Category: Being A CEO

And I thought I was a pro at #hootsuite!

And I thought I was a pro at #hootsuite!


Just finished my very first twitter panel “chat”. I do a lot of public speaking, and love to be on a panel (typical A+ student, you know? “me! me! pick me! I know the answer!!!”), so I agreed to be on a twitter panel. I figured I was so familiar with hootsuite, this would be a walk in the park (healthier than a piece of cake, I say). As soon as it started, however, it became apparent that there was so much more to hootsuite than what I knew about 🙂
The subject was startups in education, but let me tell you, it looked like the one who could use more education was me 🙂 I could not follow a simple twitter conversation! I went on hootsuite like they said, the opened twitter on their page and mine, just in case, and still I barely was able to follow the conversation! The whole hour I was so nervous I think I was shaking 🙂
But now I have it here, for eternity, to remind me on the very first time I fumbled my way through a modern panel:
https://storify.com/StartupCanada#stories
It’s like the very first time I had to give a talk in front of an audience, the day I opened my very first CEFA school in West Vancouver. The mayor was there, a beautiful child was there to cut the ribbon, and then there was me. The mayor spoke so eloquently, and demonstrated her knowledge and interest in early education. When it was my turn, I just looked at everyone, said two words and started to cry – haaaaaahahahaha!! And it wasn’t even a big crowd, there were barely 40 people! Luckily for me, people thought I was overwhelmed by the emotion of having worked so hard to make my dream come true, and now finally see it realized. 🙂 Some even started to tear up with me.
I got much better now, but it took years of visibly shaking through my speeches and presentations, to finally be very confident on stage. Pfew! What a relief! I was beginning to think that it was one of those traits people were born with – you either have it or you don’t, and clearly I did not have it. I tenaciously persevered and put myself time and again, until I was comfortable. I am so glad phones didn’t come with cameras back then!
Today reminded me of that, of always learning, of always improving, which is one of my core values. I will read it again, and I can just imagine everyone asking and responding in a very neat and coherent manner, and then my comments (which I thought were good) all over the place. People will think “who is that fool? She actually runs schools?” and it makes me laugh already to imagine it!! There it is in writing, my first brave attempt at something unfamiliar, and I will cherish it forever, because although it was the day that I I hyperventilated for a WHOLE hour, frantically trying to follow and catch up at the same time, it was also the day that I did not give in to my urgent need to close my computer within the first three minutes and run away as far as possible. I saw it through. Now to put on a fresh t-shirt 🙂

Grateful for our #CEFA #team 💛

Grateful for our #CEFA #team 💛


Hubby is away all week-end, J was out and now is doing hours of homework, D is sick and lethargic, so what’s a girl to do? work of course! I needed one of these quiet week-ends where I could work on our CEFA future! Music is on, coffee is hot and plentiful, house is warm, day is rainy, tiny dog is by my side, everyone is happy… I could not have dreamed it better! 🙂
So, I’ve been working for 3 days at putting together the structure of our company, figuring out who is best at doing what, and re-distributing the work to make our processes more efficient. It’s a lot of work, but doing it brings me such clarity, and a depth of understanding of how we work, that it’s worth every focused minute! Plus, I need to have everything super-organized, so, really, I’m indulging my inner OCD! 🙂
It’s crazy how fast things change when you grow fast – you stay two steps ahead, but the steps you used to walk are not steps that you run. Things move so quickly!
I am grateful for having such a strong group of people to work with. They embrace growth, change when we need to change, adapt, take on what needs to be taken on, and just shine!
I’m a lucky girl!
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#CEFAsays so great to be biggest business owned by women! 💛

#CEFAsays so great to be biggest business owned by women! 💛


My friend Alex read sent me this when he saw it in the paper… Delightful surprise!
BIV article - top BC business women Aug4

Excited to work on our business this week-end!

Excited to work on our business this week-end!


In a few of my journal entries, I complained about not being able to work, due to excessive amount of medication. These last two years have been particularly difficult in that respect, and if you saw my laptop, you would see how messy my desktop is. Messy is fine for some people, but for the OCD part of me, a mess in my files means there’s a mess in my head.

Today, however, I have just enough Benadryl in me to be coherent, and I’m so excited to get to work on organizing my computer files. One that’s done, I have a feeling that the puzzle I have been trying to solve for the past year, will be very easy to solve.

So here’s to falling down and getting up again!

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Went to the Parliament yesterday in Victoria BC to talk about a new proposed legislation

Went to the Parliament yesterday in Victoria BC to talk about a new proposed legislation


I always say the same: We live in a community, we all have to do our part. I volunteer a lot of time with different Committees and Boards, especially for our Government. Normally they are for the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Children and Families, and other organizations working with children, families and youth. Sometimes, for the Ministry of Small Business. They are creating a new legislation to protect franchisees in our province, and I was a part of the group who helped evaluate it, work on it, and make sure it was good for everyone involved. To be honest, as a franchisor, it will mean that we will have to do more work and divulge more information to our franchisees, but what’s easiest is not always best, and in this case, the bigger issue is not that it will delay things on my end as a franchisor, but rather that it will ensure that franchisees are protected, and that they know what they are getting into when they invest on a franchise. This is a good thing.
Yesterday, the proposed legislation was introduced for first reading, and I was asked to go as a franchisor, to share my thoughts on it. It was so great to see the people who worked so hard on it finally see the fruit of their labour! But the best part, the very very best part, was hearing one of our franchisees (who was asked to speak on behalf of franchisees), talk about how fortunate he and his wife were to have opened one of our schools, and now a second and third. He talked about CEFA providing all of the information that will now be required, without being required to do so, and about having the peace of mind of knowing thy had made the right choice. It made my heart burst with pride 🙂
I am not sure that I can share their photo, but here’s the one of me, and the link to the report:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2015SBRT0014-001652

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch, welcomes an initiative that will open the door for franchises, and further support small business and investment in B.C.
Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch, welcomes an initiative that will open the door for franchises, and further support small business and investment in B.C.

Anyway, happy to have done my part, and to continue to be the type of franchisor I can be proud of. Go CEFA!!

#CEFAsays 10 years #celebration for CEFA Canada Way!

#CEFAsays 10 years #celebration for CEFA Canada Way!


It is soooo amazing to see that another one of our schools has celebrated 10 years in their community. Working at CEFA makes me so happy! Never did I ever imagine that we would have so many schools and make such a difference in children’s lives! 🙂

Below in the photo with me is a woman who is an exceptional teacher, mother, and human being. We are so lucky to have Carla as a Principal at CEFA!
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can you imagine being homeless? sleeping outside in the dead of winter – as a child?

can you imagine being homeless? sleeping outside in the dead of winter – as a child?


Sleeping on the streets, in the cold and the rain, is something I can’t even imagine having to go through. Yet, so many teenagers and youth do it every night, because they have no other option.
If you know me, you know that I’ve dedicated my whole life to helping children. That’s why I WILL BE SLEEPING ON THE STREET to raise funds to help children get out of the streets and rebuild their future.
My goal is $5,000. Please help me reach this amount by donating here:

SLEEP OUT EXECUTIVE EDITION 2015 – Support Natacha Beim
http://www.kintera.org/i.asp?id=1141575-425236185

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#recovery mode still ON today

#recovery mode still ON today


Made huge headway – worked all day and all evening. Only got up at 8:30pm to make dinner for the family (we eat late in the summer), eat together, and chat. Did a little work after that but by 11pm I was tired. Still recovering I guess…
Today I will try again. I was able to, like yesterday, switch to the non-drowsy drugs, so I can at least make sense of the world! 🙂
My challenge:
only 40 e-mails (a record low), BUT I have 126 to dos. That will be hard. Impossible even.
My to dos are generally things no one else could do (otherwise i would have delegated), and they can take anywhere from 5 minutes to a whole day.
My rule for work is this: Any e-mail I can deal with in 5 minutes or less, I take care of immediately. Any longer and I add it as a TO DO in my to do program. The reason for that is that I can then evaluate all of the to dos I have, and then decide on the top 3. Once those are completed, I reassess the list in order priority for the day. If it is too much, I decide what to postpone, but the point is that everything that is there for me to do, is there for a reason.
Another day I will explain better how I go about setting my to dos. I do that three years ahead, not only daily. This is what allows me to meet my goals.
Anyway, back to work!
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Grateful to have been featured in Profit Magazine today! 💛

Grateful to have been featured in Profit Magazine today! 💛


I just saw their tweet:
She started @CEFAschools as a teacher, but to continue to grow it @natachabeim had to become a student of business:
http://www.profitguide.com/manage-grow/strategy-operations/the-skills-you-need-to-work-on%E2%80%94not-in%E2%80%94your-business-86428

It’s true, all I wanted was to work in a school that had an amazing program for children. When I didn’t find one, I started my own. Little did I know that it would turn into a Franchise, owned by families, teachers, mothers, people who wanted the same thing for their children.

I am very grateful to all of our amazing franchisees, teachers, staff, and families (www.cefa.ca) You have helped me grow so much, and so far beyond what I ever thought I could give as a person!

I am also grateful to EO, the Entrepreneurs Organization (http://eoaccess.eonetwork.org/vancouver). Since I joined EO almost 4 years ago, I learned so much, grew my company, and made many amazing friends.

The first 19 years with CEFA have been amazing, and the next 40 will be even more incredible, because every day, we all try to do better, learn something new, contribute, and that is what keeps us moving forward.

OK, this post was a little sappy. Man, you would think I won an Oscar or something! 🙂

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Met with The Honourable Naomi Yamamoto MLA today about #Franchising in #BC

Met with The Honourable Naomi Yamamoto MLA today about #Franchising in #BC


I was asked a few days go to meet with the Minister of State for Small Business of British Columbia, Naomi Yamamoto. Today was the meeting, in her office.
I have to say, I am very impressed with her and with the ministry staff (also present today). They have, time and again, demonstrated that they are in touch with the needs of business owners, as well as those of the population at large, and the financial health of our province. She is not the only Minister I have had the opportunity to meet with and contribute with, and all have been the same: open, interested, quick to act, and interested in making things better for the benefit of all. It makes me feel very proud of our government.
This meeting is about franchising:
BC is considering putting in place stronger regulations for the protection of Franchisees, which frankly is a pain for franchisors, but a pain worth going through if it helps eliminate poor franchisors from the market, and ensure that all franchisees feel safe, and are taken care of. There are a few unethical franchisors around, or even just inexperienced, and they put the franchisees’ livelihood in danger. Glad that we are taking care of that.
I find that often people are quick to judge our government, no matter what political party is is. The government is slow, inefficient, abusive, etc… We all have something to say about our taxes, about the things we are not getting, the things that could get better, the things that don’t work for us.
For many years, I was livid about the way things were handled within the ministry of Health, which made it very difficult for us to open new schools. Some things made no sense at all. Once there was a regulation which practically made it impossible for schools like ours to open in the city of Vancouver. I thought about the problem, offered a solution, was laughed at, and decided to go to the Mayor of the City. That evening, there was something in the news about the shortage of options for parents of children under five years of age, which made it impossible for parents to return to work after maternity/paternity leave. This is a huge problem. The Mayor appeared on TV saying it was a problem he was determined to solve. That evening, I wrote the Mayor a letter, offering to share my insights. The very next day, he invited me to his office to discuss the issue and get my point of view. Wow. It was Mayor Sam Sullivan.
He listened to my suggestions, and then asked me:
If this is a problem, why didn’t other stakeholders approach me about it?
I thought about the question for a moment, and thought about why I had not approached him for 10 years. Then I said “It is something we are not always sure we can contest. For example, the traffic lights have always been red, yellow and green. No one thinks of contesting that. It is what it is, and we assume there is a reason behind it. It not often that people feel that their solution might be better than the Government’s.”
My issue was brought up at a council meeting, where my suggestion was approved unanimously. This taught me one thing: We have a choice. If we disagree with something, we can be part of the solution. In fact, we have to be.
Since then, I have volunteered my time to help design new legislation, improve on existing regulations, find solutions to issues that affect us all. I mainly volunteer in the education sector, which is where I excel, and where I have the most practical experience.
In any case, today was great, I am happy I got a chance to make a difference.
Especially because I stayed home today, I was not feeling well. I made a special effort to get dressed and get to the meeting, then cam straight home.
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