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Why Ram and JoAnne Jagadeesan Went From Lightbridge Academy Customers to Franchisees

The Westchester County couple sent two kids to the supplemental-learning brand before opening up their own location.

By Kayla Bodel1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 12:12PM 06/12/20

Ram and JoAnne Jagadeesan grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, where they still live today. After college, Ram and JoAnne began successful corporate careers in the retail industry. Ram is currently a partner at Dolce Vita Intimates, where he manages the complete production lifecycle of their intimate apparel brand. JoAnne leads a career at Ascena, the parent company of Ann Taylor, Inc., where she is currently the Senior Director of Company Planning.

Together they have three young children, ages eight, six and three-and-a-half. A few years ago, when it was time for Ram and JoAnne to look for care for their first child, they became one of the first members at the then-newly opened Lightbridge Academy* in Westwood. Ram and JoAnne fell in love with everything about the brand, from their values to the modern layout of the establishment. Since then, they have enrolled all three of their children in Lightbridge Academy

Around the time they were getting ready for the birth of their third child, Ram and JoAnne were reevaluating their careers and life plans. They decided they wanted to own a business that

allowed the flexibility to be more involved in their kids’ after-school activities. After looking at a few franchise options, they fell in love with what Lightbridge had to offer. Together they are excited to bring a brand that has been like family to them to the Westchester community, an area they feel lacks their premier child care and extracurricular programming.

1851 Franchise: Tell us a little bit about your background.

JoAnne Jagadeesan: We are originally from Bergen County, NJ and still live there today, but we are thinking about relocating to Westchester County to be closer to our Lightbridge Academy.

I went to college in Atlanta and am currently the Senior Director of Company Planning at Ascena. I have 20 years of corporate retail and wholesale manufacturing experience, with an emphasis in Merchandise Planning & Company Financial Planning. I have been employed at Ascena for the last 15 years, where I have had the opportunity to grow within the organization from a Merchandise Planner to various levels of Managerial & Director level roles across the company. Currently, I am the Senior Director of Company Planning, and in this role, I am responsible for Sales & Margin Budgets and Forecasts, as well as ensuring the brands deliver against all financial targets.

Ram Jagadeesan: I went to college in Philadelphia and am currently a Managing Partner at Dolce Vita Intimates LLC. I have 20 years of experience in the Fashion Industry, with a focus on operations. For the last 15 years I have been a Partner at Dolce Vita Intimates ensuring that the operations of the company runs seamlessly from product design to product delivery. In this position, I am primarily responsible to manage the complete production lifecycle of intimate apparel from cost analysis of all components, to sourcing garment manufacturers, importing the product to our distribution centers and shipping across the US to various department and specialty retailers.  

We have three children ages eight, six and three and a half. They all started in the infant room at Lightbridge Academy in Westwood and went through pre-K. Our older kids still attend summer camps at Lightbridge because of the convenience of extended hours.

1851: Why did you decide to go into franchising, and how did you choose Lightbridge Academy? 

JoAnne: When it was time for us to care for our first child, we toured a few area child-care centers that were close to our home. We fell in love with the Lightbridge establishment, values, what they believe in and even the layout, which was very modern and appealing compared to competitors. We were among the first people in the Westwood center when it was brand new.

Ram: I was blown away by the technology that allows us to keep an eye on the kids and safety measures. It’s important to recognize that a daycare isn’t just babysitting, it’s incorporating music programs and extracurricular activities. Lightbridge allows you to have everything in one spot. Something that differentiated Lightbridge from others was that the child care industry did not require nights and weekends unlike several other franchise models.

JoAnne: When we were having our third child, we were assessing our careers and looking at what we wanted our future to be like for our family. We started looking at different options and liked what we saw with Lightbridge. We wanted to own a business that gave us flexibility to be available and more involved in our kids after school activities which was difficult today with our demanding careers. We wanted to give families the same opportunity we had for our kids.

1851: Why do you think Lightbridge is a good fit for your community?

Ram: We really like [Lightbridge’s] philosophy of incorporating the community. We have toured a lot of the competitors and we have explained to our friends there that there is nothing like Lightbridge available out there. We had an experience where our second child took his first steps at Lightbridge and the staff got that on video for us. That could have been something we missed but they were able to share that video.

They also have an advanced curriculum. We spent about three years looking and Elmsford is an area we’re glad we waited for. It is a high-traffic area and we are located at the main level of a 100-unit apartment building. We are offering a discount to the employees and tenants in the building and all future developments done by the same landlord. The mayor and town officials will be at the event next week.

JoAnne: We support the community and plan to open a second location soon. We are excited to offer Lightbridge to the community. We really want families to know that we are them, we have been in their shoes and we have walked with them. This franchise is not just a business for us, it's a family. We are excited to give back.

1851: Do you work with any other local businesses or community groups?

JoAnne: We are considering sponsoring the local little league team and still looking for other opportunities to get involved. We plan to partner with a local restaurant to offer a fully organic hot lunch program to our kids.

Ram: We plan on offering a discount to the local community helpers like the police, fire and military families. It is our duty to give back to those who serve and protect our families. Our director that we’re hiring is local from the area. She brings a wide range of child care experience from Children of America and Tutor Time.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.