Assistant is “more than an EA” – part of region team

Jane and her Brady Bunch family.

Jane and her Brady Bunch family.

Jane Heginbotham may have started her career in retail, but she found her dream job as the assistant to Regional Vice President Cheslee Escobedo, serving the KinderCare centers in the Central region from her home office outside of Phoenix, Ariz.

Heginbotham was recruited to her role by the former RVP in 2013 from Barnes & Noble, where she was the merchandising manager for the children’s department.

Heginbotham always knew she wanted to work with children. Her parents always wanted a big family and when they realized that wasn’t possible, they did what Heginbotham said was “the next best thing” – fostering. For 30 years Heginbotham’s parents fostered newborns to preteens for a few days to months, even years. That selflessness made an impression on Heginbotham, shaping a sense of empathy that comes in handy in her role as a regional assistant.

“I enjoy talking with parents and resolving their concerns,” she said, explaining that a simple “I’m sorry we didn’t live up to our Service Values in your experience” can do wonders to change the tone of the conversation. “Most of the time they just need an ear to listen. I like to help rebuild their trust in us. It’s hugely satisfying to know you helped a family or resolved a problem even if you’re not face-to-face.”

According to Nicole Davis, a District Manager in Houston, Texas, “I respond to the unique needs and interests of every child” is the Service Value Heginbotham most embodies, both with families and with her region team.

Learning about the differences KinderCare makes in the lives of children and families “every day through everything we do” is one of Heginbotham’s favorite aspects of her job. Her children are interested in her day-to-day work (she often works from home, sharing an office with her husband) but didn’t understand what she did until she explained that she’s the glue that holds the region together.

“It’s like there’s a puzzle in the field being pulled together. You put glue on it when you’re done to hold it together. I’m that glue.”

She’s also – according to Erika Featherstone, a District Manager in Okla. and Kan. – a “sounding board” and, occasionally, the help desk. She learned to adapt her work to the different personalities of each leader she supports – from her RVP to each district manager. In fact, she’s so much a part of her region group that she’s considered part of the team.

“Jane is an amazing support to our region,” said Christiane Moore, a District Manager in Houston, Texas. “Jane will and can do anything for us and our team. We could not do our jobs without her.”

“She is always willing to help, jump in as needed, and work through road bumps,” said Sohani Alam Ahmed, a District Manager in Ariz. “I cannot imagine a world at [KinderCare] without Jane.”

“She is supportive, responsive, thorough, detailed, and always available,” said Joe Cardaropoli, a District Manager in Dallas, Texas. “She is…truly an integral part of the region team.”

“She is always quick to respond and guide me in the right direction – all while doing so with a smile in her voice,” said Rachel Dandeneau, a District Manager in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas.

“Jane goes up and beyond her role to support all the district managers and center directors,” said Janelle Baker, a District Manager in Texas. “[She’s] always available to lend a hand in any way in an effort to make our lives easier. She is dedicated to our mission and loves to hear stories about the children we serve and our team members.”

When she’s not working, Heginbotham enjoys spending time with her family, a modern-day Brady Bunch. (Her husband had three girls from a previous relationship. Heginbotham had three boys.) One of her husband’s hobbies rubbed off on her – in the three years since their marriage Heginbotham has run five-and-a-half marathons. While her husband’s goal is to run a race in all 50 states, Heginbotham has a longer term accomplishment in mind: teaching their children a healthy lifestyle, a goal that is fast becoming a reality as the children join their parents in 5K races.

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