As Director of Development for Darden International – parent company to restaurant brands: Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House, Capital Grille and Eddie V’s - Rebecca Viani handles the franchise expansion and development for EMEA and Southeast Asia. With over 15 years in the industry, she started her career in Latin America, where she led her company to acquire a master franchise license for a U.S. snack brand. After successful introduction and implementation of this new product into the market, she moved from the franchisee side to the franchisor side, taking a corporate position with multi-brand franchisor, United Franchise Group, out of Florida, USA. Eventually becoming Vice President of Operations, Rebecca played a key role in the growth and international development of one of their brands, as they expanded from 30 U.S. locations to 110 locations in nine countries, over 4 years. Her love for international business then took her to Dubai, UAE, where she became Head of Franchising for restaurant group, Awj Investments, tasked with developing and expanding their franchise department, while leading the global expansion of their brands. Since joining Darden in 2018, Rebecca continues to focus her efforts on the growth of the Darden brands internationally. She is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), with a passion for helping and educating others in the industry. Her career contributions include speaking engagements at industry events such as the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, Global Restaurant Investment Forum and Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference, with written contributions including publications such as Franchising World, Franchise Update and other online platforms.