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New Lightbridge Academy Board Member Brings Insights as a Banker, Deep Experience in the Child Care Sector and Perspective as a Working Mother — to the Brand

After advising education brands for more than two decades, Susan Wolford says today’s child care centers are better than nannies for working moms.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
SPONSOREDUpdated 8:08AM 08/31/21

Early education and child care center Lightbridge Academy’s new board member, Susan Wolford, has nothing against nannies. Honestly.

In fact, in the early ‘90s when she was a busy working mom holding down a high-powered banking position, Wolford said she relied on multiple nannies over the 18-year course of raising her daughter. 

“We had extraordinarily good luck with each of our nannies,” she said. “I love them. They’re part of the family.” 

Yet, despite her positive experiences, when it comes to her two-year-old grandson, here’s the child care advice Wolford gives her now-grown daughter: It’s not the ‘90s anymore. Skip the nanny. Early childhood education has come a long way.

“Today, the quality of child care is just phenomenal,” Wolford said. “I highly recommend to all my friends who now are having grandchildren that they should tell their children that the way to go is to pick a center with quality standards in place.”

That’s because she believes centers today are much more professional, offering accountability and higher standards. Additionally, the social engagement and educational outcomes that children receive from a child care center are far more beneficial than what they are able to receive by staying with a nanny, she says.

And Wolford is in a unique position to know. She joined the Lightbridge Academy Board of Directors after spending more than half of her 40-year banking career focused on the education sector. She advised a diverse portfolio of education-related brands, including ear6northly childhood companies, on a range of business issues. Now retired, she sits on the board of several education companies, building an enviable network of contacts throughout the industry.

It’s this combination of business acumen, networking abilities within the sector and hard-won insight as a working mom that Wolford will tap into when advising Lightbridge Academy on achieving its growth goals.

“The addition of someone with the stature of Susan Wolford on our Board strengthens Lightbridge Academy’s position as a leader in early childhood education and child care,” said Gigi Schweikert, Lightbridge Academy’s CEO. “We are proud to have her insights and wisdom both as a respected business leader and also as someone who brings the perspective of a mom to the table.”

Wolford believes that with her experience working with the biggest players in the industry, she will be able to bring a broad perspective to Lightbridge. 

“As the company develops its own strategy and has its own growth initiatives, I can pull from that experience,” she says. “I can tell you, ‘that this could work,’ or ‘this couldn't work,’ and what pitfalls they need to avoid.”

Ultimately, Wolford says she loves the education sector because it’s the rare opportunity to do both a social good while also making a good financial investment. 

“Many people enter a career in child care because they like the field and enjoy doing something  for a societal good,” she said, “But even if you didn’t have that impulse, you would fail if you weren’t producing something that worked and something that was effective.”

The initial start-up cost for a Lightbridge Academy location is $549,228 to $767,635, with a franchise fee of $40,000. To learn more about franchising with Lightbridge Academy, visit

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