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About the Series
FranchiseU! provides education and inspiration to those in, or considering careers within, franchising. This podcast is produced by the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence at the University of Louisville. The Center’s vision is to empower communities to create and sustain generational wealth using the franchising business model.
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Kathy Gosser, PhD
Dr. Gosser originally joined the College of Business in 2019. Before joining UofL, Dr. Gosser spent 35 years at YUM! Brands. Her last role with the company was as Director of Learning & Organizational Development and the Chair of the KFC Foundation. She earned her PhD in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development from the University of Louisville, her MBA from UofL, and her BA in Journalism from Indiana University.
Episode One: Mike Grams (Taco Bell)
In our inaugural episode, Kathy Gosser sits down with the President and Global COO of Taco Bell, Mike Grams, to discuss his career in the industry as well as the challenges facing franchisees.
Episode Two: Artie Starrs (Topgolf Entertainment Group)
In this episode, Kathy talks with Artie Starrs, the CEO of Topgolf Entertainment Group, to discuss their unique franchising strategy and the culture that drives their business model.
Episode Three: Matt Haller and Rikki Amos (IFA)
This week, Matt Haller and Rikki Amos join Kathy to discuss the International Franchise Association(IFA). As the world’s largest membership organization for franchisors, franchisees and franchise suppliers, the IFA provides events, advocacy, education, and growth opportunities to the franchise community.
Episode Four: Luis Veras (ITL Management)
Kathy is joined this week by Luis Veras, president of ITL Management, Inc. and Pizza Hut franchisee. Listen to Luis’s journey from the corporate world to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Episode Five: Gene and Yolanda Camarena (La Raza Pizza, Inc.)
This week Kathy talks about the power of education with Gene and Yolanda Camarena. Learn how higher education played a transformative role in the Camarena’s lives as it fueled their entrepreneurial endeavors which include banking, real estate, and franchises like Marriott and Pizza Hut.
Episode Six: Jania Bailey (FranNet)
On this week’s FranchiseU, Kathy sits down with FranNet CEO Jania Bailey, CFE. Bailey has more than 30 years of experience in the banking and franchise industries, including serving on the IFA Executive Board of Directors (where she currently chairs their Membership Committee).
Episode Seven: Lauren Coulter (Biscuit Belly)
In today’s episode, Kathy sits down with Biscuit Belly’s Director of Franchise Development, Lauren Coulter, to discuss her and her husband Chad’s entrepreneurial journey. From their start with Louisville’s first “paint and sip” business to Biscuit Belly, learn about their path to the world of fast-casual franchise development.
Episode Eight: Maggie Payette Harlow (Signarama)
On this week’s FranchiseU! Kathy talks with Signarama franchisee Maggie Payette Harlow. Learn how she translated her experience running the family car dealership into a successful enterprise. Maggie also discusses her commitment to community service in Louisville, including her work with the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Happy Birthday Park, and Metro United Way.
Episode Nine: Omar Simmons (Exaltare Capital Partners)
Kathy talks about investment management with Exaltare Capital Partners CEO Omar Simmons in today’s episode. He shares his experiences with franchise partners, including a tenure as CEO of ECP Planet Fitness.
Franchise U! Episode Ten: Sophia Swemba (Marriott)
On this week’s FranchiseU! Kathy talks with Sophia Swemba, VP and franchise advocate for Marriott. Sophia also serves as a board member for the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence.Learn More
Franchise U! Episode 11: Jody Luihn (LVE Partners)
In today's episode, Kathy sits down with Jody Luihn to discuss his experiences as a YUM! Brands franchisee.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode 12: Aylwin Lewis
On this week's episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Aylwin Lewis. Mr. Lewis served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Potbelly Corporation, a franchisor of quick-service restaurants, from June 2008 until his retirement in November 2017.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode Thirteen: Rob Weddle (Authority Brands)
Rob Weddle is the CEO of Authority Brands. He began his career in franchising in 2002 as a franchisee of The Cleaning Authority.Learn More
Franchise U! Episode Fourteen: Patricia Perry (Edible Brands)
Today on Franchise U! Kathy sits down with Patricia Perry. She serves as Vice President of Development for Edible Brands and is responsible for increasing the global market share for the franchise brands.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode Fifteen: John Cywinski (Dine Brands)
John Cywinski was appointed to the position of President of Applebee’s Grill & Bar in March 2017. As President, Mr. Cywinski is responsible for the overall strategic direction for all functional areas of Applebee’s.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode Sixteen: Doug Flaig (Stratus)
In today's episode of Franchise U!, Kathy sits down with Stratus Building Solutions President Doug Flaig to discuss the world of franchising in the commercial cleaning industry.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode Seventeen: Josh York (GYMGUYZ)
On today's episode, Kathy talks franchise and motivation with GYMGUYZ founder Josh York. GYMGUYZ is an in-home personal-training franchise providing convenient, customized, and creative workouts...Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode Eighteen: Michelle Rowan (Franchise Business Review)
On today's FranchiseU! Kathy Gosser talks to Franchise Business Review’s president and COO, Michelle Rowan, CFE.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode 19: Michael Browning (Unleashed Brands)
Unleashed Brands is a platform company that houses the world’s best franchise brands to help kids Learn, Play, and Grow. Browning launched Unleashed in 2021.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode 20: Craig Dunaway (Penn Station, Inc.)
Craig Dunaway was president of Penn Station East Coast Subs since August 1999 and a member of the Board of Directors since September 2001, and became chief operating officer in 2022.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode 21: Jerry Akers (Sharpness, Inc.)
Jerry Akers is a lifetime entrepreneur. For the past 16 years, he and his wife have grown their Great Clips group from one salon to 36.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode 22: Ruth Agbaji (Code Wiz)
Ruth Agbaji is the CEO, Founder, and Nerd-In-Chief of Code Wiz and she knows first-hand the power of learning to code.Learn More
FranchiseU! Episode 23: Sergio Carvallo (Boston's Pizza)
Sergio Carvallo is the president of Boston´s Pizza Mexico, Canada’s number one casual dining restaurant. Since 2015 he has been responsible for developing the brand in Mexico.Learn More
Franchise U! Ep. 24 Liane Caruso (Entrepreneur Media)
Launching her career in franchising with her marketing agency, Liane Caruso has worked in franchise marketing for over ten years.Learn More