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Empowering the Next Generation of Women: An educated woman is an empowered woman.

Asa working mother, Primrose Schools President and CEO Jo Kirchner constantly struggled to balance a full-time job with finding quality daycare for her children--a common issue facing parents across the United States.

Kirchner has long been a supporter of empowering women through franchising, especially working mothers. In 2017, IFA presented Kirchner with the Bonnie LeVine Award for her contributions to the community and her continued mentorship of women in franchising.

Kirchner started with Primrose Schools in the early 1990s, and in 1999 was named president and CEO. Since taking the leadership role, Kirchner has helped expand Primrose from four schools in Atlanta to more than 300 schools nationally, providing early childhood education for more than 48,000 children.


Today, women comprise nearly 50 percent of the American workforce. More and more women are making the decision to own their own businesses, where they can make a lasting impact in addition to a good living. Women operate many schools in the Primrose franchise system. To Kirchner, women are desirable franchisees as they tend to pursue things they are passionate about. She said women tend to be more "mature in business."

In the service business, where building trust and relationships with customers is important, women excel. Kirchner points out that "today's customers are already pre-dispositioned not to receive service excellence, so when you go above and beyond their expectations, you can really build a successful business."


Serving as a mentor for other women in the franchising community has been one of Kirchner's most important roles.

She attempts to share her wisdom with others in hopes that together they can continue to grow opportunities for women in franchising. Kirchner said she believes that "women in business or franchising typically have 'type A' personalities that often comes along with a sense of perfectionism and very rarely is it possible to be a perfectionist in business."

She said there are pros and cons; striving for perfection is an important aspect for being successful in business, but it can also create a constant sense of not achieving what you believe you can achieve. "Celebrate what you achieved versus focusing on what you didn't," she said.


Primrose Schools uses its network of parents as a recruitment tool for potential franchise owners, because it is important to bring in people that share the values and passion for children, education and the systems and support network available through the franchise business model.

"Helping children succeed is really one of our most successful aspects of bringing women into our business," explains Kirchner. She notes that women tend to be very active, specifically in advocating for children. In addition to supporting the Primrose Children's Foundation, female franchisees are also raising money in their schools to reach out to their communities and make a difference not just for the families they serve but also for families who can't afford their services. Kirchner is proud to say that "60 percent of Primrose franchisors have actually had children in our schools."


Kirchner recognizes that IFA has long been a source of knowledge and expertise for those getting into franchising. "Insight from IFA has been extremely valuable and has served as a great mentor over my career building Primrose, because we didn't have any experience in franchising," she explained. "It makes me extremely proud for our organization," to receive the Bonnie LeVine award, she added, because "when you are recognized, it is a reflection on the entire organization."

By Sarah Eustace

Sarah Eustace is Associate Editor of Franchising World. Find out more about franchising opportunities at Primrose Schools by visiting


Express Employment Professionals has a long-term goal to put one million people to work annually. We believe a job offers hope and purpose, and the growth of business is the way to create more opportunities for work. The Bonnie LeVine Award celebrates advancements in franchising--an industry outpacing the growth of the U.S. economy and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
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Comment:Empowering the Next Generation of Women: An educated woman is an empowered woman.
Author:Eustace, Sarah
Publication:Franchising World
Date:Aug 1, 2018
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