From Tolerating Mediocrity to Finding Big Momentum with John & Tracy LaBreche

In this episode, Kris welcomes John and Tracy LaBreche from Ardent Preschool and Daycare, with seven locations in Alabama. John and Tracy share their journey into developing Ardent’s value system and building a strong and happy team. They talk about their desire to not burn their team out during the pandemic and facing staffing shortages and enrollment declines, and they discuss how they turned things around while maintaining a healthy work-life balance for employees. John and Tracy share some great insight into rewarding good attendance, their commitment to data-driven decision-making, and a few of their favorite benefits from joining the Academy.

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Here Are the Key Takeaways From This Episode:

  • [5:20] Ardent currently has seven locations, and close to 1600 students enrolled with a waitlist of just over 500. They also have 300 employees.

  • [6:42] John and Tracy talk about how they got started in child care and how Ardent came to be.

  • [10:15] In addition to their busy work life, John and Tracy have a large family with six kids.

  • [16:40] Tracy and John’s commitment to making sure the people, teachers, and admin are enthusiastic and passionate about Ardent’s mission.

  • [17:46] Exceeding the expectations of parents.

  • [18:10] Ardent is also a Christian company, so they include Christian-related Bible studies and curriculum.

  • [25:42] Overcoming challenges over the pandemic by learning to push enrollment, stay focused, and not be complacent.

  • [30:42] Now they are at 91% enrollment, which was their goal.

  • [30:56] Coming off the Summit, John and Tracy rescaled, brought on one of their existing staff to be a full-scale enrollment specialist, and hired an internal recruiter to help with bringing teachers on board.

  • [31:17] The importance of having a fast response to applicants and tracking all data.

  • [36:44] How Ardent maintains good retention and a happy culture.

  • [37:02] Breaking down Ardent to Ability, Respect, Dependability, Engaging, Nurturing, and Team Player.

  • [47:46] The ROI of academy membership.

  • [46:22] Culture is the glue that will hold you together in the face of challenges.

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