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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Martha Picciao-Mazor

Founder & CEO

Whiz Kidz Preschools

Location: Scottsdale

Founded: 2012

Industry: Education

Martha Picciao-Mazor is the founder and CEO of Whiz Kidz Preschools, a chain of highly regarded child care centers in the Phoenix area. Her journey is a testament to resilience and belief in the power of early childhood education.

Combining her love for teaching and her entrepreneurial spirit, Picciao-Mazor embarked on the path of starting her own preschool program after the birth of her first son. Starting as a home-based business, she nurtured and grew her program for five years.

“We risked the little savings we had and sold our only house to self-fund my dream of starting a preschool center,” Picciao-Mazor said. “We took a leap and went all in! As a startup with no financial backing, we knew that the only way to start was to cash in our ‘nest egg.’ At the time, it felt scary and risky.”

Life threw Picciao-Mazor a curveball, and she had to sell her home due to a divorce. At this same time, she got the opportunity to take over an underperforming childcare center in North Phoenix. This became the first of five locations for Whiz Kidz Preschools. The initial years were filled with long hours and a steep learning curve in entrepreneurship, but Picciao-Mazor’s dedication and commitment to her vision drove the company forward.

“Looking back at the entrepreneurial journey, while not easy, it was worth it, and I’d do it all over again,” Picciao-Mazor said. “With much risk comes much reward, right? I believe when you have no other option, you find a way to make it work. You go from drowning to survival to thriving.”

Under Picciao-Mazor’s leadership, Whiz Kidz Preschools has flourished, providing quality infant care and pre-kindergarten learning programs. The company serves hundreds of families and employs more than 125 team members. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Whiz Kidz Preschools thrived, earning recognition and accolades, including a Community Impact Award from the Phoenix Business Journal and consecutive placements on the Inc. 5000 list.

In the coming years, the company plans to open three to five additional locations. The goal is to double service capacity in half the time it took to establish the existing five centers. It aims to serve 1,200 families and grow to 250 employees. Picciao-Mazor envisions creating a nonprofit to offer childcare scholarships and teacher college scholarships.

Picciao-Mazor serves the community as a board member for organizations like New Leaf and Valley of the Sun Early Childhood Association. She shares her expertise as a business mentoring coach for Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator. As a mother of three boys, Picciao-Mazor is also involved in volunteering at her children’s school and prioritizes family as a core value.

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Martha the CEO enjoys traveling around the world and trying new adventures, the most wild one was sky diving a few years ago!


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