Ten years ago Pat Lakatta purchased her Abrakadoodle-Baltimore franchise. Ms. Lakatta reflects that “My love of kids drew me to this concept. I was very taken with Abrakadoodle and its co-founders Mary Rogers and Rosemarie Hartnett, and I’ve always been a child advocate.” Although Pat wondered if her independent streak would fit with a franchise model, she soon discovered that she had the passion, vision and business skills to make it work. Each franchise came with its own unique color, which in her case was “Purple Mountain Majesty.” Reflecting back, Pat remarked, “The business opportunity right down to the color seemed perfect. The whole franchise was conceived and made in the USA, which is now expanding globally and is a concept for which I am proud to be a part.”
Pat Lakatta’s contract renewal was symbolically sealed with a set of purple thumbprints, reflecting the creative, colorful company and its owner/partners whom represent the brand. (Left to right: Rosemarie Hartnett, President; Mary Rogers, CEO and Pat Lakatta, Executive Director, Abrakadoodle-Baltimore)
“Pat is a valued member of our franchise system,” stated Rosemarie Hartnett, CFE, President and Co-Founder of Abrakadoodle. “She is a consistently outstanding performer and brings a genuine desire to improve the lives of children and promote our brand in the most positive ways.”
Pat has been recognized with many awards during her ten year tenure to include Abrakadoodle’s Top Producer’s recognition, as well as the Splat Award, the Arts for All grant, two media awards and more.
Pat attended Nesbitt Hospital Nursing School and worked as an RN for Johns Hopkins early in her career. With a love of music, voice and broadcasting, Pat received a scholarship to Goucher College, where she earned a degree as a voice major. In fact, Pat received the International Parents’ Choice Award for the CD she created, “Everybody’s Got a Place.” She went on to work for a communications firm and directed public relations for St. Joseph’s Hospital. She was also editor of Nursing Spectrum Magazine. The multi-talented Pat enjoyed writing music and taught music to preschool age children. Pat received her graduate business degree from Johns Hopkins University. “I have a graduate degree from Hopkins,” Pat commented, “but I couldn’t have paid for what I’ve learned at Abrakadoodle.”
Pat was a single parent for 20 years and raised her son and daughter. She has since remarried. Pat enjoys her four grandchildren ranging in age from six to fourteen. In fact, a wonderful highlight in Pat’s first decade with Abrakadoodle was the opportunity to see her grandson participate in Abrakadoodle art classes. As a six-year old enthralled with soccer, music and Star Wars, Luke was initially reluctant about art. As his classes progressed, Luke discovered that he liked art and started creating art in his free time. During first grade, Luke’s world was turned upside down with a diagnosis of Type One Juvenile Diabetes. While he was hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Luke was approached about submitting artwork for the Jos. A. Banks “Miracle Tie” contest. His winning entry that year was entitled, “Santa Delivers.” A line of silk neckties inspired by Luke and several other pediatric patients was unveiled at the 12th annual “Tie into a Miracle” fashion show. Luke, now 14, is a goalie on his ice hockey team and earned a Presidential Award for Academic Excellence.
Pat reflected on a site visit two years ago when a little boy asked her, “How did you get so old?” Pat replied, “I’ve had many birthdays. How many have you had?” All of the kids raised their hands to share how many birthdays they had celebrated.
Her franchising journey has not been without learning experiences. Pat opened an art studio a few years ago, piggy-backing on her strong school programs. However, she soon discovered that it was more like running two businesses instead of one, with the studio absorbing profits. She has made the decision to close the studio this January. Prior to the closure, Pat is running a special exhibit with proceeds benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. The exhibit, “The Portrait Within: Inspiring Journeys and Stories Untold,” features works by Dana Morgan, Artist in Residence and Carol Anstett, a staff member of seven years and photographer, who considers this a dream come true.
“I’m returning to my roots in many ways,” remarked Pat. “I added more new sites for our summer camps this year. My love of kids drew me to Abrakadoodle, and I want to help promote access for kids from all backgrounds to inspire them with art.” She is also bringing art programs to residents of Bright View retirement community. Pat calls her staff a “very collegial group,” and she shared how they meet monthly for a dinner meeting at her house. “Everyone has a little corner of the world,” she said. “With my love of country, family, children and a desire to perform service, I am living a purpose-driven life.”