The Child Care Business Podcast

Episode 9: Leading with an Innovation Mindset | Marnie Forestieri

June 24, 2021 Procare Solutions
The Child Care Business Podcast
Episode 9: Leading with an Innovation Mindset | Marnie Forestieri
Chapters
The Child Care Business Podcast
Episode 9: Leading with an Innovation Mindset | Marnie Forestieri
Jun 24, 2021
Procare Solutions

In this episode, we sit down with Marnie Forestieri – a woman whose unique journey lead her from journalism to leadership roles in a Fortune 50 telecommunications company to eventually child care and curriculum development. 

Marnie talks about how it’s important to her to live a legacy where she can help other people, which is why she decided to leave corporate life for the child care industry. From working in a friend’s child care business to owning her own, Marnie discusses what she’s learned and how her experiences have led to her current venture: Young Innovators Academy. 

Other topics we cover with Marnie include:

  • The idea of “curriculum disruptors” and how curriculum must be not only fun to learn, but also fun to teach
  • Designing experiences for young children that empower them and pique their curiosity
  • How to hire a great team and the valuable information you can learn from staff who decide to leave

About Marnie:

Marnie Forestieri is a powerhouse in the child care space. A native of the Dominican Republic, Marnie immigrated to the U.S. in 2006. 

This quote from Hispanic Executive Magazine perfectly encapsulates Marnie’s diverse and impressive career: “From CNN Spanish journalist, to family-business property developer, to documentary filmmaker, to writer, to corporate vice president, to preschool teacher, to curriculum designer, to successful entrepreneur, Forestieri has navigated her way to the forefront of early-childhood development services.”

Marnie is currently the CEO and founder of Young Innovators Academy and has numerous early childhood books under her belt.

You can connect with Marnie by visiting her website: https://www.younginnovatorsacademy.com/

Additional Resources:
To get more insights on ways to succeed in your child care business, head over to our Resource Center at https://www.procaresoftware.com/resource-center/.

Contact Us:
Have an idea for a podcast or want to be a guest? Email us at [email protected]  

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we sit down with Marnie Forestieri – a woman whose unique journey lead her from journalism to leadership roles in a Fortune 50 telecommunications company to eventually child care and curriculum development. 

Marnie talks about how it’s important to her to live a legacy where she can help other people, which is why she decided to leave corporate life for the child care industry. From working in a friend’s child care business to owning her own, Marnie discusses what she’s learned and how her experiences have led to her current venture: Young Innovators Academy. 

Other topics we cover with Marnie include:

  • The idea of “curriculum disruptors” and how curriculum must be not only fun to learn, but also fun to teach
  • Designing experiences for young children that empower them and pique their curiosity
  • How to hire a great team and the valuable information you can learn from staff who decide to leave

About Marnie:

Marnie Forestieri is a powerhouse in the child care space. A native of the Dominican Republic, Marnie immigrated to the U.S. in 2006. 

This quote from Hispanic Executive Magazine perfectly encapsulates Marnie’s diverse and impressive career: “From CNN Spanish journalist, to family-business property developer, to documentary filmmaker, to writer, to corporate vice president, to preschool teacher, to curriculum designer, to successful entrepreneur, Forestieri has navigated her way to the forefront of early-childhood development services.”

Marnie is currently the CEO and founder of Young Innovators Academy and has numerous early childhood books under her belt.

You can connect with Marnie by visiting her website: https://www.younginnovatorsacademy.com/

Additional Resources:
To get more insights on ways to succeed in your child care business, head over to our Resource Center at https://www.procaresoftware.com/resource-center/.

Contact Us:
Have an idea for a podcast or want to be a guest? Email us at [email protected]  

Speaker 1 (00:08):

[inaudible] welcome to the childcare business podcast brought to you by ProCare solutions. This podcast is all about giving childcare, preschool, daycare, afterschool, and other early education professionals, a fun and upbeat way to learn about strategies and inspiration you can use to thrive. You'll hear from a variety of childcare thought leaders, including educators, owners, and industry experts on ways to innovate, to meet the needs of the children you serve from practical tips for managing operations, to uplifting stories of transformation and triumph. This podcast will be chalk full and insights. You can use to fully realize the potential of your childcare business. Let's jump in

Speaker 2 (00:53):

Morning, everyone, and welcome again to the childcare business podcast. Uh, now that we've had a few of these episodes, uh, it's always a pleasure to introduce myself. I'm Ryan, Gwaltney here with ProCare software and, uh, as always, we try to pick out guests for our, our podcast that we think are, um, able to deliver quite a bit of value and conversation around their experience in our industry and the things that they're contributing both, you know, in the past and today and how they see things moving forward. And, and today is certainly no exception. Um, want to introduce to our audience a fabulous guest, uh, Marnie Forrest airy. She's a powerhouse in the childcare space, a native of the Dominican Republic, Marnie immigrated to the U S in 2006. And I, and I just want to read a quote maybe to get us started from a Hispanic executive magazine, which I think perfectly encapsulates Marnie's diverse and impressive career. Uh, here it goes from CNN Spanish journalist to family business, property developer, to documentary filmmaker, to writer, to corporate vice president to preschool teacher to curriculum designer to successful entrepreneur for stereo has navigated her way to the forefront of early childhood development services. Uh, Marnie is currently the CEO and founder of young innovators academy and has numerous early childhood books under her belt. We're extremely honored to have her join us today. So, um, let me welcome you Marnie. Welcome to the podcast.

Speaker 3 (02:36):

Thank you so much, Ryan. You're a wonderful host.

Speaker 2 (02:40):

Well, I appreciate that. You're saying that early in the episode too, so we'll see how you feel towards the end, if that's still the game. All right, here we go. So I've got to ask, you know, I always, you know, if you've heard a few of these episodes, you know, one of the reasons I signed up to participate in these is as a sales rep with ProCare for many years, I spent most of my time just getting to chat with customers and hear stories and talk about their business. And, you know, is that kind of, my career has moved along a little bit. I get a little bit less of that on a day-to-day basis. So I usually spend these sessions talking story with our customers, but I, I do want to dive in really quick, maybe into a little bit of the content around your experience and some of the work you've done in the industry.

Speaker 2 (03:27):

And then I want to circle around to talk a little bit about your story too. Um, you've written in particular, you've written a couple of books, uh, for our industry around our industry. And I want to ask you if you could specifically two books that I'm looking at the basics at starting a childcare business and the basics of leading a childcare business. And, and I, what stands out to me about those is they're two distinctly different books. Can you like describe the Genesis of maybe your first book and then what led to the followup book, which I think the second book was the leading childcare, correct? Absolutely.

Speaker 3 (04:05):

Yeah. So actually it's a series of books and that kind of pass that church, eh, to the new generation of entrepreneurs coming into the industry. So it was actually a Griffin's house idea. So they came up with, um, with a survey from, from different, I guess, readers interested in, in kind of like a comprehensive system on how to do it together. So, um, they entrusted me with, with a mission of creating those systems and kind of, um, a gathering that data in, in that specific thing. So they started off, we started off with, okay, how do you open a childcare center? And then we said, why don't we go on, talk about how do you lead the childcare center? And now we're, I mean, the process of writing the third book of a series, and I don't know how many books we'll end up having, but the third one is about marketing and customer service in the childcare industry and how all departments are interconnected.

Speaker 3 (05:06):

Um, so each book has taken me to my next level as a researcher and as a writer. So I really enjoyed the summertimes because this is when I go into hiding mode. Like I hibernate, I gain a few pounds, I might go into like, and I start writing the book. And I, in order to write books, you don't have to read a lot of books, see a lot of trends, not only for, for, from our industry, but from the diverse industries. So that's why I love the summer. I am actually entering that hybrid. My family knows that I am about to start the writing process. So they respect the rule or kind of set up on layout for them. But the wonderful thing is that as I ride them, I start sharing all those experience that I had while the years that will be useful for, uh, for, for, for the new generation or the current break generation, like operating our childcare centers.

Speaker 2 (06:04):

Yeah. So when you write, I want to go back, like, who was the basics of starting childcare when Griffin house came to you? And I apologize if I'm pronouncing incorrectly. Was that your very first book that you had authored at that time?

Speaker 3 (06:16):

No, I actually, um, it was actually, I think it was my fourth or fifth book. My, I became a curriculum designer by accident. So our first book, I started writing my first books that were related to curriculum design. Um, that was stem play back in 2014 or 15. I don't remember. That's when I started writing. And the first book, I did it with a group of professors from the university of central Florida. So I had written books before, but they were very different and because I was a journalist, that's one of my pensions and I am, I am a natural communicator. I, I sometimes talk a lot. So when you talk a lot usually, and you can also, if you have a skillset of being a researcher, then you could be, and you write decently, then you can like share what you like, what you've learned with your writing.

Speaker 3 (07:17):

Um, so those were the first books that I started writing. First. I gained confidence by working with a group of professors, but, and I noticed the opportunity to close the gap between academia and what was going on in the classrooms. Um, and because I had the opportunity to be in the classrooms and be a preschool teacher myself, I, uh, this is kind of funny because my first language is not English, but I always say that I am a translator. You know, like current trends, like, like what was happening academia and what the teachers were actually doing in the classrooms. So sometimes it was just the way of saying it to a teacher and the teacher would connect with the way I was saying it to them because I gave them actions that I gave them a specific example so they could understand more, oh, this is what the research is saying.

Speaker 3 (08:12):

So that's how I became, I became a curriculum writer. And then in our second book, I write what I write with, uh, Dr. Devin Mitchell, who is one of my dearest friends and a she's, I would say H less because I feel she is like a teenager and she is a retired professor, but she was always coming up with this disruptive ideas because that's what we're all about. So we are, I at hard curriculum disruptors because, and that's what young innovators is because we are really concerned. And then when you asked me that question, I'll walk you through why we're so concerned about a curriculum on the way we teach, um, different age groups, but especially in preschool.

Speaker 2 (09:01):

Yeah. Yeah. Cause I do, I want to talk a lot about, uh, you know, I like the term that you use that we're disruptors, we're curriculum disruptors. And I think it somehow stems from what you were talking about a few minutes ago, which is there's a disconnect in academia and what actually is happening in early child care environments. There's a difference between maybe what's being taught in universities and what these teachers are actually experiencing in the classrooms. Can you elaborate on that a little bit for us? Like what you, what you mean by that? And maybe an example of what you've seen as that disconnect.

Speaker 3 (09:37):

So I would say that the disconnect is that sometimes we have to talk to the teachers right in the way that, that connects with them. So sometimes it's all about delivery. How do you deliver the message? And I think that has been our gift and sitting down professors with teachers and the professors asking teachers for feedback on how to do it. So every time young innovators is an art curriculum is a white canvas that is always improving because every year we sit down with, uh, practitioners that are in the classrooms, and sometimes they have hard things to say, they say, this didn't work out with the children. We all set up the expectations and the environment that we want to create. And we do our best writing. But at the end, the teachers are the ones in the classrooms. And they're the ones that see if it's going to work or not.

Speaker 3 (10:38):

Or this, if this lesson plan was like to advance for the kids or if they were not really having fun. And that's one of our principles. If the kids are not having fun, we're not going to do it. And if the teacher is not having fun, we're not going to do it. So it's that, that's, that's what I mean by connecting both sides of the, the university and the academia with the teachers and having this open conversation in which the teachers feel empowered and on hurt on what's really going on in the classrooms. And also about the challenge that they're facing, uh, when teachers come to us as administrators now, um, w we have to be able to provide the answers I need. We don't know. We have to be very candid and say, we don't know, but we know somebody that knows our friend that knows, or I can do a move. I can elaborate. I can research and try to find answers for you.

Speaker 2 (11:38):

So, so when you are working with both, you know, obviously on the academic side and the, these institutions that are equipping the next generation of teachers, and you're also working with teachers, I would imagine that a important component of that process is making sure that you're hiring really good teachers, because you have to be able to trust the feedback you're getting from the classroom. So do you personally, like in your schools, as you sit and review curriculum with your teachers, how do you, how do you determine, and I asked you this question so that other owners and directors can maybe glean from this, how do you personally determine what feedback that you can take from teachers, which is, is valid. Like, Hey, this is actually constructive, valid feedback versus maybe a lazy teacher or a teacher who's grumpy, so to speak. What does that process look like for you and any, you know, maybe, um, key points that you could share that's been successful for you in that, in that process?

Speaker 3 (12:41):

Well, um, to start with the people that are invited into the conversation, the serve, do we own the table, their contributors, their, their, their wants that follow our cultural guidance. Like we don't want any negativity, or we don't want the, the teacher that is just going to complain that nothing works. Like we have a maker mindset and we practice that ourselves. I there's one word that I really don't like, or one phrase I don't want to do it, or that can not be done. Like whoever spares that it works in my team, I sh like I shut down and I'm like, okay, this person is definitely not part of our culture. So, because that were the, and that's why it's so important to like, establish those guidelines with our teachers. Like we practice what we teach and that begins with us. And there's ways that you communicate with each other.

Speaker 3 (13:38):

And the purpose of it is to fulfill the mission of the company. That's that that's beyond what, you know, how you feel in the moment, or, or if you want to do the job or not. So whoever is invited into the conversation actually deserves to be there. But in terms of the first part of your question, how do we select this teacher? Like over time, I've been doing this so long that we have created a profile of an ideal teacher. I can smell a group teacher, like the moment she walks into the door, I'm like, oh, like great teachers. We have, uh, we share things in common, like where they're caring. Um, they're, uh, they're enthusiastic. They love children. They wouldn't do anything in the world because they really are passionate about that. So, so

Speaker 2 (14:26):

I got, I got to ask this question. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but when you say that you can, you can feel it when they walk through the door. Do you really find that nowadays, as you screen staff, that from the moment somebody walks in the door, are you pretty accurate on being able to predict if that individual is going to work out or not? Well, absolutely

Speaker 3 (14:45):

Not. That's what we created across this thing. Wasn't working. You can have a bread feeling, but you need a process. And that we walked through the process in the second book. And while you have an image, everybody can pull you in a first interview. Everybody can seem to be very enthusiastic and they love that. But you also see that in their track record, in their history, right, they've done this enough so that you know, that they did, they stay with the previous employer for a long time. What were the results? Why do they want to keep on doing this? But we D we have created a process that is based on a lot of social listening, listening to teachers and gathering the feedback and, and developing that process and that onboarding process to actually make them successful. Right. Because what's happening in the current situation, in the current turnover landscape is that you're pretty much hiring and you put somebody in, in the classroom because you need a warm body. Right. So,

Speaker 2 (15:49):

Yeah, we've heard that so much over the past, you know, six months, especially, it seems like,

Speaker 3 (15:54):

Right. If there's a short shortage of labor, all industries are facing that. And imagine in our industry is even more, is harder to recruit. But if, um, if you have this process for onboarding, and if you have your kind of like, you understand what your selling points as an employer, if you have a better chance of matching the good teachers like that, that really want to make a difference, uh, or that follow your, your, or the share your same values.

Speaker 2 (16:26):

Yeah. How do you do that? Cause I, I want to, I think you've done an amazing job, like watching your businesses over the years. And, you know, I had a chance, I was reviewing some notes. You and I have worked together going back many, many years, even to your very first school, um, back in the day. And then I watched a lot of your growth over the years, which has been exciting, but you've obviously found a system that works for you. And you, you mentioned something that I think is really critical. You talked about selling your school because as much as candidates are trying to sell themselves, so to speak and try to impress you to earn employment opportunities in your environment and your school as employers, you're also doing the same thing. Like we're trying to attract the greatest talent out there to carry out our mission as employers. And you're doing that for your schools. How do you personally, like, is it when you bring new employees in to interview them, are you sharing your mission statement? Are you sharing your values? What for you personally, what's your approach to selling your school to, to quality?

Speaker 3 (17:27):

Well, I think in that age, um, social media, eh, other employees will do that for you. So I think, um, more than ever, this is an enter connected. Um, eh, I mean, it's marketing and service and an employment everything's interconnected, eh, I'm employee, before they even walk into your school, they will look at all your reviews. They want to know if it's a good place to work with. They want to know if you have a bad review from a former employee. So they do a lot of research before they, and not only them, the parents do. Right. So you are out there. So that's why the marketing is the integrated is customer services. Like everything goes back to that parent experience. And if, to answer that question, yes, you do need it to actually gather that feedback, that positive reviews and ask the employees so that you are aware of why are my best teachers here?

Speaker 3 (18:36):

Why do they work? Like from, it might be that because they have the summer off, it might be because of the culture. And the only way we're going to find that out is by asking them, because what we discovered, and I think the book I mentioned, we had a period of high growth in the previous company. I found it a high turnover. I couldn't explain why what was happening. And it was even before COVID, uh, you know, like I'm no longer part of that, but I was like, I was really worried because like, what's going on? Like people. And when we started doing this exit interviews, um, I was in shock because what that employees were saying was actually very different to what was really what we thought was the problem. So that's why it's so important. Um, it was in, in, in that case, it was about leadership in the schools. It was. And that's why I, I, I, it all goes back to how you feel as an entrepreneur. And I talk a lot about that. I think thus, the culture of the school always go, goes back to the founder and how you feel about that and your immediate team. And I, and that's how we'd all stars that that's how culture is trickled down.

Speaker 2 (19:59):

Yeah. And I think you said, you know, I read this about you. I don't can't remember. It was an interview that I read that you had given, or maybe one of your pieces that you've published, but you talked about that, you know, everything that you're talking about, culture and, you know, attracting talent and retaining talent, it all really trickles back up to that founders, kind of their, why? Like, why are you doing this? Why are you entering into the early child cares. Right. Talk about that. Is that something that you knew, um, from day one that was kind of a driving, you know, kind of light for you, or is that something that you had to learn as you got started in the industry?

Speaker 3 (20:39):

So as an entrepreneur, you have many options. There are a lot of easier things that you can do. This is really, uh, uh, like a difficult industry to answer. You do need a very strong why, because people that come to the, into the industry from the room with are like wrong mindset motives and leaving the industry, you have to be passionate, you have to really understand. And that goes back to why I started, um, and why I decided to actually invest in this type of businesses. And that was early in my career. When I, after a corporate career, I wanted to choose an industry where I could like live a legacy where I could actually help other people, the children and the families and other entrepreneurs. I really, it goes back to my original mission or why I started in industry. So every time that I've been, um, like I faced a challenge in the industry that I said, well, I always go back and ask the same question.

Speaker 3 (21:50):

Am I still leaving a legacy? Am I living my best life? Is this company, or is this partner or this environment the best like, environment for me to grow. And I take rough decisions, uh, and because I have to respect my mission, uh, like I left my previous company just like that because I couldn't be there anymore. It was not the room to grow for me. And because I made the mistake of partnering with people with different value systems. So that was back. And I decided, you know what? I am going to just start again. But this time I'm going to respect the mission and I'm going to respect the values that we have. And then probably my, my team followed. And that's how young innovators was born.

Speaker 2 (22:45):

Yeah, that's amazing. I mean, those are tough decisions to make. It seems like every great founder story has those forks in a road or where you've had to make, you know, whether it's a decision stepping out in faith or a really difficult decision where it doesn't make sense on paper, walking away from money, walking away from equity, walking away from potential because the belief isn't there. Um, I love to hear those stories because we need people that are following their passions and staying true to, you know, kind of what's driving them inside. How did you just speaking on that topic, you have a really interesting background pre childcare, maybe not there too traditional path that we see. How did you land in childcare? Do you remember? Was it like a day or a moment where something, some door opened and you knew like this is for me, or was it more of a process of time for you?

Speaker 3 (23:41):

Well, um, I think it was, I think I, I think childcare found me let's put it that way because I asked, um, after like a successful career in telecommunications and journalism, I decided that I was going to have an easier life or I'm going to be my own boss and I'm going to work less, spend more time with my family. Well, I was wrong.

Speaker 2 (24:10):

Yeah. It's like the anybody in childcare would say, Hey, I'm going to take the easy path and go into childcare. I don't most people in this industry would, wouldn't say that's crazy. Absolutely.

Speaker 3 (24:18):

So that's how I started. But, um, I started looking at different business opportunities, but going back to those questions, why would I do that? Right? Like, why would I want, would I be leaving a legacy? I was looking for a legacy business. And, um, I always say that childcare found me by accident because I have a dear friend that has a beautiful, one of the most beautiful programs in Orlando. And she was facing a health challenge. And during her time at the hospital recuperating, she asked me, look, can you step down and can you go to my childcare center? And I visited her center and I fell in love. I was like, this is the most beautiful business I've ever seen. Um, and I seen her evolution as well, and I'm so grateful to have been part of that. And she was my first mentor, uh, in the industry. Um, so that's how I kind of stepped into the childcare industry.

Speaker 2 (25:16):

And when you started helping her out, you know, back at that time, what was your role in, in her school? Obviously you had kind of leadership background and business acumen. Were you in an administrative capacity or were you in a classroom teaching at that point? Actually,

Speaker 3 (25:31):

I was just, um, not even a consultant that was doing it, like helping my friend, like just with billing and things like that, like just on her standards so that when she would come back, it will be still running efficiency because you had to take a leave of absence for a couple of months and she didn't have somebody to take care of that. So I ended up for free and I went there and I just helped the teachers, but that's how I discovered the industry and that I really liked. But previous to that, I had managed hundreds of people in, in, in the telephone, which gave me a very abroad experience into different departments in the organization. So I had that ability to, um, to manage different teams. And that experience that comes with that is, was really valuable. I always say that working in, in, in that industry and telecom was my, like, like was better than any education that I received because I earned by doing

Speaker 2 (26:34):

Your MBA. Yeah. That was kind of your, on the job training, MBA way back. So pre ProCare, I w I was in the telecom industry too. I worked for big 50 telecom company, completely different industries. Um, but obviously fantastic training for you kind of move into the childcare space. So when you were, when you were in that school, I want to maybe just walk through your journey a little bit from there when you were in that school, looking around that business at that point, first exposure to childcare, and you said you were really drawn to it, was it, was it the mission of childcare? I know it was a big part, but did you also look around at like the fundamentals of the business and did you identify like there is actually potential to make a living doing this and the financial model made sense or was that kind of an afterthought? It was more the passion and figure out the business secondary.

Speaker 3 (27:22):

Well, when you're a business person, you have to think of both in my twenties, I was a true artist. So I didn't think about that. And then I went to school to make sure that my mindset would be aligned to right making money. So that was important too. So he had to be a business that would be mission-driven, but would also be profitable or had the potential to be profitable, to have the lifestyle that I wanted or that it would be a good return on investment for, for my family. So, um, when I did the chapter does have the potential to be both, but you do need to have, um, the, the background information and we walked through the different business models of childcare in the first book. So how do you find that, um, a model that is really like it it's it's, um, the formula is laid out there. It's like, if you want to make money, you'll have to go into a certain demographic, eh, community, and you have to have this certain money, um, to start a startup on me to be in that bracket. Um, but it, that those are lessons that you learned throughout your career.

Speaker 2 (28:40):

Yeah. Your experience. And then you pass them on like you're doing now, which is amazing. So did you leaving that opportunity initially? So you helped your friend for a few months. You got the bug, you saw the potential in the industry. What was your first exposure to, you know, working in the industry for yourself? Was it owning a school initially or working for somebody else

Speaker 3 (29:00):

Also? Um, I, in the bio that you described was actually you describe the sequence of my journey. I was a corporate vice president for a big company, and I had several assistants and I went from there to a preschool classroom. It was exercise of humility because one thing I've learned from my family is that you never get into a business that you don't understand. And I didn't understand childcare. I, I think that you have to, I think that's what has been, uh, very helpful for me is to empathize with the teachers because I've been there. Like, I know what it feels to a two year old teacher, almost like, I don't know how you make it through the day, but I've done it. And I think I have that credibility because I've been there and I've done it. So when they're talking to me, I can relate and I can offer, I can participate in the conversation or offer a solution, um, as well. So I'm not just, um, on the side and I delegated, I was able to, to understand them and that, um, I would say an act of humility because it was an act of humility back then, um, going through your CVA and being a preschool teacher, like an intern, right.

Speaker 2 (30:26):

Especially coming from your background, like you said, like that was a really like, really, really big pivot career-wise for you at that point. But it

Speaker 3 (30:34):

Had a purpose because like, you know, to get your CVA and you're 45, you have to have that experience. So it, it, it, wasn't a requirement for my, my career for my personal growth and also opt to become a director. So imagine I, I, um, I go back and I to study early childhood, um, and I'm in a preschool classroom. What are the same time I am building a business? Uh, I am actually like from the ground up. And, um, so that's where I was pretty much building that first facility. And I thought, okay, you know, I'm going to be a teacher. I'm going to hire a director, but guess what? I, I, and, uh, things were pretty bad and I actually have to become the director of the facility. Got it.

Speaker 2 (31:27):

Yeah. So best laid plans. So you were building in 2008, right. When, you know, the housing crash and everything was really struggling, you know, across the economy, you were going through your director's training, working at another school, but at the same time building your first school. And so once you guys opened and that, did you open in 2008? Was that the, yeah,

Speaker 3 (31:47):

We opened in 2008 and I think it was with 20 kids only. And I'm like, okay, now this will require a lot of work, all the skills that I've learned, I'll have to put it into practice. And because the school didn't generate that the cash I wanted, I forgot my idea of hiring to become the director of the school. So I've been there too. So I know when a director tells me this is what's happening and this and that, I can relate to that. But with all, both, um, well, with the opportunity of being in the trenches for so many years, um, that opened my eyes to the, like, um, what I would say the future of what was coming next in the industry, because I had a deep of what was going on in the operations of the school.

Speaker 2 (32:43):

Yeah. That's amazing. So you, you had 20 kids when you first opened. Do you remember how many students you were licensed for in that building? Yeah,

Speaker 3 (32:50):

It was like a 200 school. It was depressing, but when you're an entrepreneur, you always have this positive mindset. And I went through a school. I remember that I had eight teachers and 20 kids in that first school. Wow. What am I going to do at the first school? I bought a franchise and you say, oh, you know, like I have like a recognized brand that doesn't help you at all. You know, like at the end is your risk and you have to be creative. So I pulled out my experience as a marketer, and then I run youth programs that that system didn't have. And I started reinventing, you know, I, I survived and I had the best school in the whole entire system, um, after a couple of years, but, but then I outgrew the system. I was like, oh, okay. You know what? I learned everything that I had to learn here. Now let's move on to my next level. And that's when I found the opportunity and the gift that I didn't know I had of being a translator.

Speaker 3 (33:53):

That's when I started writing about stem and, and, and I said, wow, this is an opportunity because I don't see any, um, eh, that was back in 2012, 2013, nobody's talking about this. And there's a big problem that we're going to see, like in a couple of years down the road, that there's a shortage, I mean, duty there. So that's why I started writing about stem and then, but, but then it evolved, it evolved. And then I say, oh my God, it's not changing again. Thank you again. It was not that it was. And then that's how we kind of encounter this next framework. And that is what young innovators is about.

Speaker 2 (34:38):

Yeah. And so let's talk about young innovators because I, you know, I love the term that you use about being a disruptor, a curriculum disruptor that you're a translator. And so, as you see, you know, curriculum today, do you still put a tremendous amount of emphasis in your, in your schools around like stem curriculum or has that even changed for you and maybe speak to like, if there's a specific age group, what you're seeing happening. And I, I guess maybe where you're focused now in terms of curriculum and teaching. So

Speaker 3 (35:10):

The good thing about, um, curriculum innovation is that you have to understand what wonderful universities like Harvard, Stanford, or Yale are actually working on. You have to really tap into and understand what are the trends, because there are a lot of research studies out there that are bringing to light. This is an ever evolving industry and really have to connect. So, um, when, when I started writing about stem, something that I didn't know is the importance of connecting both sides of the brain, which stem didn't offer, that it doesn't offer that opportunity you need, you know, I wrote, we wrote a whole curriculum around like stem learning, but what we know now about neuroscience is that actually the most powerful experience engage both sides of the brain. So you need, so there are other frameworks that are even much more powerful than that, that allow you to connect.

Speaker 3 (36:11):

Um, and that's coming out of Stanford, for example, with the growth mindset or, or with design thinking, but everything it's beats and pieces, you have to pull it together to actually come up. And that has been our gift. Like who's actually out there coming up with great research that supports that better student outcomes, because the main mission of young innovators is that I am truly concerned about the next generation. And we had a preview with what happened in COVID. We were in love them. You know, you can teach a child how to be adopter, but if you don't teach that child or be in a stem career or be an engineer or whatever, but you don't teach that child how to have this mindset of change. Look, you are not going to be able to prepare them for the future, because this is impressive. 85% of the careers that we have right now are not going to exist in 2030.

Speaker 2 (37:17):

Oh, that's it. Isn't that? That's amazing. So for these young kids that are getting equipped and prepared for, you know, entering into the workforce, but obviously contributing to society, what they're going to be engaged in as, as professionals, 85% of those jobs aren't existing today.

Speaker 3 (37:37):

They're not. So that's a piece that we're, we don't know where technology is familiar, as technology has changed everything. So we don't know what's going to, what's the future going to be like, if the stem careers, like while we have to train our kids. And what I've discovered is that in preschool, they're all innovators. That's why our program is called young innovators, because like, they have all the trays of, of innovators. They're creative. They're not afraid to learn. They are not afraid to come up with a new, uh, they're not afraid to fail. Right. But if we expose them to that right mentality, like you just have to preserve what they are naturally inclined to do and what they really do. So that's the formula. That's, that's why I'm so passionate about the preschool year. Because I think if, you know, if we already know that 90%, the brain develops in those 90 years and that all this kids have this wonderful abilities of innovators, we just have to keep that mindset.

Speaker 3 (38:45):

Any, we heed that mindset, then they'll be ready for the future. So that's what our curriculum does. So, um, you can teach the theory, like strategic point, but what we are experts on is like, like bringing down tactical plans, how do the learning the classroom and how do we view that, that mindset and that skillset, and also, um, get them excited about, okay, this are a careers in technology that, that expose them and our early age, because which, um, the evolution of technology, artificial intelligence, who knows what it's going to be, you know, like next year, you know, it's changing so fast. So, but if they already exposed and they're not afraid, and they have this mentality of iteration, right. Like I always say that about myself. Like, I don't look like I write a book and I don't read it because I'm onto the next thing. And that's, that's the night. I, I have a rated mine. Like when you over, you see a product and you say, oh, this product is perfect. Well, that's the beginning of the downhill for you as an entrepreneur or as a director or whatever, there's always room to make it back.

Speaker 2 (40:05):

Yeah. I mean, I liked that because, you know, I think oftentimes, you know, I mean human nature, our mindset is like, we're all trying to get to a point, like if I get to that point, whatever it is, you know, that point in life or that financial goal, or maybe for, you know, owners of schools, if I can just get these things figured out, then, then I'll have arrived and it'll be kind of the easy train and the rest of the way. But I think what you're saying is you're never going to get to that point because it's, it's, you know, I mean, it's an old adage and it's probably been overused, but it's like, it's the journey. And you're going to constantly be iterating and evolving. And as soon as you, you know, settle down and say, okay, I'm done moving forward is probably when you get left behind, because that's just not the way things work or do you have to retire?

Speaker 2 (40:50):

And you know, like when you're done, yeah. That's probably the time where, you know, okay, so I'm gonna retire because I'm done trying to do anything new and I just kinda want it to rest. Now. What, so in your classrooms, I want to just maybe for a few more minutes that we have, can you give an example? Cause I love what you were just talking about. Like, you know, look, we want to teach stem, you know, curriculum. We want to encourage our kids to get comfortable with technology and to be ready for what's going to come next. Um, but we also want to encourage, like being curious and innovative it, maybe that it's hard to think of a specific lesson, but I I'm curious if you have any examples of like a specific example of like a lesson in a classroom that your teachers would use that would encourage both.

Speaker 3 (41:40):

Well, so that's the magic formula that we've master, right? We call it the innovation and now we're going to share with other schools, we're going to get ready. We're getting ready for that because this time, well, this time when I, I, um, I wanted to grow, I said, so what is it that you want to do? And what is happening outside of childcare. Right? And one of those things where okay, creating communities and helping other people in the industry. So now we're creating resources for other schools, but that framework that we created infuses all that. And it's not about a lesson plan format, right? It's about also a lot of resources that, for example, we have thousands of videos that go with lesson plan that reinforce the mindset, like when you enter our school, like, and this is a funny story, like the kids would tell the parents that don't worry, you can fail up.

Speaker 3 (42:39):

You're not like kid that it's okay to fail out because it's all about that. And that there, if there's a solution, it could be like a stem class. They could use a stem experience to solve a problem. For example, like, um, and usually we chose things that are from the community and that are problems and that they know, like for example, there, there was a kid that was really concerned about threes being caught out in the community. So that's a problem and you bring it to the class. I mean, it starts with that empathy, which is the part of design thinking from Stanford. And then you make that with, with a lot of different components, because that's why you need different types of components to actually get the job done. But you mix that with a maker center from Harvard and project zero, and that's a powerful framework, but that's how we each are.

Speaker 3 (43:36):

Um, that's what we're going to start sharing with other schools that it's, it's how, when you combine all this, um, opportunities, you actually create amazing experience for the kids that are gettable, because we remember maybe 20% of what we see 50% of what we see and we hear, but 80% of what we experience and then even more a percentage. I don't remember why we teach others. So I think that's the powerful frame. So there are many elements at the time that we have wouldn't allow me to describe it and do it justice, but it's, it's a wonderful pyramid that lights up. My, my passion. That's my passion. That's, that's what I've been trying to go for many years. How do I really make sure we give this a better chance that they're not in the feed mode, but they have the mindset of it's. Okay. I didn't find this job. I'm going to find a better one or, you know, I, I'm going to learn something new and have that malleable brain that, that, that, that always knows at a young age that they can learn that they're capable of learning anything.

Speaker 2 (44:56):

Yeah. I love that. I mean, I love what you said earlier about failing up and, and even combining, I mean, it kind of weaves into the same message that you've been sharing. And so, uh, you know, around it, you need to have the technical skills and you need to be able to understand, you know, the science and the technology and the engineering and the mathematics, but you also have to have the mindset that you're capable of doing anything that you can overcome adversity that when things change in your life, not to feel sorry for yourself, but to, you know, push into that. Um, and I do, uh, you know, I love what you said too. I wanna, I want to highlight that around. Um, you know, it's a great outcome. I think, as we talk with educators in their classrooms around, how do I know if a child is really getting the curriculum is that they can go teach that to somebody else, right? Like that's when you know, a child or a student of any kind actually owns the content. Like now they're teaching each other and they have it and they'll remember it.

Speaker 3 (45:54):

And another thing is passion. The only thing that whole grit in a child is pursuing your passion, like, uh, because when you're obsessed and when you, when you want to resolve this problem, it's not about like the engineering part. I'm going to be an engineer. It's about how do I solve this problem? That's what Ashley poles for a time like, um, look, you guys are a perfect example, ProCare, you been trying for years, it's your passion. So when we connect that passion and we put that child, we help them find that passion early on, that grit will be there and that work ethic. So like overcome obstacles and barriers and keep learning. And, and it's, it's a process. It's a beautiful process of, of self-growth, but that begins with the teacher and with the school administrators.

Speaker 2 (46:50):

So, yeah. So interesting in your experience, or maybe from your perspective, what, with a student or a young person who may be finds themself in life, like feeling like I don't have direction, or I'm not really sure what I'm equipped to do, do you think some of that can be translated back to early years of just, you know, squelching a child's passion or not having people in that child's life to direct them towards what they're curious and passionate about? So instead we try to put them into a lane that's really not theirs and that's defeating as opposed to, you know, like encouraging

Speaker 3 (47:25):

Well, so going back to 90% of the brain develops the time, we're fine, right? Going back to that, why we here in our first five years will shape our personality. And those early years are critical to find our passion. That's why they have to be exposed to so many things. Um, two different languages of art of expression, and then children should be allowed time to explore that passion because that's what actually is going to go hold breed. Those very structured program that, you know, we're going to teach that that's a thing of the past, you know, like, like we have to progress what education requires is for adults to empower kids, to learn by doing and to allow them the time and freedom to explore through intentional play. I don't believe in classrooms where you go on, what are the teacher learning centers? No, everything has to have, has to be intentional.

Speaker 3 (48:24):

It has to have a journey and a purpose for that time, because that's when you see the progression. So, um, I always say that's the most important thing. That's when we discover who we are, that's when we discover what we're made of. And that's where we're giving that, that the words we need that we'll pull from in our life, um, to find that, and that's, that always goes back and you probably remember your preschool preschool years, but you'll find passion that are very similar to what you're doing. You know, when you're living your dream, like, that's why I think that's the best way to discover your lost path is like, why did I really love when I was in preschool

Speaker 2 (49:11):

Doing this or doing that? And, and yeah. So as a child, the things that you loved line up with, you know, what you ended up doing as an adult, because there's this built in yeah. Curiosity or passion or interest, did you, so I know curriculum now for you is, is a really big part of your, your passion, what your plan is moving forward, you were sharing a few minutes ago, that part of, you know, what you see yourself doing as you move forward in the industry is sharing that with other schools or have you guys actually created curriculum that you're like, is it curriculum that other schools could come purchase, that they could adopt? What's that it's

Speaker 3 (49:48):

Kind of wearing away in the pilot phase? So young innovators is an incubator is waiter of solutions, right? So this time when we wanted to grow, I wanted to make sure that we had the mission, but that in that this last years of my professional career, that I will do be doing something that I like. And with the people that are really light. So I want to make sure that that was important for me. So young innovators is an incubator of solution. So we, I like, I see a lot of problems, like, so one of the first products, um, required me to grow in areas that were uncomfortable, like technology and digital marketing, right? Because you have to, there were some areas where you could be really good at, but as an entrepreneur, you can not delegate or hire somebody if you really don't understand the other areas.

Speaker 3 (50:40):

So I've done a lot of growing, even in, in technology, because one thing I discovered is that you need technology to like, like, um, to, to share with others, um, what have you done? And I am a huge fan of my team approach. Um, so I, I can testify to how important it is to consolidate and have solutions in 10 million. I think that's where the industry is heading. Right? So we, I have to go a lot of personal learning on, on those area in order to bring the new solutions that are coming to the market next year.

Speaker 2 (51:21):

Amazing. And then what about, I know we just have a few minutes left and I want to give our audience, you know, a way to find you, if they want to, you know, find your books or, you know, continue to follow what you're doing at young innovators. But talk to me about, so all the passion that you have in our industry, all the things that you've done in child care, how does that translate? What what's Marnie light, you have kids. I think I read that you have a daughter that has maybe Stanford's near and dear to you because you've had a child that's gone through the program. So talk about like, how old are your kids outside of childcare does a hundred percent of your passion go into this. Or then if what's the other side, what do we find do you do? And if you're not in this

Speaker 3 (52:00):

Well, um, they say, because if you don't want to get me, see me getting to my kids left me and they graduated from college and they moved to another CD and started their

Speaker 2 (52:18):

That's unbelievable. How could they do that? And cause you're like south Florida or at least Florida. And then, you know, so you're, I think it's your daughter. If I read correctly, went all the way, like to the opposite side of the country to go to school,

Speaker 3 (52:33):

That's terrible. So my son just graduated from Darmian and he's lounging also I an entrepreneurial project and she is still in college, but she went to Stanford. So now, um, I thought I need discover the empty nest syndrome. Like what do we do with our time? And I looked at my husband and he said, do whatever you want,

Speaker 2 (53:00):

You have like an open pass, like go get busy, find something to invest your time at night.

Speaker 3 (53:06):

That's why this time, I, I want to feel something for solution. Like I wanted to build solutions that were not there out there, uh, opportunities that I saw, we need to, um, address, uh, to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

Speaker 2 (53:22):

I love that. So last question now, so your kids, so if I, if your kids were on this podcast and I was asking them questions around being Marnie's children growing up, did Marty take the teacher side of Marnie from the classroom and schools and were you a teacher by nature to your kids? And was it like one of those scenarios? Like I have friends that are teachers and I would say everybody, myself included as a teacher about the things we're passionate about. And so I know there's times when I'm talking to my kids when they were younger, uh, and you know, you just see their eyes glaze over because I'm trying to teach. And they're just like, I don't want to be thought about this where you constantly a teacher to your kids, or did you have to find a balance of like, I have to take that hat off when I come home. Of course,

Speaker 3 (54:07):

You know, all the teachers have that same problem and then you do see anything their face is okay, I'm going to teachers. No, they don't because like, after they turn, I think you have a window of opportunity to do that. But after they like into a certain age that you know, that it's different. So you have to, we're learning to respect their journey and how different they will probably be and just support them.

Speaker 2 (54:34):

Yeah. I love it. Great advice. So, and then if you know, because we're right at the top of the hour and it's been, you know, and I knew it would be a phenomenal conversation and, you know, I've seen you ever since we started working together many years ago, I've just seen you pop up in different conferences and in the media. And so I know you've been doing an amazing job in your local community to drive this message. Um, if, if anybody in our audience wants to find your books or follow what you're doing at young innovators, is there an easy way to find you or a best practice to find you

Speaker 3 (55:07):

Well? Well, the webpage would be that goal to see everything where we're doing like on the different types of mutations. And thanks for asking. Um, but also like on social media, like we're trying to share this best practices, just to bring awareness to the importance of the timeframe we have to educate the next generation. So we share a lot of tips for, uh, from our classrooms of, of best practices. And that's a way also of encouraging our teachers and giving them in ordinance. So a, it serves that dual, um, a opportunity, but the goal is in this interconnected world is to help each other and other entrepreneurs in the industry, um, raise the level of early childhood.

Speaker 2 (55:57):

Love it, love it. And I will, you know, we'll put this in the show notes as well, but you know, for our listeners, you know, Marty's last name, last name is spelled F O R E S T I E R I. And if you look her up that way, you'll find all her books on Amazon and different places. So, um, Marnie, it's been a pleasure to spend some time with you. I know you're extremely busy, so I appreciate you carving out an hour for us and hope you a wonderful

Speaker 4 (56:23):

Day. Take care. Thank

Speaker 1 (56:27):

You for listening to this episode of the childcare business podcast, to get more insights on ways to succeed in your childcare business, make sure to hit subscribe in your podcast app. So you never miss an episode. And if you want even more childcare business tips, tricks and strategies, head over to our resource [email protected] until next time [inaudible].