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Forty under 40 Award winner profile: Tasneem Khimani

Co-founder and managing director, operations, Next Prep Academy

BIV is proud to recognize Tasneem Khimani, co-founder and managing director of operations at Next Prep Academy, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.

Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at in the days ahead.

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

My parents. They immigrated to Canada from South Africa and Uganda and had to work extremely hard to be able to provide me with all of the opportunities I had growing up. They instilled their work ethic in me and encouraged me not to waste the opportunities presented.

What drives you?

My passion for educating young children between the ages of three and five. Watching them succeed in a program and environment that we’ve created makes me want to be able to provide this opportunity to as many children as possible.

A favourite book you would recommend?

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

I have spent my 30s building businesses from the ground up and working in every role, from teaching to administration to marketing. I want to spend the next phase of my career scaling our business model and being an asset manager versus an owner-operator.

What was your childhood career dream?

Being born into a Montessori family that was passionate about early childhood education, my childhood dream was to be a teacher.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Leaving my job at a prestigious Montessori school to open my first business, Seeds and Roots Montessori, at the age of 29. I was confident in my teaching abilities, but was new to the business side of early childhood education, which had a steep learning curve.

What is your best habit?

Putting things back where they belong after I use them (something my husband is still learning!).

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I live in Vancouver and don’t eat seafood.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Going from one location to two, I was having difficulty not being at both places as I was used to being on site. I was given the advice to trust in what we built and to allow our team to manage and implement the best practices we had put in place

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

Transitioning from teacher to business owner, I am no longer only responsible for the care and education of the children: I am also responsible for the livelihood of my teaching staff, and have to ensure a high-quality program so we are able to attract families who believe us.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Opening the doors to my first school, Seeds and Roots Montessori.

What’s left to accomplish?

I am proud of the momentum and scale that has been achieved with Next Prep thus far, but don’t feel that my goal will be complete until we are considered the gold standard for early childhood education in Greater Vancouver.

Read the profiles of all 40 award recipients in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine. Register to recognize this year's winner at the Forty under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 22.