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Meet Martha Picciao of Whiz Kidz Preschool in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Martha Picciao.

Martha, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After having my first son and teaching at the local school district, I decided to stay home and open my own home preschool. . I remodeled my garage into a classroom as best as I could land started with big dreams of one day opening my own center. I started by offering free childcare to friends and began with big dreams and a passion for teaching. I proudly operated out of my home for six years.  It allowed me to be able to provide for my family, pursue my career, all while still raising my own children.  My children and I became friends with the families I served and I’m so thankful for those relationships we built over the years.

After going through a divorce I was forced to shut down my home preschool so I decided to pursue teaching again, but destiny would have a different plan. I struggled to find a teaching job and while I searched for my next “thing” I needed to provide for my 2 sons and I, so I sold appliances online.  Months later, I was offered the opportunity to take over a failing center.  This began my formal childcare business. After much dedication and perseverance we were able to turn it around.  It was in such terrible condition I remember crying in regret for what I had done.  Fast forward seven years, not only were we able to turn the business around but also open two more centers from the ground up.  We have plans for further expansion and another center opening in 2020. The last seven years have been the best years of personal growth, learning through trial and error, asking for help and plain and simple taking risks! I would have never dreamed I would be where I am. I have built an amazing team and together we continue to grow as leaders and as a company to better serve our communities. Because of this, I have had the honor to expand my reach to and support other early childhood professionals and or small business owners with training, mentoring, consulting and public speaking. As well as advocate for families and educators at the state level in Arizona.

Has it been a smooth road?
Wow, It has NOT been a smooth road. I was told “no” more times than I can count, Despite trying for years to open a center I was unable to, rejection after rejection only fueled me.  After finally getting the opportunity of my dreams, I can vividly recall regretting what I had done.  The business was a disaster, I felt overwhelmed, underprepared, and like I had bitten off more than I could chew! So many times I was burnt out and exhausted and I wanted to quit. But thank God I didn’t!  I always held my fathers words closely, he’d say “Honey, remember tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” Because I had NO option, I had to make it work because my children depended on me, I persevered.  Many times I stressed not only about making ends meet in the business but at home too. I went to college to be a teacher and had no business knowledge or education.  The biggest game changer was asking the right people for help.  I continue to ask for help as well as learn and develop the skills I need at each step of my personal and entrepreneurial journey.

Please tell us about your business.
Whiz Kidz Preschool provides educational childcare and preschool to ages infants to five years old. We specialize in creating communities where children, families and educators can grow and thrive. Through creating friendly and loving relationships and providing multiple hands on learning experiences, we assist children’s growth and curiosity for exploring. Our whole child approach focuses on social emotional regulation, hands on learning, arts, enrichment classes and kindergarten readiness. I am most proud that what started as a solo operation with a handful of children, we are now a growing team of over 60 staff and serve over 350!children and families.

What sets us apart from others is our attention to detail, parent convenience and most importantly our loving and smiling staff!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I like best about our city is the beauty of the desert landscape, beautiful sunsets, hiking mountains, safety and always having something to do.  This a also a wonderful place to raise a family, we love to enjoy the outdoors.

Additionally it’s a great time to be an Arizona business owner.  The growing population is bringing economic growth and is having a positive economic impact in our cities.

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