The Lightbridge Academy corporate team possess the years of experience franchise business owners can rely on to drive success in the early education and child care industry.
We know what it takes to invest in and successfully operate a child care center! Our corporate owned child care centers have been thriving for the past 25 years and importantly, we have also proven our franchise model successful for over 10 years.
The Lightbridge Academy leadership team knows what it takes to invest in and operate your own center. That is why we’ve created the tools, technology and processes for our franchisees to follow as a roadmap on their entrepreneurial journey.
The entire Lightbridge Academy team is focused on providing an unbroken circle of support to ensure that franchisees are in control of their success but never have to work alone. As part of our inner circle, you are connected to a network that truly cares, supports and encourages one another. Together, we help create a one-of-a-kind early childhood education experience, in a high care culture built on a foundation of core values.
Gigi Schweikert, Chief Executive Officer
Gigi as a history of creating innovative strategies to ensure the delivery of high-quality early education and care programs. Early in her career, she was the Director of the United Nations Child Care Centre and later developed and managed on-site employer-sponsored child care programs for numerous Fortune 500 companies.
Her advocacy work extends both nationally and internationally and includes serving as a board member for the Early Care & Education Consortium, an advisory board member for Marco Polo World School and Seton Hall University. In addition, Gigi serves as the President of the Lightbridge Foundation, a non-profit 501-c3 providing over $500,000 in grants and scholarships to support the health, education and well-being of children and their families.
Gigi is an international thought leader advancing the quality of early education and child care. With 30 years of experience and 18 published books, in three languages, Gigi has appeared on CBS, NBC, Fox, and the Wall Street Journal Lunch Hour News. Ms. Schweikert has been quoted in The New Times, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.
She enjoys reading, writing, and is proud of her greatest accomplishment; being mother to her four beautiful children.
Guy Falzarano, Co-Founder and Chairman
Guy Falzarano is the Chairman of Lightbridge Holdings Group and co-founded Lightbridge Academy in 1997 along with his wife Julia. Under Guy’s leadership, the Lightbridge Academy brand began franchising in 2011 and received numerous accolades over the years, including a ranking on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list, Newsweek Best Customer Award, Franchise Times Top 200 list and the Corporate Culture Award from Smart CEO Magazine.
He built the company based on a foundation of clearly defined values creating a deep culture of care. With a keen focus on meeting the needs of all those in the Lightbridge Academy Circle of Care, the company has attained a world-class NPS customer loyalty and emerged as a notable leader in the child care sector.
A commitment to the community and giving back has consistently been an integral part of his personal mission, serving on local and national early education advocacy groups and sits on Advisory Boards for Columbia Bank and Montclair State University’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship. He also founded the Lightbridge Foundation, a non-profit 501-c3 that supports the health, education and well-being of children and their families. Through the foundation, Lightbridge has donated more than $500,000 to those in need.
Guy and his wife Julia have three sons and eight grandchildren, all of whom are currently enrolled or alumni of Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care.
Joseph Fede, Chief Financial Officer
Joe has served as Chief Financial Officer of our parent company, Lightbridge Holdings Group, Inc, and of our affiliate New Jule Holdings, LLC since 2014. He leads the Finance Department strategy and execution of all financial operations related to accounting, banking, and risk management.
Previous to joining the brand, he held the position of Principal and Chief Financial Officer at Life Settlements Company, a financial services firm specializing in high net worth life settlement policies. Joe possesses over 20+ years in senior management leading financial service teams at national credit agencies and financial institutions.
Joe and his wife Linda have three sons, a daughter, and nine grandchildren, many of whom are currently enrolled or alumni of Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care.
Brenda Febbo, CFE, Chief Marketing Officer
Brenda has served as Chief Marketing Officer of Lightbridge Franchise Company since 2015. She joined the company as VP of Marketing in 2010 with a deep marketing and advertising agency background in client services and strategic planning for Fortune 500 luxury and beauty brands.
Her experience as a working mother, franchise owner, marketer and Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) have provided a unique 360 perspective helping to drive strategy for the Lightbridge Academy brand, inspire innovation, and resulted in record growth for both the franchise system and unit-level revenue. In her role, Brenda leads the Franchise Sales, Advertising and Marketing Departments in multiple aspects of integrated marketing, advertising and branding, including all phases of strategic planning and execution, creative and brand direction and designing marketing systems and support for the Lightbridge Academy franchise.
Brenda and her husband Tony’s two children are alumni of Lightbridge Academy. She enjoys singing, traveling and spending time lakeside.
Benjamin Blake, Chief Information Officer
Ben serves as Chief Information Officer since joining Lightbridge Franchise Company in 2020. Blake leads and oversees all technical vendors and innovation matching business needs with empowering technology solutions and services.
He began programming computers at age ten, and by age 13 had sold his first application and now possesses over 20 years of experience in franchising, education and finance developing technology solutions. Previously, Ben worked as SVP of IT for Huntington Learning Centers leading multiple cross-functional teams in providing technology solutions spanning the enterprise, and at Bowne& Co. leading full life cycle development of complex enterprise-level applications.
Born and bred in Texas, Ben rode into the center of business and technology worlds in New York Cityimmediately after receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin, ranked top three in the nation for Management Information Systems.
Ben enjoys backpacking through the wilderness, running, and spending time with his wife, Beth and two teenage sons.
Joanne Sofia, CFE, Chief Operating Officer
Joanne serves as Chief Operating Officer for Lightbridge Franchise Company since 2020 and possesses over 20 years of experience in franchising and the education sector. She is responsible for the oversight of the Operations Department and for the consistency, efficacy, and quality of all Lightbridge Academy operational systems and centers.
Her career has been centered on providing senior leadership and management for multi-unit businesses. Prior to joining Lightbridge Academy, she worked for Wilton Industries, overseeing their educational program with a focus on the retail customer experience and quality. She worked at Huntington Learning Centers overseeing over 300 company and franchise centers. Her proven track record in franchising and success operating Lightbridge Academy company centers will create consistency, efficacy, and continuous improvement to drive innovation and greater quality.
Joanne is an accomplished yogi, playing golf and enjoying time with her puppy Zoey.
David Falzarano, Senior Vice President of Franchise Development
David serves as the Senior Vice President of Franchise Development since 2020 and previously in the VP of Development role since 2010. He is responsible for overseeing the pre-launch process for all franchisees through both Real Estate and Construction Departments and looks for strategies to accelerate the time between signing and opening Lightbridge Academy centers. As a guide for new franchisees to join the system and educate them along with all potential project partners and vendors in securing prime sites, utilizing his experiences to help franchisees negotiate legal needs toward acquiring a site. He serves the primary function to work with landlords, brokers, developers and financiers to educate them on the strength of the Lightbridge Academy brand.
Possessing over 20 years of experience in child care operations and development, he is a founding member of Lightbridge Academy. Over his long tenure with the company, he has served in key positions in Operations, Human Resources and Development playing an integral role in the opening of over 60 centers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
In his free time, David enjoys coaching soccer and spending time with his wife, Heather and three children.
WHERE WE ARE GROWING
If you’re looking to make a difference in your community, Lightbridge Academy has identified available territories in markets all over the country that are primed for scalable franchise growth.
- IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
- OPEN CENTERS