Business Name: CaraVita Home Care, a provider of at-home care for aging parents
Type of Business: Medical
Business Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Reason for starting
It’s funny how life experiences can, in retrospect, be the catalyst for the next chapters in our lives. The seeds of my business, CaraVita Home Care, were planted when I served as the full-time caregiver for my aging grandparents and aunt, as a sixteen years old growing up in Savannah, GA. I saw then the tremendous challenge that caregiving presents for families. The time and energy, stress it places, and the pain of seeing loved ones in need. As I grew through my career in healthcare, those early life lessons never left me. Despite my professional successes, I chose to leave the big health care business in the late nineties. My belief then, as it remains today, is that life is better lived, whenever possible, at home. In many cases, this can be challenging for aging seniors. Yet, by pairing an experienced professional team building and executing care programs with the most compassionate and well trained caregivers available, and with the assistance of emerging senior care technologies, we find that life can be fully lived and enjoyed at home, despite the obstacles of aging and decline. It is my sincere hope that we can help provide continued passion for life in the seniors and families we serve. It is that constant pursuit that drove me to found CaraVita Home Care, and the same fire that fuels me today.
How do you define success?
I define success in three ways. By our consistency in exceeding the expectations of families and love ones, by our growth as a company, and by our staff’s commitment to integrity. In all three cases, we must simply do everything we can as caregivers to ensure that our loved ones can age gracefully in place, committing ourselves to honor and cherish those we serve by providing the loving care they need. If we provide levels of service that our seniors deserve, then we are usually successful across all the quantifiable definitions we measure. Our numbers reflect this. Above all else, we are the caretakers of our most cherished elders. So, success for me is about doing everything in my power to ensure that we are the leaders in care. It’s why I hire team members, it’s why I fight for legislation, and it’s why I tirelessly watch over our production. So that we can be a beacon of hope for families in need.
In my career, I’ve enjoyed many individual successes. In 2013, I was named Georgia’s Small Business Person of the Year. The Atlanta Business Chronicle named my business among Atlanta’s Best Places to Work. I received the first annual Beth Cayce Leadership Award by the Georgia-ALFA. I’ve seen my home state pass a piece of senior care legislation I developed. I was part of the leadership team for one of Inc.’s Top 2 fastest growing companies in America, and was part of the leadership team that won Ernest and Young’s Entrepreneur Award for Team Excellence. But above all else, my biggest success is having served more than 16,000 seniors in my community through CaraVita Home Care. For all the awards and recognitions, nothing is sweeter than seeing the vision of loving care imparted across a community. In serving my community with all my heart, my wish is made real. And, as a result, the seniors we serve are able to live happier and healthier lives at home.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Our top challenge is always ensuring quality of care. When dealing with aging seniors, care and compassion must always be delivered with excellence and consistency; the community needs our steady hand. We must always give our best to our clients. To ensure that this is possible, we developed a unique approach to care, where planning is custom tailored to each individual by a team of professionals. We hire only the best caregivers, and have launched the Academy at CaraVita to train the next generation of Certified Nursing Assistants. And we fight in the community. We offer community programs like the Virtual Dementia Tour to raise awareness, and we sponsor legislation that helps protect and empower seniors. In the end, all of our efforts remain singularly in support of living happier, healthier lives at home, even as we age. It is our one and only calling.
Who is your most important role model?
I really like the book Jesus as CEO. In that book Jesus’s example of servant leadership is best displayed. Often we look to certain figures in our industry and history, but I have found that Biblical principles of leadership and service are timeless and I try to share the concept of Servant Leadership in all I do. If someone is non religious in my organization, the concept of servant leadership still resonates as the principles of putting others first, developing your talents that you are given and seeking a greater good are critical to success. When I am leading my team I try to lead them to realize that putting ourselves in the shoes of those we serve and those we serve with helps create a greater understanding and empathy in what we do. Often my greatest challenges are in how we respond to adversity or unkind words amongst clients or staff. If I can get my staff to see the reason behind the behaviors and to feel empathy, I can break the need for defense and they can learn how to create a remarkable environment. The ability to understand before being understood is an important lesson in learning how to lead and care.