Managing a Challenging Career

Renee Busby Experience, Spring 2015

As a child, Nicole Eubanks-Lambert surprised her mother when she said she would never be a teacher.

Her mother, then an elementary school teacher, never forgot her daughter’s words.

Nicole’s mother, Dr. Audrey Eubanks, is now vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Mobile. So it’s no surprise that Nicole enrolled at UMobile. True to her word, she didn’t start out following her mother into the education profession.

In 1986, Nicole earned a Bachelor of Science with majors in chemistry, math and biology. Academics weren’t the only things she learned at the school.

“My time at UMobile built on the moral foundation my parents and immediate family instilled in me,” she said. Those foundations had roots in her family’s involvement in Southern Baptist and United Methodist traditions.

“When I came to UMobile, I found myself studying with Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals and more,” she said, adding, “I was able to see the breadth of the Christian faith.”

UMobile helped build her work ethic, and the diversity of academic offerings allowed her to explore her artistic side and dive into religion courses.

“We worked hard at whatever we were doing, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun,” she said. Nicole was in Mobile College Singers and had roles in a number of plays.

“I was able to explore my passions for music and drama, as well as have the opportunity to study religion with men and women who would go on and become ministers or leaders in their churches,” she said. “I believe my experience is an example of the great gifts of a liberal arts education.”

Her years at UMobile helped Nicole gain self-confidence, which ultimately helped her land management jobs with nationally recognized companies.

“Being self-confident, but still willing to learn and work hard, has been a great asset for me in my career and home life,” she said.

Her educational background in chemistry and biology brought her to the attention of The General Electric Company, and she joined their Plastics Division in 1990 as manager of Elastomer Laboratories at GE Silicones in New York.

A highlight of her career was being chosen for the GE Pinnacle Award, which is given to the top 1 percent of employees for their outstanding leadership of company initiatives.

Among those initiatives was a partnership between local industries and schools, and Nicole took part in a program to tutor at-risk high school students in math. The experience foreshadowed what would become a passion in later years.

She left GE to be part of the largest IPO of 2004 – Genworth Financial. She accepted a critical role leading the rebranding effort for the Retirement Income Business. While at Genworth, she was highlighted in the Annual Report for her role in the education of financial planners in the tools and techniques of planning for retirement income.

After leaving the corporate world, Nicole founded Keiko Company for the purpose of owning and operating Rainbow Station franchises. Rainbow Station is a recognized leader in early childhood education, after-school recreation and care for mildly ill children.

She was honored in 2007 by the International Franchise Association as a Franchisee of the Year. These awards are given to member companies to honor outstanding performance and contributions to the growth and development of the nation’s franchising industry. Rainbow Station at Wyndham was honored with the Spirit of Excellence award in 2010, with a Quality Award in 2012, for achievements in social media engagement for 2012 and 2014, and celebrated as the Top Producer for 2013.

Now after nearly a decade of success with Rainbow Station, Nicole is entering the realm of multi-unit franchise ownership. On Feb. 6, 2015, exactly nine years after the groundbreaking for her school in Wyndham, Nicole broke ground on her second school, Rainbow Station at Charter Colony in Midlothian, VA.

Today, she lives in Glen Allen, VA with her husband, Jim. They have two young adult children, Ryan and Hanna.

When Nicole left the chemistry field and became a Rainbow Station owner, her mother didn’t let it go unnoticed. “She reminded me of that childhood statement when I said I never wanted to be a teacher,” Nicole said.

In whatever challenge she takes on, from the corporate boardroom to a business owner, from a mother and wife to a teacher, Nicole draws on her experiences at UMobile.

“There is an atmosphere at the University of Mobile where students are encouraged to be curious and study things, learn things and seek and learn how to think. Every day I try to bring that with me to school, to nurture my students’ curiosity and help them be excited to learn,” she said.

About the Author

Renee Busby