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Nonconventional convention musings


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I used to measure my work-life balance by my children. If I found myself coming home from work and regularly regaling my children with stories about the cute things my coworkers said during the day, I knew my balance was off.

At the IFA convention, I had another reality check when my husband Ed was emailing me pictures of paint chips so I could pick out the color I wanted the bathroom painted. Technology is superior in many ways, but choosing a color you’re going to have to shower with for the next five years shouldn’t be done on a cell phone. I have this awful feeling as I sit in the Orlando World Center Marriott writing this that I’m going to regret not asking Franchise Times Graphic Designer Joe Veen to color correct the photos before I selected a hue.

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I thought the reason I never went into broadcasting was because I didn’t have the looks for television. You’ve heard the phrase, “He has a face for radio.” Well, I have the hands for writing. My fingers are very fast, although they sometimes strike the wrong keys.

At the IFA convention former news photographer Bage Anderson pinned a mobile mike on my jacket and warned me that until I took it off, he could hear every word I said.  So much for going to the bathroom alone.

After performing the introductions for several franchise notables in E.H. Anderson PR’s booth, I watched the videos and wondered why I confused a business interview with doing a face exercise video.

My first clue of my unsuitability should have been when Mary Ann O’Connell and I discussed what she would be talking about in her two-to-three minute video later that day. She headed back up to her room to study her facts one last time. I went upstairs to add more gel to my hair. (Mary Ann rattled off her facts like a pro, and my hair was a little flat. Obviously I under-gelled, while she over-prepared.)

My big coup was scoring an interview with Steve Caldeira, the CEO and president of IFA. I also interviewed Franchise Times Publisher Mary Jo Larson, and I have her on tape talking about franchise financing and then turning down my request for a raise. I think Bage may have edited out that last part.

After taping from 4:30 to 8 p.m., Bage then stayed up until 5:30 in the morning, editing videos and adding additional footage. I can’t believe he overslept the general session. Please go on our web site and check out the videos. Bage and Liz Anderson worked hard to produce top-notch multimedia. And if you’re not interested in the news we broke, you can always learn a couple of face maneuvers from me.

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The bar at the Marriott was a great meeting place. That’s where I learned international consultant, William Le Sante, has a photography web site devoted to his hobby,  and that Curves General Counsel Roger Schmidt is leaving Curves to become a solo practitioner. I’m pretty sure the reason he made that decision is because inhouse attorneys aren’t on our Legal Eagles list.

Executive Editor
Nancy can be reached at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com

Shilo Harris, a wounded veteran who is helping the IFA with its VetFran program, was hanging out in the bar Saturday night, being mistaken for the vet who won last season’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Turns out Shilo and J.R. Martinez are friends and both share a love of physical jokes. Shilo, who has prosthetic ears held in place by magnets, said he and J.R. had joked about going into a tattoo parlor to ask how long it would take to get a tattoo on both ears. Shilo said he would look impatient and then hand the artist his ears and say, “I’ll just leave them. Call me when they’re done.” Not everyone would find being able to remove your ears because of severe facial burns to be funny. But who wouldn’t want to see the expression on the tattoo artist’s face, or better yet the reaction of the young clerk at Claire’s, if he altered the practical joke to piercing his ears.

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I cleaned out my office a few weeks before I left for IFA’s convention, and discovered the Hooters Cookbook I reviewed for a story a couple of years ago. Since I was attending a Women’s Weekend with the mandate to bring a “white elephant” Christmas gift or decoration, I decided to contribute my cookbook. I told everyone the reason Ed had given me the cookbook for Christmas was that he didn’t want me to look like a Hooters’ Girl, he wanted me to cook like a Hooters girl. OK, Ed never said that and he never gave me the cookbook. In fact when I made him go to Hooters with me years ago to research my story, he really didn’t enjoy the cuisine­—although the same could be said about my cooking. But I figured a “white elephant” had a lot in common with a “white lie.”

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