In 2001, Ruthie was on maternity leave from her position at Enron when the company imploded and she found myself a stay-at-home Mom. Never resembling a domestic goddess, she had always been more comfortable with spreadsheets than recipes.

She spent a few years looking for a business idea for the post-toddler chapter of her life. Then, at 40 years old and a newly single mother, she started a business combining herpassion for child development and safety…with her love of water. St. Louis had never seen a private, indoor, year-round swim school, or a program that provides over-the-top service to its customers – both parent and child.

In January of 2013 Ruthie and her staff expanded to a new custom-built, three-pool facility where they teach over 1000 students per week. Since opening in 2008, they have taught over 6000 children, ages 6 months to 8 years-old to swim, giving them a Skill for Life.

  • Ruthie joined us in October 2013 to discuss a variety of issues that she’s navigated since starting Little Fishes Swim School including:
  • How she transformed her micromanagement style, allowing her to go from working all the time to working just 10 hours per week
  • The art of delegating and “letting go”…and staffing lessons learned
  • Management of rapid growth – mushrooming from zero to 1000 students in only 5 years
  • How to attract an awesome business partner and make a partnership work
  • The task of buying a building and undertaking a massive construction project – a project that’s on the horizon again with the expansion of two more swim schools in the metro area

Ruthie really knocked it out of the park, especially for her first time out! Fred Miller is the speaker consultant she worked with in preparation for this and many future speaking engagements…we highly recommend him.

Thanks also to our sponsors, Jonathan Beck at Beck Simmons LLC: Attorneys at Law and Aaron Corson at NJC Printing. If you need printing or legal assistance for the small business owner, these are your guys!

You can check out a few photos from the event below. Our next Black Dress Biographies event will be in January 2014…hope to see you there!

Ruthie Zarren & Erin Joy

Black Dress Biographies October 2013 2,

Black Dress Biographies October 2013 1