Stars of Franchising Podcast

Stars of Franchising Podcast logo

Stars of Franchising

Stories of Inspiration & Entrepreneurial Grit

Presented by the Tariq Farid Franchise Institute at Babson College 

“How do I find and choose the right franchise opportunity?” “How do I overcome the obstacles and bounce back from the setbacks?” “How do I achieve the scale I’m after?”  

Join hosts Ab Igram and Vini Onyemah to learn from the global pioneers, innovators, and visionaries who are realizing their entrepreneurial dreams through the franchise business model. New episodes every week. 


Listen to Ab and Vini as they dive into everything associated with entrepreneurship, franchising, and scaling with each episode.


Episode 35

Debra Strougo, Row House Founder, Fitizens Partner

“It’s a beautiful form of entrepreneurship to be a franchisee, because you have so much stability and support but you still are the maven of your own market.”

Debra Strougo worked for the New York City mayor’s office in brand development for “the greatest brand in the world.”...

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Episode 34

Vanessa Yakobson, Blo Blow Dry Bar CEO & Partner
“If a franchisee invents a practice that is serving them really well, we want them to let us know so we can package it up and share it in the system.”

The beauty market is one of the hottest in franchising, and with more than 100 locations in the US and Canada, Blo Blow Dry Bar is one of the hottest beauty franchises...

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Episode 33

Shane Franson-Evans, Massage Heights Co-Founder & CEO

“When you’re protecting an emerging brand, you’re protecting the stakes of all the people who’d invested in the brand.”

From taking care of her own back pain to taking care of the owners of more than 100 Massage Heights locations...

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Episode 32

Justin Willingham & Monica Fonseca: An International Perspective on Franchising

“Let’s not be copycats. Create a new demand for new products. Don’t be afraid. Go for it. And if you fail, just get up and do it again.

Our most in-depth look at international franchising yet! Based in Honduras, Justin and Monica have made their mark not only by importing multiple North American and European franchise brands...

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Episode 31

Mark Kushinsky, MaidPro & Threshold Brands Founder/CEO

“There are a lot of things people misunderstand about franchising. People tend to think that if they buy a franchise, their success is going to be guaranteed.”

It took Mark Kushinsky a year and a half as a department store manager to realize he didn’t want to be an employee. He started his own residential...

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Episode 30

Scott Wendrych, FYZICAL Chief Development Officer

“The better and more diverse backgrounds of the people in your system, the better your brand’s going to be.”

A must-listen for current ‘zees, ‘zees of tomorrow, and anyone else contemplating a startup business venture. 

About the Hosts

Ab Igram headshot

Ab Igram MBA'96

Co-Host and Executive Director of Tariq Farid Franchise Institute

As the Executive Director of the Tariq Farid Franchise Institute at Babson College’s Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Ab pursues his lifelong passion of providing entrepreneurial leaders and companies with the tools and knowledge to create social and economic value.

“My dream for Stars of Franchising is to empower and enable current and future entrepreneurs to better understand franchising as a means to scale both as a franchisee and franchisor. I’m grateful to have built a network of proven winners and leaders in the franchise industry, and to give them this global platform to share their passion and knowledge.”

Vini Onyemah headshot

Vini Onyemah, PhD

Professor of Sales & Marketing; Chair, Marketing Division

Dr. Vincent ‘Vini' Onyemah, professor of sales and marketing at Babson College, is an international scaleup expert with decades of experience helping hundreds of companies to grow rapidly in Africa, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and North America. Vini has studied numerous franchising models during his research, teaching, and consulting in more than thirty countries. 

“Franchising remains a formidable, diverse, and inclusive pathway to scaling entrepreneurship and producing entrepreneurs. Stars of Franchising amplifies the inspirational stories and entrepreneurial grit of franchisees and franchisors across the globe. This podcast is both a celebration and a motivation to embark on entrepreneurship.”

Production Team

Travis Gray


Caryn Sowa


Learn more about the Tariq Farid Franchise Institute