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The 10 most powerful women in franchising

The 10 most powerful women in franchising

There are so many influential and inspirational women working within the UK franchising industry, so we thought we'd celebrate their success by featuring 10 of the leading lights who are paving the way for the next generation

Wow, was this list hard to choose! We could have filled the entire magazine, but here it is - our selection of ten truly brilliant women, all making a difference, contributing to the world of franchising and proving that franchising is most definitely not just for the boys!

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1. PIP WILKINS
CEO, British Franchise Association

Having worked in the industry for the past 20 years, Pip has lived through a literal war in franchising. It is very true that franchising wasn’t always viewed positively, but with the help of her hard work, commitment and determination those days are gone. Without the work of the bfa, franchising wouldn’t be an industry contributing £17.2bn to the UK economy.

After working her way up within the association, she has gained insights from some of the franchising greats and has also experienced some of the great mistakes, enabling her to help protect against potential threats and set the bar high for standards and education in UK franchising. Highly regarded both within UK and international franchising for her dedication and depth of knowledge, she speaks regularly at conferences, seminars and events, representing the UK at the European Franchise Federation and World Franchise Council. Under her guidance, the bfa is one of the largest and most successful associations in the world.

Greatest achievement:
To create a platform for women in business and, in the context of franchising, to shine – tables have turned on female statistics and I will continue to fight for the upward trajectory on this.

Greatest piece of advice:
My one piece of advice would be, don’t be too hard on yourself and never let your past define your future.

2. FARRAH ROSE QFP
Head of International Development, The Franchising Centre

Having worked in international franchising since 1984, Farrah is one of the longest-standing, authoritative, highly knowledgeable and respected figures in this industry, with unrivalled experience in international franchising. She has successfully supported over 200 franchisors with expansion plans across four continents, has trained many international trade advisers at UKTI, advised the Commonwealth secretariat and has worked with Commonwealth heads of the Maltese government, stakeholders and SMEs.

Farrah is a regular speaker at major international franchise seminars, workshops, conventions and conferences and is regularly invited to contribute to and speak at seminars and conventions on international franchising across the globe.

Greatest achievement:
To have served this growing industry for 35 years, witnessing its growth and to have left a legacy.

Greatest piece of advice:
Continue to rely on your intuition as this, combined with a drive to succeed, investing in good people and advisers and carrying an ethical stance, will help you achieve your vision.

3. SARAH KELLY
CEO, Stagecoach Performing Arts

Since joining Stagecoach Performing Arts as Managing Director in 2013, Sarah has led the growth of the Stagecoach network, supervising the opening of schools around the world and orchestrating a major rebranding of the company. She has also led the expansion of the network into new international markets, including China, increasing the worldwide reach of Stagecoach.

Now as the CEO, Sarah continues to manage a network of over 700 schools and more than 3,000 teachers, which instruct over 45,000 pupils. The company now spans 10 countries and six continents and has recently partnered with the mental health charity Young Minds as part of a wider effort to be a means of support and growth for young children. Her plans for the future are to establish the Stagecoach Performing Arts global network as a child enrichment business that develops life skills through the performing arts.

Greatest achievement:
Continuously striving to establish a work-life balance that allows me to do the best possible job.

Greatest piece of advice:
Always do something you love and enjoy, then you will never work a day in your life.

4. CATHRYN HAYES QFP
Franchise Director, Revive!

Having worked in franchising for 25 years, previously as Head of Franchising at HSBC and Head of Business Support at the bfa, Cathryn is now the UK Director of Revive! Responsible for franchisee recruitment, her time is spent looking for ambitious, driven people to join the franchise. Although she has a busy work life, she still finds time to contribute to the world of franchising, being a regular judge for the bfa HSBC Franchisor and Franchisee of the Year awards, contributing articles to the franchise press and presenting at seminars, conferences and exhibitions. She has big growth plans for Revive! so watch this space!

Greatest achievement:
Building the great team of franchise experts at HSBC from a team of two when I started and moving HSBC up to become of the biggest lenders in the franchise sector.

Greatest piece of advice:
Be yourself, don’t try to be who you think people expect you to be! Don’t do anything half-heartedly and don’t be afraid to be ambitious and focused about your plan.

5. SUZIE MCCAFFERTY
CEO, Platinum Wave

Shortly after leaving university, Suzie set up her own refillable ink cartridge shop and five years later had 70 franchisees in six countries. Leaving to help expand a recruitment agency franchise, which sold to a large plc, Suzie then decided to set up her own franchise recruitment and consultancy agency, Platinum Wave.

With over 20 years of experience, Suzie is a well-known personality in the franchising world. This year alone, Platinum Wave is sponsoring and presenting at The Best Franchise Awards, Superbrands and Franchise Fest. Suzie herself took part in a session at the bfa conference, is the Chair of the Scottish Franchise Forum and a member of EWIF.

Among her many awards are bfa, EWIF and WorkBuzz Service provider of the year and International Entrepreneur of the Year at the WeDO Scotland awards.

Greatest achievement:
Platinum Wave, which has become a force for good in franchising.

Greatest piece of advice:
If you believe you can’t do something, you’re probably right.

6. SARAH CRESSALL
Founder and CEO, The Creation Station

Starting the company in 2002, Sarah awarded her first franchise in 2007 and now has 120 franchise partners inspiring over 16,000 people every week. It is estimated that one in 20 children have had a Creation Station party.

Her purpose is to bring creativity into all areas of learning, leisure and life and to create positive differences through creative experiences. Having just launched The Creation Station foundation, bringing creativity to families in times of crisis, she is also developing well-being programmes, creative robotic workshops, corporate creative minds training and experiential Creation Station hub centres at leisure and shopping centres. She still finds time for her family, early morning runs and has even written a book, called Creative Sparks, which reached number one on Amazon. Her biggest inspirations are her family and hearing other people’s stories: “It helps keep my eyes wide open and my ideas fresh.”

Greatest achievement:
Being a mum to three wonderful men, doing something I love and helping others find fulfilment by doing something they love too.

Greatest piece of advice:
You can do more than you think. Don’t let fear of failure stop you, as to fail is a first attempt in learning. Dream big, step out of your comfort zone and unleash your wonderful self.

7. ROZ GOLDSTEIN
Founder, Goldstein Legal

Founder of Goldstein Legal, a thriving commercial law firm specialising in franchising, Roz has extensive experience of franchising, having spent almost 20 years working in the industry.

Goldstein Legal is now one of the most respected franchise legal specialists in the UK, providing legal advice to both franchisors and franchisees. Elected to the British Franchise Association Board of Directors in 2016, Roz can regularly be seen speaking at national franchise industry exhibitions and events. Inspired by business owners who “have got there the hard way, building their business from scratch”, she is looking forward to growing Goldstein legal and developing her fantastic team.

Greatest achievement:
Establishing Goldstein Legal and making it the success it is today.

Greatest piece of advice:
Don’t stifle the power of your personality. It could be your greatest asset.

8. CHRISTINE KELLY
Founder and Chair, Little Kickers Group

From her initial investment of £200 in 2002, Christine has seen Little Kickers grow into a $30 million business, with franchisees in over 30 countries and over 65,000 children attending classes every week. In 2019, Christine was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Aston University for her contribution to entrepreneurship.

Asked what inspires her, she says: “I am constantly inspired by other entrepreneurs, particularly those who aim high and operate outside their comfort zones.” She plans to continue to grow Little Kickers and to focus more heavily on the not-for-profit aspects of the business going forward.

Greatest achievement:
Building a company that has a positive effect on the people it touches – the franchisees, the coaches and the children attending the classes.

Greatest piece of advice:
I have never really viewed myself as being defined by being a woman. I was brought up in an environment where boys and girls were treated the same, so I do not have any expectation that a person’s ability is defined by their gender.

9. LOUISE HARRIS
Franchise Manager, easyStorage

Louise has had a varied and hugely successful career in franchising for over 13 years, specialising in taking a concept to franchise and selling it. Joining start-up easyStorage in 2019, she is involved with everything from recruitment and coaching to working with suppliers and even writing the operations manual.

Winning a number of awards, ranging from EWIF New Woman Franchisor of the Year in 2012, bfa Franchisee of the Year in 2016 and an EWIF Special Recognition Award in 2019 for work in the industry, she also speaks at various EWIF and bfa events and writes regularly for the franchise press. She is inspired by ‘regular’ women who overcome adversity to achieve great things and enjoys the company of strong women who “just get on with things!”

Greatest achievement:
Running the New York Marathon and passing her motorcycle test.

Greatest piece of advice:
You can do it, but when things feel as if they are going wrong, ask for help from someone you trust. Network and get around good people.

10. HELEN MANSFIELD
MD, Encouraging Women into Franchising

A young woman with a passion for franchising and women in business, at just 34 years old Helen took on the prestigious role of MD at EWIF. Her dedication and understanding of the franchising industry, combined with her progressive and inspirational approach, is helping to further propel EWIF into the limelight.

EWIF is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at encouraging more women to consider buying a franchise business, encouraging women to franchise their existing businesses and helping franchises attract more women into their networks.

Greatest achievement:
Travelling around South Africa alone was an amazing but challenging adventure. The experience helped me to develop skills that I’ve been able to bring into the business arena and has given me the drive, determination and belief in myself to make a difference in the industry.

Greatest piece of advice:
If something is challenging, that’s all the more reason to do it. It will allow you to develop and realise abilities that you didn’t know you had, which will help grow you as a person.

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