Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2016

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

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20 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m We Mean Business > We Mean Business one, and I lost sight of that a few years ago. With the licensing model, I thought I could just give people permission to use my curriculum and they would per- form exactly the way I wanted them to. It didn't happen that way, and the more licensees I got, the more they diluted the brand, because I wasn't able to teach ev- ery single person. To maintain the integ- rity of the program, I've decided to make it a franchise model instead. DW: What does it mean to have a fran- chise model versus a licensing one? EB: We are working on that right now and plan to roll out our franchising model in 2017. With a licensing model, someone pays a fee for the use of my material and the relationship is limited. Franchisees, on the other hand, will get much more support and training. And all locations will answer to us at headquarters. I'm also getting my PhD to make this an evidence-based program and hope- fully bring it into schools. Right now, the only children that have access are the ones whose parents pay. I want to get the pro- gram funded and directly into schools. I'm hoping to do that later this year. DW: What are you the most proud of in your business career? EB: I'm proud that something I created on my living room foor is now being taught to thousands of children. I built it for my baby, and it is now blessing families. Te responses I get from par- ents make my day. Tey love it. Teachers get children for only 180 days per year. When God blesses you with the infuence of being a parent, you need to be respon- sible with what you do with that. And I think KinderJam helps parents relate to and teach their children efectively. I'm really proud of that. DW: What are some of the biggest lead- ership lessons you've learned? EB: When I was in college, I remember the president of our student government as- sociation telling me that not everything I thought was meant to be said. Tis re- ally hit me. Over time, I've realized that once words leave your mouth, they be- long to the interpretation of the listener. I speak with women from a lot of difer- ent backgrounds and am cognizant of my language. Everything comes down to language and word choice. When talking to my staf, I make sure my words are mo- tivating ones. I've also learned to trust in my people. If you're a leader and you've built a sys- tem and trained your people, you have to allow them to execute on their own. It is in my nature to insert myself into situ- ations, but I've learned to be a humble leader, to step outside a situation and be- lieve they will get the job done. DW: What entrepreneurial lesson have you learned the hard way? EB: Te hardest lesson I've learned in KinderJam is not letting go soon enough. Sometimes you outgrow people in your organization and, because of your per- sonal loyalty, you keep them around longer than you should. I've lost money doing that—ruling with my heart rather than my best judgment. I'm still working on that; it's an internal battle. DW: How have your hiring strategies changed because of this? EB: I am much more careful when I hire. Before, I would lead with my heart. All I required was passion and a desire to love children and positively impact families. Now I know that there is a certain level of subject matter expertise needed to be of service. Today I rely heavily on univer- sities and hire a lot of graduate students who are getting degrees in social work and early childhood development. Tis strategy has worked beautifully. Tey are available for weekend classes, are young and eager to learn, and have high levels of enthusiasm. By treating them well and communicat- ing often, I'm hoping referrals will come. I want to build the type of culture where people want to come to work. And since I'm employing students, hopefully they will tell other students. DW: What is your strategy on firing? EB: We don't really fre people. Instead, we choose "not to continue a relation- ship." Each of our instructors is hired for one season at a time. After a season, ei- ther they are invited back or they aren't. DW: What career advice can you offer new college graduates? EB: Don't limit your options. Tere are so many ways to monetize your passion. If you have a strong work ethic, a solution to a problem, and confdence in yourself, go out and explore your passion. Entre- preneurialism is the way of the future. DW: What book are you reading right now? EB: I'm reading Te E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Ger- ber. If you have a desire to be an entre- preneur, you must read this book. It talks about the myth of entrepreneurship— that many people end up just owning a job, not running a business. It teaches you how to get your craft out into the world and build systems to train people so those people can help you go out and scale your business. DW Katie Morell is a San Francisco–based jour- nalist who specializes in business, travel, and human interest–related topics. If you're a leader and you've built a system and trained your people, you have to allow them to execute on their own.

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