Mother and Daughter Lead Huntington Learning Center

Mother and Daughter Lead Huntington Learning Center

Eileen Huntington and Anne Huntington Sharma Use Complementary Skills to Support Success

Huntington Learning Center CEO Eileen Huntington (above, left) easily fulfills her “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” obligation. Her daughter, Anne Huntington Sharma, also works at the company’s headquarters in Oradell, N.J. Anne hasn’t always been a Huntington employee, but she worked her way up to president in 2019, about five years after returning to the family business. 

The women’s combined leadership skills have solidified the Huntington Learning Center franchise at the top of the tutoring industry, a steadily growing segment of the economy. Fortune Business Insights reports that the private tutoring market had a value of $57.9 billion worldwide in 2023, will reach more than $62 billion this year and will top $132 billion in 2032. Parents’ priority on their children’s academic performance drives those statistics and makes tutoring recession-resistant.

For nearly a half-century, Huntington Learning Center tutors have helped K-12 students with phonics, reading, writing, math, and preparing for tests ranging from the GED and PSAT to the full slate of college entrance exams. Center tutors also coach students to improve their analytical thinking and study skills.

Eileen’s Duties Then and Now

Eileen and her husband, Raymond Huntington, Ph.D., were industry pioneers. “When we began in 1977, I wore every hat from teacher, center director, co-founder and all positions in between,” says Eileen, who was a junior high and high school teacher before becoming an entrepreneur. “Over the years, my co-founder and husband, Ray, and I divided our responsibilities and built a great team, some of whom are still with us today.” 

Huntington Learning Center CEO Eileen Huntington

She’s still pretty hands-on while sharing responsibilities with her daughter. “Now as CEO, I work closely with Anne. We oversee our chief operating officer, who handles various departments. With almost 50 years of intimate knowledge of the business, I still like to get into the details. Nevertheless, I try to enable colleagues to lead the business. Operations and delivering results have always been my focus, which means that regardless of my role, I always review numbers and provide actionable feedback to ensure that our mission – to give every student the best education possible – is at the forefront.” 

Anne, Past and Present

Anne flashes her sense of humor when she outlines her history with the company. “My journey with Huntington Learning Center began in the womb. I share that I am center No. 17 because when my parents weren’t opening Huntington Learning Center locations, they had children. As a student, I was enrolled in Huntington’s tutoring and test prep programs.” Immersion in the brand extended beyond tutoring and test prep, though. “Growing up, my mother instilled in me a passion for education and a strong work ethic, laying the foundation for our future partnership.”

Anne’s first job with was in the customer engagement center. “This is the department that answers 1-800-CAN-LEARN calls, the first point of contact for families. After that, I had a career outside of Huntington for about a decade and came back in, first as a consultant advising on a rebranding initiative, and then I dove in deep, becoming a director and working my way up to president. 

“The transition to president coincided with Covid – I was promoted in October 2019, which was a challenge and an amazing opportunity to push the company forward to ensure that our foundation, integrity and systems were stable and strong for the future. Now I focus on business strategy and growth initiatives, working directly with IT, franchise development and marketing, and working hand-in-hand with my parents to ensure that our strategy, goals, vision and mission are carried through while staying true to our core values.” (As an aside, in her free time, Anne indulges her love of art as a collector, producer, philanthropist and curator. Through AMH Industries, the creative agency that she founded, Anne has curated 30-plus art exhibits nationwide and has assisted in producing documentary films such as The Price of Everything and The Art of Making It.)

Even Better Together 

The women agree that their work for the Huntington Learning Center franchise has strengthened their mother-daughter bond. They say their shared commitment to education, their collaboration, and their trust in one another have forged an amazingly strong relationship. “Together we’ve navigated the complexities of running a business, drawing on our complementary strengths and shared values,” Eileen says. “Our working relationship has not only brought us closer professionally but has also enriched our relationship as mother and daughter, reinforcing the importance of family, teamwork and making a positive impact in the lives of others. And let’s be real: A mother and daughter can say things to each other that no one else can, engulfed with love, of course,” Eileen adds.

Anne believes that “working closely together in our business environment has been a learning experience for both of us. From my mother, I’ve learned the importance of dedication and staying true to our mission. Her background as a teacher and co-founder of Huntington Learning Center has taught me the value of personalized learning and the impact it can have on students’ lives.” 

Eileen also leads by example, Anne adds. “From her, I’ve learned the importance of resilience, empathy and staying true to our mission. Her unwavering commitment to providing quality education to every student has inspired me to lead with compassion and determination. We’ve navigated the complexities of running a business and draw on each other’s strengths to drive success. These lessons have shaped us into the leaders we are today.”

Lessons from Anne

Eileen says Anne has given her “insights into innovation and strategic thinking. Her business acumen and creative approach to problem-solving have challenged me to think outside the box and embrace new opportunities for growth. Her passion for education and her commitment to making a difference in the world have reaffirmed my own dedication to our mission. 

“Our partnership at Huntington Learning Center has taught us the importance of collaboration, communication and mutual respect,” Eileen continues. “We’ve learned from each other’s strengths and experiences, continuously growing as professionals and individuals. Our shared journey has reinforced the power of teamwork and a sense of purpose in achieving our goals and making a positive impact in the world.” 

‘A Moral Imperative’

The pair say they are positive that education transforms lives, and that belief has led them to view “providing personalized, quality education to every student as a moral imperative,” Eileen says. These values inform every aspect of their decision-making, the women say, and foster strong, meaningful connections within their franchise family and the communities surrounding our franchises. 

As they look to the future of the Huntington Learning Center franchise, Eileen and Anne plan to be at the forefront of digital innovations in education and to form strategic partnerships. “We will advocate for educational equity and inclusion, address learning gaps and support diverse student needs,” Anne says. “Through our ongoing commitment to innovation, growth and social impact, we aim to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students, families and communities everywhere.” 

Since franchising began in 1985, Huntington Learning Center has grown to 300-plus locations nationwide. Eileen and Anne will explore international expansion as they continue to grow the franchise. For more information about the Huntington Learning Center franchise, visit https://www.huntingtoned.com/ and https://Huntingtonfranchise.com.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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