Global Women: Female Leadership in International Franchising

Global Women: Female Leadership in International Franchising

In the U.S. we are privileged to have many women senior franchise executives (some of whom are profiled in this issue--Editors). We also have the Leadership Conference at the annual IFA convention, which is put on by the very active IFA Women's Franchise Committee. And, of course, we have the Women's Franchise Network, which has meetings during the year across the country. But what about the rest of the world? There are many, many women leading franchise companies around the world. Here are just some of them.

  • Australia. The Franchise Council of Australia is this country's version of the IFA. Its Women in Franchising (WIF) Committee is a very busy group with a representative from each of the six states in Australia, and each year makes a Franchise Woman of the Year award. In 2015, Marlies Hobbs, founder of the Paleo CafĂ© franchise received the award. Previously a lawyer, Hobbs saw a need for a Paleo lifestyle In 2012, the annual award was given to Carolyn McManus, a of The Coffee Club, a highly successful local franchise chain. She has also been the brand's Franchisee of the Year several times.
  • Canada. Lorraine McLachlan is the president and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association, a vibrant association that is very active for its members and for franchising in Canada.
  • Chile. Veronica Pinto, the senior commercial specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service office in Santiago, focuses on helping U.S. franchisors enter this first-world country in South America. She is known for finding innovative ways to market U.S. brands to find their licensees.
  • China. Yao Li, CEO of Right at Home China, was the CEO of the large Beijing Yinda Property Management group until she acquired the Right at Home master franchise license for all of China a few years ago. She is the founder of the BN Vocational School, the first charity school for ?underprivileged youths in China. She saw the commercial and giving back opportunities for the Right at Home business for China and recently been focused full-time on developing the brand across China.
  • India. Rajeev Manchanda, managing director of Inventure India and an executive of the Franchising Association of India, highlights several women in his country in senior roles:
    • Mala Venkat is senior trade specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service office in Chennai. Over the years she has helped a large number of U.S. franchisors find their India licensees and find their way in the wonders of the Indian market.
    • K. Veena is the founder of the Natura's chain of hair and salons. Her chain now has 450 franchise units across India and is considered the #1 hair and beauty chain in the country.
    • Shahnaz Husain founded and operates the Shahnaz Husain Herbal chain with franchised units in the Middle East, Central Europe, Africa, and Western Europe. In addition to the salons, the group markets its 375 products in outlets worldwide.
    • Sudha Gupta is the founder and chair of Mother's Pride, a pre-school with a scientifically planned curriculum and computer instruction she started in 1996. Today there are 50 schools across India developed using the franchise model.
    • Vandana Luthra founded VLCC Health Care in 1989 to transform lives. The company, with 301 locations in 134 cities in 11 countries in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, is widely recognized for its solutions and therapeutic approach to beauty treatments.
  • Mexico. Angeles Avila manages international license development in Mexico for the Feher & Feher group, an active IFA member. She is in charge of helping foreign franchise brands enter Mexico with the right licensees and with a full understanding of the market potential. Martha Sanchez is a commercial specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service office in Mexico City who focuses on the franchise sector. Over the years, many IFA franchisor members have successfully worked with her to enter this neighboring market. Sanchez is known for her attention to detail and for her understanding of how to deal with U.S. franchise executives.
  • Poland. Ma?gorzata Boru? is the key account manager for Profit system, a Warsaw-based franchise development group active across all of Central Europe from Poland through Bulgaria. She helps the company's franchisor clients make use of Profit's expo, magazine, online portal, and investor database assets to find licensees.
  • The Philippines. Amy Palisoc is vice president for corporate planning for The Bistro Group, the country licensee for TGI Fridays, Buffalo Wild Wings, Texas Roadhouse, and several other international food and brands. Yvette Orbeta is president of the Philippine Franchise Association and chair of Wenphil Corp., which has developed the Wendy's franchise across the Philippines.
  • Spain. Angela Turrin is an international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service office in Madrid. She specializes in franchising and has taken on a Europe-wide role to coordinate U.S. Commercial Service resources for U.S. franchisors.
  • Tunisia. Rym Bedoui Ayari, as a franchise consultant, has assisted Tunisian companies in negotiating licenses for Chili's, Hardee's, Johnny Rockets, Papa John's, and Wing Zone. She is currently assisting other foreign brands to enter both the Tunisian and French markets.
  • Vietnam. Le Hong Thuy Tien is president of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPP), the country licensees for Domino's Pizza, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, and Popeyes Louisiana Chicken. IPP is also a major retail store operator with 150 stores selling well-known international brands that include Rolex, Chanel, Ferragamo, Burberry, Cartier, Versace, and many more.
  • The United Kingdom. Farrah Rose, a frequent IFA convention speaker, has advised U.K., U.S., European, and Middle Eastern franchise companies for many years in her role as director of international development at The Franchising Centre. She also advises governments in several countries on the value of franchising as business growth model.


What we see across the world today is the continued growth of the franchise model as a way to establish and grow businesses and increase local employment. Entrepreneurship is alive and well across many countries in the franchise sector, as it is here in North America. Today we increasingly see women executives in the franchise sector leading this growth.

William Edwards, CEO of EGS LLC, has 40 years of international business experience. He has lived in 7 countries, worked on projects in more than 60, and has advised more than 50 U.S. companies on international development. Contact him at 949-375-1896,, or read his blog at

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