From Banking Manager to Helen Doron Educational Franchise Owner
Croatian businesswoman Danijela Haralovic discovered Helen Doron English while living in Hungary. As the family was there temporarily for her husband’s work contract, she sought English lessons for her two young children that didn’t include translation to Hungarian, a language they didn’t speak. She also preferred an organization that followed the immersion method without any translation—just pure English.
Not familiar with the Helen Doron brand, Danijela recalls, “I happened to see a banner on a house that advertised Helen Doron. It said “English for All Children”, which I liked the sound of, so I Googled the company and found there was a Learning Centre in the area where we lived in Hungary.”
Her children enjoyed their classes and the 2 years went by quickly. Danijela had worked in a managerial position in the banking industry previously, and had every intention of returning to the career she had taken a leave of absence from. After being away though, she saw the situation from a different perspective. “It was a safe and secure job for life, but they don’t really care about the employees as individuals. I didn’t want to go back to having someone standing over me, bugging me, telling me what to do…” So, she decided to launch a completely different career.
“When we moved back to Croatia in 2009, I applied to be the Master Franchisor for Croatia, which has a population of 4.4 million people. I started off with one Learning Centre in the capital city of Zagreb, which has about one million people. We saw quite a bit of success right from the beginning, with 250 students enrolled the first year. I signed two teachers from other cities, with the agreement that they teach with me for two years and then go back to their original cities and open their own Learning Centres. So, these two teachers became one of the first Learning Centre Franchisees.”
Danijela proudly outlined the rapid growth of the educational franchise under her management.
“In the second year, I opened four more Learning Centres and now, four years after launching in Croatia, I have ten Learning Centres and one Learning Studio, with a total of more than 1,600 students. The European crisis hit Croatia hard at that time, but somehow it didn’t affect our business.
She has no regrets at all over her change of profession and enjoys her role as Master Franchisor, guiding her Learning Centre franchisees and sharing from her own experiences as a businesswoman. “The main reason I love this job, is that I see how much my own children love English—that is the biggest salary I could possibly receive! I am so happy that I found this business. They love coming to classes. They are so into Helen Doron and they speak English perfectly. This is the main selling point. I tell potential parents: ‘your children will definitely love English! ‘”
She frequently hears positive comments from students and their parents, as well as glowing comments from teachers, which adds to her overall professional fulfilment. “My teachers are so happy to work for Helen Doron. Personally, I have gained so much self-confidence. Now that we are well-known, I have to be available for newspaper, radio and television interviews. That is a real challenge to someone who spent most of her career working behind a desk and is now invited to be interviewed on national TV! This has been a very positive growth experience for me. In Croatia, I have become a well-known businesswoman, thanks to Helen Doron.”