Lauren Broom is a relatively new face to some but the CPO instructor has been branching out and making a name for herself in the pool industry. Over the last couple of years, she has reinvented herself during the pandemic as a top-rated provider of virtual CPO courses.
Pool contractors in the state of Florida have known Broom for years. Working for Florida Health for almost 17 years; she was a health inspector and regulator. During the past decade, she’s been interacting daily with them in the course of her day-to-day role. Many don’t realize that Broom has actually been teaching CPO courses just about as long. Now a Certified Pool Operator PHTA Instructor, Broom separated from Florida Health back in August of 2020 to start her own business, Space Coast Pool School.
Changing Career Paths During Covid
Transitioning from regulator and inspector to full-time CPO instructor was a change Broom was longing to make. Like many during the pandemic, Broom suddenly realized that if she was looking for a sign to make a change in her career, this was it. “What COVID did, was it opened doors for me,” said Broom, “It opened up the CPO class to go virtual. Since April of 2020, they’ve had everything set up for us to start teaching virtual certified pool operator courses.”
“I think that the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, which I’m certified through, has the people and resources to get that training standardized and then get it out to us instructors to able to teach,” said Broom.
Transitioning To Full-Time CPO Instructor
In explaining what prompted her to want to seek a new career path, Broom explained, “I had plateaued at the health department. The room for growth was over. I came to realize that I wanted to pursue education rather than regulation as a passion.”
The space for offering these services welcomes a fresh new approach and so far Broom has been very successful in disseminating her online program. Aside from being one of the leading female instructors offering virtual courses, what Broom says often distinguishes her program is her prior expertise as a health inspector and regulator. “I come from a different part of the industry than a lot of the instructors. I understand the regulations that a lot of people are dealing with because many times they will be dealing with commercial pools,” said Broom.
With her expertise being in health regulation and safety, Broom said she is looking to expand on the courses she offers and plans to begin teaching a live OSHA-10 certification course soon. While this new course will be able to be taken online, the requirements still stipulate that it be a live course and not pre-recorded.
In explaining how she developed her virtual CPO course, Broom explained that over the past decade of teaching face-to-face courses, she had developed many materials that translated well to a video series. “A lot of people like to go to CPO courses for the interaction they get with instructors. During COVID we were unable to do that so I began developing videos of the same material I would cover in my in-person classes,” said Broom.
In developing her content library, Broom said that while she draws inspiration from what others are doing in the industry, her focus is on generating her own educational materials that speak to the content she is teaching.
“It’s all my content, I’m not taking someone else’s YouTubes or borrowing someone else’s material. I create all of my own so it’s done how I would teach it. I’m using my own equipment, so when I pull out my peristaltic pump or my erosion feeder, I’m explaining those components and what they do,” said Broom.
In creating her materials, she explained how she tries to bring value by developing a course that is an engaging online learning experience for students. “I’m a true believer that you have to have some fun in class. If it’s more fun it’s easier to learn. I try to bring that wall down so they can learn better. If they’re not so worried about that test on the second day, they’re going to learn a lot more.”
One of the ways Broom is working towards achieving that goal is with her podcast “Let’s Talk About Pools” which she started earlier this year. During a thought-provoking conversation with Terry Arko over at Hasa earlier this year, they discussed the recent chemical shortages that have been plaguing the industry. It’s that type of material that the industry finds invaluable. This fresh new ‘boots on the ground’ perspective, being what many are seeking for better clarity during this climate.
In understanding Broom’s decision to reinvent herself, making a sudden shift in her career plans was a sentiment shared by millions. In the wake of COVID, many chose to switch career paths rather than go back to their previous employer.
Consequently, the past two years we’ve all had to adapt to doing business differently. Broom choosing to capitalize on the ability to transition to offering courses online and working to establish herself as a leading CPO instructor were a risk she was willing to take. So far the gamble to make a radical transition in her career path has been paying off.
Listen to our complete discussion with Lauren Broom on the Pool Magazine podcast