Franchise GrowthLab Team


John DeHart

Chief Strategist

John is our Chief Strategist. He is an expert and experienced franchise entrepreneur who spent over a decade compiling and executing on the best ways to build, operate and grow a world-class franchise system. Since selling his franchise in one of Canada’s largest franchise transactions of 2019, he has advised multiple brands on how to scale, chaired the Canadian Franchise Association, and launched the Franchise GrowthLab Consulting. John knows how tough it is to get past single digit locations and truly scale, and he is inspired to help more franchisors accomplish this. His specialty is strategy and he provides abundant, clear insights and roadmaps to our clients. John also helped build a company that won a Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Award  (2011), and Canada’s Smartest Company (2014). He has been a two-time winner of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and is an experienced keynote speaker throughout North America, giving talks on building culture and brand. He is an avid soccer coach, Cross Fitter and trail runner.
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Travis Tinning

Chief Development Officer

Travis is our Chief Development Officer, a creative innovator and entrepreneur who brings expertise in sales, sales coaching and business building. With a background in sports marketing having worked for professional teams in the NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball, Travis became one of the earliest franchise partners of Canada’s leading home healthcare franchise Nurse Next Door in 2008 and grew it into a multi-million-dollar operation in his market. Experienced in all aspects of franchise development, business growth and operations, Travis brings a unique perspective to the franchisors we work with – that of a successful franchisee. He is an exceptional communicator and motivator who thrives on building strong relationships and putting people in a position to succeed. Leveraging his desire to help others become successful and his knowledge in all things franchising he now leads Franchise GrowthLab in all sales and development related coaching and execution. Fun fact – Travis actually grew up in sunny Penticton, British Columbia as John’s neighbour and buddy down the street, and the two worked together as teenagers in one of their first jobs on the beach selling parasailing rides on beautiful Okanagan Lake.


Gayla DeHart

Chief Relationship Officer

Our Chief Relationship Officer, Gayla has a Ph.D. in Psychology, and is an executive coach trained in mediation who works with companies to provide leadership on branding, culture, communication, execution, governance and strategy. She is a problem-solver and a talented project manager. Gayla has co-owned two franchise systems, and understands multi-stakeholder environments and the necessity of strong relationships between the Franchisor and Franchise Partner, and between the Franchise Partner and their customers. Gayla is involved in our strategy and internal business operations, and is a specialist in helping franchisors manage complex relationships.


Patrick Wyness

Vice President of Operational Systems

Patrick is our Vice President of Operational Systems. A natural problem solver and relationship builder, he brings systems expertise in franchise onboarding, training, and performance coaching to the team. Patrick has been building systems in franchising for over 15 years with two of the most admired Canadian brands, Nurse Next Door and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? helping both grow from 10 to 100+ locations. Not wanting to just sit on the sidelines, Patrick also grew his own 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise into $1M+ award winning location. Having successfully launched and supported 100’s of franchisees in North America and Australia Patrick knows a thing or two about systems and scalability. He relishes the opportunity to implement the best practices he has learned to help emerging brands scale faster and more efficiently with the Franchise GrowthLab Consulting. Although Patrick has won several franchising awards, he’s probably most proud of his back to back fantasy football trophies (2017-2018). On weekends you will find Patrick coaching his oldest son’s soccer team, helping his daughter practice gymnastics, and building Lego with his youngest. 


Hersh Kalles

Franchise Development Lead

Hersh is our Franchise Development Lead. As a development and sales specialist for almost two decades he brings an eclectic background of experience ranging from retail management and franchise development director to being the founder of a social enterprise that impacted the lives of thousands of people in 10 countries. As an educator who builds relationships within his sales process, Hersh has spent the past 7 years in franchise development expanding several North American brands in the home healthcare space and nearly doubling those franchise systems by introducing hundreds of entrepreneurs to the world of franchising. His focus on collaborating with culture-driven, purposed-based businesses is what has made Hersh a perfect fit for the Franchise GrowthLab team as he helps to reimagine and refine our clients’ franchise sales process while walking potential franchise owners through the stages of their own discovery process. As a former Cruise Ship Officer, Hersh has adventured around the world to almost 80 countries while working with people from over 40 countries but today, his greatest adventure, is raising his baby boy with his wonderful wife. 

Serena Pahal

Director of Franchise Launch

Serena entered the world of franchising over 15 years ago – landing with one of Canada’s top restaurant brands and her favourite restaurant to frequent with friends. Here she delved into the franchise development process along with gaining initial insight into developing a real estate pipeline, the cumbersome lease negotiation process and the runway required for build out to opening of a bricks and mortar establishment. From there, Serena joined one of Canada’s most admired companies – Nurse Next Door. On the precipice of explosive growth, Serena was a central part of the Franchise Sales team and grew the model into the US while working with world class thought leaders – who quickly turned to mentors and friends! From there, Serena joined Core Education & Fine Arts (CEFA) Early Learning Private schools for children ages one to five, which was fitting as this was when she started her own young family. At CEFA, Serena lead the franchise development team and project managed the physical development and opening of new schools. From there a unique opportunity presented itself to join one of the world’s top travel brands – Expedia Group as they looked to grow the brand and develop a bricks and mortar footprint in the US through franchising Expedia Cruises while supporting over 200 Franchise Partners across North America. 

With the Franchise GrowthLab, Serena has merged all the best practices from the top brands across North America to take the confusion, fear and frustration out of launching, growing and scaling new emerging systems. Serena aligns herself as your thinking partner – the one who listens, the one who is open and honest and challenges you to create an awesome strategy so you can build the business that your franchisees dream about. The way you launch determines how far you’ll go – and we’ll make sure you’re ahead of the rest!

Julian Deck

Director of strategic implementation

Julian Deck is our Director of Strategic Implementation at the Franchise GrowthLab. He brings a wealth of high growth, entrepreneurial experience, knowledge and zest, helping franchise systems implement scalable, repeatable strategic and operational initiatives that keeps everyone sane and accountable and accelerates growth. Julian started his growth journey as an early employee at lululemon athletica, helping the company grow as the men’s business planner during their white-knuckle ride from $60m to $600m.  He worked cross-functionally, combining his analytic, communication and scalable system skills with the finance, operations and merchandising teams to support lulelemon’s meteoric North American growth. 

After lululemon, Julian jumped into another high growth Canadian business, Nurse Next Door, where he met and worked with the rest of the current Hartify team.  Julian joined as the VP of Operations just as they were launching into the US market. He implemented internal and external communication systems, IT, human resources and analytics programs and processes that helped Nurse Next Door experience 100% plus growth while growing the number of locations from 30 to well over 150 locations in Canada and USA over a four year period.  Julian also took the lead learning and implementing Lean efficiency and One Page Plan execution and accountability systems.  Julian combined all his efforts into one bold package that allowed Nurse Next Door to execute and look like a 200+ franchisor in short order while maintaining their culture, core values and purpose all through high growth.   

After Nurse Next Door, Julian was the COO of a high growth organic vitamin company and VP of Customer Success for a SASS technology company delivering scalable mental health solutions across Canada.  At heart, Julian is a collaborator and integrator of best practices and lives for delivering with kindness his learnings and past experiences to franchise systems who want to boldly grow to profitability and beyond. 

Damir Korniiashik​ - Account Manager, Franchise Growth Lab

Damir Korniiashik

 Account Manager

Damir Korniiashik is our Franchise Account Manager at Franchise GrowthLab. As a graduate from the University of British Columbia’s renowned Political Science and Economics program, Damir brings a disciplined, energetic, results-driven approach to our franchise sales business. His previous experience growing businesses and engagement through marketing, quantitative analysis, public speaking, and international projects allows Damir to apply his passion for transformational growth and leadership development to franchise businesses. Under the guidance of Travis Tinning, our Chief Development Officer, Damir brings the best experience to the franchise candidates as their first point of contact, which is an important and valuable step in the Franchise Growth Lab’s franchise development process and service. Damir continues to develop new business opportunities and recently launched a series of successful social marketing campaigns to drive franchise leads and has successfully secured new franchise partners for our Franchise Sales and Development Program.
Nisa Reehal - Operations & Marketing Intern, Franchise Growth Lab

Nisa Reehal

Operations and Marketing Intern

Nisa is our operations and marketing intern at Franchise GrowthLab. Finishing her final year studying Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Nisa is an enthusiastic and motivated individual that is eager to dive into new challenges. She currently creates professional content for our social media channels and email marketing campaigns and works under the support of Julian Deck. As a 2x National Champion with the UBC Women’s Soccer Team, Nisa brings a team-focused, organized and competitive mindset to the Franchise GrowthLab’s team. With her past experience in program development, project management and working in high-pace environments, Nisa is always willing to lead with kindness and be a creative problem solver.

Laia Zubrecki - Operational Content Manager - Franchise GrowthLab

Laia Zubrecki

Operational Content Manager

Laia is our Operational Content Manager at Franchise GrowthLab. Laia embarked on her journey in franchising after her graduation from the esteemed psychology program at the University of British Columbia. Her experience with franchising began with one of Canada’s most admired and valued brands, Nurse Next Door.

Starting in the heart of operations, Laia swiftly expanded her role within the company, showcasing her versatility and passion and taking on a leadership and mentor role for their busy and operationally critical Care Services Centre. As the Learning Specialist for the Care Services Centre, Laia built the training manual and spearheaded the training program for all new staff members. Her meticulous approach led to the development and implementation of robust processes, tools, and resources, ensuring the seamless day-to-day operations of the center. 

Laia’s leadership during the development of new systems was instrumental, providing training, performance support, and analysis, resulting in a smooth implementation and the cultivation of skilled employees. Venturing further, Laia pioneered the ‘Intakes Team’ at Nurse Next Door, collaborating with the leadership team to create processes and resources for future Intake Specialists. Her adept sales skills and leadership resulted in significant franchise revenue growth, maintaining an impressive call to consult conversion ratio through rapport-building, objection handling, active listening, and personalized service. 

Transitioning to the Operations Team as Communications Specialist, Laia collaborated seamlessly to enhance communication between headquarters and franchise partners. She curated and disseminated daily communications via the intranet, ensuring brand consistency and reinforcing desired messages. Laia also championed internal project communication plans, facilitating project momentum. 

At Franchise GrowthLab, working with clients,  Laia brings her years of franchising experience, organizing and building operational content, operations manuals, clear lesson plans and training materials. Laia knows how to bring the ‘WHY’ and passion into teaching material, creating an engaged audience and delivering scalable results to franchisors. Laia’s goal is to provide clarity for franchisees as they embark on their entrepreneurial journeys, leveraging her expertise to streamline processes and optimize success.

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry.


The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably and smoothly.