Enriching both young adults and elderly ones
Oct 16, 2018
There are more than 11 million female-owned businesses in America, accounting for 38 percent of all companies, data shows, and October is their month as it is recognized as National Women in Small Business Month.
Bridget Weston Pollack, vice president of marketing for SCORE Association, provided those statistics in an Oct. 6, 2016, blog for the U.S. Small Business Administration. The leading female-owned industries were healthcare, social services and education services.
Those figures bear out for Rutherford County, particularly with Ann Thomas, owner of Sylvan Learning of Murfreesboro, and Becci Bookner, president and founder of Family Staffing Solutions.
Thomas said she has owned Sylvan since July 1989 and looks forward to celebrating its 30th year in 2019.
Sylvan, which provides help in math, reading, writing and homework skills, also helped her find a fresh start in life.
“The first half of my life was spent in the quiet support of my family,” she said. “After divorcing, I found myself at a crossroads in my life. I needed to find a way to make my own path and start anew. I found Sylvan Learning which afforded the opportunity to impact lives of students and their parents.”
“I have found that in the Sylvan community there are opportunities for women and men,” she said. “The challenge is putting the right team together to serve your families. I feel very fortunate that I have that staff in place today.”
Finding second career
Similar to Thomas, Bookner said she found a new path in life with her current career.
Working as a kindergarten teacher in the late 1980s, she found a new business model when two of her aunts needed help with aging-related issues. In 1993, she founded Elderly Services, which she sold in 1999. She took the experience from that company and founded Family Staffing Solutions.
She said she was “the only game in town” at first, giving her time to learn how to do that type of business. Family Staffing provides personal care and in-home assisted living services for family members from newborns to seniors.
Bookner said she could not do her job without her “stellar” group of 300 caregivers who work out of offices in Murfreesboro, Shelbyville and Nashville. They often become like a part of the client’s family because of the nature of their work.
Family Staffing has organized a Centenarians Club, or gathering of seniors who are at least 100 years old in the community. They gather at least once a year to celebrate. Working with them and other seniors is invigorating, she said.
“We go home feeling young and vibrant,” Bookner said.
She said she enjoys “living on the edge” as a business owner. Many of the issues, which she sees as opportunities, are common regardless of the owner’s gender, whether it is profit margins or problem solving.
“It’s a joy to be in business,” she said.