Mary Beth thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. We’d love to hear how The Houston Center has been operating during these unprecedented times. First, can you provide a little history of how you became the owner of the Houston Center? “One thing most people don’t know about me is that I started my journey with OTA as a student in the Milwaukee Training Center with Scott Turiff. I fell in love with the product and company then I met some of the OTA staff at a Grad Event and John O’Donnell told me I should be a Franchisee owner. Ralph called me and the rest is history.”
How did you and your team support Houston students during the COVID-19 lockdown?
“One thing we did was never stopped communicating with our students,” Said Mary Beth, owner of the Houston Center, said Mary Beth, owner of the Houston Center. “The second week of March, when the shutdown was announced, we had two classes in the center. We asked the students, ‘Do you want to try and finish?’ They said, ‘YES’. So, for the next two days, we worked long days, finished the classes, and then closed our doors. In between the time we closed and May 4th (when we reopened at 25% capacity) communication was key. All our staff became student support. All students were called and their next steps were reviewed and resources were provided. We used our newsletters, virtual lunch-and-learns, and whatever it took to support our students. We also teamed together with other centers – like Minneapolis and Atlanta. Once we could open our doors, we started classes right away. We are now at 75% occupancy.
When you did re-open your doors for students, how did they react?
“We started by doing some refresher classes, which ran from 8-2 each day. Tom Joyce came from Charlotte. He taught a Core and SI out of the goodness of his heart. Our students were thrilled to be back. My staff has been amazing through this whole process. “
I Heard you were given the “Women Who Means Business” award. Can you tell us a little bit about the award?
“On Oct 15th, I’ll be one of the recipients of The Women who Means Business award from the Houston Business Journal. I’m very honored.” Once Mary Beth accepts the award, we will share more details. We are proud of her and the leadership and care she shows every day for her students. Congrats Mary Beth.