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Afrose Amlani

Seattle, WA

INDUSTRY: EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
BUSINESS: LIVING MONTESSORI EDUCATION COMMUNITY
YEAR FOUNDED: 2006
PROGRAM: 2014 EMERGING LEADERS SEATTLE
“You have to make sure that you have the appropriate practices and you know how to run a business really well so you grow. The more you grow the more you are able to support your community.”
BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Living Montessori Education Community is a privately-funded school that brings the unorthodox Montessori teaching philosophy to children in the Seattle area. Founded by Afrose Amlani, daughter of a Montessori teacher who works in Afrose’s native Uganda, her school has grown from 75 to 200 children. Starting with a refurbished school in Bellevue, WA, last year Afrose expanded so that her infant/toddler program, her academy for children ages 3 to 6, and her elementary school are all under the same roof. The school employs a total of 50 people.

STEPPING UP AS CEO
Last year, Afrose decided to join the Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders, which is powered by Interise’s StreetWise MBA™. After early success getting her school off the ground, Afrose was looking for new direction: “I had sort of been thinking about where do I go next--I’ve done this, I’ve done this, but what do I want now?”

The biggest takeaway for Afrose during the program was that, before taking part in the program, she had been too focused on the day-to-day operations instead of the big picture. “That was one of the biggest blind spots for me.” Since identifying this blind spot, Afrose has turned over her administrative tasks to other employees.

Reshuffling her staff has led Afrose to let some people go, but she knows it was the right decision in the long run. “One of the mistakes that I was making was creating jobs based on the people I had, instead of looking at what the organization needed.” Being more strategic and disciplined has earned her greater respect from her staff who are more confident than ever before.

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