We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracey Phillips-Odom and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tracey, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am originally from Waco, Tx, but I moved here to Dallas, Tx after high school to continue my education. My background and upbringing has been impacted by a number of things. To name a few, I will start with my amazing mother. Experiencing her raise eight children showed me how to be loving and caring, handle fear, be strong, never give up, fight for your dreams, etc. She instilled in me to always put God first. Next, I would go to work with my mother sometimes at an early learning center and I would watch her interact with children and her interactions grew on me. She just loved children. Another is, we would always play school whenever my cousins would come over. I would always be the teacher. Then one day, I found myself working on my first job as a preschool teacher. And it all started from there.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an owner of an early learning center. I have had some difficult challenges. The main challenge was that I worked for one particular facility that pushed me over the edge. After I completed the goals that they set for me and as I continued to go above those goals, I realized that there was no room for growth with this company. They wanted to keep me in that same position. But, I knew I was worth much more and so did they. Because I was getting so many monetary bonuses and in good amounts, they started sending me items that I didn’t want instead. I knew it was time for me to move on. They were holding me back from my dreams. They had no intentions of giving me a higher position. Just for the way they treated me. As I was sitting at my desk one day at this facility, I spoke these words to myself, out loud, “if I only had my own day care”. The wind blew opened the front foyer door after that. From there, the ball started rolling. I was able to get my first home built for their actions. I got over this challenge by opening my own business, ended up getting the same building that they had, and financially better than they were. I’ve ranned it they way it supposed to be ranned. I value my employees whereas they didn’t care. What sets me apart from everyone else is that I love dealing with children. They are so innocent and they can teach you things that can touch your heart.

I would like people to know that I am doing what I love. Children. They are a big part of my life. I am a fun, loving person. I love people! All people. My personality speaks volume about my business.

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.
Some fun interesting things we would do if a friend or friends comes to town would: The Ft. Worth Zoo, Arlington Skatium, hang out at Joe Pool Lake for a day, have dinner at The Italian Cafe in Las Colinas then enjoy a boat ride on Gondola Adventures, shopping at the Galleria Dallas, Six Flags, dinner in the Reuion Tower, go to a jazz club (there are several), etc.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a few people that I would like to dedicate my shoutout to. I would like to honor God first for putting me on the path that my heart desired by answering a out spoken prayer and a cry for help. He spoke to me as I was sitting in my livingroom watching television. I heard his voice say, “go get the building”. It scared me so bad that I ranned into the bedroom and woke my husband up to tell him! I was so scared! My husband said to me, what are you waiting on. Go get the building! He has blessed me and is still blessing me in large numbers. My husband! He is such an amazing man! My husband has been my biggest supporter, my backbone. He exhausted his every mean to make my dream come true. One day I was crying and frustrated about my career and he said to me, what is that you would like to do? And I told him and he said to me, if you want it, then go get it, Either you can go look for a building or just sit here and cry about it. My mother. Her words of wisdom, her prayers for me, her cheering me on to go for it, the purchases she made and my dad made for me. My cousin Debra Boyd-Moore, whom departed this earth in February 2021. She was such a great support system and giver. She purchased my first playground and some of my infant room equipment. She even contacted the Mayor of Irving to honor me and name a day after me. My cousin’s daughter, Latia Boyd-Harris, would drove up and down from Houston, Tx to come and support me in anything that I was having and still does. My staff member of sixteen and a half years, Laqeshia Sanders. Ms. Sanders is a big part of my blessing. She started working for me as an employee of another child care establishment, where I was director. Actually, the one that I mentioned earlier that was holding me back. I hired her at 16, pregnant, and a senior in high school. Being pregnant did not stop her from being a diligent employee. From there, she followed me to pursue my dream of owning a learning center myself. Ms. Sanders went from a preschool teacher turned director. I’ve taught her how to run my business and she does an amazing job, especially when I am away! She is the only employee that has been with me since the day I opened my business. The staffing team I have presently. They have been the longest running team I’ve had thus far. The majority of them are mature in age. Their years of employment ranges from 3 years to 17 years. They stick with me through everything without hesitation. My siblings have all been so proud of me. Their words of encouragement and support helps keep me going. Many past employees that still support me and contacts me for advice on things in their life. And my customers, many relatives, and friends.

Facebook: Simply Smarts Learning Center business page and Tracey-Phillips Odom personal page

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