Lauren Small, CEO is a business consultant and the owner of Early Education Business Consultants, LLC, a boutique consulting firm focused on improving business systems and automation to improve the quality of early childhood businesses. To date, Lauren has consulted several hundred early childhood programs in her community of Hampton Roads Virginia. Lauren designed the Early Education Small Business Training Program in 2009, a program that encourages and educates ECE businesses to learn and adopt best business practices, leading to an increase in child enrollments and decrease in employee turnover. She is the co-founder of the South Hampton Roads Leadership Academy, a leadership development program for early education providers. She has passionately worked to establish the Hampton Roads Shared Services Alliance in 2019.
To date, over 200 childcare small businesses in Hampton Roads have graduated from this award-winning Early Education Business Program with an average annual increase of 25% in enrollment and revenues. In 2015 she established a Director Leadership Academy in each of the five cities of Hampton Roads focused on business and pedagogical leadership development of Owners and Directors. In 2014, the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center won the Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center” Award because of Ms. Small’s ground-breaking work. She presented her ECE business training program at the “Transforming Local Government” National Conference in 2013, the 2015 and 2016 SBDC national. She is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter at conferences across the nation.
Virginia Marsh, Director of Operations, is the Regional Manager of our Clear Capital Partnership, as well as, a ProCare and technology expert. Her passion is mentoring leaders and using software to improve, streamline, and automate business operations. As the former Director of Deep Creek Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia from 2013-2019, she systematically enhanced all aspects of the business systems incorporating automation and technology at every opportunity. Under her leadership, Deep Creek Academy’s revenue tripled and enrollment doubled to 205 students.
She holds a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Information and Decision Sciences from California State University, San Bernardino. While her career has taken a broad path in several distinct industries, her focus over the past nine years has been in early childhood education where she believes she can use these talents to improve the quality of services in early childhood businesses.
Jerry Stewart, CEcD, Consultant, brings over 30 years of economic development and workforce development to the team of Early Education Business Consultants. He manages special projects for Early Education Business Consultants and has been actively involved in city and regional early education programs and initiatives. Jerry was involved in the initial planning and development for the Early Education Business Program with the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center. He has successfully communicated the importance of early education to economic development and workforce development programs.
Anna Chevalier, Consultant, is a trainer, business coach and consultant for Early Education Business Consultants. Many of her projects focus on market analysis and budgeting. She specializes in leadership practices for Directors and Boards of non-profit and faith-based early childhood programs. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University. While at ODU she studied under Dr. Katherine Kersey and worked at the ODU Child Development and Study Centers. Also, she has 10+ years of teaching experience in the early childhood field. Anna has been an Administrative Director since 2008 and is the founding director of Francis Asbury Preschool.
Anna began supporting area preschools at the consulting level in 2015. Her expertise is working with childcare programs to implement changes that allow them to meet the requirements for state licensure through improved policies and procedures, employee training and leadership development.
Bill Holloran brings 41 years of experience in business, strategy development and economic development to the leadership team of Early Education Business Consultants. He served as a Senior Vice-President for Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions, and General Manager at Day & Zimmermann from 2006 to 2018; a $1.3 billion industrial maintenance conglomerate providing maintenance modification, specialty contracting, and staff augmentation to the power industry and government customers. (Day & Zimmermann is the firm that acquired The Atlantic Group). He also worked for eleven years with the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Thomas Nelson Community College serving as Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)).
He developed and implemented management assistance, international and financial programs throughout Hampton Roads region to over 2,200 small businesses, resulting in an average addition of approximately 300 jobs and additional capital investment of more than $17 million per year. His role in EEBC is to ensure seamless and successful transition of the acquisitions of early care and education businesses to the Clear Capital ECE portfolio.
Melissa James is our marketing guru, with nearly 20 years working in various areas of the communication field, including copy editing, copywriting, graphic design, website development, fundraising and nonprofit consulting. She spent seven years as the marketing and PR director for Downtown Hampton Child Development Center in Virginia, giving her firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of the early childhood field. Additionally, she has spent many years as the marketing consultant for industry organizations that include Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula and the Tidewater Association for Early Childhood Education. Through Early Education Business Consultants, Melissa has created logos and/or websites for more than 40 preschools and child care centers aross the Southeastern U.S., helping them to improve their brand image and digital presence—with a track record of increasing those programs' waiting lists.
Melissa graduated with distinction from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she double-majored in Journalism & Mass Communication (Advertising Sequence), and Spanish. She also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from TCC's Academy for Nonprofit Excellence, and was named to Inside Business' "Top Forty Under 40" in 2018. Melissa has been a frequent presenter on marketing topics at various seminars and conferences, as well as speaking on early childhood advocacy to community organizations.
Karen Kearse, Administration Manager. She earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Long Island University in Greenvale, NY. She worked in business for many years, including finance departments at European American Bank in NY, the City of Norfolk, and Sentara Healthcare. But in 2011, she found her true career passion when she transitioned into early childhood education administration—becoming director at Emmanuel Episcopal Day School in Virginia Beach, VA.
During her tenure, she worked to build upon the school’s 50-year reputation in the community. She was able to write policy and implement high-quality standards, as well as to adapt the business model to increase revenue and enrollment, thereby strengthening the school’s financial standing. She also succeeded in expanding the facility to include space for a full-day program, positioning the school to better meet its community's needs. During that time, she also earned a certificate in Early Child Development from Tidewater Community College.