“I love what I do,” said Jaime Peñaherrera, the owner of Home Instead Senior Care of American Canyon.
The franchise business provides non-medical care to seniors.
“This is more than a job for me, it’s a mission,” said Peñaherrera. “The people who work for me also feel the same way.”
1. What was your first job?
Accounting intern at a paint brush factory in Quito, Ecuador.
2. How did you get into the health care industry?
I was hired as an MBA intern by a large biotech company in New Jersey. Fortunately, I fell in love the healthcare industry and never looked back.
3. You used to work in communications for Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa. What’s it like going from working for a larger corporation to owning a small business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. It can be frustrating (but) the sky is the limit when you have your own business. That’s exciting to me.
4. You also own a second business (a Merry Maids franchise) and you commute to American Canyon from your home in Santa Rosa. How do you manage to get it all done?
I have great people working with me. I’m able to sleep at night because they’re just awesome.
5. What is the biggest challenge the senior care industry has faced?
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Our biggest challenges are people’s ability to afford our services and (finding) dedicated, qualified employees. This type of work is not for everyone. It has to come from the heart. And that’s what I look for in our caregivers.
6. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
(Earn) a Ph.D.; probably in education. I have two masters — a masters in government from Harvard University and a masters in marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
7. If you could change one thing about the senior care industry, what would it be?
As we age, everyone should be able to afford a caregiver. Our healthcare system needs a complete overhaul to accommodate the new realities of a rapidly aging population. The need for more caregivers will only continue to grow and become more prevalent as Baby Boomers retire and age.
8. What’s on your to-do list?
Visit more countries. While I have visited close to 50, I have never been to Africa or the Middle East.
9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I play the piano by ear. I am ambidextrous. I was born and raised in Ecuador.
10. Do you still have family in Ecuador?
Yes. Everybody. I’m the only rebel that’s here.