Ketha Bonadie found herself at a crossroads. After 14 years of working in the finance industry as an IT project manager, her department was getting shut down. “I personally felt ready to move on to something else, but the question of what that would be loomed over me,” said Bonadie.
As a parting gift, Bonadie’s boss gave her a pair of tickets to a conference in San Francisco, and she took her business partner. Several industries were represented at the event—among them, residential assisted living solutions.
“Of everything they showed that weekend, that was the only thing that appealed to me,” said Bonadie, who had always felt connected to the senior population. She had grown up close to her grandmother and also worked with widowed women at her church, so she was accustomed to making personal connections with seniors.
She was ready to open her own facility by the time she got back to Arizona. “Once I started doing research about the issues facing the growing aging population, I was sold,” she said. Unfortunately, the right real estate was difficult to pin down—even when she expanded her search to Texas.
“So, I decided I’d go back to finance,” Bonadie said.
Little did she know the stars would align before she even had a chance to start her job search.
“One day as I was driving home, I saw a sign for the Senior Helpers office in Scottsdale,” said Bonadie. “As I drove by, I wondered about the business, and I guess the thought went to the back of my mind."
When she got home, Bonadie logged into LinkedIn to start her finance job search. She pulled up a former colleague’s profile and couldn’t believe what she found. “Sure enough, she was involved in Senior Helpers!” said Bonadie. “When I reached out, she connected me to the corporate team. And here I am.”
Bonadie signed on as Senior Helpers franchisee in January, opening her business for clients on May 13, 2019.
“I've gone to a few homes and networking events, and have met many volunteers and caregivers—and everyone is extremely nice. Coming from corporate America, it’s a totally different animal,” said Bonadie. “I recently met an 88-year-old lady who has already influenced me. She’s a former social worker and still volunteers with seniors, making sure they have access to all of the necessary information to be cared for safely and not taken advantage of. The industry has a big heart, and you get to see it through the people.”
Bonadie is already making a difference in the lives of others, too. “A lady we just took on as a client has been bedridden for two years. When I went out to meet her, she said she didn't want help,” described Bonadie. “I said, ‘I'm only going to help you as much as you want.’ She looked at me and admitted to being angry; I identified with her and her struggles. We had a conversation, and by the time we left, she was not only laughing, but booked the service for care beginning the next day.”
This dedication to improving clients’ well-being goes hand-in-hand with Bonadie’s generous approach to creating a safe, productive and fulfilling work environment for her staff members.
“When I started working with Senior Helpers corporate, it was about me and what I wanted to do with my career,” she said. “But as I started building the business, that changed; it became about my employees—how am I going to lay this foundation for them to succeed and thrive? Then as I opened our doors, it also became all about making the clients feel secure, comfortable and happy. If we put the people at the forefront, the business will come.”
The initial start-up cost for a single-unit franchise with Senior Helpers ranges between $104,800 and $144,300 and has a franchisee fee of $49,500. Qualified veterans and first responders receive an additional 10% off the franchise fee. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Senior Helpers, visit https://www.seniorhelpersfranchise.com/.