From accountant to theatre school Principal
Like many mums, after having her two children, Claire Walford was inspired to find fulfilling work that she could do alongside her commitments as a parent. Having been an accountant all her working life, it seems at first glance quite a side step to take over a theatre school. But Claire has been successfully running Razzamataz Yeovil since January 2011.
“My sister worked as a dance teacher at Razzamataz when the opportunity came up to take over the school. I had two young children and it was really important to me to have a job where I could take them to school in the morning and collect them in the afternoon. I’ve always loved performing arts, but it would never have crossed my mind that I could run my own theatre school until I looked into Razzamataz and understood that as a franchise, they would offer you a tool box of training and support that would teach you all you needed to know.”
“Working as an accountant meant that I got involved in many different aspects in a business including marketing, sales and even some IT. I had been working in a managerial capacity and understood how to recruit people so although I didn’t have performing arts skills myself, and wouldn’t be able to actually teach the classes, I felt confident that I had the knowledge needed to recruit the best people and I already had a good idea about how to actually run a business.”
“After the first four weeks, I took some of the students to perform and suddenly it hit me that in that moment I had 20 children! The students really do become part of your family and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to watch them grow in confidence and see the progress that they make in their performing and technical skills. Now my own children are older, certainly the live/work balance is easier, but it is still lovely to be able to spend time with them and not be tied to particular work hours or have a long commute. There’s still things that they need me to do and the flexibility that Razzamataz offers is still important to me.”
“By choosing the franchise route, it is possible to start a business even if you don’t have a background in it, which is very exciting for lots of people who are looking to start something new. Without Razzamataz, I definitely wouldn’t have even thought this could be an option for me but by being part of the network, I have access to everything I need to know. The training continues to build at Razzamataz and it’s responsive to the changing nature of business. For example, as soon as GDPR was talked about, Razzamataz responded immediately and we were very ahead in terms of having our systems being compliant. The network is a very collaborative environment too. We all learn from each other and everyone is very happy to share their success and also what went wrong so we don’t all have to make the same mistakes.”
“I feel Razzamataz really value the skills that I have from my background in business and have supported me in the areas where I am weaker. I’ve been actively involved on the Franchise Advisory Council and also helping to develop our new BMS, the experiences that I have as an accountant really lend themselves to these roles and I’ve loved helping to drive it forward.”
“Knowledge is not power if you keep it to yourself. The Principals at Razzamataz believe that if you share your experiences we all become more powerful,” Claire Walford, Principal, Razzamataz Yeovil
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