The AAFD Franchisee Leadership Council (FLC), also known as the AAFD House of Delegates, is the AAFD’s legislative body charged with setting the political and action agenda of the Association. On July 31, 2020, the AAFD conducted its quarterly Franchisee Leadership Council meeting, led by our newly elected Co-Chairs, Stephen Rymal of Griswold Home Care and Richard Stroiney of BNI.

Rich kicked off the meeting with a warm welcome to the newest Chapters of the AAFD, who have launched since January 2020. These Chapters include (in alphabetical order): Anytime Fitness, Basecamp, Batteries Plus Bulbs, BurgerIM, Fast Fix Jewelry & Watch Repairs, Honor Yoga, Jimboy’s Tacos, Mathnasium and Saladworks. Rich highlighted and emphasized that the AAFD is showing great growth momentum, especially in light of the disruptions in 2020, that can only further help support our Chapters.

With the ongoing impacts that Covid-19 has had on businesses, especially franchisees, many of which will likely not survive without another round of funding, Robert Purvin, AAFDs Chairman & CEO and Keith Miller, AAFDs Director of Public Affairs & Engagement, highlighted the letter sent to US Congressional leaders in support of a second round of economic stimulus to protect franchised businesses in the United States.

There was support within the group for this effort and Stephen Rymal urged all delegates and chapter leaders to re-engage with their chapters and the FLC regarding issues surrounding their business. Additionally, Keith urged the members of the FLC to research who their local senators are and reach out to them to voice and address their concerns.

To help support this effort, the AAFD will be engaging with its LegaLine network to create a template in which Members can use when sending such communications to the senate and congressional leaders. Rich emphasized that actions by the AAFD Chapters will be critical to get the support franchisees will need to support their ongoing business viability.

The work of the AAFD goes beyond supporting its Chapters. AAFD works to be active with legislative efforts and look to its members to set the agenda of the association. The AAFD Franchisee Leadership Summit and Annual Conference is where members gather and work together as a cohesive group, focused on putting those agenda items into action.

Due to Covid-19, the AAFD Franchisee Leadership Summit has been postponed until May 5-8, 2021. The health and safety of our members and our team is of the utmost importance. While we are counting on an in-person Summit, the AAFD is planning to offer a virtual attendance option to accommodate delegates and members who are concerned to travel.

AAFD members are strongly encouraged to actively support their respective chapters, as well as the legislative efforts on behalf of all franchisees. AAFD chapters are much stronger when they work together, supporting one another, especially during a crisis. This is perhaps the most important benefit of being part of an Association.

Living in a time of social and political unrest dramatically impacting franchised small businesses, and with the Presidential election only a few months away, Bob Purvin raised his concern that the AAFD should be a visible and public voice at this crucial time. Recognizing that the AAFD does not wade into political endorsements, Purvin suggested that the FLC might authorize the AAFD to poll members to gain an understanding of their political interests. While a debate may have been interesting, there was no motion to move this forward, however, it was suggested and taken under advisement by the Council, to poll the delegates on how their political views impact and promote the interests of franchisees.

There is much work to be done and the AAFD continually emphasizes the importance of “strength in numbers.” Perhaps there is no better time than now to demonstrate how powerful it can be when franchisees come together as one unified voice, fighting for fair franchising. The AAFD hopes you will consider standing for election to be an AAFD Delegate for your chapter and join the FLC on October 30, 2020 @ noon EST for their next quarterly meeting. All AAFD Members are welcome, and encouraged, to attend our calls and conferences.