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Executive Ladder


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Hard Rock International named Michael Beacham senior vice president and COO of corporate cafes. Antonio Bautista was promoted to senior vice president of franchise operations and development, filling Beacham’s former role. 

Tristan Kinsley joined D.P. Dough Franchising, a 21-unit college calzone delivery chain, as director of franchise development. 

An executive with more than 30 years of foodservice experience, Jim Peros is the new chief operating officer at Togo’s Eateries. 

CREAM, the San Francisco-based dessert franchise, appointed Helen Gutierrez as marketing manager. 

Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning promoted Kristopher Antolak to vice president. 

John Gelson is the new vice president and general counsel at Jersey Mike’s.  

Pieology Pizzeria added Stephanie Lambrecht as vice president of operations. 

Front Burner Brands hired Maryellen Torres as its first-ever chief brand officer, while Michele Whaley became the new senior director of marketing.  Stacey Floberg is the new marketing director for The Melting Pot. 

Mike Shattuck, formerly president-international at Focus Brands, joined The Alhokair Group to expand its retail conceptsto markets in the Middle East. 

Josh Kern is Smashburger’s chief marketing officer.

Previously with Taco Bell and Fannie Mae, Vada Hill joined Jackson Hewitt as chief marketing officer. 

Deli Delicious Franchising named Foad Saffarzadeh as director of franchise operations, Ali Nekumanesh as executive vice president and Mehdi Lajevardi as franchise support representative. 

John Pindred is the new chief financial officer for Anytime Fitness. He will also serve as CFO for Waxing the City. 

Meineke Car Care Centers appointed Danny Rivera as the brand’s new president. 

Bringing 17 years of marketing and advertising experience, Kristina Van Bruggen joined Sizzler as its new vice president of marketing. 

The Entrepreneur’s Source added Art Coley to its advisory board. 

Greg Tanner, co-founder of the Tanner Franchise Group, joined J.D. Byrider Systems as an adviser. Tanner recently retired as the national director of franchising for Aaron’s.

Mark Belanger is vice president, franchise at El Pollo Loco.


It’s full circle in women’s fitness for EnVie’s new ops director

Liberty Harper started in the women’s fitness business at age 18, in 1998, when Curves was not yet in California and her parents bought a franchise that she operated in San Diego.

Liberty Harper

Liberty Harper

They bought another franchise a year later, then sold them both in 2000, just as Curves sales were booming. “I thought great, what do I do now? I was at the ripe old age of 20,” she recalls with a laugh.

She then started Liberty Fitness, and with financing from her parents grew it and sold it in 2004. At its peak the chain had 60 locations in 18 states. “I resigned in 2007. I had a little bit of founder’s syndrome,” she said of her experience after selling her brand to a private equity firm.

Now she’s director of operations for EnVie Fitness for Women, a new concept that started in Australia two years ago. “They saw a need for smaller gyms for women, age 35 to 65, who just don’t want to go to a big-box gym but they want attention.

“I’ve been around women’s fitness for a long time, and literally, if I were to start something on my own, it would be EnVie” (pronounced the French way: onVEE.) The brand has two locations in the United States, and she’s counting on her contribution to franchisee training and support, and the expertise of her boss, Gary Findley, to help the brand grow here.

Even though Curves is past its prime, she still gives props to the pioneer in women-only gyms. “I think Curves did a phenomenal thing with the circuit they developed, and the target demographic they developed. They opened the door to women who might not have felt comfortable before,” she says.

And she believes EnVie is perfectly situated to pick up the slack when Curves locations close. “The bottom line is, the members who no longer have their Curves to go to, still are looking for their gym. I picture these ladies wandering around saying, ‘Where do I go?’ This will be the answer for them.”

—Beth Ewen

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