As an organization, we have been fortunate to have excellent leadership over the past 30 plus years. As other organizations have struggled, our organization has flourished, even in the face of a blizzard (1997 Forum), an earthquake (1999 Forum), a terrorist attack (2001 Forum) and the recent downturn in the economy (take your pick of Forum years).
Our leaders come from our membership. Some were involved with the Forum for many years before coming into leadership, while others ascended the ranks to leadership on a faster pace. Our leaders run the gamut of our members’ specialties and have included inside and outside counsel, franchisee and franchisor counsel, and litigation and transactional counsel. They have been located throughout the country, as well as from outside the country. They have brought different perspectives to leadership formed by their prior experiences. Notwithstanding their differences, all of these leaders have one thing in common – a passion for this organization and its continued success. It is this diversity of opinion and thought combined with that passion that continues to help this organization maintain itself as the preeminent organization for the study of franchise law.
It is against this very formidable backdrop that I ask for nominations for the future leaders of this organization. We have once again established a Nominating Committee that will select my successor as well as four individuals who will serve on the Governing Committee, all beginning in August of 2013. This year’s Committee will be headed by Ron Gardner, immediate past chair. Jamila Granger of Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, Peter Klarfeld of Gray Plant Mooty, Rebekah Prince of Eisner Kahan & Gorry PC, and Dennis Wieczorek of DLA Piper round out the Nominating Committee. If you wish to recommend candidates to fill these positions, you should email your choices to Ron no later than May 15, 2012. Ron’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Ron, along with the other members of the Nominating Committee, will then make recommendations for individuals to fill these positions. The election of these individuals will take place at the Forum’s annual business meeting held in conjunction with the 35th Annual Forum on Franchising, which will occur in Los Angeles, California.
Speaking of the upcoming Forum, the co-program chairs, Mike Joblove and Leslie Curran, along with the remainder of the Forum’s Governing Committee, as well as those individuals who will be speaking at the Forum, are all working hard to make sure this year’s event upholds the tradition of excellent legal programming combined with plentiful networking opportunities. This year’s Forum will be held at the premier luxury hotel in downtown LA, the JW Marriott. The JW is a part of LA Live, an entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the world-class Staples Center and the Nokia Theater. The LA vibe will be on full display, starting with the unique hotel environment of the JW and continuing with the networking events Mike and Leslie have planned. To that end, the Thursday night event will be held at the historic Belasco Theater, a newly repurposed relic of the early 1900s. Although renovated, the venue has maintained its original architecture and design, but now also has a distinctly LA feel with state of the art sound and lighting technology. Leslie and Mike are busy working on entertainers for this event so, for the moment, we will keep them secret.
Friday evening promises to be truly special with the networking event to finish up the Forum slated to be held at the Grammy Museum, which is within walking distance of the hotel. For those of you not familiar with the Grammy Museum, it is four floors of cutting edge exhibits and interactive experiences, all paying homage to the music and recording industry. Make sure you sign up for this event quickly, as spots will go fast and attendance is limited.
Even in the face of a down economy we have continued to have great success when it comes to attendance at our annual Forum. LA promises to be another smashing success, and I look forward to seeing you there.