Jo Stone and Tracy Townend, directors of baby and child swim school franchise Puddle Ducks.
Jo Stone and Tracy Townend, directors of baby and child swim school franchise Puddle Ducks.

Inspirational local ladies nominated for a duo of national awards

Jo Stone and Tracy Townend, directors of baby and child swim school franchise Puddle Ducks based in Cranage, are finalists in the 2019 NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) national Awards.

Puddle Ducks began for local ladies Jo & Tracy back in 2002. Now presiding over a network of 38 franchisees and 50 territories nationwide, the company’s directors are jointly listed as finalists for the ‘Woman Franchisor of the Year’ award. In addition, Jo Stone is a finalist in the ‘Inspirational Woman in Franchising’ category, having been nominated by her business partner and good friend Tracy.

EWIF supports women who are looking for a route into the franchise industry. The annual awards celebrate the best and brightest women in franchising. This year’s award winners will be announced at a prestigious ceremony at the RBS building in London on Wednesday 1st May.

On the award nominations, Jo Stone, co-director of Puddle Ducks, said, “I am honoured to have been named alongside Tracy for Woman Franchisor of the year. Our goals and aspirations as women and new mums were central to our decision to establish Puddle Ducks in the first place; we wanted to create a business that worked for us and provided a valuable service for others.

“I am also incredibly humbled to have been nominated as an ‘inspirational woman’ by Tracy. She inspires me, every day, so it really means a lot.”

Tracy commented on nominating her business partner by saying, “We have always shared an ethical approach to business and a dedication to our work, but in many respects our skills are very different and, historically, we have looked after different aspects of the business. Then in the past two years I have had a long period of illness and Jo has been wonderful. She kept the business thriving and was a tower of strength not only for me and my family, but for the Puddle Ducks team.

“She has been pivotal in helping Puddle Ducks to navigate a number of exciting developments that have really strengthened the business. Nominating Jo goes some way towards thanking her for all she’s done for me and for the business over the years.”

Jo and Tracy met when they were both pregnant with their first children, who were subsequently born on the same day and recently turned 18. Puddle Ducks has grown into a large network of swim schools with instructors, all exceptionally well trained and qualified in the company’s award winning methods.

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