Filipina Is First Woman Honored For Franchise's Worldwide Success

Monday, August 02, 2010

Helen Castro Limcaoco, The Little Gym's master franchisee for the Philippines, and co-master franchisee for Singapore, was recently named as The Little Gym International's 2010 Franchise Owner of the Year, in recognition of her significant contribution to the success of The Little Gym franchise worldwide. Castro-Limcaoco received the award � the first woman to gain the honor � at The Little Gym's 2010 Reunion, the company's annual franchise owners' meeting, which was held this year at The Homestead, a luxury mountain resort at Hot Springs, Virginia. As the 2010 Franchise Owner of the Year, Castro-Limcaoco will also be the first woman to be elevated to The Little Gym's Hall of Fame at official ceremonies to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2011.

The Little Gym is the premier developer of physical skills in children worldwide. The very first location was established in Bellevue, Washington in 1976 by South African-born Robin Wes, an innovative educator with a genuine love for children. The Little Gym International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, was formed in 1992 to franchise The Little Gym concept. Today, The Little Gym International has more than 300 locations in 21 countries.

"The Little Gym Hall of Fame [to which Helen will be elevated soon] is comprised of a small group of franchise owners, [including our Founder, Robin Wes, who have had a large impact on the success of our company," explains Bob Bingham, The Little Gym International's President and CEO.

"I am glad that my ongoing commitment to excellence, and to hiring and retaining only the best teachers and to delivering the best programs that The Little Gym offers has been recognized by TLGI," said Castro Limcaoco. "I've not met a group of people more committed to improving children's lives at such a high level of excellence; that's why I'm extremely honored to be part of The Little Gym family." In his remarks, Bob Bingham cited Castro Limcaoco "for her many, many years of service to TLGI; for serving us well as business operations consultant [for Asia]; for having done the best-ever job of PR of any franchise owner; for having spent literally hundreds of hours guiding potential franchise candidates in the process of what it would be like to be a TLG franchise owner; for doing an outstanding job running TLGs under circumstances that are tougher than any one else in this room has ever faced; and for being the only person to own TLGs in two different countries." The Little Gym of Mandaluyong was the first children's program of its kind in the Philippines when it opened in September 1996, just as the Asian financial crisis hit. Despite this, it preceded the opening of five more TLGs: Makati in 1998, Alabang in 1999, Quezon City in 2001, and in Singapore at Forum Shopping Mall in 2003 and Marina Square in 2009. The Philippines and Thailand are the only developing countries in which The Little Gym is currently operating, although it will open in Shanghai, China before the end of 2010.

The Little Gym of Singapore West, one of five operating facilities supervised by Helen Castro-Limcaoco, has been a member of the elite The Little Gym International's President's Circle since 2006, and is its most awarded facility in Asia. Eighty-five percent of The Little Gym Lead Instructors under Castro-Limcaoco in the Philippines and Singapore are certified Gold Level Instructors in the franchise's global Instructor Certification System.

Helen Castro Limcaoco earned her degrees in BS in Business Economics, magna cum laude, from the University of the Philippines; MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Before buying The Little Gym franchise, she worked with SGV's Management Consulting Division, and Citibank Manila's Investment Banking Group. She is married to newly named BPI Family Savings Bank President, Teodoro "TG" Limcaoco, and has three children who all attended The Little Gym.

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