Nancy Bigley Receives International Franchise Association’s Crystal Compass Award

SAN DIEGO, CA (March 1, 2022) – The International Franchise Association (IFA) has honored Nancy Bigley, CFE, Brand President and CEO of The Little Gym, International, with its Crystal Compass Award, given by the Women’s Franchise Committee. This award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions through leadership within their franchise organization, the franchise community, or the community in which they live.

The Little Gym is the world’s premier enrichment and physical development center for children ages four months through 12, and is part of the children’s franchise growth-focused platform Unleashed Brands. Bigley was named CEO and Brand President of The Little Gym last October to focus on growing the brand and give more opportunities to families for their kids to learn, play and grow.

“Nancy has made an incredible mark on franchising, and her leadership is taking the industry to new levels,” said Matthew Haller, President and CEO of the International Franchise Association. “With over 25 years’ experience in franchising across a variety brands and sectors, Nancy understands the value of the franchise business model and the positive impact it can have on the lives it touches.”

The Crystal Compass Award was established in 2001 and presented at the Annual Leadership Conference at IFA’s 62nd Annual Convention in San Diego. The Award was established to recognize women and men for extraordinary leadership in franchising within their companies, the franchising industry, or their own communities.

“I am beyond grateful to receive such a prestigious honor amongst my well-respected peers,” said Bigley. “This award signifies the culmination of my hard work and dedicated journey in the world of franchising. Success is never achieved alone. Thus, I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of my career journey and helped me along the way, including the IFA. I am also thankful to the Women’s Franchise Committee for acknowledging me for this very special recognition.”

Prior to joining The Little Gym, Bigley led Twist Brands, which includes Painting with a Twist, Color Me Mine and Chesapeake Ceramics. She joined the company in 2018 after Painting with a Twist acquired competitor Bottle & Bottega, the company she co-founded and grew to 27 studios. A veteran of the franchise industry for 25+ years, Bigley has a strong background in franchise operations and executive leadership having worked with Dunkin’ Brands, American Leak Detection and The Dwyer Group prior to her time in the paint and sip industry of franchising.

About the International Franchise Association:

Celebrating over 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) 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 approximately 775,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.2 million direct jobs, $787.7 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and almost 3 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.

About The Little Gym, International

The Little Gym, International is an internationally recognized program that helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. The very first location was established in 1976 by Robin Wes, an innovative educator with a genuine love for children. The Little Gym International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., was formed in 1992 to franchise The Little Gym concept. Today, The Little Gym International has nearly 400 locations in over 31 countries including the U.S., Canada, China, the United Kingdom, Thailand and more. For more information, visit The Little Gym at

About Unleashed Brands

Unleashed Brands, currently includes portfolio brands Urban Air, SnapologyThe Little Gym and Premier Martial Arts and was founded to curate and grow a portfolio of the most innovative and profitable brands that help kids learn, play and grow. Over the last 10 years, the team at Unleashed Brands has built a proven platform and know-how for scaling businesses focused on serving families. Its mission is to impact the lives of every kid by providing fun, engaging and inspiring experiences that help them become who they are destined to be. For more information, visit