Job title and company: I have been the owner/administrator of Collective Home Care Inc., which is based in South Deerfield, since 2004.
Your duties: To simultaneously be aware of the fires that crop up every day and provide our team with what they need to put those fires out.
How did you land your job? In November of 1999, this brilliant little agency had just opened. The people had what some called a rebellious skepticism toward the pyramid structure of corporations. I wanted to be part of that.
What’s most challenging about your work? To keep those fires from ruling the day. Everyday we meet the needs of those we serve and give caregivers the knowledge that they made a difference, even if it was just to hold someone’s hand for a while after the chores were done. That’s what all of us need to honor every day.
What do you like about your job? As a nurse I can help one individual at a time. As part of Collective we’re helping hundreds of folks for thousands of hours every week.
What is your key to success? Seeing the work more like a roller-coaster ride, enjoying the ride. We handled the last challenge; I know we’ll figure out the next one.
How do you feel the Valley economy will fare this year? I’m optimistic, the right team is in the White House and in the governor’s mansion. They both know we must continue our investment in education.
Why did you choose to do business in the Valley? I grew up in Easthampton in the ’60s, watched Northampton change through the ’80s and ’90s, and now I live in Whately. I wouldn’t live or work anywhere else; I love this community.
Who has helped mentor you professionally? Sue Pratt taught me a great deal. Today I work with Mary Whiston and, with more than twice my community health care experience, she has taught me a lot. And I look to those changing the culture of care for individuals over 65, like Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician and founder of the Green House Project, a national nonprofit that seeks to create alternative living environments in traditional nursing home-care facilities.
Name a few of your goals for the coming year: We’re opening a satellite office in Hatfield and I would like to see that project go seamlessly. I’d also like to continue to grow our organization and collaborate with other community providers to bring the best home-care experience possible to our neighbors.
Tell us a little-known fact about you: I told this story before, but I always keep a kite under the back seat of my truck. When the wind is just right, and you let that line run out — it can be a very meditative way to spend an hour.
What is your advice for others seeking business success? Know your strengths and your weaknesses; don’t even try to do everything yourself. Surround yourself with smart people and work hard to empower them to do what they do best.