Meet Alicia Miller, who held various executive roles in the technology industry prior to becoming a franchisee with Sylvan and expanding her business.
I have a Bachelor’s of Economics and Government from Smith College, a Master’s of Science in Telecommunications Management from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. My career has been primarily in the high-tech industry and includes both turnaround and growth leadership. I have experience in field sales, operations, marketing, customer service, training, coaching and team development. I've held various executive roles in the tech industry, most recently as Vice President of Global Sales Operations for Motorola Mobility, a Google company.
I initially purchased 11 existing Sylvan Centers across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and two expansion territories in Columbus, Ohio. I have since opened one new center and three satellite locations within that footprint. Most of my centers need real estate upgrades to improve both convenience and retail visibility for our prospective families. So far I've moved three locations, and have three more moves pending before the end of this year - so it's been a busy first year in the business!
How I Heard About Sylvan
Sylvan has a great reputation as a long-time innovator in education. When I started looking for business opportunities, they immediately came to mind. As it happened, a friend and former colleague of mine became involved as a Sylvan franchisee at around the same time that I started exploring the Sylvan opportunity, so that provided additional positive feedback.
Why I Chose Sylvan
The more research and due diligence I did in my discovery process, the more I was convinced that Sylvan was the right fit for me. In addition to having a stellar brand and strong community roots, they have done a good job of maintaining their relevance for both students and parents as times have changed, while remaining true to their core value proposition. For example, the SylvanSync offering allows more centers to open at low costs across each territory, while increasing convenience for busy parents. Lessons are customized and delivered by our certified teachers via tablet computers. After my years in high-tech, it was great to see an education brand really embrace technology because it shows they understand the critical importance technology has on the next generation.
In terms of my own personal objectives, I simply came to a point in my career when I wanted to build my own business. I looked at other concepts but education resonates with me the most. I’ve always loved education and learning. I appreciate the doors that education opens, both from a career perspective and because learning is a window to the world.
I’m also a mom of three. You see things differently when you become a parent. I could clearly see the ongoing need for supplemental education services as a strong business opportunity, and I also wanted to be in a business that leaves a positive mark. Sylvan is a long-time leader in education because it’s a system that’s proven to work – it builds confidence in our students. They make progress and see success.
I was fortunate to have started talking to Sylvan when they happened to have a network of centers near me that needed a new leader, so it was perfect timing.
Taking Over 11 Centers
The primary goal is to offer the highest level of service we can for our families and communities. My focus will be on building an organization that is very strong operationally, is engaged with our local communities and delivers what our parents and students need. All the centers currently adopt Sylvan Satellite but I want to expand the coverage of our Sylvan Satellite system so that it’s more convenient for our families. I’d like to improve our brand awareness through additional marketing and outreach so more people know what we offer and that we are right there in the community.
Each center has their own leadership in place with their Center Director and Director of Education. I will act as the manager to improve effectiveness and take the already strong team to the next level. My last position in high-tech involved leading and coaching teams across 75 countries to achieve their objectives – so it’s nice to have a growth opportunity closer to home!
Sylvan supports the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is a great organization. I am exploring additional local opportunities – especially sponsorship of our local schools and children’s hospitals. We’re lucky to have some of the best children’s hospitals in the whole country right in our backyard. I’d like to get involved there because I recognize the tremendous value they bring to our communities.