On the Fast Track to Business Success

Josephine Garrett

Talk about being on the fast track! Josephine Garrett officially opened her child care center on March 1, 2014, and already she’s winning an award!

Ms. Garrett, 32, will receive the 2014 “Fast Track Award” from the Women’s Business Development Center at the organization’s 16th annual Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Expo on June 14 at the UIC Forum in Chicago.

Here’s a woman who, even before she opened the doors of Learning for a Lifetime Childcare Center, had 19 children on the waiting list. Who took the leap into entrepreneurship by buying an existing child care facility, then renovating and remodeling it. Who wrote such a strong business plan that she was able to obtain a business loan for her start-up enterprise.

Ms. Garrett didn’t start her career dreaming about business ownership. Armed with a master’s degree in business administration, she worked for seven years as a financial analyst for PepsiCo Chicago. But gradually, she realized she loved kids, loved learning and loved teaching. She decided that she’d like to own and operate a child care center and saved to make her dream come true.

She went back to college to obtain a master’s degree in early childhood education, became CPR-certified, and learned the inside nature of the business by working part-time at four childcare centers. Last year, she began shopping for a location and found the perfect spot at 1929 South Archer.

Her center specializes in working with children from six weeks to six years old. Under her guidance, she and her staff of six work individually with each child to develop a customized learning program that is interactive and fun for the child.

When the day is done, she’s not. Chances are you’ll find her at a neighborhood community center where she provides tutoring and fun projects for underprivileged children through her non-profit called Catered 2 Kids.

The future looks especially bright for this already-successful entrepreneur. She is considering a second childcare center, a childcare business franchise and a sports- and health-based recreational center for kids. If her success so far is any indication of what awaits her down the road, she’ll arrive early.


About Emilia DiMenco

Emilia DiMenco is President and CEO of Women’s Business Development Center and Retired Executive Vice President BMO Harris N.A. Emilia DiMenco was named president and chief executive officer of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) on August 1, 2013, a transition from co-founders, Hedy Ratner and Carol Dougal. Emilia joined the Women’s Business Development Center as chief operating officer in July 2010 after completing a 30-year career as an executive vice president with BMO Harris N.A. Emilia had P&L responsibility for 80% of her career and managed budgets in excess of $200 million with revenues multiples greater. Her responsibility included leadership and management for 600 commercial banking employees.