Transitions: Announcing Our New CEO, Natalie Henderson
In every life there are pivotal, defining moments: a connection is made, an insight arrives, a journey begins that will transform one’s path for years to come. Those transformational moments may be readily apparent at their onset or take hindsight and even years of reflection to reveal their significance. I didn’t realize it when I met her, but crossing paths with Natalie Henderson, a junior at Emory University in the fall of 2004, would have a transformational effect upon my life, and upon this business that has occupied much of my life’s energy for nearly two decades.
Beginnings are so often blueprints. The first exposure can set the tone, establish the paradigm for what is to come. Anyone who has ever undertaken a challenge can remember back to the very beginning, the first steps into unknown territory. When I started Applerouth Tutoring in the fall of 2001, every step was a first step: the first time creating a business card; the first time designing a brochure; the first time talking to a parent or a school counselor; the first time writing up practice materials and binding them into a rudimentary book; the first time meeting a student. By the fall of 2004, after so many of those initial first steps had become routine, I was faced with a major decision point and another potential first step. I could no longer manage all of the demand I had created in the prior 3 years, and I was at a crossroads: hire tutors to help me, or begin to turn away interested clients and stick with my 1-man tutoring shop. I decided to try my hand at hiring tutors. I printed up a help-wanted flyer and posted it at a kiosk on the Emory University main campus.
The second person who called about the job was a junior from Emory, a math, econ and religious studies student who had prior experience tutoring. Natalie made a great first impression. She was positive, supremely bright, and she clearly loved working with kids. The fates were smiling when I invited Natalie Henderson to join Applerouth Tutoring as its first tutor.
Natalie was an incredibly quick study. She was an ace with math and picked up all of my verbal tricks and techniques in no time. We tutored students individually, and together we divided up the small groups. Natalie ran the math instruction as I led the verbal instruction. The good results poured in, and new clients continued to call at a quickening pace. Natalie began to help with new tutor hiring and training: within a short time, half of her Emory friends had joined our young and growing team. Birds of a feather tend to flock together, and Natalie’s recruits were incredibly capable, personable and hard-working. Our reputation continued to grow.
In 2005 Natalie graduated from Emory and joined ATS full-time as our Atlanta director. Natalie had a mind for details, for numbers, and for planning as well as a passion for education. She was the perfect counterpoint to my entrepreneurial nature and proved to be an effective manager and leader. After a year guiding our team at ATS, Natalie was called up to New Haven to complete a JD from Yale University. I was excited to see her moving forward, but knew she’d be greatly missed.
Several years passed, and Natalie and I stayed in touch. In 2012, Natalie was at a career crossroads, having completed her both legal training and several years in the business world doing technology consulting. We met for dinner and discussed the possibilities for a new collaboration. Would she like to return to ATS as its Chief Operating Officer and apply all that she had learned in the corporate sector to our little shop? Natalie agreed, and the stage was set for a new order at Applerouth Tutoring.
Between 2012 and 2017, Natalie used her magic and managerial gifts to help streamline and rationalize our growing business. As an entrepreneur, I was skilled at finding new opportunities, saying yes to things, and finding resources to fuel our growth. I had the passion, but I was never a top manager. Natalie brought a much-needed skill set to our shop. She could organize complex systems, strengthen our focus and make things more manageable for the teams. Natalie increased transparency, accountability, fiscal health and team morale.
Between 2004 and 2017 I watched Natalie grow and develop from a college junior into a powerhouse executive, always learning and seeking to improve, all the while helping others rise with her. Natalie is a dynamo, one of the most talented human beings I’ve ever met. I know how incredibly lucky I was to have hired her in 2004. That was an inflection point in my life, a point of transition and transformation. So many good things have stemmed from that meeting. Natalie has been a driving force at Applerouth nearly since its inception. And I could not be happier to announce to our team and to everyone that as of January 1, 2018, Natalie Henderson has taken the helm as the CEO of Applerouth Tutoring Services.
I’m so excited to see Natalie rise to this leadership role. I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited to the task. I’m going to be transitioning to the role of President, and will continue to write, to speak and to maintain relationships across the country and internationally. Natalie will be the driving executive force behind the shop. If you know Natalie, don’t hesitate to reach out to congratulate her on this new position.
– Jed Applerouth