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Woman to Watch: Lynn Lubecki

Woman to watch: Lynn Lubecki

Arlene Hisiger herrochester.com, February 21, 2014

Lynn Lubecki believes that early childhood is the most important stage of life, and that if you guide a child through that stage well you can really impact his or her life.

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(Photo: Photo provided by Lynn Lubecki)

"You have to have it hard, to know you have it good," said Lynn Lubecki, Executive Director and CEO of Rochester Childfirst Network. And Lubecki's life experience has been a testament to the veracity of that statement. While still a senior in high school, Lubecki moved out of her house and started life on her own. "It was hard," Lubecki recalled, "but it was good — it made me who I am today."

What she is is an amalgam of kinetic  is is an amalgam of kinetic energy, consuming passion and sincerity; some staffers joke that they should attach a GPS to her to track her whereabouts in the building.

Her passion is educating young children.

"I truly believe," Lubecki said, "that early childhood is the most important [stage of life], it is the foundational stage when self-esteem and self-regulation is developed — do it right, and you impact a child's life."

Born and raised in Buffalo, a job in the business world brought Lubecki to Rochester in 1986. She became aware of the dearth of quality child care when she had her first child. By the time her second child arrived, she decided to open a childcare group in her home.

She also turned her attention to completing her studies. Beginning her educational journey, in 1996, by taking liberal arts courses at MCC, she soon realized that early education was her calling. Designing her own program while holding down two jobs, she studied early education at Empire State College. In 2005, she earned her bachelor of arts in early education.

At Nazareth College, she completed a master of arts in early education in 2009. Currently, while working full-time as CEO of Rochester Childfirst Network, she is in pursuit of her Ed.D at St. John Fisher in executive leadership.

"I think education is a gift," Lubecki said, "I am the first in my family to graduate college. My parents were hard-working people who taught me to be strong, to be myself and to get an education."

Strength is a virtue that Lubecki has clearly been blessed with. She is a breast cancer survivor and has faced cancer with her siblings, too; her sister is also a breast cancer survivor and she lost her brother to pancreatic cancer.

And then there are the work-related challenges.

"Despite having the research to support the importance of early education, it is often undervalued. We put so much time into older kids — the pyramid is inverted. It's a challenge to convince funders to invest in quality early education and quality childcare," Lubecki said.

Yet, Lubecki feels privileged to do the work she loves. "I couldn't imagine putting in these hours and coming in the door every day if I didn't love it so much. I'm fortunate that my professional work aligns with my personal values," she said.

For those who believe that they are similarly inclined, she cautions that just loving children is not enough. "It's really about developing children's love of learning. You must be child-focused, have positive interactions with children, and understand that parents are partners in this journey," she said.