Recognized by the International Franchise Association for her leadership and professional accomplishments in franchising, her mentorship to other women, and her contributions to society
The International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced it will award its 2023 Bonny Levine Award to Tamra Kennedy, a multi-unit owner of Taco John’s in the Twin Cities area. The Bonny Levine Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by IFA, recognizes women for their business and professional accomplishments within franchising and their contributions to society.
“There are thousands of ‘employee-to-owner’ success stories in franchising, but few give as much back to the business model and inspire others to join their ranks as Tam Kennedy,” said IFA President and CEO Matthew Haller. “Tamra is a pillar within her community and serves as a role model and mentor for the next generation of leaders in franchising. IFA is proud to recognize Tam for her steadfast leadership as a member of the IFA and Foundation Boards, Chair of the IFA Franchisee Forum, and engagement in IFA programs and advocacy.”
“Thank you to the International Franchising Association for this recognition and for providing the platform that promotes women in franchising,” added Kennedy. “I am both honored and humbled to receive this award on behalf of all the trailblazers who have led the way and to women in franchising today who model the path forward. I am proud to be included in the company of so many wonderful female leaders and inspired to continue my mission of mentoring women in business like so many who have done this for me.”
Starting as a secretary for a Taco John’s owner, Kennedy worked her way up the ladder and eventually bought the restaurant company. Today, she is now a multi-unit franchisee in the Twin Cities area who has proudly mentored a number of her own employees to become franchisees and works toward inspiring other women to get involved in franchising. An active member of IFA, Kennedy goes out of her way to give back to advance the business model and support those just coming along in their franchise journey. Kennedy has made it her mission to recruit and seat women at the franchisee table, striving to ensure adequate women franchisee representation in all aspects of the business model, and regularly encourages other women to pursue franchising. Kennedy has also testified before Congress, sharing the importance of the franchisee perspective and her unique, inspiring franchising story. More than many others, Kennedy has given her own time and treasure to work toward the betterment of franchising, and especially helping develop other women leaders within the business model.
The Bonny Levine Award will be given at the 64th IFA Annual Convention in Phoenix and recognizes women leaders who have placed an intentional focus on growing and mentoring future leaders. They lead by example, demonstrate purpose, and focus on advancing women in franchising. Past recipients of the award can be found here.
Celebrating over 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations, and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the approximately 790,492 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.4 million direct jobs, $825.4 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and almost 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.
Founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Taco John’s has been serving bigger. bolder. better. flavors for more than 50 years. Today, Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 restaurants in 23 states making it one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant brands in America. With bold originals like Potato Olés, Taco John’s knows how to Olé The Day. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions of its signature menu items that are made-to-order using fresh, high-quality ingredients, seasonings, and sauces. The brand was listed on Entrepreneur’s “Top Food Franchises of 2023” under the “Mexican Food” category and was recently recognized by QSR Magazine as a “Top 15 Chain Ready to Contend as Fast Food’s Top Players.” Taco John’s is led by CEO Jim Creel, who was named one of “The Most Influential Restaurant CEOs in the Country” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2022. For more information, visit TacoJohns.com and follow Taco John’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
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