Childrens Lighthouse VP & General Counsel Featured in Franchising World

Stephanie Russ, VP & General Counsel for Childrens Lighthouse recently wrote an article for Franchising World, where she discussed our brand’s response to COVID-19. As Stephanie highlighted in the piece, as the leading values-based early learning school in the U.S., we have an unfaltering commitment not only to our students, but also to our franchise owners across the country and our employees. Because of this, it is critical to ensure that we are meeting the standards we have set forth and built our foundation on by providing resources to help our owners and families weather this storm. 

Here is an excerpt from Stephanie’s article that further discusses our response: 

Taking Immediate Action 

Before departing on a flight – which we will do again – passengers are instructed that if the cabin loses air pressure and the airbags deploy, they are to place the mask on themselves first before helping others. The logic is that you need to be operating from the strongest position possible in order to be the most help to others. We immediately took this approach when developing a plan to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

We first evaluated the company’s immediate financial position. Following our assessment, we chose to proactively provide financial relief to our franchisees by cutting royalty payments in half. Overall, it was not a question of whether we made the right, best, or perfect call; reducing the royalty payment was an actionable item that would provide immediate relief to franchisees. In this situation, every business partner is sacrificing to help the next partner in the chain. Even with reduced enrollment and staffing, franchisees are paying it forward by keeping their schools open to continue to provide the essential service of childcare. Lenders are deferring payments in support as well.

Honest and Communicative Leadership

In an uncertain situation, it is natural for employees to wonder about job security and the financial health of the company. To combat this insecurity at our Franchise Support Center, we connected with every Childrens Lighthouse Franchise Company employee individually, either in person or over the phone. We did this not only to reassure our team that we were in a good financial position but to also listen to their concerns and offer help where we could. In a collaborative work environment, personal communication is key, and it only made sense to approach this unparalleled challenge together.

Childrens Lighthouse franchisees have also embraced a collaborative approach to manage the crisis. Aubree Fuentes, the owner of Childrens Lighthouse in Riverside, California, has done everything in her power to make sure her staff feels supported both at work and in life. To keep her employees safe, Fuentes limits contact with parents, enforcing the 6-foot social distancing requirement when possible. She also offers guidance for her employees – if they need help asking for rent a deferral, applying for a personal loan, etc. Overall, Fuentes does everything to keep morale up and provide a well of resources and support to her staff.

Like our peers, we are communicating more frequently with each other and our franchisees. We are enlisting the collective knowledge of our franchisees to better the whole system. In addition to providing written communication, we have a systemwide conference call at least twice a week. We are navigating this uncharted territory together, collectively sharing our experiences what has worked well and what has not. Our Franchisee Business Coaches talk to franchisees and school directors every day. We have announced that our team is accessible to franchisees 24/7, and we have franchisees that have taken advantage of that opportunity.

When handling the current crisis and all uncertain circumstances, we approach matters as we always have: process the situation, plan for different outcomes, lead with honesty and compassion, and use our resources to the fullest, even when called upon to make decisions in a short amount of time. 

Learn more about how you can become a Childrens Lighthouse franchise partner.

The Women Who Make Childrens Lighthouse a Standout Franchise

Childrens Lighthouse has made a positive difference in children’s lives over the years by delivering educational childcare through a proprietary curriculum. One of the many facets that sets our educational franchise apart is that, while we nurture through processes and technology, we put children first. We believe that every franchise owner, teacher and staff member can make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve. We are especially proud of the many women who tirelessly contribute to this mission and steer our educational childcare franchise to promising new horizons.

Joanne Webster, the school director of the Woodlands, Texas franchise understands this mission closely. Joanne has over 30 years of experience in the early childcare industry and over the years, her focus has always been on putting children first. Her capacity to lead by example was on full display when she brought a few hours of joy to a family whose six-year-old was battling cancer. Joanne arranged for little Jose Gutierrez to spend a day with Kevin Garcia of the Houston Dynamos soccer team so Jose could indulge his love for the game. Eager to expand children’s learning horizons, Joanne has also worked to offer Mandarin lessons at the early learning school. 

Angela Wolfe at the Little Elm, Texas franchise says she has always known she would be working in the childcare field. The children at the early learning school amaze her, she says. The wonder of seeing children achieve important milestones, whether it’s learning to count or crawl, never dims. Caring for five children of her own, Angela understands what an enormous responsibility early childhood education is and works to exceed parents’ expectations.

Angela and Joanne are but a few of the many outstanding women who contribute daily to the exceptional success of Childrens Lighthouse early learning schools. Our professional women form the backbone of our franchise, and we celebrate their achievements during Women’s History Month — and all year long. 

View our available territories and visit our franchise website to learn about how you can join the Childrens Lighthouse franchise family.

Childrens Lighthouse Celebrates Franchisees and Plans for 2020 at Annual Conference

At Childrens Lighthouse, our franchisees are given the tools they need to implement our nationally acclaimed, research-based curriculum to the best of their abilities and work alongside industry experts on the executive team to ensure excellence on every level. Our annual Owners Conference is the opportune place to do just that. 

More than 40 franchisees recently came together with vendors and the Franchise Support Center at our 2020 Owners Conference in Orlando, Florida. During the three-day event, franchisees participated in training seminars, panel discussions, business enhancement programs and met with key business partners. 

A highlight of the conference was the awards ceremony, where several exceptional franchisees were recognized for making a lasting impact on their communities with their progressive educational childcare innovations, technologies and strategies for providing the highest quality experience for Childrens Lighthouse parents and children across the country. 

Chip and Amanda Palluch received the Franchise of the Year Award, a special honor given out annually at the conference to recognize the franchisee(s) in the system that exemplifies outstanding customer experience, dedicated leadership and extraordinary brand standards. 

Other award recipients at the Childrens Lighthouse Owners Conference included:

  • Community Partner – Mark and Dana Westmoreland (Valley Parkway, Lewisville, TX)
  • Golden Anchor – Aubree Fuentes (Riverside, CA)
  • Rising Star – Aspen Ricks (Gardner, KS)
  • Navigator  – Tonya Sanders (Mag Creek, League City, TX)
  • Rookie of the Year – Varun Sharma (Viridian, Arlington, TX) 

We also celebrated our Directors of the Year, newly Accredited Schools, Franchise Advisory Council, New Schools and 10-year Anniversary Schools. 

With over 50 schools and nearly 40% new school growth projected by the end of 2020, Childrens Lighthouse opportunities are all across the country. 

View our available territories and visit our franchise website to learn about how you can join the Childrens Lighthouse franchise family.

A Better Franchise Opportunity For 2020

Make 2020 your best year yet for business by owning your own Childrens Lighthouse! 

Launched 24 years ago, Childrens Lighthouse provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to open in attractive metropolitan areas. In fact, we’re planning to enter new markets in 2020 with scheduled Denver, CO (Parker) and Tampa, FL (Valrico) openings. These will join the 50 existing schools in communities across the country.

“It is truly amazing to see how much the brand has grown and is beloved by parents and children alike,” said Michael Brown, President of Childrens Lighthouse. “We are excited to continue this momentum throughout 2020 – there is strong consumer and investor interest in the brand and we’re looking forward to further significant growth.”  

The global child care services market as a whole has seen prominent growth in recent years and is expected to reach $520 billion in 2022. Rising awareness of the benefits of early learning is among the reasons for economic growth in this sector. Childrens Lighthouse has stayed ahead of the curve and leads the way in values-based early childhood education – providing care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children. 

Ownership in a Childrens Lighthouse franchise includes a full suite of support services, including site selection, financing guidance, construction administration and grand opening marketing best practices.

With over 50 schools and nearly 40% new school growth by the end of 2020, Childrens Lighthouse opportunities are all across the country. View our available territories and visit our franchise website to learn about how you can join the Childrens Lighthouse franchise family.

Another Year of Success for Childrens Lighthouse

Childrens Lighthouse has had a busy year, exceeding 50 locations throughout the United States! 

In 2019, we opened schools in several areas of Texas, including: 

  • Prosper 
  • Arlington – Viridian 
  • Katy – Nottingham 
  • Brushy Creek 
  • Brookshire – Jordan Ranch 

Additionally, we have numerous schools set to open immediately in 2020 in: 

  • Seabrook, TX 
  • Sugarland, TX 
  • Parker, CO 
  • Corinth, TX 
  • Allen, TX 
  • Mansfield, TX 

To help accomplish this growth, we made a few key additions to our leadership team, including the appointment of Colin Berry as Director of Marketing and Franchise Administration. Berry oversees marketing and new franchisee administration, leading franchisees through the entire opening process. 

“I’m thrilled to join such a vibrant, fast-growing team in the booming early education space,” said Berry. “The Childrens Lighthouse brand is widely recognized as the leader in values-based early learning, and I’m looking forward to making an impact for our franchisees, as they make a difference in their communities through our curriculum and model.” 

We’d also like to highlight the promotion of Jenni Hofherr as Director of New School Support. After working for Childrens Lighthouse as a franchise consultant from 2013-2016, Hofherr rejoined the team in January as a new school coordinator. In the past several months, she has proven her ability to successfully support new franchisees as they open new locations, leading to her promotion to new school director. In her new role, Hofherr leads support of franchise owners as they navigate the pre-opening process and spearheads New School Owner’s Training. 

Notably, we’ve also appointed Shelly Pair as Director of Operations. Pair supports existing franchisees in their year-over-year operations plans and growth while also supporting the development and opening process for new franchisees. 

Stephanie Russ has been named Vice President and General Counsel. In her new leadership role, Russ helps the brand grow with oversight over all departments to ensure cohesive brand strategy and plan implementation. 

Finally, Chrissy Barrow has been appointed Curriculum and Training Specialist, a new role at the Childrens Lighthouse corporate office. These additions to our team will allow us to continue to deliver best-in-class franchisee support to our system. 

Childrens Lighthouse provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to open in attractive metropolitan areas with the benefits of a full suite of support services, including site selection, financing guidance, construction administration and grand opening marketing best practices. We’re looking forward to continuing this momentum, and you can join our success! 

Visit our franchise website to learn about how you can join the Childrens Lighthouse franchise family.

Children’s Lighthouse Joins the Most Reputable Brands in the Nation With Prestigious Recognition

We’ve been ranked on Franchise Times’ Top 200+ list! The list, which is the most comprehensive ranking of the 500 largest franchise systems in the United States, is based on Childrens Lighthouse’s global system sales and number of locations. 

The acknowledgement of being named to this ranking verifies the exceptional growth we’ve experienced in the past year – we currently have more than 50 locations throughout the country. 

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth within the franchise system, and this recognition is a testament to the hard work our team has put in,” said Michael Brown, president of Childrens Lighthouse. “This ranking also gives us the motivation to continue expanding, and I can’t wait to see our continued growth with talented franchisees across the country.”

You have the opportunity to help us continue this momentum! Childrens Lighthouse provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to open in attractive suburban high income areas. Ownership in a Childrens Lighthouse franchise includes a full suite of support services, including site selection, financing guidance, construction administration and grand opening marketing best practices. With over 15 new schools planned to open by the end of 2020 there’s no better time than now to join the Childrens Lighthouse family. Our schools have high AUVs, great sustainability and provide an excellent work-life balance making it one of the fastest growing franchise industries available today. 

Visit our franchise website to learn about how you can join the Children’s Lighthouse franchise family.

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