Ashley Gray/Amina Gunaratne
Ashley and Amina are kindred spirits, strong women who found themselves relying on each other as they navigated through the pathways of being entrepreneurs. Their mutual admiration and support of each other is a highlight of their overall Primrose journey.
What inspired you to start your school?
Amina: Disheartened by the childcare services we experienced as parents, we set out to create a solution that would appeal to the standards of care we wanted for our own children. Our journey for exceptional care led us to Primrose Schools.
Ashley: I was a practicing lawyer for 12 years and as I began maternity leave with my second child, I told my boss, “I just don’t think I can do this anymore.” A year later, my Primrose School was opening just days before my daughter’s first birthday. She was with me every step of the way during the first five years of her life.
What sets your schools apart?
Ashley: We lead by example, serving children, families, and one another daily. It takes a special personality to have a heart for service and we try to instill this in our students.
What was your proudest moment as a business owner?
Amina: In August 2014, our school opened with the highest enrollment ever for a first-time Primrose franchise owner.
Ashley: Nothing has made me prouder than watching my daughter grow up as a Primrose child. I give so much credit to Primrose for the person she is becoming because of the experiences she had at our school.
What was your most memorable experience as a business owner?
Amina: Last year, as our kindergarten graduates collected their diplomas, our entire team was beaming with pride. We have seen our graduates go on to greater success in their schools and we’re honored to have partnered with our families in their child’s educational journey.
What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about running your own business?
Amina: Never settle for the status quo. As a team, we are continuously preparing, learning and strengthening our practices to ensure continued success.
Ashley: You are not just the CEO, but the CFO, CTO, therapist, janitor, errand runner and Chief People person.
How do you juggle family and work demands?
Amina: While our children have outgrown the need for childcare services, they have had front row seats to the grit and determination their parents displayed in their entrepreneurial adventure. Today, we discuss new business ventures together as a family.
Ashley: They very nature of our business makes it easier for us to have work/life balance in a way that was not possible in corporate America. A few weeks ago my 13-year-old son was at the school setting up classrooms for teacher in-service day. And we constantly discuss ideas for the school at the dinner table.
Mountainside / Berkeley Heights