Fall of 2013
What is your current occupation?
Owner of Hope Assistance, a personal assistant for people coping with major medical issues. I provide the non-clinical help that is usually done by family members.
What inspired you to start your own business?
My husband was diagnosed with gastric cancer at the age of 36, shortly after our first wedding anniversary. The 10 months that I spent supporting him while he was sick was the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life. It made me fully aware of the gap that is present for people who are coping with illness. I decided it was important for me to take the knowledge I gained to help others in the same situation.
What do you enjoy about this work?
I love being of service to others. When you are dealing with the medical system even with the best care providers, things are confusing and complicated. It is so great to be able to provide answers and help in all of the confusion. Because I have been there, I appreciate how great it is to have someone help and it’s gratifying to give that to others.
What role has networking played in your career?
I would not have my business if it wasn’t for networking. Nearly every client I’ve ever had has been referred by someone. When people are facing illness it is such a challenging and vulnerable time in their life. They don’t want to find help from an online advertisement. They want to find someone that is recommended by someone they trust.
What’s your favorite tip for success with networking?
When you meet someone else about networking focus on asking them as much as you can about their business. Find out how you can help them and don’t think about what they can do for you. The more you give to others the more you will get back.
How do you think being a woman in your profession has been more or less challenging than your male counterparts?
Since my business is a the field of caregiving people generally feel more comfortable with a woman in that role.
Can you describe the strangest situation you faced in your work, and how your resolved it?
Due to the sometimes intimate nature of my work people sometimes don’t have healthy professional boundaries. They sometimes view me as part of the family, which is wonderful but also can be a little bit awkward. This has sometimes lead to clients or their family members giving me expensive and inappropriate gifts. They can feel rejected or embarrassed when I can’t accept it. So I make it a policy to do little things to keep the relationship more professional right from the start. So for example I never let a client pay for coffee when we meet at a coffee shop. It’s a small thing but it sets a boundary of a professional relationship rather than a personal friendship.
What is something PWN members don’t know about you?
My bachelor’s degree is in Asian studies, I lived in Japan for a year in college.
What is your favorite lunch entree?