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Three Top-Notch Professionals Join IFA


Jenna Weisbord, 310-995-0839 

Three Top-Notch Professionals Join IFA
WASHINGTON, March 14—IFA has added three new staff members: Mary Heitman is the new Executive Vice President of the IFA Franchise Education and Research Foundation, Beth Dailey is Vice President of Marketing and Leah Shimp Vass is Executive Assistant to the CEO and Associate Director of Government Relations and Public Policy.

“We are excited to welcome three experienced professionals to the IFA staff. They will be instrumental in helping move forward IFA’s mission to protect, enhance and promote franchising,” said IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti, CFE.

Heitman brings experience in development, marketing and management from the association industry and private sector. She recently served as Vice President of Retail Programs at the National Retail Federation, managing strategic initiatives and retail programs within the digital, marketing, information technology, security, loss prevention, and technology standards retail verticals.

Prior to that, she worked as Deputy Director of Development at the Trust for the National Mall, a $350-million capital campaign and partnership with the National Park Service.

Her previous experience includes leading the fundraising operations at the Republican National Committee, Republican Governors Association and National Republican Senatorial Committee. Mary’s background in the private sector includes 10 years as owner of a turnkey marketing and fundraising firm offering analysis, strategy, brand development, and sponsorship to corporate, political, and non-profit clients.

Beth Dailey joins IFA after 10 years with AARP, where she successfully launched and grew a number of brands within the AARP family including “Create The Good” and “Life Reimagined.” Her responsibilities included positioning and growing the brand, creating and executing a brand strategy across digital and print channels, and shifting the organization to a sales-focused product strategy. Prior to AARP, Beth worked for The Discovery Channel, where she directed the Discovery Channel Store retail seasonal and marketing engagement strategy, and led cross-functional teams of creative development, direct marketing, e-commerce, merchandising and operations to drive sales through retail, digital and direct mail/call center channels.

Leah Shimp Vass comes from CIT Group, Inc., a longstanding IFA supplier member company, where she was Assistant Vice President of Government Relations for the past two years. Leah was a key part of the Government Relations team and managed the CIT political action committee, among other duties. Prior to that, she was the Director of Scheduling for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for more than 13 years. Leah maintained the senator’s schedule, determined priorities by working closely with the legislative, press and state staff, as well as the Finance Committee and Judiciary Committee. Prior to that, Leah was a special assistant for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Republican Staff.


About the International Franchise Association
Celebrating 56 years of excellence, education and advocacy, the International Franchise Association 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 more than 733,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 7.6 million direct jobs, $674.3 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy and 2.5 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.

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