part of the company culture.”

Over the years, Bailey has also been an active participant in the IFA. She was on the Executive Board and the Supplier Forum Board for a number of years and is now the Membership Committee Chair. Furthermore, Bailey acts as a mentor within the IFA’s FranShip program.

She has also written a few books about business strategy and how to excel in the franchising space: ‘Thriving: The Journey to Success in the Business World’ and ‘More Than Just French Fries: 15 Business Thought Leaders Share Insights on Franchising Success’. Similarly, she has appeared as a keynote speaker at events all over the world dedicated to leadership, team building, customer service, communication skills and strategic planning.

Bailey has been recognized many times for her exceptional work within the franchising industry and her dedication to growing strong and stable companies through consulting services. In 2019, the IFA bestowed her with the Bonnie Levine Award. This honor is given to females in the industry that have made great contributions to the general franchise community. 

“We are pleased to recognize Jania Bailey with this esteemed award,” said then-IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti in a statement about the honor. “Bailey’s career serves as an inspiration to women not only in franchising but for entrepreneurs and businesswomen alike. She is exceptionally talented and brings a warm charisma to the industry as a professional who routinely goes beyond the call of duty.”

Last year, SeoSamba included Bailey on its Top 100 Global Influencers in Franchising list; she has also received the title of Woman of Achievement by the St. Matthews Business and Professional Women's Organization, was labeled a "Forty under Forty" Outstanding Business Leader by Louisville Business First and won a Bell Award for "Outstanding Volunteerism in the Workplace".