Olive Gaye has provided focused, decisive and innovative leadership as founder and president of GenCare Resources for more than 10 years. GenCare Resources provides compassionate clinical care to individuals of all ages within the state of Florida with services provided both in client homes and her newest commitment to care, within a medical day center (PPEC) for children. During her tenure as a Human Resource Executive at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority – the managing body for Orlando International Airport, she developed a passion for people and relationships. As an engaged and involved member of the community Olive passionately pursues opportunities to give back.
Why did you decide to start your business?
Starting my business, GenCare, was born out of my passion to help and serve others. As a young professional, this passion was a result of having been mentored by mature caring adults. The impetus and drive to launch GenCare occurred after spending time with one such mentor and friend. She was then elderly and frail, depending on in-home care. The care she was receiving was not befitting such a sophisticated and inspiring individual. I struggled with my decision to leave the business world I was thriving in. I held an HR position in a great organization. I knew it would be a professional risk to launch out into an industry I was very unfamiliar with. Relying on my core values of dignity and respect for everyone, no matter their position or situation in life, I made the jump in faith. In return, I have been rewarded by influencing the lives of many. I am constantly striving to pass on those core values to all the lives my organization and I touch.
How did your previous positions prepare you?
Human Resources is all about connecting with people. As I shared, I’ve always had a passion for helping and serving others, and as an HR professional, I was able to do just that. The way I provided help and care was through identifying the individual or business’ needs. I would listen and take action based on each person or situation’s needs. It didn’t matter to me what position a person held, they deserved my equal time and support. Those opportunities strengthened my ability to provide that type of care in my new healthcare business. Additionally, I had experience dealing with financial endeavors, which prepared me for dealing with that side of my own business.
How would you describe your management style?
Collaborative would best describe my management style. I’ve learned not to solely rely on my own understanding of a situation. I am aware of my weaknesses and strive to learn from others. I believe everyone has valuable input. I believe in empowering employees to take full responsibility for themselves and the tasks they are responsible for managing. This is true for all positions in the company, and each individual function they provide. My hope is that the team will run with what they are given and communicate with me the ways we can improve in any area. Then together, we make the business better.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is the difference we are making in someone’s life. I am part of a team that cares for the vulnerable in our communities, helping each one to live better, each day, in whatever form that takes. However, that isn’t always easy. I recall one specific time that I counseled a nurse who was frustrated with her patient’s habits. I reminded her, “We may all get to this place where we need assistance. We need to think of the care we would like someone to provide us with when that time comes.” She left the office smiling with a new resolve to focus on the individual person and their needs. I trust she will always remember that a patient’s behavior is often due to their illness, and not representative of the true person. That’s what makes this job rewarding.
It’s rewarding to see my core values being modeled throughout the organization and mirrored in the care of our clients/patients.
What advice would you give other women who are interested in starting their own businesses?
I have a few key pieces of advice. You must surround yourself with people that will provide two things, the ability to see your vision to make it grow according to your values, and people that have experience in the areas you have none. My situation for example — I had no medical training and was new to the industry. My priority was to identify caregivers with passion. I needed individuals who could buy into, understand and model the culture I wanted to create based on my core values. I also needed people who could teach me how to make this type of business successful.
You have to be prepared to work hard until you find the right people to, well, be you. During the initial stages of the business, I filled nearly every role for the internal and external clients.
Surround yourself with people who have “been there, done it” and those who continue to do it well.
Leverage your network for support and direction by joining various groups within your community.
Finally, always give back. Mentor an individual or a community. Simply, pull someone else up. Over the past few years, we have heard the voices of powerful women and men, who realize that women are a force to be reconned with. Of all times in history, now is the time to take that leap for yourself.