The IFA Hall of Fame
This week, I had the incredible honor of being inducted into the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Hall of Fame. As I enter this prestigious community of Hall of Fame recipients, I do not do so alone or on my own merit, but by the grace of God with many mentors, colleagues and friends who helped show me the way. To call it humbling doesn’t even begin to describe things.
My father, Don Dwyer, introduced me to the IFA some 40 years ago and encouraged me as a teenager to “get in there and ask questions and learn from others.” Fast forward, and that is exactly what continues to make the IFA such a collaborative, supportive and rewarding place for its valued members today.
I know my father is smiling down from Heaven as I follow in his footsteps into the Hall of Fame, the only father and daughter duo to do so. He was the quintessential optimist for everyone in franchising, saying, “I don’t see you for who you are. I see you for who you can become.”
As with so much in life, we are often consumed with seeing ourselves as “we are” and not who we might become. Yet, in the moment, that character often shows itself and grabs hold of one's senses to achieve great things. And we rarely do so alone. In fact, some of the best happy endings are for people in franchising who achieve their greatest dreams through the pathway of franchise ownership awarded to them.
I am the woman I am today because of three pillars in my life – my faith, my family and franchising. My faith, first and foremost, has provided untold peace and harmony to address any and all things, no matter the struggles. Additionally, it has been a monumental blessing to be the daughter of an entrepreneur and franchise founder, to grow up with a mother and brothers and sisters in a business of multiple franchise concepts, to experience this lifelong career in franchising and witness people reach their highest aspirations. I equate franchising to a ministry that lifts us all up together. I have also experienced its incredible strength first-hand in the toughest of times.
Did I ever imagine Don Dwyer taking the company public and then suddenly passing away with no succession plan? No.
Did I envision the 9-11 attacks on the U.S. while being stuck outside of the country with an urgency to help our organization forward and reinvigorate the VetFran program along the way? No.
Did I foresee turning our operationalized Code of Values at The Dwyer Group into a platform to write two books and share a vision about the power of living and leading with strong values? No.
Did I think we would take our company private, create multiple PE partnerships over the years and, with the guidance of an incredible leadership team, establish Neighborly -- the largest organization of home service brands worldwide? No.
My faith, family and franchising were the foundation that carried me through all of life’s challenges and opportunities. And if giving is better than receiving, I pray that my life’s work has included many benefactors.
As I wear this Hall of Fame honor with humility, I credit the franchising community for making it possible. I thank God for equipping me to contribute and experience a life in service to others.
Today, as I look at my grandchildren and their generation, I see a future full of possibilities. They are our franchisees, our associates, our vendors and our customers. And I hope to instill in them the incredible power of living R.I.C.H. with Respect, Integrity, Customer focus and Having fun in the process in their lives. Because as I look at them today, I don’t only see them for who they are. I see them for who they can become.
May their journey be as blessed as mine.