We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Durby and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jill, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It is our motto: “People first.” When I first became a business owner, my husband and I set out to create a work environment that honored, supported, and valued each team member. At that time in our careers, we had worked in a variety of settings, and we had been managed by a variety of bosses. We had learned a lot of lessons, good and bad, about how to manage a team. We vowed to create the type of environment that we would want to work in. We look for the strengths of all of our team members and we work in unison with them. We manage through a coaching mentality and challenge our team to develop and grow their skills. And we give our team opportunities to express their uniqueness and take ownership in their role. We also vowed to create an environment that valued our customers and treated them like family. Seeing that we were in the business of supporting new parents as they embarked onto the journey of raising tiny humans, this was a bit of a no-brainer. However, we wanted to take real actions that showed that we really meant what we said, and we weren’t just using it as lip service. We seek to embrace each family who joins us with open arms. It is our goal to get to know their family, seek what makes them unique, both strengths and challenges, and support them in the way they need to be supported. Our staff looks at each family as unique and worthy, and knows that their #1 priority is to create a community that is supportive and engaging for every one who comes through our doors.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are lucky to be franchisees for Gymboree Play & Music. They have been known for their industry-leading early childhood curriculum for over 40 years. They provide all the structure for an unrivaled learning experience for children AND their parents. OUR magic sauce is executing that framework through an extraordinary and dedicated team. Our staff creates an environment that builds on the strengths of all the families who join us. They honor that they are doing the hard work of parenting young children, and they seize the opportunity to build a reciprocal community gives and receives from each other. We are not merely there to entertain, but to connect. Connect teacher to family. Connect parent to child. Connect child to peer. Connect family to family. People first.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
You can’t miss La Jolla and Balboa Park. And as a baseball enthusiast, our family has been to about half of the stadiums in the US. And Petco Park is near the top of the list! So a game and a cold local beer would also be a must!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Joan Barnes, the founder of Gymboree Play & Music. It was 1976 and Joan Barnes was a young mom of two little girls. She was a self-proclaimed hippie, who had recently moved cross-country in a Volkswagen camper to live and do the “San Francisco Thing”. But when she landed in San Francisco, it was the height of the “ME” generation. Nobody was having kids, and nobody was interested in those that were. She felt like a fish out of water – desperate for support, companionship, and friends who just “get it”. She yearned for a community of like-minded people who had also chosen to have a family. So she CREATED IT! Combining a supportive team with a vision and a lot of hard work, her homespun community of new parents grew into a global brand. What was good for her, it turns out, was good for everyone else. And it was good for the kids, of course, too. Most importantly, she had brought parenting out of the shadows and built a new modern village around it. Nearly 45 years and 40 countries later…this Gymboree Play & Music Village is still going strong!

Website: https://www.gymboreeclasses.com/en/locations/CA/San-Diego/

Instagram: @gymboreesd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gymboreeofsandiego

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/gymboree-play-and-music-san-diego-san-diego?utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GymboreePlayMusic

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