Celebree School: Leading Through Crisis | Celebree School

As we cautiously and safely come out of this health crisis, Celebree School has not only weathered, but thrived through this challenge. Right from the beginning, we’ve maintained support to the communities we serve: as an essential business, we’ve kept our doors open to care for children; implemented additional health and safety precautions like “kiss & go” where parents can only drop off their kids at the lobby; and maintained continuity of education and learning routines through Celebree Connect, our free daily online program on Facebook and our website. 

“We decided on day one that we were going to remain open and take care of essential workers’ families and children. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had 1,200 employees working. Today, we have about 650 employees working, and those numbers are continuing to climb as more and more parents are returning to their offices,” CEO Richard Huffman noted in May. As one of the 3,700 childcare facilities that remained open during the stay-at-home orders by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, we had to make some profound adjustments not only on our day-to-day operations but also go back to fortifying our strategies moving forward.

Communication is key

It is incredibly vital that as a member of the communities we at Celebree School work with, we’re able to identify not only the needs of the families of children we care for, but also our clients and our staff, in order to address them sufficiently. It is critical for us to be able to openly and regularly communicate with each other to ensure that all our decisions are informed by everyone’s perspectives, experiences, and situations, and must be based on sound data. It has always been true before, but more so today. Transparency is something we highly value. 

We’re in a unique and ever-evolving situation where we have to continuously adapt to new procedures and policies and it is important to us that our clients, our franchise owners, and our entire team can depend on us for support and guidance as we work throughout this process. 

This also extends to the community at large. One of our core values is thought leadership—we believe in solidarity and taking charge. During the past few weeks, we’ve been in touch with other CEOs across various industries. Ultimately, our work, though they may vary in nature, are all connected. This gives us an in-depth look into how we and each piece fit so we can do our work better. Through this, we can help other businesses get back on track by sharing our own best practices and processes during the crisis. But equally important is how consistently checking in with our team and partners tremendously helps with boosting our morale. Through this, as our CEO shared, “we’re able to highlight different angles and approaches that we’re taking, and you hear how revenue’s doing, how people are reacting and how they’re going through changes. Right now, the biggest thing in the recovery process is how businesses are bringing back employees if they’re willing to come back at this point.”

Building a stronger—and safer—future together

It is the leader’s job to see the situation for what it is and not look at it and treat it worse than it actually is, find out how to move forward, and work hard as a team to realize our vision. At Celebree, one of the first things that we did was to go back to our original strategy plan for the year and see which ones we could still use to be able to start building momentum and carrying out those things. Once we’ve successfully done so, people can start seeing the small wins. Because small wins equal big wins and that will gain back your confidence in your team—let them see that we can do this together now and in the future.

Our focus at present is to fill our schools back up safely. A lot remains at stake and it’s crucial for us to address the situation first before competing intensively at the business level. Being able to triumph through that, we at Celebree School are coming out of the crisis and are well on our way to getting back to business fostering growth in our communities.
We look at this crisis as an integral part of our ongoing journey of helping people invest not just in their future and their families, but also in their communities. It’s a huge part of what and who we are at Celebree, where We Grow People Big and Small™. This proves that there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to inspire children, employees, and franchisees, and help them all prosper.