With an illustrious career spanning over 14 years at the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA), Lou serves as the Director of Development & Member Services, making him the longest-serving active staff member at CFA. Lou’s multifaceted roles have showcased his unwavering commitment and expertise in steering pivotal initiatives within the organization.
Lou’s journey at CFA has been diverse, marked by his instrumental roles in organizing and executing pivotal aspects such as the CFA conventions, educational programming, and nationwide CFA Franchise Shows.
Renowned as “LinkedIn Lou,” Lou’s impact extends globally, boasting a robust following of over 30,000+ followers on LinkedIn. His influence in the franchise industry was further solidified when he was honored as the 2023 #1 franchise influencer worldwide by SeoSamba.com. A trailblazer in his field, Lou is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) Graduate, notably the first CFA staff member to achieve this esteemed designation. Additionally, he held a CEM Designation (Certified Exhibition Management), a testament to his exceptional contributions in the realm of Trade Shows and Events.
What inspired you to join the CFE program?
I chose the Certified Franchise Executive program due to its reputation for providing comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field of franchising. As someone deeply invested in the franchise industry for the past 14 years, I saw the program as a gateway to enhancing my skills, expanding my network, and gaining a deeper understanding of the intricate aspects of franchising. The structured curriculum, endorsed by industry experts, IFA and CFA, was a significant draw for me.
What does having your CFE Designation mean to you?
The CFE program represents a pinnacle of professional development and recognition within the franchise industry. It signifies a commitment to excellence, continuous learning, and mastery of the fundamental principles that drive successful franchising operations. For me, achieving CFE certification wasn’t just about obtaining a credential; it symbolized a dedication to staying abreast of industry trends, fostering best practices, and contributing meaningfully to the franchise community.
What has been the most challenging part of obtaining your designation?
The most challenging aspect of my CFE journey was managing the balance between professional commitments and the coursework demanded by the program. I had a personal goal of acquiring my CFE designation within 6 months. Juggling a demanding workload while dedicating time to study, attend seminars, and complete coursework required time management and prioritization. I was very nervous about taking the final exam but being well-prepared, a 20 out of 20 on the final was an achievement I’m proud of!
Do you have any advice for current CFE participants or those looking to get started?
For those currently undertaking or considering the CFE program, I would emphasize the importance of commitment and persistence. Stay organized, create a structured study plan, and allocate dedicated time regularly for coursework. Engage actively in discussions, leverage the resources available, and network with fellow participants and industry professionals. Lastly, remember that earning your CFE certification is not just about passing exams but about gaining a profound understanding that will serve as the foundation for your career in franchising. PS: Don’t forget about receiving a special “CFE Pin” and wear it proudly!