Brittany Feroce is originally from Pennsylvania and excitedly moved to Naples to enjoy the great weather and to be near family after graduating from college. She spent many years advancing her career in the field of childcare and currently works as the Director of the non-profit NCH Bears Den Childcare Center. During her path through the childcare field, Brittany has also worked as a part time nanny, and she received a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Education from FGCU.
YP: Did you grow up in Southwest Florida?
BF: I did not grow up in Southwest Florida, I am originally from Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania. It’s a small town about 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh.
YP: How did you come to reside in Naples?
BF: We had been visiting family in Naples since I was about 8 years old, but even before that we would go to other parts of Florida every winter. It was so hard to return to the cold and snow every year when our vacation was over. Part of me always wanted to live here. When I was a sophomore in college, my sister and brother-in-law moved to Naples. Two weeks after graduating with my undergraduate degree I made my move down as well.
YP: What was your first job after moving to Naples?
BF: When I first moved to Naples I took a job as an after-school counselor at the Naples Sports Club Center. I quickly advanced to assistant director at one of the school sites. I left Sports Club to be a private nanny for a family in Naples.
YP: For how long were you a nanny?
BF: I did that for almost a year and then wanted to advance my career, so I took a head position teaching two-year-olds at another preschool in town. After spending some time there, I was offered an opportunity to work in the infant classroom at the NCH Bears Den Childcare center. I was the assistant teacher in that room for about three months and then was offered the opportunity to take the Lead VPK teaching position in my own classroom. Six months later I became the Assistant Director/Preschool Coordinator of the Bears Den. I held that position for about two years and then for the last two years I have been the Director.
YP: What has it been like to excel in your career path?
BF: Working my way up from the bottom to the top of my center has been such a great accomplishment for me.
YP: What are some other valuable experiences you have had that have influenced your professional development?
BF: Over the last 7.5 years while being in Naples, I have joined the Naples Juniors Women’s Club, Young Professionals of Naples, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Val’s Pals, Associate Leadership Collier, I’m on the board of Baby Basics, I have volunteered with the STARability Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and I was one of this year’s Gulfshore Business 40 under 40 recipients. I think a lot of these organizations are what has helped shaped my professional development and provided me with a lot of networking opportunities to continue growing in my career and within the community.
YP: What role do you see non-profits playing in our community?
BF: I think non-profits play a huge part in modern economy. Most of the organizations in our community that are doing good for others are non-profit organizations. Without them, we would have a lot more homeless, hungry, unclothed, people in need of multiple different goods, needs, and services.
YP: Why had it been important for you to participate in non-profit organizations?
BF: It has been important to me to be involved in non-profit organizations in the community because it brings me joy to be able to give back to a community that is trying to help people and do great things and bring upon change. I love helping people and making a difference in someone’s life or seeing them happy because of something I did, helped with, or contributed to. Making them happy makes me happy in return.
YP: What advice would you give to others just starting out professionally?
BF: To other young professionals either starting out in this community or in the childcare field, my advice would just be to follow your passion, do what makes you happy, but also take the opportunities you’re given for feedback, growth, networking, etc. This community has a lot to offer if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to be involved, but it really pays off and makes a difference, so I would recommend being as involved as your schedule will allow.
YP: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
BF: I’m not exactly sure where I see myself in the next 10 years. Hopefully married with children and still thriving in my career.
YP: Is there anything else you would like to share?
BF: Yes. YP Naples has been a wonderful resource to connect me with other people my age in the area who have similar interests and are also just trying to make a life here, meet new people, do some networking and get established in their careers and in the area.