Asa working mother, Primrose Schools President and CEO Jo Kirchner constantly struggled to balance a full-time job with finding quality daycare for her children--a common issue facing parents across the United States.
Kirchner has long been a supporter of empowering women through franchising, especially working mothers. In 2017, IFA presented Kirchner with the Bonnie LeVine Award for her contributions to the community and her continued mentorship of women in franchising.
Kirchner started with Primrose Schools in the early 1990s, and in 1999 was named president and CEO. Since taking the leadership role, Kirchner has helped expand Primrose from four schools in Atlanta to more than 300 schools nationally, providing early childhood education for more than 48,000 children.
WOMEN IN FRANCHISING
Today, women comprise nearly 50 percent of the American workforce. More and more women are making the decision to own their own businesses, where they can make a lasting impact in addition to a good living. Women operate many schools in the Primrose franchise system. To Kirchner, women are desirable franchisees as they tend to pursue things they are passionate about. She said women tend to be more "mature in business."
In the service business, where building trust and relationships with customers is important, women excel. Kirchner points out that "today's customers are already pre-dispositioned not to receive service excellence, so when you go above and beyond their expectations, you can really build a successful business."
WORDS OF WISDOM
Serving as a mentor for other women in the franchising community has been one of Kirchner's most important roles.
She attempts to share her wisdom with others in hopes that together they can continue to grow opportunities for women in franchising. Kirchner said she believes that "women in business or franchising typically have 'type A' personalities that often comes along with a sense of perfectionism and very rarely is it possible to be a perfectionist in business."
She said there are pros and cons; striving for perfection is an important aspect for being successful in business, but it can also create a constant sense of not achieving what you believe you can achieve. "Celebrate what you achieved versus focusing on what you didn't," she said.
RECRUITING FROM WITHIN
Primrose Schools uses its network of parents as a recruitment tool for potential...