Finding Hope and Stirring Up Your Own Inspiration with Donna Thornton-Roberts

This week, Kris is joined by friend and seasoned veteran of the early learning industry, Donna Thorton-Roberts. Donna shares some of her knowledge about being effective, prepared, and proactive during this time, along with some wisdom she personally has gained from going through some tough times in her career, which included going from three to nineteen schools in six years. Donna and Kris also talk about the importance of hiring the right people, offering services to the community, and developing a plan to hit the ground running when society opens back up.

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Here Are the Key Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Donna started her career in 1976, and has experienced some tough times throughout her career but has always made it through. She is confident that we will be able to come out of this season of crisis and return to normal soon. It’s important for leaders to show others hope and strength, and to also know about important resources that can help their business and organization.

  • Donna is in the beautiful mountain area of Virginia and has a passion for developing effective leaders. To nurture her passion, she is sharpening her own saw and is working towards her Ph.D. in leadership.

  • The two most important things Donna did while growing from three to nineteen schools was to fine-tune the process of growth, enrollment, and consistent leadership, and to hire the right people.

  • Donna currently has seven schools and made sure each of them is prepared with a written plan for when it’s back to business as normal. It’s important to have a written plan for marketing, enrollment, marketing, and social media along with maintaining a connection with the community as a source of help.

  • Leaders should get to know their applicants on a personal level – once you’ve learned whether or not they align with their culture and vision, take some time to get to know where their heart is at. Tip: Asking them who impacted their life as a teacher and why gives a glimpse into what kind of teacher they may be.

  • When you are leading and serving the community within your own values, you are less likely to be offended when you come across someone who doesn’t like you because you’ve come to terms that you can’t please everyone. Instead of trying to please every single person, focus on pleasing the families that you do have.

  • Learn from Donna’s experience — take action and be decisive. For her, it was the decision to close a school and open back up as a rebranded new school.

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