When franchise brands are considering nominations for their top-performing Rock Stars, the numbers had better be good. And in Karen DeRosa’s case, a Class 101 franchise owner in Dayton, Ohio, they’re simply off the chart. Class 101 is a college preparatory service that helps graduating high school seniors gain acceptance to the colleges and universities of their choice. DeRosa started her franchise ownership back in 2018 and has established a very successful business in a short amount of time. In 2021, she was the brand’s “Franchisee of the Year,” out of 45 total locations. And in 2022, she became the brand’s second-best performing franchisee, with sales that topped $500,000 – a three-year increase of over 100%! Along the way, her 97 seniors earned a 92% acceptance rate while receiving over $20 million in scholarship money. As far as the corporate office is concerned, Karen DeRosa epitomizes the brand’s mission to empower, serve, and inspire.
Finding That Perfect Franchise Fit
When Karen DeRosa and her husband were looking into franchise concepts, they wanted to follow their passions. Prior to becoming a Class 101 franchisee, they were already heavily invested in coaching and mentoring the youth of their Dayton, Ohio, community. That participation extended to schools, churches, music, and sports-related causes. But her innate love of “big data” as she calls it, is what sealed the deal in becoming a Class 101 franchise owner. “I know that the best coaching is founded in data, and college admissions is a puzzle with moving pieces that can best be understood with data–scores, demographics, socioeconomic characteristics, geography, and more. College planning from Class 101 is built on both: relationships and data. When combined with relatively low investment and operating costs, Class 101 is a very special opportunity.” Not surprisingly, DeRosa got off to a fast start as a Class 101 franchisee, signing two students up the very first day she opened her doors back in 2018. In the next six months, the business took off like a rocket, something she credits to the proven business model of Class 1o1. “Having the tools and processes in place on day one of operations was invaluable. When I joined the Class 101 system in mid-2018, Class 101 was transitioning to a new CRM as well as a new test prep platform. My week of training with the Class 101 leadership team laid the foundation to understand the college planning timeline as well as the application of these tools. Both are still in place today, and I am grateful to see my business and the national brand grow with both resources.”
Making a Difference as a Class 101 Franchise Rock Star
One thing Karen DeRosa loves about Class 101 more than anything else is the ability to make a difference in the lives of others – one student at a time. It’s really all about community education for the deserving students she serves. To DeRosa, her client isn’t just the student but the entire family as well – especially knowing that many of their hopes and dreams are riding on the assistance, guidance, and advice she passionately provides. “The methods and practices of teaching–connecting, motivating, engaging, and equipping a student–occur in their raw form. The community education setting is something unique. We are blessed to partner with each individual young person (and their family) to achieve growth and measure success one student at a time. There is simply nothing better than knowing you can make that kind of a difference every single day.”
A Model Class 101 Franchise Owner
As far as Class 101’s executive leadership is concerned, Karen DeRosa is not only a top-performing Rock Star but a model franchisee as well. And that’s a credit to the many ways she goes above and beyond in support of the brand’s goals. Back when Class 101 underwent critical restructuring, DeRosa was at the forefront, helping to craft the franchisor’s improved mission and values. Her efforts to shape the company culture landed her a spot on the Class 101 Franchise Advisory Board. She’s become a leading voice among all other existing franchisees in the system – an honor she doesn’t take lightly. And she didn’t stop there either. When Class 101 instituted its own mentoring program for new franchise owners, DeRosa was the first veteran franchisee to volunteer. Her training and development sessions, which take lots of extra time to develop and produce, have borne fruit for many of her franchise-owning peers, bringing immense value to the brand as a whole. Lastly, she also volunteers her time on the brand’s marketing committee, contributing valuable ideas and initiatives to Class 101’s outreach efforts.
How to Make an Impact and Leave a Legacy
Karen DeRosa’s success as a Class 101 franchise owner is slowly but surely building a lasting legacy in her community – especially the 20+ high schools she serves. Her contributions have become part of the foundation that will ensure the success of other Class 101 owners for years to come. What keeps her motivated? “It’s simple, really: I am motivated by my students. Every day is a different opportunity to help each student reach their potential. And it’s incredibly rewarding to see a student’s eyes light up when they finally realize what they’re capable of. When the structure of the Class 101 business model meets strong coaching–motivating and equipping a student to own their goals, decisions, and future–amazing things happen. Who wouldn’t want to do this job every day?” This proves a critical point—real rock stars always follow their passion on the road to success.