The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health and hospice care. To see this year’s future leaders, visit Future Leaders online.
Qiana James, founder and CEO of Houston, Texas-based Friendly Faces Senior Care, has been named a 2020 Future Leader by Home Health Care News parent company Aging Media Network.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
James sat down with HHCN to talk about her leadership style and the future of home-based care.
HHCN: Can you tell me a little bit about your current organization and role?
James: I’m the founder and owner of a non-medical private-pay home care company. We specialize in working with those that have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. We provide care in the home, plus in assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and memory care communities.
On a typical day, I wear many hats. I help out with operations and the financial day-to-day responsibilities. I also help oversee policies and procedures, as well as branding, marketing and the sales aspect of the business.
What drew you to this industry?
My mom was a part-time caregiver for one of her friend’s mothers. She had to go through an agency. That’s how I found out about the profession.
Originally, I wanted to do home health care. I did a lot of research and realized that the private-pay home care side was really where I should focus. Why? Because I could focus more on quality versus quantity — and customer service. These things are very important to me.
Just by nature, I have always been good with seniors. My grandmother stayed with us, and she was 91. She never had to go to rehab, a nursing home or anything like that. My mom was her main caregiver. So for years, I watched my mom be a caregiver. I got to see success in taking care of someone in the home.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I get in there and help whoever needs help. Delegation is one of my challenges, but I’m learning to embrace it more. I want to make sure that everyone is successful.
I’m not a demanding person or anything like that. I truly believe in giving people the resources, education and training that they need to be empowered. I want to help take people to the next step in their career.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
Again, delegation is something that I’ve struggled with. But I’m learning now that everyone is not going to do things the way you would — and that’s okay. People will fail — and that’s okay. My biggest lesson learned is to not take on everything. To run a successful company in the home care space, you need to allow other people to step in.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of home-based care, what would it be?
One of the challenges that we have is many seniors don’t have the services that they need. They don’t have support from family and are just left on their own to try to sort it out.
Also, from a monetary perspective, there are so many seniors that fall in the middle. They make a little bit too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford our services. So there’s a big number of people that are just hanging in there, and we need to do something to help these people.
What do you foresee as being different about the in-home care industry in 2021?
Everything has changed because of COVID-19. I see a lot more people bringing their loved ones home because there’s so much uncertainty as to whether or not there will be another [wave of the virus].
In a word, how would you describe the future of home-based care?
Home care is going to continue to be in demand. More people are wanting to go home, they want to age in place.
To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit the Future Leaders homepage.