In Australia, it’s not just the cost of childcare that’s a barrier to mothers fully engaging in the workforce, but also the lack of flexibility in the system.
Andrea Christie-David could see first hand the need for another option, especially as a busy working mother of three children under five, all needing care at the same time.
She saw an opportunity to engage high quality early childhood education in the family home in a way that could create comparable rates to what’s offered in formal childcare environments.
The Leor model aims to engage highly experienced and qualified early childhood educators in order to bring a formal early learning framework into the home.
It also goes out of its way to reward educations with pay rates well above the Children’s Services Award, and offer a number of other benefits that ultimately help contribute to higher quality outcomes for children.
And business is booming, with Christie-David herself now being on their own waitlist.
The ex-human rights lawyer and equality advocate has spent years working with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our society.
Now she’s an entrepreneur, and has been named a finalist in the 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year category.
Christie-David answers our finalists Q&A below, describing what she believes makes a successful entrepreneur and how mentors have aided her career.
Our finalists are sharing some awesome career wisdom in these Q&As, as well as more on their back story and how they have emerged as a leader. See our growing hub for this content here.
How did you become an entrepreneur? Was it a deliberate decision or something that happen by chance?
I wanted to create a childcare alternative for my own children, that allowed them to access education at home. Once I came up with the idea I felt that my diverse work experience as a lawyer, COO, and a company director provided me with the skills I needed to get this business off the ground.
Give us your quick elevator pitch: What does your business do and where did the idea for it come from?
We place qualified early childhood educators into family homes to deliver tailored learning programs to children aged between 6 weeks and 12 years. The idea came from my own experiences of different forms of childcare with my children. I wanted an option where I could leave them in the comfort of their own home but also bring quality early childhood education to them.
Can you share three major contributing factors that have led to your businesses’ success so far?
Firstly, finding staff that are equally committed to making a positive difference to children’s lives as I am. Secondly, having the support and confidence of family and friends to be able to give it my all. Finally, knowing when to seek out specialist expertise or ask others for advice and assistance.
What do you believe is the number one trait that makes a successful entrepreneur?
The ability to evaluate and manage risk, and then to be able to take calculated risks, even though you may not always know what the outcome is going to be.
As well as your business, what other priorities do you juggle?
I have three children under 5, I have a husband who travels a lot for his job, I am a Director of a charity, and I’m on the management committee of my daughter’s preschool. Due to the popularity of the business, I am also now on my own waitlist! A good problem to have as an entrepreneur, but it also means I have to call on loving grandparents for childcare to get through my workload.
How have mentors, sponsors or other kinds of support system aided your career?
Mentors and supporters have been such a blessing throughout my career. I have benefited from their counsel and feedback when I’ve been at a career crossroads, or just grappling with a complex decision.
As a business owner you are often faced with difficult decisions that you need to make on your own, but my ability to access mentors and experts in different fields has allowed me to make informed decisions, even if they are, at times, difficult.
Where do you currently get news and info regarding your industry and career?
Women’s Agenda of course, especially in relation to aspects relating to gender equality in the workplace, as well as Care for Kids, Early Childhood Australia, Child Magazines and Facebook forums for early childhood educators.