Jill Scarbro-McLaury, owner of Bright Futures Learning Services, was recently named Small Business Administration – Woman Owned Small Business of the Year for 2019. Bright Futures, headquartered in Winfield, West Virginia, is a team of committed people who believe that every child can and has the right to learn.
Scarbro-McLaury earned a bachelor’s degree in special education with concentrations in mental impairments and physical handicaps from Marshall University in 1999 and continued her focus on autism intervention by receiving a master of science in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 2004. She operated a private practice in Texas before returning to West Virginia in 2006. She was also the first Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in southern West Virginia.
Scarbro-McLaury maintains close contact with national experts and strives to assure that Bright Futures stays on the cutting edge of the field. As a founding member of Mountaineer Autism Project, she worked to pass autism insurance legislation and continues to work towards systems change that gives access to evidence-based treatment to all of West Virginia. She is the Founder of Community Autism Resources and Education Systems (CARES), a founding member and past president of the West Virginia Behavior Analysis Association and West Virginia’s Policy Chair for Autism Speaks.
Scarbro-McLaury talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast about her company, her story and her advice to young entrepreneurs and business owners.
How did you get started in this business?
“Bright Futures started technically as a private school for one kid. The first kid I had ever worked with in an applied behavior analysis setting was in highschool. We recognized that it was virtually impossible to get what he needed through traditional means. So, we started Bright Futures in my grandparents’ kitchen,” Scarbro-McLaury said. “Simultaneously, I worked for a consultant for school systems and families who could scrape together anything to get access to applied behavior analysis therapy.”
“I say I’m from southern West Virginia because we genuinely did the tour. My dad was a service person. He was in the military and the police. So we did the tour of southern West Virginia; Wyoming County, Mercer County, Raleigh County. In Wyoming County, when I was in the first grade, I had a teacher who recognized that I was a smart kid, but I wasn’t learning to read. In 1983, disabilities were a new concept and there weren’t resources readily available in Wyoming County. I was incredibly fortunate to have parents who said, ‘what do we need to do.’ We moved back home for a while and I was able to go to a specialist, who was able to teach me how I was able to learn.”
“I knew from an early age that I wanted to be able to specialize similarly to how I worked with Dr. Dunn.”
What is one piece of advice you would give an entrepreneur?
“Find your tribe,” Scarbro-McLaury advised. “Find your support people. I was incredibly fortunate that the people who took this journey with me had the same vision and the same intention that I did.”
“Second to that, check out the Small Business Administration. They have a lot of resources that can help small business owners.”
Scarbro-McLaury was a guest on The Positively West Virginia. Listen to her full podcast here: https://positivelywv.com/podcast/episode-74-every-childs-future-should-shine-bright-futures-learning-services/
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- PIECE OF ADVICE: “Find your tribe,” Scarbro-McLaury advised. “Secondly, check out the Small Business Administration.”