Catherine Monson Begins 2nd Year as Chair of the International Franchise Association

Author: Leah Edwards

Catherine Monson, CEO at FASTSIGNS International, Inc., began her second year as Chair of the International Franchising Association (IFA), a first in the association’s 60-plus year history.

Catherine Monson boldly led her FASTSIGNS International corporate team, the FASTSIGNS® franchise network and the IFA throughout an incredibly challenging economic year in 2020. Her work included overseeing the creation of a FASTSIGNS Preparedness site as a resource for the entire FASTSIGNS network, holding weekly Connect with Catherine meetings to keep the network fully informed, and creating motivational videos each week--which she continues to do today--first for FASTSIGNS franchisees and then, at their request, for the IFA. In addition to supporting over 740 FASTSIGNS locations worldwide, suppliers, her corporate team, the newly-acquired NerdstoGo brand, and the IFA in 2020, Monson created an inspirational YouTube video series for the FASTSIGNS/NerdsToGo networks and the IFA that highlighted a wide range of topics including optimism, motivation, overcoming adversity and more.

A strong advocate for small business enterprise and franchising, Monson has served on the Board of Directors for the IFA since 2008. Through her service with the IFA, Monson works to help further the IFA’s mission of protecting, enhancing, and promoting franchising through government relations, public relations, educational programs and enhancing member value. Past committees she has worked on include the Women’s Franchise Committee, the Educational Foundation Research Committee, the Franchise Relations Committee, the Benchmarking Task Force and the Franchise Relations Best Practices Task Force.

In 2009, Monson was honored by the IFA with the prestigious Bonny LeVine Award, which is bestowed on a female franchisor or franchisee who has demonstrated ability in franchising through contribution to the growth of the business, contributions to her community through board positions, volunteer work and activities that promote the professional advancement of women, and contributions as a mentor to women in franchising. Monson was involved with the second annual IFA’s fall “fly-in” event in Washington DC (originally called Franchise Appreciation Day and now called the Franchise Action Network (FAN) Annual Meeting) in 2000 and has attended all but one ever since. In 2014, she testified before the US House of Representatives Workforce Subcommittee on the potential negative consequences of the NLRB’s then-expected expansion of the definition of “Joint Employer.” In 2015, she received the IFA’s first ever “FAN (Franchise Action Network) of the Year Award” for her commitment, dedication and efforts to champion franchising and small businesses locally and nationally through her work with the Franchise Action Network, and in 2018, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Workforce Subcommittee on Association Health Plans.

Monson has also been a panelist or facilitator in breakout sessions at every IFA Convention since 2006 and has served as keynote speaker for the 2016 IFA Convention, the Australian Franchise Convention in 2016, the Brazilian Franchise Association in 2016, the Canadian Franchise Association Convention in 2017 and the New Zealand Franchise Association in 2018.

“I’m honored to be elected to serve in a second year as Chair of the IFA and help lead the franchising industry through various seasons of uncertainty and recovery,” said Catherine Monson. “The IFA continues to provide franchisors, franchisees and suppliers with resources to successfully achieve their goals as business owners and develop a positive outlook, so they, in turn, can successfully lead through these challenging times.”

As the franchise sector is poised to rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Monson’s work with the IFA will center on leading the organization to protect, promote and enhance the franchise business model through teaching and modeling franchising best practices to franchisors, supporting the IFA’s strong government relations, and growing value proposition of membership in the IFA.

“I love franchising; franchising enables people to own their own business, build wealth for their families, create jobs in the local market and create economic growth by benefiting from the power of a brand along with the brand’s marketing, advertising, training and support. I look forward to serving the franchising community through my appointment and doing my part to protect, promote and enhance franchising,” said Monson.


FASTSIGNS International, Inc. is the leading sign and visual communications franchisor in North America, and is the worldwide franchisor of more than 750 independently owned and operated FASTSIGNS® centers in 9 countries including the United States and Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Grand Cayman, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, the Dominican Republic and Australia (where centers operate as SIGNWAVE®). FASTSIGNS locations provide comprehensive signage and graphic solutions to help companies of all sizes and across all industries attract more attention, communicate their message, promote their products, help visitors find their way and extend their branding across all of their customer touchpoints.

In 2020, Fastsigns Holdings Inc. acquired GTN CAPITAL GROUP, LLC the parent company of NerdsToGo, an emerging IT services franchise brand. Learn more about sign and graphic solutions or find a location at Follow the brand on LinkedIn at, Twitter @FASTSIGNS or Facebook at For information about the FASTSIGNS franchise opportunity, contact Mark Jameson at (214) 346-5679.