written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Josh attained his undergraduate degree at D.C.’s American University, followed by a Master’s in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.
After two years in Harrisonburg, Va. covering local sports, this Washington native landed a job with the Redskins. A twist here and a turn there led Josh to an entrepreneurial path.
He started a tutoring company, Ashley Tutors, that provides high-quality tutoring services in the D.C. area. In 2012, Joshua added Flex Academies to provide after school enrichment programs for students from elementary grades through high school.
Schools that opt to incorporate Flex Academies programs enjoy the following five benefits:
- Partnership between PTA and Flex provides professional support to volunteers to run this turn-key program.
“PTAs are built up and run by volunteers. Somehow, in many areas, it has morphed into volunteers having to run what turns out to be $100,000 grossing businesses in some of these schools with the afterschool programs.”
“They’re not getting paid to run a business. They don’t deserve to have to take the crap, so to speak, that other parents are giving them about a program that they’re just volunteering to build.” Flex Academies takes the pressure off their backs!
- Flex Academies helps to build and manage the enrichment programs for the kids. “We find good vendors. We bring them in, vet them and certify them.” In short, they fully address and manage any liability concerns.
- Flex Academies provides professional enrichment. They’re highly selective in determining their business partnerships to ensure that a high level of instruction is maintained. And, the schools profit!
- Fun and safe afterschool environment for elementary, middle and high school students. In some locations, there are programs available prior to the start of the school day. The instructors have a proven ability to effectively work with the students. At all times, the kids are in good hands!
- Flex is operated by professionals who excel in their respective fields. “We’ve worked with over 400 vendors in 580 high-quality activities!”
Born, raised and schooled in D.C., Josh earned a degree from American University. Before continuing his education, he spent some time in Prague “drinking beer and enjoying myself.”
“I started grad school a couple of months later. Graduate school at Northwestern for Broadcast Journalism was the toughest year I’ve ever spent. It made college look like a total breeze,” confided Josh. He credits that time in his life with solidifying his career goal. “It helped me realize what I wanted to do, at that time, which was be in broadcast journalism.”
A Small Market Is A Great Place To Start
Josh continued, “I went from Northwestern straight into being an on-air weekend sports anchor in Harrisonburg, Virginia, which was fantastic!” He covered everything from local JV sports to the Redskins.
“I recommend anybody who wants to get into sports or broadcast journalism, definitely find yourself a small market. Go there and learn everything.”
Eventually, Josh was eager to try something new. His next endeavor was at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. “I helped install a very large exhibit, which was great. I worked with a guy who taught me a lot about marketing.” And then…
“The Washington Redskins called! They were looking for somebody to help get the broadcast network going. And, I did!” Josh stayed with them for several years. During that time, he also did some tutoring. That’s when his entrepreneurial passion was ignited.
Discovering A Passion For Tutoring & Marketing
“I loved the education part of it…the teaching part of it. I also loved the ‘running a business’ part of it. I decided to go out on my own.” Assisted by other passionate, qualified tutors, Ashley Tutors was created. After expanding its reach directly into the schools in 2011, they took note of the shortcomings of existing afterschool activities.
Flex Academies was born the following year “out of a request from a school to handle an afterschool program. We manage aftershool programs for PTAs, on a very large scale.”
It’s now the turn-key solution that’s linking families, PTAs, schools and vendors together. Currently serving the DC community, Josh is looking forward to significant regional and national expansion over the next five years.”
Joshua Reveals The Biggest Challenge Of Growing Flex Academies
“I had to separate — and, I’ve had to do it literally in the last 12 hours! — and not manage everything. Begin to not only delegate, but lead. Being able to hand off work and say this is how I did it, how I expect it to be done. I will teach you how to do it and you can do this as well. So, not doing everything on my own. You can’t scale a business doing everything on your own.”
Flex Academies Is Definitely Making A Difference
“We started a partnership with the Washington Nationals and their Dream Foundation. It’s something I’ve been working on for many, many years.”
Josh continued, “A lot of what Flex does is where the parents can afford it. There is a very real thing called the ‘activity gap’ and we are trying to bridge that. We’re trying to take enrichment that we provide… the quality, the safety, the level of scrutiny that we give to each one of our vendors… and bring it to underserved kids.”
“The Nats have become our partner and we are bringing our management of afterschool programs to their Foundation in southeast D.C. I’m a Nats fan. I’m a Nats season ticket-holder. I’m from D.C. It’s in my backyard. You can see that it’s doing immediate good in our neighborhood.”
What Programs and Apps Are Helping Josh To Manage His Businesses?
“I built my first business on Highrise and Basecamp (previously 37 Signals). It’s still the basis of my tutoring company.
Google Apps for Business is the structure for Flex Academies. I don’t know where I’d be without Google Apps for Business. I could spend days digging through the apps…adding them, deleting them, and trying them out.
I think I pay $8.99 per person per month for Google Apps for Business and that’s the whole studio. You can do everything in there! That is absolutely the most important piece of technology that we use.”
Want to know more about how to bring the benefits of Flex Academies to your school? Reach out to Josh for more information today!
Note: When you fill out the contact form on the website, it goes directly to Josh. He will personally call you to discuss the needs of your school and how the kids and school can benefit from a partnership with Flex Academies.
Contents Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #031