Category: franchise passion

I am not sure Joe Mathews completely understood what he was getting into when he partnered with me! He was well aware of my social media passion but looked a bit surprised when I told him that we were scheduled for a podcast.

As I explained to Joe, it’s one thing to write about who we are and why we believe our work is important but if we share the information via a podcast we are putting a voice to the message. A podcast allows the audience to hear the inflection of the words. I love that podcasts can be downloaded to any mobile phone, tablet or other devices from anywhere in the world. It’s a great way to reach one-to-many!

So … listen to our broadcast on BlogTalkRadio explaining who we are, why we are so passionate about our book and new educational program.

Soon we will publish videos to share. Just don’t tell Joe!


Link to podcast

Transition: movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, concept subject, etc., to another; change.

March 2nd marked my last official day with Computer Explorers and was spent with a transition team setting goals, priorities and strategies for 2012. As I was transitioning out we worked as a team with the incoming president Carol Hadley to transition her in.

Letting go of the emotional attachment to Computer Explorers and the team I have worked with over the years is not easy. I know I will always feel connected to the brand, the franchisees and the corporate team.  As I observed Carol and her participation I witnessed an excitement to learn more and dedication to growing the brand to its full potential.

The day was not intended to be team building but that certainly was the outcome. The transition team consisted of the immediate Computer Explorers corporate team, representation from the UK master license and one of Computer Explorers franchisee leaders, Helen Pinkerton. Everyone was committed to strategies to grow Computer Explorers but deeply committed to welcoming Carol.

Cheers Computer Explorers! I wish you and Carol all the best!

Lorri Wyndham, Deb Evans, Cyndee Perkins and Carol Hadley

I attended the 14th Annual Leadership Conference, hosted by the IFA’s (International Franchise Association) Women’s Franchise Committee (WFC) in Orlando, Florida.  The WFC is designed to develop relationships with franchising professionals, to address issues, share ideas and offer solutions related to franchising in the local communities.

The conference theme was Dare to be Bold: Taking Risks For Reward – “It’s been said that if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. The great recession caused many organizations to drastically change the way they look and operate.” The Leadership Conference offered the opportunity to listen to top franchise leaders share stories of bold decisions they made that would forever change the shape of their brands.

The guest speaker was Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon; Inc. a division of FOCUS Brands Inc. Cinnabon operates more than 770 franchised locations worldwide. Prior to her role with FOCUS Brands at Cinnabon, Inc., she was VP of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc.

Kat shared her story of working as a server at Hooters at the young age of 19 and was handpicked to travel to Sydney Australia to open the country’s first Hooters. Kat had never flown before but she took her mother’s advice and “figured it out and made it happen” flying from Jacksonville, FL to Miami to get her passport and soon after traveling to Australia. By the age of 20, Kat was traveling all over the world to conduct new employee training and opening new locations. When Kat left Hooters in January 2011 she was Vice President of Training and Development.

As Kat told her story there was a recurring message: “figure it out and make it happen.”   We live in a time of change and Kat told us that no amount of change can work without connections and relationships.  She said the people you engage with, the connections you make and the relationships you have are with individuals that can and will be your biggest advocates.

Kat was an excellent presenter and listening to her validated decisions I have made over the last few months. Change is not easy and sometimes in order to change you must take risks. With the risks there is an uncertainty of the future. Getting pass the fear of the unknown and taking the steps to figure it out and “make it happen” is not as hard as I once thought.

Kat’s encouragement to build new relationships comes easy for me. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy attending conferences. I love social media and I have built strong connections using the various platforms but the in-person networking provides the face-to-face experience that I miss in the virtual world.

One of the new friendships that I built at IFA was with Tra Williams. Tra is more than 6’ tall so he is not easily missed in a crowd. But what really stands out is his passion for franchising and entrepreneurship. He exudes a deep commitment to helping others succeed and a strong drive to learn and share as much as possible.

Watch this video of Tra and I am confident you too will want to learn more about him and how you can connect.

Kat was right on the mark for me. I’m more than ready to “Figure it out and make it happen”. And as Dr. Beatrice Berry (author, sociologist, lecturer and educator) said; “When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.”

On March 1st I will leave what I have known and loved (Computer Explorers) for the last 16 years to start a new career as President of Deb Evans Consulting, LLC. I am confident it will be an exciting new adventure filled with new relationships, connections and risks!

In the last two months I have attended two very different but very inspirational conferences: FranCamp Nashville and Dust or Magic Institute in New Jersey.

Dust or Magic

It was my first attendance and  Cyndee Perkins sixth to the Dust or Magic Institute. The objectives of the eleventh annual Dust or Magic conference were simple:

  • To familiarize ourselves with the key products of the year
  • To familiarize ourselves with some fundamental theories of child development in the context of emerging technologies
  • To help us meet and learn from others who are passionate about creating interactive media for children

After initially being star struck meeting Craig Hickman, Creator of Kid Pix, Don Rawitsch Co-Creator of Oregon Trail and Mark Schlichting Creator, The Living Books I realized that we were all there for the same reason – we value technology education!

Cyndee and I shared our key takeaways on Inside Computer Explorers – Was it Dust or Magic? If you have not listened to the broadcast yet you can find the link here

Do you understand the glue?

 The very popular Angry Birds game is simple enough to understand but complicated enough to be addictive. It’s the glue in gaming that app developers are trying to replicate. Did you know that Angry Birds is used to teach math, history and science? Read this article in iLearn Technology

Chip Donohue, Director of Distance Learning, Erikson Institute reminded us that “you don’t have to love technology to understand that we have a responsibility to figure it out for the sake of the children.” Donohue encourages us: to embrace lifelong and life wide learning, create technology tools to play/learn with anyone, anytime, in any place, at your pace, on any device, leverage digital convergence, blatantly connect childhood and creativity, and to keep the child inside you alive!

We live in a world where “touchless is the new black” (Craig Hickman) and “the tablet effect has begun” (Warren Buckleitner).

The why!

Many of the presentations were filmed but there is one in particular that I recommend you carve 33.18 minutes out of your day and watch why Daren Carsten received the first standing ovation in the 11 years at Dust or Magic.

Daren shared his secrets to making successful learning apps but his presentation is not just for developers. It’s for all of us. He said we “can’t claim that we make learning fun – learning IS fun! Our job is to reveal the fun in learning!”

Daren’s biggest message was: “Don’t forget about the why (the kids).Hangout with smarter, more creative and more passionate people, preferably children.”

Warren Buckleitner host of Dust of Magic said, “powerful technology + good people = magic”

Cyndee said to me, “You and I came away from Dust or Magic re-inspired by kids and education and making a difference.”

She is correct! I believe, “With hard work, trust in the brand (Computer Explorers), and some creative thinking, we can continue to make a difference and add some magic in 2012. Franchisees joined CE due to their passion for learning and using technology with children. Many things come and go but children, education and technology will always be part of the future. I’m excited to be part of that!” 

I have a strong commitment and belief to technology education and franchising. There is no magic or silver bullet to success. Hard work, dedication and what we believe in will create success.

I attend conferences to learn. I learn so I can teach. I teach because I believe Computer Explorers can be the nations leading technology education franchise!

We Have A Winner

Judging the videos submitted by the Computer Explorers franchisees was not an easy job.  We knew at the Computer Explorers corporate team that we needed outside experts to help us. Once again, we thank Adam Enbar (HubSpot), Robin Raskin (Living in Digital Times) and Nick Powills (No Limit Media Consulting) for their help.

Some of the comments from the judges regarding the videos were:

  • I had to watch each video 3 times because it was so hard to choose (I even  consulted my wife on the final 2)!
  • The videos captured both sophisticated programming and the enthusiasm of the kids.
  •  The teacher’s narration was helpful.
  • The 2 minute clips gave  me a completely different perception of what Computer Explorers actually  does (it’s fantastic!!!).
We announced the winner on our BlogTalkRadio show Inside Computer Explorers after visiting with the franchisees and learning more about their video, the students and the location where the video was filmed.

I hope you can spare 40 minutes to listen to each of the franchisees share their excitement about their programs!

Inside Computer Explorers

Nick Powills shared this about the winners: Lori Longo and Cathy Mead:

While all participates did a great job with their videos, especially given that each video highlighted something special they created, I believe Lori and Cathy stood out above the rest. In Social Media – in order for a video to be considered Social, it must tell a story. Lori and Cathy did just that, in that they highlighted a beginning, middle and end of a project and used student testimonials and actions to support it. Additionally, it clearly highlighted an end result of working with Computer Explorers. Videos such as this one can be marketed for more business at the local level – whether in NY or in outside markets. The video also included creativity in animation – something that can be considered technologically advanced.”

Congratulations Lori and Cathy! Your iPads are in route to New York and we are anxious to see future videos and pictures of your programs.

It’s hard to describe the passion I have for Computer Explorers. The excitement I feel on the first day of international training is beyond words. It is thrilling to know that at the end of two weeks Computer Explorers will have a new franchisee in the UK and new programs offered in China.

Maybe if you watch this video that I received from students in Bangsar, a residential suburb on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur you will understand.