Shortly after she started working for Sylvan Learning centre in 2006, Lesley Mitchell fell in love with her job.
“I started working as a centre director, fell in love with what we did and how we supported families in the community,” she said.
When the centre she was working for came up for sale in 2008 it was a fairly easy decision for Mitchell to buy it.
“I’ve always been business minded and my husband and I had looked at opportunities with other franchises,” said Mitchell.
“We liked the opportunity and the benefits that being a business owner offers,” she said.
What really attracted Mitchell to make the leap from centre director to owner was the opportunity to further develop services and increase community engagement .
Since then she has opened three more locations, the most recent in Chestermere.
What attracted Mitchell to Chestermere is how dynamic, active and engaged the community is.
“For us it was a good opportunity to support people in their own neighbourhoods,” she said, “we’re actively engaged and involved in everything that goes on in the community.”
“There’s so many events that happen,” she said. Staying involved and running the business keeps her busy.
That community involvement goes to the heart of what Mitchell believes is the Sylvan ethos, and the relationship with the students and their families.
“We truly believe that once you are at Sylvan you are part of the Sylvan family,” she said.
That family connection is bolstered by how long students can study with Sylvan.
“We’ve seen students start in kindergarten and continue through to grade 12,” said Mitchell, “that’s a really cool experience.”
When Mitchell is able to get away from work, and doesn’t have a community event on her calendar, she likes to keep active.
“I usually set fitness challenges each year,” she said.
Last year she ran a Spartan race. Her goal for 2019 is to climb Mount Adams in Washington in July.