Franchising’s Power Players: Brian Woods

Brian Woods, Neighborly

Neighborly’s VP of Franchise Development Discusses Leadership, Diversity and Changing Lives Through Franchise Ownership

Brian Woods is all-in on franchising. As group vice president for home services giant Neighborly, he has led the company’s seven repair brands to new heights. “We exceeded goals for the 2023 unit and EBITDA budget, which played a pivotal role in Neighborly achieving the entire franchise development department budget for the first time in over a decade,” he says.

Although Woods loves tackling business challenges, his passion for franchising goes much deeper than that. “I love the tangible impact of changing people’s lives through business ownership! I appreciate the opportunity to establish relationships with candidates and fellow franchise professionals, learning about best practices and industry trends,” he says. He also appreciates the camaraderie within franchising. “Franchising is FUN!”

Diversity in Franchising

As a Black leader in franchising, Woods actively participates in various diversity events, including panel discussions and webinars, aiming to advocate for diversity within franchising and highlight its wide-ranging benefits. “Undoubtedly, franchising actively promotes diversity. Organizations like the International Franchise Association (IFA) spearhead initiatives emphasizing inclusivity.”

He suggests that franchisors institute programs that attract diverse candidates to enhance support for DEI initiatives. He believes that implementing measures such as fee discounts, additional operational support and flexible financing options can be pivotal. Woods thinks that franchising is off to a great start with programs like IFA’s Diversity Institute, and the Black Leadership Franchise Council, but says there is more work to be done. “Drawing inspiration from successful models like VetFran could provide valuable insights and contribute to driving increased diversity.”

True leaders coach, mentor and actively contribute to the growth of their team.

Brian Woods, Neighborly

Q&A: Brian Woods, Neighborly

A passionate leader, Woods shares his lead-by-example approach below.

1. What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership, to me, is a dynamic blend of motivation, inspiration and active support. It involves recognizing and leveraging individual strengths, providing tailored guidance, and fostering a shared purpose. True leaders coach, mentor and actively contribute to the growth of their team. They are service-oriented, removing obstacles to create an environment where everyone can thrive, both professionally and personally. In the franchise realm, these principles are vital, ensuring the success and fulfillment of every team member.

2. What is your mantra or motto?

To achieve your goals, you must empower others to achieve theirs.

3. What qualities do you seek in your team?

I seek a team that is fully engaged, self-motivated, coachable, and, above all, possesses grit. I value team members who are committed to the overarching goals and demonstrate a collaborative spirit.

4. Who do you admire in franchising and why?

I have deep admiration for Mary Thompson, our chief operating officer at Neighborly. Her leadership qualities and impactful contributions extend beyond our organization to positively influence the entire franchising community. Mary serves as an inspiration for many within our industry, including myself, and she has played a pivotal role as a mentor and confidant throughout my professional journey. Her leadership style and commitment to the franchising community make her someone I truly respect in the field.

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 25 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. As the editorial director of IFPG, she serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill helps franchisors spread the word about their brands and reports on the latest franchise news and trends. A skilled storyteller, Jill communicates franchisor’s messages through feature articles and franchisee interviews.

Jill is an accomplished writer, editor and graphic designer. Her extensive experience includes key roles with major consumer publications, including Boating, Popular Photography, and Design NJ magazines. As founding editor-in-chief of Franchise Dictionary magazine, Jill developed her passion and fascination for franchising which continues to grow in her role at IFPG.
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