When did you join APA as a League Operator?
We became League Operators in December 2006.
Did you play in the League prior to becoming an LO? If so, why/how did you join APA as a player?
My dad played on an APA team in Las Vegas. His team needed another player, so he convinced me to join. I did so hesitantly because I had never played pool before. I figured it would be something fun for us to do together. We played in the APA in Las Vegas for over 10 years before moving across the state to start our own APA League.
What made you decide to become an LO?
Before purchasing the APA franchise, I had always envisioned starting a business where myself, my husband, and my parents could work together—a true “family owned and operated” venture. Since none of us had experience owning a business, and since all of us came from totally different professional backgrounds, the challenge was finding something that worked for all of us, something that could incorporate each of our strengths. The APA franchise was a perfect fit.
My husband was a former golf professional and college athlete, so he was well-versed in recreational sports and organization. My dad, who was recently retired at the time, was just a natural “people-person” who loved pool—we knew he could sell the idea of “fun and pool” to our community. I possessed the administrative and organizational background to keep us on track, especially as our business grew. We also planned to have children shortly after purchasing the franchise, so my mom’s role became that of the all-important grandma who helped us with the kids.
During our first six years as APA franchisees, we had three children. To say we were busy would be a major understatement! Having the involvement of family and being able to accomplish all of this together has been a true blessing. I’m incredibly proud of working together with my family, so closely and effectively while sharing the experience of seeing our collective dream become a reality. Maybe one day our children will want to take over our franchise when we retire. It feels great to be able to offer them that option!
What is the hardest part of being a League Operator?
As with many professions, the hardest part is getting started. When we first started, we had moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. There was no APA League anywhere near us, so we were starting from nothing. Those first few years were especially challenging. Our initial success invited plenty of competition, which was also difficult. This was my first time owning a business, so I had no firsthand experience handling the sometimes “cutthroat” nature of competitors. We always took the high road and tried to use the competition as motivation to improve our customer service. The support from the APA National Office was absolutely imperative during those first few years, for sure!
What is your favorite part of being a League Operator?
I love knowing that we are building a true community, helping people create lifetime friends and wonderful memories.
What motivates you?
It’s easy to stay motivated when you really have confidence in the importance of what you do. Because I truly believe in the value of a League community, finding meaning in the daily tasks comes easy. I enjoy the responsibilities associated with the job, and I feel strongly that APA is by far the best sports franchise in the world.
What advice would you give to other women aspiring to be business owners?
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
Anything else you’d like to add?
People are always surprised to hear that I’m not a great poolplayer. When I first bought the franchise, I wondered if this would be an obstacle I’d have to overcome. It’s just the opposite. I feel like my focus on the “fun” and “community building” of the League is so much more important than my capabilities (or lack thereof) on the pool table. This focus on fun is one of the very best aspects of the APA organization.
One of our primary goals while recruiting new people into the Northern Nevada APA is making sure they understand that anyone—even beginners—can compete and win. Just as important, I want them to feel like part of an APA family, a community of friends that knows how to have fun over some lighthearted competition. Everyone likes to find meaning in their work, a higher purpose so to speak. In this franchise, my purpose is clear. I get to promote fun and create a social setting that brings together a lot of great people, many of whom become lifetime friends.
My husband Seth and I are the perfect example. We met as friends playing on an APA pool team. What a dream to find ourselves, over 16 years later, running our own APA franchise with our family at our side every step of way. Several couples have now met and married as a result of our APA League—talk about full circle! The APA and its network of franchisees helped my family achieve our dream.