WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2018- The International Franchise Association has named Jo Kirchner, CEO of Primrose Schools, as the 2017 Bonnie LeVine Award winner in recognition of her commitment to the mentorship of women. The formal presentation of the award will occur during the Association’s 58th Annual Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 13.
The Bonnie LeVine Award is given annually to a female franchisor or franchisee who is a role model and mentor for women through her business, and has a record of professional accomplishments within franchising and beyond. Throughout her career, Kirchner has focused on expanding business and leadership opportunities for women within the franchising community. At Primrose Schools, a national system of accredited early education and care schools, Kirchner exemplifies her belief that the best employees truly want to make a positive impact on children by providing the best very early learning experiences possible.
“We are pleased to honor Jo Kirchner with this highly esteemed award,” said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti. “Kirchner is a passionate industry executive, known for her strategic thinking and commitment to positively affecting the lives of those around her.”
Before her tenure with Primrose, Jo was a working mother looking to find quality care for her own children and the peace of mind all parents deserve. A few years after her children had already entered elementary school, she visited a Primrose school and was very impressed with what she saw. It was exactly what she had wanted for her own children and was sure other parents would feel the same way. As a result, Kirchner joined Primrose in 1990 as vice president, and was promoted to senior vice president in 1995. She then became president and CEO of Primrose Schools in 1999, and now serves exclusively as CEO.
Under her leadership, Primrose has grown from four schools in Atlanta to nearly 375 schools in 29 states today. With this growth, Primrose has been able to provide children all over the country with the early learning foundation they need to become successful in elementary school and beyond. Kirchner is committed to positively affecting the lives of thousands of corporate staff, Franchise Owners, Franchise Owners’ employees and the families they serve. She continues to help women advance in the franchise industry, specifically working mothers, whom she believes should never have to settle when it comes to quality care for children in their early years.
“Being recognized as this year’s Bonny Levine Award winner is an incredible honor,” said Kirchner. “When I think back to the earliest days of Primrose, I am both humbled and inspired by our growth and progress, especially when I think about how many children’s lives we have shaped through our Primrose schools. I sincerely hope our success will inspire other female leaders and entrepreneurs to do what they are passionate about, and they will feel empowered to pursue new business opportunities. The sky is truly the limit.”
Today, she feels fortunate that her two grandchildren can attend a Primrose school, one that her daughter Keri Stoltz owns in Atlanta, Ga. For Kirchner, there remains no better feeling than watching children and grandchildren grow and become confident adults who love who they are and what they do.