In Conversation with Anne Huntington of The Huntington Learning Center
Can you describe your Entreprenista journey climbing the ranks at the Huntington Learning Center?
As the active second-generation Huntington leading the company today, my journey to Huntington Learning Center’s President and Board Member has had its challenges and opportunities along the way. It was very important to join the family business with outside experience, which is what I did. And, when I joined Huntington formally, I started as a consultant and worked my way up to President over the past several years. I went through our comprehensive training program, traveled to centers across the country, and worked with the entire Huntington community and all of our departments in order to have a complete understanding of all aspects of the business. Of course, informally, I began my career with Huntington as a student at local centers. Climbing the ranks has been and continues to be a very collaborative experience and I am grateful to have an incredible team.
When did you become interested in Huntington Learning Center’s mission? Can you share more about the Huntington Learning Center’s unique undertaking?
Our mission is to give every student the best education possible. This has been the mission since day one when my parents opened the first Huntington Learning Center in June of 1977. This mission has been part of my DNA since birth. My parents founded the company to help students. They saw a need, a problem that needed to be solved, and they did just that. Huntington teaches students academic skills, confidence, and motivation; it is unique because it gets results due to the individualized nature of the programs. The fact that we change lives every day by fulfilling our mission is the most profound concept.
What has been your most exciting contribution to Huntington Learning Center in your current role as President?
The most exciting contribution in my current role as President is the fact that I turned a 43-year-old company into a start-up. With COVID-19, we had to pivot and innovate fast and as our “COVID-19 time” president, it’s exciting to collaboratively re-envision our company’s legacy and programs to ensure that no matter what comes our way we can fulfill our mission.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered during your career and what did you learn?
The biggest challenge I have encountered is the concept of mindset. This intangible challenge is completely dependent on the individual. I’ve turned this challenge into an opportunity to think beyond traditional ways of doing things to ensure our strategy, mission and vision come to life. To break down this obstacle, I’ve had to disrupt, collaborate and communicate effectively and confidently.
Piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started?
I wish I had listened to my gut more – our intuition is powerful.
What is something we would be surprised to learn about you?
Given the opportunity, chances are that I will try just about anything such as jumping out of a plane, which I’ve already done.
How has your industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Working in education, we have been dramatically impacted by the virus. In March, school closures and shutdowns forced us to temporarily close our brick and mortar locations across the country. Within a matter of days, we transformed our business model and moved our core services online to ensure that we could continue to help students learn. It’s very unfortunate because students who do not get academic help will lose significant amounts of learning – the statistics are troubling. This means more students need Huntington and we are here to help at our centers or online.
Have you had to pivot since the beginning of COVID-19?
Yes! We completely transformed our business model. With the rise of COVID-19, state mandates temporarily closed our physical locations and we had to bring our programs online, which is what we did. We had to ensure that the integrity of our methodology continued and we worked 24/7 to create systems and processes to continue with 1:1 online tutoring and test prep programs when the actual centers were closed. We didn’t stop there, in the spring of 2020, we saw that students were missing out with school closures and delays so we enhanced our offerings to include Huntington Homework Help. During the summer of 2020, we realized that many schools would be virtual in the fall, so we rolled out Huntington Study Hall to provide an environment for students to attend their own virtual schools at one of our accredited centers in-person or online with certified teachers to support. And, we pivoted further and realized many students needed study skills and organizational help so we launched Huntington Academic Performance Coach. As the school year progresses we will continue to innovate and pivot with new ways to support students and their families.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 or 10 years? Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?
Over the next several years, I plan to continue to make the impossible possible. I plan to continue to fulfill our company’s mission and build on the legacy my parents began over 40 years ago. I have many exciting projects in the works that are short term and long term. You’ll have to follow me and Huntington Learning Center on social media to keep up!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an “Entreprenista” means that great ideas become realities. This sense of community fosters engagement and connections that positively impact us as individuals and as a collective group.
Check out Anne’s podcast episode to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey!