With concerns such as loved ones forgetting to take medications, having difficulty keeping up with housework, or showing early signs of memory loss, the need for home care is growing. When everyday living becomes increasingly more challenging, a helping hand can make life easier. This is where Home Helpers® Home Care, a franchise dedicated to providing exceptional in-home care, comes in.
Whether it’s for a few hours a week or 24/7 care, Home Helpers provides compassionate, attentive, and professional inhome services that can be customized to the individual needs of its clients. “When needed, Home Helpers steps in as an extension of the family’s care,” shares Emma Dickison, CEO and President of Home Helpers.
Committed to its mission of improving clients’ quality of life, Home Helpers provides families with the peace of mind they need, creating customized care plans based on clients’ specific situations, and allowing your loved one to stay where they prefer and call home.
At the helm of Home Helpers are four proficient leaders, Emma Dickison – CEO & President, Bill Burlingham – Chief Financial Officer, Kimberly Demaree – Chief Performance Officer, and Barry Nelson – Executive Vice President & General Counsel. Let’s shed some more light on the journeys of these exemplary leaders and how they are making lives of families easier, through an interview with The Franchise Universe.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Give us a brief overview of Emma, Barry, Bill and Kimberly’s position at Home Helpers® Home Care, and all of yours journey since company’s inception.
Emma Dickison –Recipient of IFA’s Crystal Compass Award Emma Dickison joined Home Helpers more than 14 years ago with a goal of providing the same kind of attentive, loving care as you would your own family. Setting the vision for what Exceptional Care can be, the organization has grown rapidly now with 306 agencies serving more than 1,000 communities today. Dickison also holds the position of President of the Board of Directors for the Home Care Association of America and serves as the Women’s Franchise Network Chair for Ohio. Prior to taking the role as CEO and President, Dickison worked in senior leadership roles with Sylvan Learning Centers and Blockbuster Video. Dickison’s degree is from the University of Florida. Outside the office, Dickison is a health enthusiast and runner, whose faith, family and values are paramount.
Recently, Dickison was awarded the Crystal Compass Award from the International Franchise Association for recognition of her significant contributions through leadership within their franchise organization, the franchise community, or the community in which they live.
For over six years now, Bill Burlingham has provided the financial leadership for Home Helpers® Home Care, where he’s improved performance each and every year. Not only does he provide financial leadership for the franchisor, he also has directed two significant projects recently to help improve, through the implementation of new technology, the financial and operational performance of Home Helpers’ franchise agencies.
Prior to coming to Home Helpers, Burlingham worked for Bob Evans Farms as the Senior Director of Audit Services. His long tenure in audit and accounting has included employment with First Group America, Lexmark Electronics, and The J. Peterman Company.
Burlingham received his MBA and BA from the University of Kentucky. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. As an avid audiophile, he enjoys live music and travel.
Kimberly Demaree joined Home Helpers at the beginning of 2020 and is responsible for franchise operations and increasing revenue through the implementation of new programs, processes, and continuous improvement of operational execution. Additionally, she oversees the planning, development and execution of all marketing functions to generate brand awareness and increase market share. Recently, for Home Helpers, Demaree led the successful launch of new comprehensive care service offerings, further differentiating Home Helpers in the industry. Before joining Home Helpers, Demaree held senior executive positions at Champion Windows & Home Exteriors, Timeless You and Sodexo – CKFI/Comfort Keepers. She also served as the Executive Director of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Demaree received her MBA from Xavier University and her BA from Bowling Green State University.
Barry Nelson is responsible for legal affairs, human resources and risk management. He leverages his domestic and international franchise expertise to guide franchise owners develop strategic plans and systems that ensure safe, ethical, efficient, litigation-free operations. Prior to joining Home Helpers, Nelson held senior executive positions at Pet Wants, Franchise Funding Group, and Strategic Franchising. He is the Past President Board of Trustees for CASA for Clermont Kids.
Nelson received his Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University Law School and his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Northern Kentucky Kimberly Demaree – Chief Performance Ofcer ® Home Helpers Home Care University.
What were the challenges you all came across since joining the organization?
Dickison – I’d have to say the biggest challenge I’ve encountered with Home Helpers is continuing to innovate while we have grown so quickly. Many leaders who would have encountered the growth that we have, would simply focused on maintaining the offering while scaling it to more locations.
Because we knew consumer needs within the home care industry would continue to evolve, we had to keep introducing new innovative solutions for independence, while continuing to grow our operations.
Since joining Home Helpers, I have been focused on bringing the same consistency we’ve built for the operations of our business and our franchisees to the financial management our agencies use. We’ve transitioned our franchisees to a consistent accounting system and standard chart of accounts. Most recently, I implemented a change to the system’s backend software system that houses its agencies scheduling, billing, hiring and more. This change has allowed us to help provide franchisees with better benchmarks to improve their efficiency and margin.
Being the newest member to the Leadership Team, I have been able to bring a fresh perspective to the company. My focus has been on continuous improvement both of our offering and of our care. I’ve introduced additional training to help our franchisees provide exceptional care at each and every touchpoint throughout their experience with Home Helpers. My goal is to create even greater consistency in the experience, and for our clients to continue to rate us as exceptional.
As business leaders, what is your opinion on the effects of the current pandemic on the Senior Care & Home Care Industry in general?
Dickison – Through the pandemic, we saw a material increase on demand for Home Care. This was driven in part from greater consumer demand for care services in their home. It also came from our partners, like continuing care communities and short-term nursing facilities, who needed additional staff to provide assistance with their patients. This pandemic, I believe, shined a light on the Home Care industry showcasing how essential it is in the health care continuum.
It’s obvious that the pandemic increased demand for our services. When demand surges like this, it is always a test on an organization’s systems and processes. It was great to see how quickly our agencies were able to respond to their communities’ needs.
There’s no question that this pandemic has had tremendous impact on the Home Care Industry. Greater demand for services, greater demand for labor, greater demand for consumables. We had to quickly line up new suppliers, adapt our operations, increase our hiring process and our training.
What is your opinion on the advancements for Light Housekeeping and Veterans Care to improve the offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to building a population of healthy individuals?
Dickison– The role of technology continues to grow in our industry. At Home Helpers, we’ve always offered technology-based solutions to access services, especially in emergencies and to collect biometric data. Recently, we’ve added other tools to help keep our clients independent and healthy, like our Wellness Calls which can help with medication, hydration and nutrition reminders.
While I believe technology-based solutions will continue to grow in the industry, I’ve set an expectation that any technology we add to our offering also provides a needed service and should be complimented with care and companionship. This focus on service will make the offering meaningful to the client.
What is your thought on the necessity of a positive work culture? In what ways do you implement it at your organization?
A positive culture is essential. Not only does it improve employee satisfaction and retention, but it also helps keep teams working collaboratively and creative. At Home Helpers, we celebrate each person’s accomplishments, both personal and professional. In a fast-paced culture like ours, these moments of celebration could get lost, but we schedule time each month to get together in our huddle and share these important moments.
Which is the best way to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with your Exceptional Services for urgent needs coming our way?
The best way to accomplish this is staying current with consumer trends then constantly piloting new services and technologies. If you are in a perpetual cycle of development, you can roll out new offerings quickly to meet demands.
As an established businesswomen leader, what would be your advice to the budding women healthcare leaders aspiring to venture into the Skilled Home Health Care Services?
Never lose sight of your “why.” This is a highly competitive industry; you need to frequently remind yourself why this work matters to you. Doing so is both invigorating and essential.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
I have been blessed with amazing mentors. People who’ve challenged me and rooted for me. I am thankful for each and every one of them. They helped me be brave when it was time to make bold moves—and share their criticisms, lovingly, when I needed to hear them.
How do you envision on sustaining your holistic care competency in a cutthroat and volatile world of wellness center? Where do you see your Homemaker Services in the next five years?
Sustaining our market leadership position is critical. We will continue to innovate our offering. If services like Homemaker Services are no longer part of our clients’ needs, we will adjust. But if the demand is there and it helps fulfill on our goal of keeping people independent and safe in their home, we will.
In what ways have you or Home Helpers Home Care contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in Training and Courses for Caregivers delivering high standard of care?
Through our support, Home Helpers® Home Care makes life easier for our clients who desire to live independently and safely in their homes. Be it help with housekeeping and meal preparation or assistance with the activities of daily living, our exceptional Caregivers bring joy and dignity while lending a helping hand. Offering the most comprehensive care offerings in the industry, our customized care plans ensure each client gets the support they need today. Then as needs change our plans can be adapted.