Each week, tune in to top child care business guru Kris Murray on the Child Care Rockstar Radio podcast for interviews with early childhood leaders and experts that will leave you inspired to get to the next level of success, whatever that means for you.
Early learning leaders around the globe are breaking through challenges, leading the way in innovation, testing new best practices, and impacting children and families in a much more powerful and positive way than ever before.
Child Care Rockstar Radio is unique among early childhood podcasts, because it brings real stories of successful business leaders to the forefront of the early learning industry. You’ll get the personal stories and behind-the-scenes “real” of what these leaders have done to raise the game of preschool and child care. From quality to enrollment to technology, you’ll get ideas and inspiration to take your business to “rock star” status.
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Episode 40 – Social Proof is Everything In Child Care Marketing | Troy Howard | April 10, 2019
Troy Howard, the co-founder of the customer review and referrals system SoTellUs, joins the show to talk about his passion for combining technology and marketing and how it led him to become an entrepreneur and industry disruptor in the online review space. He and Kris talk about creating social proof, why reviews are so important to us in marketing, how to handle negative reviews and the most powerful elements inside a review.
Episode 39 – What You Should Know About Preschool Insurance | Samantha Phillips | March 28, 2019
Knowing what insurance policies to have and making sure you have high-quality coverage is of the utmost importance for a child care business owner. Today, Kris talks with Samantha Phillips of Aleaf Insurance about the three biggest, most common insurance mistakes she sees in the child care field and how we can best address them. They also discuss policies every school should have, case studies of actual child care owners switching their insurance to guarantee better coverage, and how to avoid situations that cause financial ruin.
Episode 38 – Implementation and Speed To Results | Michelle Smith-Lank | March 14, 2019
Michelle Smith-Lank has been in the Child Care Success Academy for several years and a true definition of a Child Care Rockstar. She talks about how she got into the field and came to open Kids World Learning Center and the lessons in growth, marketing, and expansion she has learned throughout her career.
Episode 37 – Kris Murray on The Preschool Podcast — Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategies for Child Care | Feb 28, 2019
In this week’s episode, we flip the podcast and replay the conversation Kris recently had with Ron Spreeuwenburg from The Preschool Podcast. They discuss why marketing strategies are important for child care, the change in the landscape of how people should market, and the two main buckets to be sure your strategy is covering. Kris also discusses how to build trust and rapport with potential and existing parents, and why it’s okay to show the whole world how cool and innovative your work is.
Episode 36 – Why a Values-Based Approach is a Game Changer for Companies Big and Small | Ann Rhoades | Feb 14, 2019
Ann Rhoades joins the show to discuss her extremely important and successful careers at Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, and shares more about the extraordinary service she and her team at Peopleink provide for leaders looking to shape and define their culture. A highly sought-after speaker and author behind the book Built on Values, she provides inspiration and strategic direction for many companies around the world. Ann talks about why core values are integral to the success of the culture, how we define and determine a great culture, interviewing tips for hiring players aligned with the company value systems, and the qualities of good leadership.
Episode 35 – Bringing Positivity and Integrity into Child Care | Jennifer Slavin | Jan 31, 2019
Jennifer is the Vice President of Operations at Magic Memories Child Development Centers. She has been working with children and entrepreneurial since she started her own business at age 11, “Best Babysitter.” Today, she discusses her path from starting as Director to growing with the company in the now three locations. She and Kris talk about the importance of having a director that holds everything together like glue, hiring based on core values, how her strategy of onboarding evolved, and how they have developed their culture. Jennifer leads with positivity and connection and shares how she manages conflict resolution and tips on how to have hard conversations.
Episode 34 – Giving Children the World with Dawn Uribe | Jan 17, 2019
Dawn Uribe, the owner of Mis Amigos Spanish Immersion Preschool, joins Kris today to talk about her vast expansion mode and how she came to the vision of owning a Spanish immersion school. Dawn is a game changer in her marketplace and she has some great golden nuggets on how to drive your vision forward with a system for freedom, why it’s necessary to schedule in time to focus on goals, how to finance your expansion, delegate to your team, and break through fear. She also discusses challenges that are unique to her situation and gives some practical tips for owning your inner rockstar.
Episode 33 – Kris Murray’s Goal Setting Process | Jan 3, 2019
This week, Kris shares a tried and true roadmap for exactly how she sets and achieves goals. If you are looking to make 2019 the best year yet, listen in, as you will get concrete examples to apply to your personal and professional life. Kris gives great insight on how to get traction towards actually accomplishing your goals, the importance of a tribe, and ways to stay accountable once things are in motion.
Episode 32 – Margins, Culture, and Servant Leadership with Tony D’Agostino | Dec 20, 2018
Entrepreneur and early learning veteran Tony D’Agostino joins us today to talk about understanding margins and your numbers, his ‘near-death’ experience in the childcare business, how to deal with a crisis, and toxic employees. Tony and Kris also discuss how to develop a culture where everyone on the team is accountable with shared values and the challenges currently in hiring and retention in the child care business field. Tony also discusses the mission behind Inspire! Care 360 and the three-pronged approach in helping leaders manage their people, brand, and purchasing. As a bonus, you’ll also hear about Tony’s rock and roll roots and his awesome mullet back in the 1980s.
Episode 31 – A Roadmap to Creating a Culture of Excellence and Collaboration | Sindye Alexander | Dec 6, 2018
Do you have people that show up inspired by your vision? Questions to ask yourself as you build a business and a legacy that stands for excellence in the field. Kris welcomes the Director of Marketing and Child Care Extraordinaire Sindye Alexander, who started out as a client growing her center in Michigan. They talk about how Sindye started the business as a way to earn income while spending time with her kids, the impact culture has on both its own business and the community around it, and a peek into her brand new book Relationship Roadmap, chock full of strategies on how to create a culture of excellence.
Episode 30 – Implementing the EOS Model with Heart — Stuart Robertson | Nov 22, 2018
Stuart Robertson is a brilliant yet heart-centered entrepreneur and business coach. Today, Stuart talks with Kris about forming his tech company at the age of 27, selling it in 2015 and his new path as an EOS Professional Implementer. He first had experience with EOS as a business owner before he made it his full-time passion. They talk about the EOS model and why it makes businesses more scalable, profitable and effective, the Six Components, case studies of clients he has helped and ideas for business owners to effectively solve critical issues.
Episode 29 – Creating Montessori Centers of Excellence in London and Beyond — Arike Aiyetigbo | Nov 8, 2018
Arike Aiyetigbo, Founder and Director of Fountain Montessori Preschool, joins the show from her office and home of the school in London, England. Originally, from Nigeria, Arike is a passionate educator whose mission is to grow her influence by partnering with like-minded parents. She shares her journey how she got into the business of nurseries because as a mom she saw a gap in what she needed, how she has expanded and grown in the business over the past 11 years, and what she would do differently. Arike also speaks about her branding, the nursery and childcare market in the UK, and the shifts she has experienced as an owner to get her name out there in a bigger way.
Episode 28 – The Circle of Partnership with Charlie Marcotty and Marcy Lee | Oct 25, 2018
Charlie Marcotty and Marcy Lee, co-owners of the First Circle Learning Center in Lexington, Mass, join the show today to discuss the key lessons they have learned from over 21 years in early childhood expertise. They bring excitement, enthusiasm, and partnership in everything they do, and have gone from a school with artificial plants hanging from the ceiling to a school with full enrollment and a waitlist. Today, they talk about filling a gap of adding more education and administration to the child care aspect, how they divide and conquer in their partnership, and the action items and goals they prioritize the highest.
Episode 27 – Get Off The Hamster Wheel, and Into Excellence, with Chanie Wilschanski | Oct 11, 2018
Today’s episode is a complete game changer. Kris brings in Chanie Wilschanski from DiscoverEd Consulting to talk about innovative ways of getting unstuck out of ‘overwhelm,’ and focus on your superpowers, ultimately to lead you to excellence and abundance. Chanie discusses her own passion and values, the important steps in decision making, how to navigate distracts, why it’s okay to eliminate some ‘to do’s’ and some of the great side effects that come with increased productivity. Access Chanie’s 3 mini video series to learn more about productivity here: www.bit.ly/leaderproductivity
Episode 26 – A Non-Traditional (and fun) Approach to Child Care — Andrea Wortman | Sept 27, 2018
Andrea Wortman is all about doing things from a non-traditional and slow but steady approach. She runs an after-school program in the Portland, Oregon area with 11 locations, and has worked with the school systems to forge a relationship where she is contracted to take space and run her after-school programs out of the schools. We talk about a different model of how to do effective, fun and profitable early learning in an after-school program that doesn’t require you to buy any real estate.
Episode 25 – Is M-A-T-H a Four-Letter Word in Your Business? | Kris Murray | Sept 13, 2018
You may think of it as a dirty word, but really, it can be the key to peace of mind, freedom, and clarity in your business. It’s Math. Today, Kris will inspire you to get started tracking so you can live a lifestyle of abundance and make your teachers happier by giving them more benefits, which in turn equals happy kids and happy parents. She gives specific examples and real-world case studies of simple equations to put your money and time into the business where it’s most needed and gives the four categories of metrics. Enjoy the episode and we promise not to make you do any calculus.
Episode 24 – Fitness, Fun, and a Fancy School Bus | Josh Visser | Aug 30, 2018
Today’s guest is Josh Visser, a proponent of education and play within an active learning environment. Josh and Kris talk about his school, De Kinderen Huis, and its mission to provide growth through movement and play-based discovery. He also talks about his process for getting him and his team inspired, and how he saw and decided to pursue a child-care opportunity. Josh and his team have set themselves apart in the market and built a vibrant and abundant school with over 50 children enrolled in less than five months.
Episode 23 – A Relentless Focus on Positive, Healthy Culture | Joe & Lucy Lawrence | Aug 17, 2018
Joe and Lucy, owners and founders of Little Sprouts in Wisconsin, have an intentionality in everything they do, whether it’s their international flavor, their passion for staying mindful for eco-consciousness, or how they develop their team to show consistent leadership and cohesive culture. They talk with Kris today about working together successfully as a married couple, challenges they have faced and overcome as entrepreneurs, and what’s next on the horizon for their team.
Episode 22 – Strategy in Growth | Lucy Cook | August 3, 2018
Lucy Cook, Co-Owner of Amaze Education Group, calls in from Australia as the special first international Child Care Rockstar Radio guest. Lucy talks about how she stays sane in running and growing her business to nine locations, the creative way her team communicates with the families, what her corporate office looks like, and the importance of a rock star team and a strong staff culture to keep you going. Lucy is also an expert in outdoor education, and how to stay connected with your staff and clients as you scale.
Episode 21 -How to Win in Digital Marketing | Bruce Spurr | July 20, 2018
In today’s episode, Digital Marketing Expert and real-life Rocket Scientist Bruce Spurr joins Kris for a talk on how to win the digital marketing game using Facebook ads, Google Maps, and Google Search. They touch upon how to get your school to stand out, even above the “big boys” of advertising, ways to leverage your ad no matter how small your budget, what consists of a great ad, and how to use digital marketing to keep your enrollment high or fill the empty spaces.
He and Kris reminisce of the olden days before social media, and ways that they have learned to adapt and work together in the current landscape to help child care owners overcome their challenges in the field. Strap in, and get ready to launch into the digital marketing stratosphere!
Episode 20 -The Epitome of Hustle | Don Alley | July 6, 2018
Don Alley is the owner of Center Stage Preschool in Ashburn, VA, and is an example of the results that unfold when you focus and dream big. Don has 30 years of experience in martial arts and has been running his three karate schools successfully for the last twenty years. He built his preschool from scratch in 2016 and quickly filled his location. He joins Kris for a great chat including ways to use playfulness and personality to stand out of the crowd and set yourself apart with high-level marketing assets, expert tips on how to delegate successfully, his future plans of expansion and growth within his schools, and how he manages running multiple brands.
This episode is chock full of action items you can use to shift your business right away, so be sure to take some notes of what changes you can begin to implement immediately.
Episode 19 -How to Get Great Reviews and Handle the Bad Ones | Sharon Foster | June 22, 2018
Sharon Foster, owner and operator of Bells Ferry Learning Center, joins Kris today for a conversation on how to build positive parent relationships, customer service, and how owners and staff can protect themselves during bad reviews or negative social media comments. They discuss strategies on enforcing policies, the proper mindset regarding payment, and when it’s okay to respond to a negative review, and tips of what to say so you stay responsive and professional, yet firm in your own values and vision. Sharon also shares the ways she has had to pivot her vision as both a leader and business owner over the years to make sure her product was meeting the needs of the market.
Episode 18 -Family First | Steve Lloyd | June 8, 2018
Steve Lloyd, visionary and co-owner of Busy Little Hands Learning Center, is a model of growing by leaps and bounds when you apply the right mindset, practices, and leadership in your school. Steve talks with Kris about his unconventional journey into child care, and how he and his mother Jessica have morphed and expanded Busy Little Hands with the help of some amazing and highly engaged staff. It’s a deep dive into the culture, core values, service standards, employee retention, motivating millennials, healthy communication habits, and how to create a pleasurable atmosphere with everyone involved being empowered and accountable.
Episode 17 -The Beauty of Opportunity | Nan Rikard | May 25, 2018
Nan Rikard, owner and founder of Big Blue Marble Academy, is an incredible powerhouse with an instinct for good business and a big, giving heart. She talks with Kris about her journey of over 30 years in the EEC industry, her passion on giving back in her own family, how she grew to 24 childcare locations in just a few years and assembled such a strong team with a bonded mission and vision in making a positive impact on the world. She shares the three things that are a must when looking for a new site and tips and tricks for making the deal of your dreams.
Episode 16 –Service Through Leadership | Julie Roy | May 11, 2018
Julie Roy joins Kris today to share her experience of how she started as an educator in Canada and went on to own nine centers of the Montessori Educational Centers in Omaha, Nebraska. They talk about concrete strategies for how to grow your business, as Julie’s now has a waiting list and is looking to expand into even more locations in the upcoming years.
Kris and Julie also share how to structure your corporate office to give you support to grow, how often you really need to be in your location, mindset traps to be careful to avoid, and getting everyone on board with your vision and mission. Julie truly leads by example and empowers those around her while maintaining a presence as the personal face of her brand. Enjoy!
Episode 15 -Committed to Growth and Development | Ben Poswalk | April 13, 2018
Today’s episode features a great talk with Ben Poswalk, Executive Director of Paradise Place Preschool. Ben came to Kris as her only local client in Crested Butte, Colorado, with some challenges in the enrollment, marketing, and staffing departments. Once Ben got rolling he not only doubled his enrollment and increased his income by 70%, but won Marketer of the Year and now is making a huge impact in the lives of his children, his staff, and school.
Kris talks with Ben about his own mindset shift, how he communicates his own “why” and how it impacted the energy and passion of his teachers. Ben also shares his advice for those about to go into the nonprofit realm, his challenges as an Executive Director, and why Space Mountain in Disneyland will always be a memorable ride for him.
Episode 14 -Resources and Support for Childhood Education | Ron Spreeuwenberg | March 29, 2018
In today’s episode, Kris features Ron Spreeuwenberg. Ron is the co-founder and CEO of HiMama, an app for daycares that allows parents to better connect with their children during the day. Ron is a heart-centered leader serving the early childhood education industry with technology and interconnecting his community. He talks with Kris about what inspired him to get into early childhood and create the HiMama app, the balance between visibility and empowerment, the innovation of his benchmark survey, his own adventures in podcasting, and how he is committed to the vision of helping childhood education get more support and resources.
Episode 13 – How to Run Your Schools from the Beach | Jennifer Conner| March 2, 2018
Today, Kris and special guest, Jennifer Connor from AppleTree Kids, uncover the secret sauce on how to manage your preschools from the beach, or wherever your dream life may take you. They give the inside scoop how to delegate appropriately, grow from within, empower your teams and have backup systems in place so that you can have the freedom to grow your business and just work on the things that you love.
Episode 12 – Fun, Flexibility, and Family | Tameenah Adams| February 15, 2018
Today, Kris has the pleasure of talking with Tameenah Adams, owner and leader of Happy Faces Early Learning Academy. Tameenah is a true rock star and shares her core values, vision, and how she has become a transparent and empowered leader that people want to follow. Between her family at Happy Faces and her own seven children, Tameenah plays with some game-changing strategies, high values and a vision that is open to adapt to her environment.
Episode 11 – Grow Your Enrollment, Improve the Industry and Change the World | Chuck Gibbs | February 02, 2018
Kris is joined by very special guest, friend, skiing buddy, and founder of ChildCare CRM software, Chuck Gibbs. Kris and Chuck have much in common. They both started their businesses around early 2010 and are here eight years later, still great friends with a love for Colorado, working hand-in-hand on impacting the childcare industry and helping others toward their goals and dreams. In this episode, they do a deep dive on what you should be measuring in your business, some game-changing resources you can apply to your business, case studies and success stories on CRM, the specifics of how business owners can utilize ChildCare CRM to provide clarity around the enrollment funnel, as well as the use of automation so one can be enrolling people as they sleep or are on vacation!
Episode 10 – Stay Recession Proof and Financially Healthy: A Compass and a Heart | January 19, 2018
Kris opens up today’s episode with a thank you to all of her past guests and a fun recap of the amazing conversations over the past nine episodes. Next, she gives tips and keys on how to financially protect yourself and become recession proof. Then, she gives the top two essential tips on how to have a full house, and why you need to get started today. Finally, an exciting new announcement regarding the Enrollment Bootcamp Challenge!
Episode 09 – Expansion, Leadership and Just Plain Old Fun | Vernon Mason | January 05, 2018
In today’s episode, Kris is joined with one of her favorite friends in the industry, Vernon Mason. Vernon has over 25 years of experience in early childhood. He shares with us his journey of how he started and some of the key points that allowed him to grow from a school of 30 into now five locations. Vernon is an inspiration as a leader and rockstar! Vernon makes it fun and open, from making the snacks in a classroom to helping directors find the confidence and skills to be great leaders themselves. They also cover hiring and letting employees go, his rewards and motivation systems, and what’s next in his career!
Episode 08 – Partners in Every Way | Brian and Carol Duprey | December 22, 2017
Today Kris is joined with very special and inspiring guests, Brian and Carol Duprey! Brian Duprey is a seasoned 20-year veteran in the childcare industry. Along with his wife Carol, they have opened and operated eight different childcare centers in central Maine and currently, own five schools. They have been married for over 26 years and have five children and four grandchildren. We talk with Brian and Carol about their very inspiring mindset and attitude, overcoming challenges along the way of becoming business leaders, strategies they use when hiring great teachers, and how after all these years of working together they still end each night holding hands! Success and a winning attitude are woven into everything they do, and it is their mission to help others and inspire them to live the best life possible.
Episode 07 – Overcoming Challenges with Kym Pomares | December 08, 2017
Kym Pomares has blossomed into an amazing force as the owner of Courthouse Academy in Virginia Beach. She is an inspiration, always combining work and play and is now leading her school as a culture of excellence and doing great things. Courthouse Academy is a traditional & Spanish Immersion Preschool and Elementary School. She is always growing and making a bigger impact in the world, and opens up in an honest and candid conversation about the challenges she has overcome throughout her time in this industry, and how she handled them and persevered like a true rockstar.
Episode 06 – Changing the Life of the Child and Changing the World | November 24, 2017
I am thrilled to bring you Holly Elissa Bruno on today’s episode. She has a huge heart and has seven decades of wisdom to bring to you in times of change. She is an expert in legal issues as a “recovering attorney,” and has great advice on how to run a business with clear policies that protect you. We talk to Holly about persistence through challenges, the curved line of our paths, how knowing the law manages our expectations, trends and innovation within the industry, and being of support to the unique and authentic leaders making a difference in our future.
Episode 05 – The Power of Innovation and Collaboration | November 10, 2017
My guest today is an early childhood business powerhouse, whom I have yet to meet in person but who has inspired me and many others in the field. Marnie Forestieri is Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder at Amazing Explorers Academy in Florida, which she helped build from the ground up and now has two busy and thriving locations. She tells us about her journey, how STEM folds into her mission of innovation and problem-solving in early childhood, and the group approach and empowerment process of hiring new teachers, all the way up to the onboarding process. Marnie brought her professional expertise outside of early childhood and embraced it to start her own game and ultimately change some of the rules. I love how Marnie promotes from within and helps groom her own for more leadership and success.
Episode 04 – Complexity, Technology and Competitive Advantage | October 27, 2017
Our episode this week is chock full of industry insights, innovative ideas, and nuggets of wisdom that you can plug right into your child care or preschool business! We are joined by the amazing Evan Goldman from Early Education Group. Evan is a true veteran in the industry and his take on the growth and change in the landscape is truly inspiring. He shares his family’s impressive background in high-quality early education and then he and Kris do a deep dive on several topics related to the business of early learning. Tune in to hear Evan’s advice on how to find your unique messaging in such a competitive field, an insider view on how funding and regulations could be improved and what a true rock star is to him. We think Evan is a rock star himself, and maybe we’ll even have him as a return guest one day as he and Kris hike up Machu Picchu!
Episode 03 – Leading the Future Leaders | September 29, 2017
Welcome to episode three of Childcare Rockstar Radio! In today’s episode we are joined by child care rockstar Donna Jensen, owner of the Learning Station. Donna’s passion for creating an enriching, safe, and supportive environment is inspiring and the reason why she is always full with a long waiting list of potential families. We hear Donna’s background from working at a local preschool to owning a franchise and ultimately leading to what has become the Learning Station. She and Kris also discuss why a large team works for her, the importance of lists and tracking data, and finding a great mentor. Finally, she shares resources that she loves and that are captivating enough to break her away a game of Candy Crush!
Episode 02 – Raising the Level of Professionalism, Respect, and Hustle | September 22, 2017
Welcome to episode two of Childcare Rockstar Radio! This week’s episode features Child Care Rockstar Radio’s first guest interview — the awesome Summer Picha and Katie Wagoner, Peaceful Valley Montessori! Summer and Katie have been partners together for about eight years and have increased their business by 10x, going from a small but mighty 30-child Montessori to two school locations with almost 300 children. They represent the type of child care rockstar that impact the community from a place of authentic education and intent and are proof positive that you can manifest your dreams. We hear how they went from teachers themselves to business owners, their mission to impact children, families, and teachers and what the future holds for more growth and expansion.
Episode 01 – The Beauty of Persistence | September 15, 2017
Welcome to our very first episode of Childcare Rockstar Radio! Your host is Kris Murray, President of Child Care Marketing Solutions and founder and leader of the Childcare Success Academy. We kick off the first episode and lay a foundation to talk about the importance of persistence in both professional and personal paths to success. Each week we invite you to join us for an interview with child care leaders and experts that inspire us and shine a spotlight on these unsung heroes in our community. We will be featuring practitioners, owners, and directors, those who provide cutting edge tools and services to our industry and innovators.