Today we introduce Susan Pascale-Frechette, owner of Pods Swimming. Pods swimming is a Providence Area swim school for children aged 2 months-9 years.Â Susan can often be spotted poolside with her two young children (who are amazing swimmers) in tow. She lives in Barrington, Rhode Island with her husband, Marc and two children aged 6 and 4.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your own business?
Susan Pascale-Frechette:Â Pods originated because I was a swim coach for the Ocean State Squids at Brown University. During the winter of 2006-2007, Brown University closed their pool and since I loved coaching, I felt I could better serve the Providence community by creating my own swim school.Â The swimmers at Pods are able to learn breath control and body position at 6 months old. It is very exciting to watch these swimmers develop.
How do you balance work and family?
Susan: I am fortunate to have a wonderful staff and family who helps me with my children. My sister Jamie is the Pods swimming program manger. She executes all jobs that I need help with every day. My husband Marc is an amazing cook. He prepares most of our family meals. I am also so fortunate to have a reliable, dedicated staff. In my absence, I can trust them. It allows me to be able to work on other aspects of the business.
Please describe a typical day?
Susan: Due to the facility availability of Pods, I do not have a typical day or routine day. Everyday of the week is a different schedule in my household. One day I may bring my children to school, then have an hour to work on the administrative end of Pods. Throughout that day, I may teach for 2 hours, pick up my children and then teach again for a few hours. Another day I may bring my children to school, teach for a few hours, have a meeting, pick them up from school and then take them to an activity and then go back to Pods to teach. I have learned flexibility is the key for myself and my family. Because we are not used to a typical routine, my children are able to adapt to whatever the day brings for us.
Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
Susan: I believe organization is the key. I wake up and hit the ground running. Because every day varies for me, I make daily lists for my home and my business. I focus on the task at hand and complete it, then move onto the next one. I also make sure we have everything organized in my car for the day. Depending on what activity is going on that day and which location I am headed to, determines what I pack for the day.
If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
Susan: I started Pods when my daughter was 1 week old. So pre- business and pre-kids is the same chapter of my life. The advice I would have is learn to be flexible and adaptable. Business life can change by the hour. You have to be ready for anything the day may bring.
Where do you find inspiration?
Susan: I find my inspiration after learning about my own great grandmother, Margaret Lonardo. She was an Italian immigrant who had 5 children and a vision. Along with my great grandfather, Emilo, she owned a cigar store named Leo’s on Atwells Avenue for 60 years and also managed apartment buildings. She wanted to give her family opportunity. By building a business and working hard she provided them with great educations. She also made sure she traveled to places she wanted to see and always made sure to prioritize herself. She felt you have to take care of yourself. If you are not happy and taken care of, no one in your household or business will thrive. What I have learned from her example is life does not just happen. You have to set goals for yourself and work hard to reach them.
What is the one kid or parent product you could not live without?
Susan: I could not live without baby wipes. They have many multi-purpose uses. I still use them even though Jillian and Evan are 6 and 4.
What is your favorite children’s book or music CD?
Susan: Right now, my children’s favorite cd’s are Fireman Sam and The Little Mermaid.
What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? Â What made it so great?
Susan: My favorite book that I have read recently, is The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. I enjoyed reading how challenging children, teaching them to learn to be independent and holding them accountable, allows children to learn self awareness and become problem solvers.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Susan: I have to say that a guilty pleasure for me would be having an ice cream sundae for lunch.
If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
Susan: I like to go to the beach. It is the one place I feel I can sit down and relax.
Can you share a story or anecdote that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and parent?
Susan: There is overlap when my children have to view a facility with me, watch a movie poolside while I teach a lesson, or have to help transport equipment. It is great that they are able to witness me working. At a young age they have realized you just work hard in order to own a home and live day to day life. It is a great lesson for them to learn. They also have had to learn patience. Life does not revolve around them. Their needs are met, but not instantaneously.
How has the experience and on the job training of being a Mom/Dad prepared or changed you in business?
Susan: I think having children of my own, I am better able to relate to swim school parents. I am juggling all of the same things that they are.
What is next for you and your business?
Susan: I would love to see Pods swimming continually educate the children and parents in Rhode Island. Many parents try to do everything for their child so they can to help their child succeed in life. I hope that we can make learning to swim one of the gifts they are giving them.
For more information on Pods swimming, please check out their website.