If at first you don’t succeed, just wait. Patience may not be Margo O’Donnell’s strongest quality, but it’s definitely something she’s learned since she started her KinderCare Education career seven years ago.
O’Donnell originally applied to be the executive assistant to the Champions leader –based at the time in her hometown of Orlando, Fla.
“I really didn’t have the experience [for the job], but I went in and said, ‘Look, I’m smart and a fast learner. Please take my word for it: I’m good at this,’” she said.
During her interview the leader sent O’Donnell to the office next door to meet with the former assistant, who had recently become an area manager. That manager like O’Donnell so much she poached her to become the Champions Orlando program coordinator.
Three years later a new Champions leader was so impressed with O’Donnell’s work as a program coordinator, she poached her to become an executive assistant.
That job eventually evolved into a new role as the CCLC executive assistant. Originally supporting the entire CCLC leadership team, O’Donnell now supports Eastern Regional Vice President Angie Alvarez and the East Coast Regional Directors from her office in a KinderCare center in Orlando – the same center her three-year-old son attends.
Her role as the CCLC executive assistant for the East is her biggest support role to date. On any given day she’s helping to train new regional or center directors, teaching a team member how to use a particular system, and making sure Alvarez has everything she needs to oversee nearly 60 CCLC centers spread across 21 states and the District of Columbia.
Sometimes O’Donnell has to remind herself out loud, “I need to be patient.”
Although she doesn’t get to spend as much time in centers now as she did back in her days as a Champions program coordinator, O’Donnell loves visiting centers and seeing the children and takes advantage of every opportunity to interact with the people she supports and with her peers around the country at events like the annual Center Director Academy and the recent executive assistant roundtable.
“My favorite part of my job is the people,” she said. “With our different time zones it can be a challenge, but it’s amazing to meet in person. It’s nice to make connections with people all over the country.”
“Margo is outstanding and is such a great partner for everyone,” said Annette Perkins, a CCLC regional director in D.C., Md., and Va. “I have been with CCLC since June and Margo has been an amazing partner to me – she always made and still makes time for me even if I have a silly question.”
“Margo has been an invaluable resource,” said Debbie Bermudez, a CCLC regional director in Conn., Mass., N.Y., and Pa. “She guided my onboarding, my travel, [and] my introduction to CCLC with grace and patience. She is extremely responsive and has gone, time and again, overboard to make sure I have what I need.”
When she’s not the CCLC go-to person, O’Donnell is home with her husband and sons – her three-year-old and her seven-year-old stepson – rooting for their favorite sports teams (the Dolphins and the Hurricanes: “They may not be wonderful, but they’re ours”), and watching all of the critically acclaimed shows on Netflix.
Of course, this native Floridian is a devoted Disney fan and can often be found exploring the park with her family. As annual pass holders, visiting Disney World is a favorite pastime. Patience is required there too, but O’Donnell has plenty of that thanks to her role at CCLC.