To be a great leader, one must take the initiative and be a voice for those who feel unheard–these efforts often result in a more effective way to bring about positive change.
Huntington Learning Center franchisee and Franchise Advisory Council member, Beth Dotson, has gone above and beyond to relay the concerns of other franchisees and create a better line of communication to Huntington’s corporate team. Beth’s care and respect for others have made her a great addition to the Huntington franchise family; however, her extensive background has formed her into the leader she is today.
Before joining the Huntington franchise, Beth worked for 15 years as a chemical engineer specializing in manufacturing, consulting and information technology. After years of engineering, Beth was eager to take on a new challenge.
Embarking On A New Challenge
Beth considered other career paths, like becoming a math or science teacher; however, she didn’t feel teaching was the right fit. She also wanted to own a business but didn’t know where to start until her husband suggested she consider opening a tutoring franchise. She eventually reached out to one tutoring franchise but never received a response from their corporate team.
Months after reaching out to the other tutoring franchise, Beth saw an ad for Huntington Learning Center in Working Woman Magazine. At that point, she knew it was a sign to start her entrepreneurship journey and didn’t hesitate to reach out.
Beth quickly realized that she had found a franchise to provide long-lasting support.
“One of the great things about Huntington is they provide franchisees with all the tools they need. I’ve never had to reinvent the wheel to find success,” said Beth.
In 2007, Beth signed a franchise agreement with Huntington and opened a center in Daphne, AL.
Overcoming Unforeseen Circumstances
A couple of years after opening her Huntington franchise, Beth struggled to get students through her doors due to the 2008-2009 recession.
After trying to pick the pieces up on her own, Beth finally reached out to Huntington’s business consultant and expressed her need for help. The business consultant and another corporate team member then flew to Alabama to help Beth get her tutoring franchise back on its feet.
“There was no option to fail. I knew I couldn’t give up,” said Beth.
Supporting the Community & Improving the Team
Since overcoming economic challenges throughout the years, Beth has found great success and has shared her expertise by serving on several boards.
Beth served on the local educational foundation board for five years, served as chairman for Baldwin County Education Coalition for three years and continues to maintain strong relationships with local schools. She also sponsors the teacher of the month at the local middle schools and invites parent-teacher organization officers to chat about how Huntington can better assist students.
In addition to being involved in the community, Beth is very hands-on at her tutoring center, assisting with employee recruitment and other day-to-day tasks. She aims to hire coachable, intelligent talent and has a passion for education and children.
“I believe my leadership style has evolved over the years. I make a point to involve my employees in everything by having weekly meetings to set goals and empower them to do more,” said Beth.
Great Leadership Leads to Great Results
Not only did Beth become an outstanding franchisee, but she also became a voice for other Huntington franchise owners.
She joined the Franchise Advisory Council, where she gained insight on upcoming projects and franchise plans and monitored the allocation of resources.
Additionally, Beth brought the concerns of other franchisees to the corporate team to ensure everyone’s problems were being solved and voices were being heard, especially throughout the pandemic.
“Our job is to create an enhanced level of communication between Huntington’s corporate team and franchisees. We’re there to hear what they’re thinking and let them know the thoughts of franchisees,” said Beth.
During the pandemic, Huntington Learning Center transitioned to online tutoring to ensure that operations could continue if the brick-and-mortar locations closed. This transition had to happen fast and it scared some franchisees. However, Beth and the other FAC members created a way to operate to satisfy both franchisees and the corporate team while keeping both students and staff safe.
Beth is a strong voice for franchisees because she knows what it’s like to struggle during a significant economic change.