Very few people can boast about going into business for the rewards associated with being passionate about what they do, rather than monetary gain. One such person is Stephanie Chan, Founder and CEO of myCareBase. Caring for the vulnerable—and in this case, seniors, is a job that Ms. Chan cherishes and practices with professional care. A lawyer by training, Ms. Chan is a caregiver at heart. The Edge, A Leader’s Magazine spoke with Ms. Chan about her inspiration behind myCareBase, and what keeps her moving forward in her chosen field.
- What inspired you to start up myCareBase? What’s the story behind it?
My story starts about 16 or more years ago. So, my origin story is that I used to be a lawyer. I practiced for 10 years, and I decided to leave law to do something a little bit more meaningful. I practiced corporate securities law, and it just wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to work more directly with people as opposed to companies. And so, I left to start a business helping families and seniors with elder care planning, and with transition management and planning. So, I’ve been doing that for the last 16 years.
- myCareBase is all about providing solutions around caring for seniors. What are the solutions you provide? And how does the process work?
Just to answer that last part first, the way that any family can engage our services is by calling or emailing us. We are kind of like a hybrid care agency marketplace model with a lot of customer support. So, it starts when a family or primary family caregiver contacts to tell me about their situation and current challenges, and where they feel they could use the most help. Then we look through the marketplace with the customer to identify the best candidates. And one of the ways we are different is that we allow the customer to choose and interview the candidates. We want them involved in the selection process and be happy with the candidate that they want for their parents or their spouse. We provide a lot of support in the matching, the hiring, and the post-hire process as well.
- Seniors and children are some of the most vulnerable members of any society. With that in mind, what have been some of the challenges you encountered since the inception of myCareBase?
You’re very right that children and seniors are the most vulnerable members of society. We focus on seniors, and I think there are two main challenges depending on which perspective you’re looking at it from. From the family’s perspective, I think their main challenge is that they want to know that the person they’re hiring is experienced and responsible and will provide good quality care. And I think from a family caregiver’s perspective, that their biggest fear is am I hiring the right person? Is this person gonna take care of my mom or dad? And so, we address that by doing rigorous vetting of the individual. This takes time because we don’t want to shortchange the vetting process in exchange for speed.
- How does your education and training background influence and continue to help with your goals and commitment towards caring for seniors?
Yeah, that’s a really great question. As a lawyer, one of the things I’ve developed is my advising skills. So, I think what I became really good at was being able to give client focused, well-balanced advice. You take those skills, and you can apply them to different areas of your life. So rather than advising companies on a certain area, at corporate law, you’re advising people on something that matters to them, and in this case, it’s caring for aging parents, it’s elder care planning, it’s care management. And so as long as you can build up the knowledge, then you apply your advising skills, and your empathy, and your communication skills to help families through their journey.
- Can you highlight some of the highs and lows of taking on such a huge responsibility as caring for the vulnerable, and what drives you to keep going?
The high definitely is the reward of those cases where you know you’ve really made a meaningful impact in someone’s life, even in a short chapter of their lives. And I figured out a while back that what really drives me is meaningful work and spending time on projects where the effort makes a meaningful impact on someone’s life. So, I would say the high is having happy customers. As a small business owner, having happy customers is really important.
- How does Stephanie unwind and recharge? What are some of your swear-by relaxation tips?
For me, what brings me joy in my downtime is dogs. I love dogs. I fostered for the SPCA. And I dog sit for one or two friends on a regular basis. So, I have dogs at my home at least once or twice a week. And that’s actually how I recharge. I love being around dogs. Oh, they just bring me so much joy. For relaxation, I started meditating and it’s difficult to find time every day, but I found that spending time every day to do a little meditation in the morning really helps me keep focus. And I really try to eat nutritious food too. And some foot massages don’t hurt either.
Chinenye Emezie | Assistant Editor