Lauren Broom is a relatively new face to some, but the CPO instructor has branched out and made a name for herself in the pool industry. Over the past two years, it has reinvented itself during the pandemic as a leading provider of virtual CPO courses.
Florida State pool contractors have known Broom for years. Working for Florida Health for nearly 17 years; she was a health inspector and regulator. For the past decade, she has interacted with them daily as part of her day-to-day role. Many don’t realize that Broom has been teaching CPO courses for about that long. Now a PHTA Certified Pool Operator Instructor, Broom parted ways with Florida Health in August 2020 to start her own business, Space Coast Swimming School.
Changing Career Paths During Covid
Going from dispatcher and inspector to full-time CPO instructor was a change Broom was eager 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 has done is it has opened doors for me,” Broom said, “It has opened up the CPO class to go virtual. teach virtual certified pool operator courses.
“I think the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, which I’m certified through, has the people and the resources to standardize that training and then pass it on to us instructors to be able to teach,” Broom said.
Transition to Full-Time CPO Instructor
In explaining what made her want to seek a new career path, Broom explained, “I had hit a plateau in 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 to offer these services welcomes a new approach and so far Broom has been very successful in delivering its program online. In addition to being one of the leading instructors offering virtual classes, what Broom says often sets her program apart is her previous expertise as a health inspector and regulator. “I come from a different sector of the industry than many instructors. I understand the regulations that a lot of people face because they will often be dealing with commercial pools,” Broom said.
With her expertise in health regulation and safety, Broom said she is looking to expand the courses she offers and plans to start teaching a live OSHA-10 certification course soon. Although this new course can be taken online, the requirements still state that it is 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 a lot of materials that translated well into a series of videos. “A lot of people enjoy taking CPO classes for the interaction they have with the instructors. During COVID we weren’t able to do that so I started developing videos of the same material that I would cover in my in-person classes,” Broom said.
In developing her library of content, Broom said that while she draws inspiration from what others in the industry are doing, her goal is to generate her own teaching materials that speak to the content she teaches.
“It’s all my content, I’m not taking anyone else’s YouTubes or borrowing anyone else’s material. I create all my own so it’s done the way I I use my own equipment, so when I pull out my peristaltic pump or erosion feeder, I explain those components and what they do,” Broom said.
In creating her material, she explained how she tries to provide value by developing a course that is an engaging online learning experience for students. “I sincerely believe in having fun in class. If it’s more fun, it’s easier to learn. I’m trying to break down that wall so they can learn better. If they aren’t so worried about that test on day two, they’re going to learn a lot more.
One of the ways Broom is working towards this goal is with his podcast”Let’s talk about swimming pools” which she started earlier this year. During a brainstorming session conversation with Terry Arko at Hasa earlier this year, they discussed recent chemical shortages that have plagued the industry. It is this type of material that the industry finds invaluable. This cool new “boots on the pitch” perspective, being what many are looking for for better clarity in this climate.
Understanding Broom’s decision to reinvent himself, making a sudden shift in his career plans was a sentiment shared by millions. In the wake of COVID, many have chosen to change careers rather than return to their former employers.
As a result, over the past two years, we’ve all had to adapt to doing business differently. Broom’s choice to capitalize on the ability to move to online course offerings and work to establish herself as a top CPO instructor was a risk she was willing to take. So far, the bet to make a radical transition in his career has paid off.
Listen to our full chat with Lauren Broom on the Pool Magazine Podcast