Mom Entrepreneur: Marina Wolf-Schmidt
Business: Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch
Kiddie Academy provides education and child care services for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old.
What inspired you to start your business?
Flexibility to balance my family life with my daughter as well as utilize my educational background in Child Development from Columbia University. I was challenged as a parent to find a quality childcare for my daughter and this inspired me to create my own center.
How long have you been in business?
I opened the Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch two years ago.
What did you do in your past work life?
Prior to opening up my Kiddie Academy I was Vice President, Human Resources and Director of Training and Development for Fortune 500 companies.
Describe your ideal workday.
After having breakfast with my daughter and driving her to school (as we catch up from the day as well as review her studies), I meet and greet my Kiddie Academy families and enjoy starting off my day with receiving smiles and hugs from all the children. I love watching child development – from infant, to walking and talking into the toddler room.
What have been some of your major successes?
My major successes have been becoming a mother while being promoted to Vice President of Human Resources, owning and operating my own business and receiving my MA from Columbia University while receiving high honors. I find it rewarding to make an impact on both children’s and adult’s developmental progress and it is very rewarding to have a child implement something that you taught them. I have also received many awards on Best Practices for operating a child care center.
What have been some of your major challenges?
One of the major challenges has been opening a new center in tough economic times when clients are losing their jobs weekly.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Exercise and my daughter, family and dogs reenergize me as well as the hugs from my Kiddie Academy children.
Do you have a motivational quote?
Feedback is the breakfast for all champions (Ken Blanchard). It is truly a privilege to be a parent (me).
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Stay focused, persevere, listen and provide outstanding customer service. Do what you say you are going to do.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Flexibility in my work and daughters schedule. I’ll take time off for a field trip but then work later while she is sleeping. I also find time to exercise 4-5 times per week. This helps me maintain a positive outlook and keeps me energetic in both my family and work life. Work hard and play hard. To make sure all our family and business needs are attended to, I sacrifice sleep to manage it all.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
Myer Briggs, One Minute Manager and Seven Habits – by Covey
What is next for your business?
Continue to grow the business in this tough economic time while continuing to provide superior customer service as well as a quality center.
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