I grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, as a first-generation Caribbean American. At an early age, my mother taught me to have a high respect for education. I fondly remember my fifth and sixth grade teacher, who instilled in me a love and passion for learning by fostering a creative and personalized classroom atmosphere where my classmates and I had fun in every subject. I truly loved going to school every day.
My passion for education led me to Williams College, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in political economy and history, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where I received my MBA. While my career has been diverse, including leadership roles at Sodexo, Starbucks, Walmart and 7-Eleven, my passion never wavered and ultimately helped lead me to my current role. I am honored to serve as senior vice president and chief school support services officer at Goddard Systems, LLC, the manager of The Goddard School franchise system. In this role, I provide leadership on brand development, operational excellence and customer engagement strategies to drive long-term growth for a franchise system comprising more than 600 early childhood education schools and 15,000 faculty members serving more than 90,000 young students across the United States.
Climbing to the C-Suite
I am focused on making decisions based on impact and value and like to call myself an operator at heart, as I enjoy making things easier, eliminating redundancies and increasing efficiencies. These skills have aided me in my career progression, beginning as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley and business positions with The City of New York and Deloitte Consulting, and advancing into a variety of operational and franchise development leadership positions at global companies.
As I grew in my career, I uncovered another passion: leadership. In short, I am committed to accelerating performance by providing clarity of purpose, inspiring commitment among my colleagues and unlocking the full potential of teams, franchisees and partners.
Building a culture of trust within my team has always been a top priority. Setting and maintaining high standards has also been a major driving force behind my career. I believe in continuously challenging myself and my team to go beyond what is expected. I don’t want to merely achieve a goal; I want to exceed it.
In addition to prioritizing those key team values, my personal value system has always been something I have never compromised. Simply put, my values matter more than my comfort. I have learned the importance of standing up for my values, even when it may have been easier to remain silent or take the path most traveled. Throughout my professional career, I have occasionally been faced with tough decisions, such as choosing between prioritizing speed or maintaining high-quality standards. Despite facing resistance and potential backlash, I have always chosen to uphold my values and make decisions that align with what I believe is right for my team and an organization’s long-term success. These small acts of courage not only maintained the integrity of the company’s values but also earned the respect and trust of my teammates.
These traits have not only shaped my leadership style but have also positively influenced the culture, performance and overall achievements of the teams I have had the privilege to lead.
Transitioning to Early Childhood Education
When I was first introduced to the opportunity at Goddard, it made me think back to my experience as a young mother and the battle to find high-quality early childhood education options for my own children. My husband and I chose the school for our children that we did because the teachers loved the children AND parents. It’s one thing for a teacher to love, care for and provide quality education, but it’s extremely special – and impactful – to have a teacher dedicated to the parents, too. I loved the idea of being able to help Goddard franchisees create that same experience and peace of mind that we received when we finally found the right school for our children.
At Goddard, teachers play a vital role in instilling the skills children need to be successful in school and in life. With a focus on academic, social and emotional growth, Goddard nurtures the extraordinary in every child during their most formative years.
Goddard’s academic philosophy particularly appealed to me. It’s guided by an inquiry-based learning experience that embraces the natural curiosity and sense of wonder children bring into the classroom. Through child-led experiences, children learn about themselves and the world around them by exploring their interests, investigating concepts and asking questions – fostering skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration. Our schools are wholeheartedly committed to creating a warm, nurturing and safe environment that gives children the space to be curious, take chances, have fun and make connections, building a foundation for a remarkable future.
Fast forward to today, one of my team’s responsibilities is to continually create ways to make things easier on franchisees to create those joyful educational environments. Franchisees have an opportunity to create these environments not only for the children, but also for their faculty. Through my team’s work, they are able to create a workplace where teachers feel prideful about their work, enabling them to love what they do and be the very best for the students and families they serve.
I love what I do each day, but I most value my title as “mom” to my two children and serving as a role model for them. As a daughter of two immigrant parents who made the courageous journey from the Caribbean to New York City, I have a deep appreciation and respect for my heritage, and it has deeply shaped who I am now.
My parents’ lofty ambitions for me emphasized the importance of education, and as a result, fueled my own ambitions and set me on a path of growth and personal development. I’m very glad to be able to bring that experience and my passion to The Goddard School to help shape the next generation of learners, teachers and business owners.
For more information about The Goddard School, visit www.goddardschool.com.