Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2016

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: http://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/662902

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Page 20 of 51

We Mean Business > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 19 This founder of a music-based movement class has changed lives—including her own By Katie Morell I t was late in 2008 when El Brown, a former teacher, came up with a business idea that would soon help thousands of chil- dren, land her on Te Oprah Winfrey Show, and create jobs for dozens of women. Te idea was an education-based music and movement class for preschool-age children designed to reinforce lessons learned in school and help with cognitive development. Brown's "aha" moment came in her liv- ing room when she was living at a mili- tary base in California and raising Ricky II, her 18-month-old son. When Ricky II was experiencing developmental delays and a doctor hesitated testing him, Brown took matters into her own hands and de- veloped a curriculum to help him learn to speak and move relative to his age level. He quickly showed signs of improve- ment, and other mothers on the base re- quested that Brown help them work with their kids, too. Soon word spread to fami- lies beyond the military, and KinderJam, Brown's company, was born. Since 2008, Brown has been featured on Oprah and worked with thousands of children through a licensing model in which teachers can purchase tools to create KinderJam classes of their own. Classes are now available in 16 states and 11 countries. Brown is currently getting her PhD in early childhood education, and Ricky II is a thriving nine-year-old. Tis year, Brown will move away from a licensing model in favor of a franchising one. Her concept will be less "KinderJam in a box" and will focus on ongoing train- ing for teachers from a centralized hub in Fairfax, Virginia, where she now lives. Diversity Woman sat down with Brown to hear more about her journey as a CEO. Diversity Woman: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? El Brown: I think so. I remember making a list of goals when I was 17 years old that included getting married, being a mother, and owning my own business. I've always wanted to be the captain of my own ship. DW: Tell me about a problem in your business and how you overcame it. EB: I founded KinderJam as an education- based program, not a recreation-based Licensed to Jam CEO Woman

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