As fall arrives and a promising new season for the Super Bowl Champion Packers begins, I find myself reflecting upon many things, including the state of the Forum on Franchising. We have much to be proud of, but at the same time, must remain vigilant to ensure that the organization does not stagnate and continues to be the preeminent organization for the study and discussion of franchise law issues. In short, and more simply stated, we must continue to find ways to provide value to our members. If we are successful in meeting this goal, I am certain that our organization will continue to thrive, even in the economic times that we now find ourselves.
When it comes to providing value, there may be no greater value than the value provided to the attendees of the Forum’s Annual Meeting. For those of you who may have been living under your desk for the last year, this year’s meeting will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, from October 19 to 21. If you have already registered for the meeting, I look forward to seeing you there. If you have not registered, you should do so right away. Otherwise, you will be missing out on the preeminent legal educational and networking event the franchise legal industry has to offer. Karen Satterlee and Mike Lindsey, the Program Co-Chairs for this meeting, have literally spent hundreds of hours putting together must see plenary sessions and can’t miss workshops. I am certain that these programs, which feature as speakers some of the best and brightest legal practitioners in the franchise industry, when combined with the social networking events, will deliver on the promise of providing real value to Forum members who attend the meeting. Speaking of “social networking,” keep your eyes and ears open for a new wrinkle this year at the Forum.
Successful organizations, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, all have one thing in common -- great leadership. This organization has been blessed with great leaders over the years. From Richard Ward, the first Chair of the Forum, to Shelley Spandorf, the first female Chair of the Forum, to Steve Goldman, the first outside counsel Chair of the Forum, to my immediate predecessors, Jack Dunham and Ron Gardner, and those in-between. I am grateful for the wise counsel and friendship I received over the years from many of these Chairs while I “grew up” in the Forum. As I take my place among these Forum leaders, I can only hope to satisfy the admonition of one nameless Chair who counseled me “not to screw it up.” I will let you guess the identity of that past Forum Chair.
Last, I would be remiss if I did not give special recognition to the substantial contributions to the Forum and the Chair position by my immediate predecessor, Ron Gardner. I know of no other Forum member with the passion that Ron has for this organization. I will be forever thankful for his guidance and friendship over the years. Becky, Devyn and Zach, you can now have your husband and dad back. Your gain is our loss.
For those of you who will be in Baltimore, please track me down with your questions about the Forum, complaints or ideas for how we can bring value to our members. For those of you I do not see, please send me an email or give me a call. I am always available to chat. Oh, and by the way, remember the 2012 Annual Meeting will be held October 3 to 5 in Los Angeles at the JW Marriott LA Live. Make your reservations early.