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, practices and automation to improve the quality of early childhood businesses. To date, Lauren has consulted with several hundred early childhood programs nationally and in her community of Hampton Roads, Virginia. Lauren designed the Early Education Business Program in 2010, a program that encourages and educates ECE businesses to learn and adopt best business practices, leading to an increase in child enrollments and a 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 passionately worked to establish the Hampton Roads Shared Services Alliance in 2019.
To date, over 300 childcare small businesses 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 (SBDC) won the Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center” Award because of Lauren’s ground-breaking work. She presented her ECE business training program at the “Transforming Local Government” national conference in 2013, and the 2015 and 2016 SBDC national conference. Lauren is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter at conferences across the nation.
Virginia Marsh, Director of Operations, is the systems 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.
Virginia 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 ten 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 the program manager for EEBC's leadership academies. 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. Anna 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. 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.
Sharlene Torres is the administrative powerhouse for Early Education Business Consultants. Sharlene keeps the administrative processes for the shared services clients running efficiently with her friendly disposition, ultra-fast data entry and impeccable attention to detail, processes and procedures. Sharlene is from New Plymouth, New Zealand and met her husband of 27 years in London, England while he was serving in the United States Navy. Everywhere life and duty stations have taken her, Sharlene has honed her administrative skills and made herself invaluable to organizations such as Kaiser, Mercedes and CitiBank. In 2014, Sharlene entered the field of early childhood education as the administrative assistant at Deep Creek Academy. In this position, she played an integral role in the development of the administrative process currently being used for the shared services hub.
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 (formerly The Atlantic Group) 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. 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.
Bill developed and implemented management assistance, international and financial programs throughout the Hampton Roads region, serving over 2,200 small businesses and 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 transitions of the acquisitions of early care and education businesses to the Clear Capital ECE portfolio.
Melissa James is the marketing guru, with over 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 (now Peake Childhood 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 50 preschools and child care centers across 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.