Michael’s first job came at the age of 13, when he was hired to butter toast on Saturday mornings at a busy diner near his home in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. He was subsequently fired from that job because he was unable to butter the toast without ensuring that the butter was spread evenly to all four corners of the bread. This early interaction with management led him to realize he was destined to be an entrepreneur (and gluten-free).
After receiving a degree in Marketing Communications from Juniata College, Michael embarked on a career developing marketing campaigns for brands such as Microsoft, Ford, and General Mills. He ran promotion divisions for CBS and Clear Channel Communications in New York City and was a Co-Founder of a marketing agency, which he helped grow to $18 million in revenue in just three years.
One day, he had the good fortune to meet Babz. They got married, had two kids, and the next thing he knew he was running an international kids franchise.
Away from the office, Michael is into long distance running, cooking up something delicious (and occasionally healthy), cheering his kids on in various activities, and attending cocktail parties where the conversation often leads to his appearance with Babz on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank.”
In addition to leading the Romp n’ Roll management team, Michael is an active member of the International Franchise Association, the Virginia Council of CEOs, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and serves on the Board of Directors for Connor’s Heroes.
If you love chocolate and sports then you have something in common with me.
Hopefully we have something else in common, the most fun place to be….
It’s Romp n’ Roll, the place to exercise bodies and minds!
Where else can you be a princess, a racecar driver, or a monkey that climbs?
I used to teach in schools, to tell you a little about myself.
After eight years of teaching, I put that career on the shelf.
Ten years ago I brought my littlest one to Romp n’ Roll; how much we loved it was no mystery.
So I joined the Romp n’ Roll team, and the rest is history.
I am the Curriculum Director and train our teachers, as well,
And we specialize in fun, as I’m sure you can tell!
I now have three little munchkins that call me Mom,
And have been with Romp n’ Roll for 10 years – my job is the bomb!
I write the plans and activities that keep you grooving.
This is the place to be if your kids keep you moving!
Everyone here is part of a special family, it’s true.
If you have yet to join us, we cannot wait to meet you!
Lauren Rokenbrod, Director of Human Resources
Growing up, Lauren was always told that she talked too much. She enjoys meeting new people and making people feel valued, which is why she truly enjoys being a Human Resources Director. Human resource professionals are often thought of as dull rule followers; but Lauren prefers to bring fun and laughter to the office!
Lauren has served in variety of human resource roles over the last 24 years. She is a graduate of Indiana University Southeast and a Hoosier at heart. Lauren relocated to Richmond, Virginia in 1997 as an executive with Target Stores. Within three months she met her husband and realized that Richmond would be her new home. Lauren enjoys visiting “Kentuckiana” (a term used to refer to an area with counties in both Indiana and Kentucky – primarily the Louisville metropolitan area) to visit family and friends, and to participate in Kentucky Derby festivities.
In 2009, Lauren joined Romp n’ Roll as the Director of Mobile Development and Operations to establish Romp n’ Roll To Go. Since then, Lauren has joined the corporate team and taken on the additional role of Human Resources Director. Lauren truly enjoys her career at Romp n’ Roll and enjoys wearing many hats (and says she looks great in a hat). When she’s not wearing her HR cap, she has many others to choose from, including “wife,” “mom,” “friend,” and “crazy pet lover.” All of which are worn with pride!
Robb Rilee, Assistant Director of Curriculum Development
Baseball can be a metaphor for life. As Mary Chapin Carpenter sings, “Sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger. Sometimes you’re the bat.” Robb has been both during the innings of her life. Robb started with two strikes. A girl named Robb (no middle name) Rilee, born on a Friday the 13th. Ouch! Luckily Robb is relentlessly positive and what didn’t kill her made her stronger. In 5th grade, the chubby girl with the guy’s name and dorky glasses was not a top draft for the recess kickball teams. So she aspired to read every book in the school’s library. Her school years were like seasons of baseball, some more memorable than others. Over the years Robb’s team evolved. She got married, lived on a farm and started teaching school. Those were the minor league years. They moved back to Richmond, and Robb earned her Masters of Education, with library endorsement of course. Two children joined the team and Robb began teaching at a prestigious private school (Collegiate School), ironically 5th grade. During the Collegiate years Robb made the Major League! Batter up! She traveled to Japan, explored the Ruta Maya in Central America and was recruited to participate in a multi-year project, Partners in the Arts. Robb also stepped up to the plate in another way when she went back to school and earned a second Masters in Information and Library Science.
Twenty-three years passed; Robb had been in the 5th grade for almost a quarter of a century. Robb retired but she didn’t hang up her bat. Several months later Robb learned of an opportunity to work in China for one year with Romp n’ Roll. She knew they were looking for her! Off she went, to a small town near the East China Sea where she played with Chinese children for not one but two years. The experience was transformative. Now Robb is on Team Romp n’ Roll in Richmond, helping with curriculum development and teaching classes at a corporate-owned center. Life is a home run with the bases loaded — a grand slam!
Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader….Courtney started cheering for her hometown little league football team when she was a young girl and continued her cheering career through college. As a cheerleader for James Madison University, she traveled all over the US, including San Diego, Boston, & Orlando and many cities up and down the east coast. Today, Courtney enjoys encouraging others and cheering them on to do and be their best. Courtney met her husband, Kin while in college at JMU. Before they even met, a friend of Kin’s pointed Courtney out and told Kin that he’d found the girl Kin would marry. He was right!
Courtney and Kin have 2 children and zero pets (on purpose!). Courtney prefers dogs like Rompy and Duke Dog (JMU’s mascot). During her free time, Courtney can be found creating scrapbooks. The subjects of her scrapbooks usually consists of her family and their fun and exciting escapades. Courtney and her daughter enjoy attending pageants. They have met 21 Miss America’s, countless Miss Virginia’s and excitedly attended the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in 2013. They look forward to adding a few more to that list!
Over the years, Courtney has worked many jobs from twirling cotton candy to building pyramids (the human kind not the kind in Egypt), from delivering flowers to creating newspaper ads. She has sold stationery, baskets, and bags, but her longest running gig was raising her children for the past 14 years. She is excited to be back in the professional world and happy that it’s at Romp n’ Roll, a place that holds special memories from time spent there with her children over 10 years ago!
Janelle attended Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Marketing and Finance. After working in marketing in the financial industry for over nine years, she and her husband welcomed a precious baby boy, Logan, and life was never the same! After becoming so smitten with her son, she decided it was time for a career change where she could reach out to other young families! Luckily, she found Romp n’ Roll and it soon became the perfect fit for her career and for keeping her son entertained while reaching new developmental milestones! Janelle is the Marketing Coordinator where she uses her seven years of marketing experience to connect more families to the amazing benefits of Romp n’ Roll! When not working or spending time chasing her ball-loving toddler, you will find her cooking, exploring herbs and oils, and soaking up the sun!
Babz Barnett, Co-Founder
Babz wants to live in a world filled with healthier food, where there is fitness over fighting, more spontaneous dance parties, and where the new epidemic is of people “paying it forward.” And, of course, a world where every child can “Romp n’ Roll”!
A proud “Jersey Girl,” Babz received a degree in Technology from Montclair State College in Montclair, NJ, a college known for its Education program. If only she knew then that one day she would lead a growing international education franchise! She is still scratching her head over that one. However, the plethora of positions she has held through the years have prepared her well.
Babz enjoyed her early career working in Environmental Engineering. However, after hearing countless friends ask her why she was not in sales, she decided to go for it. She started a second career as an Executive Recruiter and was so successful that she elevated to the rank of Vice President and relocated to New York City to lead the firm’s first office there. (It’s good to listen to your friends!) Eventually, she recruited herself out of that position into one at a cutting edge company called America Online (AOL) to join its New York City sales team, a position she enjoyed up until the birth of her son, Zachary.
Daughter Emma joined the family and Babz took being a stay-at-home mom very seriously and spent her days checking out every activity in town for the kids. Conversation with Michael over the dinner table of “If I owned a business like that, I would…” led to the formation of the Romp n’ Roll business plan.
When Babz is not working (ha ha), she can be found searching for the latest motivational quote, training for her next marathon, or playing board games with the kids. She is at the gym most mornings before the sun comes up which can be overwhelming to her family when she bounds back into the house full of energy (usually singing), telling them to get up and make the most of their day.
Dr. Michael K. Meyerhoff, Advisor
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the Romp n’ Roll Advisory Board. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project.