Thank you to Mark Gordon of the Business Observer for allowing Take Care’s CEO and owner the opportunity to take a moment to reflect and write a letter to her 25-year-old self. Below is one excerpt from the “If I Knew Then” article. To read four other letters from local, successful entrepreneurs, read more here.
Entrepreneurs, for the most part, move and think forward. These five took a reflective look at the past to shape their future.
With a lifetime of experience, five successful entrepreneurs look back at their lives, careers and decisions in a letter to their 25-year-old self. There are few regrets, but many reminders — to always have and maintain integrity, emphasize trust in relationships and focus on long-term sustainable success, not only short-term wins.
Sue Wise, owner and CEO of Take Care Home Health & Take Care Advisor
Company: More than 550 employees spread through Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Year founded: 1995
Dear 25-year-old Sue:
You were raised on a cattle farm in a small town in Michigan by two loving, hardworking parents. Two rambunctious, energetic brothers were always at your feet, but a big sister with a big heart surrounded you.
At 23, you finished nursing school and left Kalamazoo and your family to venture to Atlanta to teach at Emory University. Barely six weeks into the new life, the phone rang. Tragically, life at that moment forever changed: Your father and brothers had perished in a plane crash, flying over the family farm. The only light was that you witnessed a small community of farmers pull together to help harvest the fields — your family’s remaining livelihood. You moved back to Michigan to cope.
You won’t yet begin to understand the underpinnings of the relationships formed in that tragic time. But I want you to realize the key was in the community and family. As you begin your lifetime relationship with your husband and consider having a family of your own (which eventually you will raise three strong, smart, beautiful daughters whom you raised to value the family bond), think about how that crosses over into your passion in life.
You will find in your heart that desire to marry the two ideals you witnessed from your mother and father: the love, labor, and dedication Bob gave to his farm (the reason why working seven days a week seems so natural) and Ruth’s sincere empathy and commitment to patients — a registered nurse working with severely challenged children, which proved ever more her patience for the change that life set for her.
Remember when obtaining your registered nurse degree didn’t feel like enough? Use your non-stop energy and intuition to pursue those passions of business and helping those in need. Is it the inability to watch your own father age and grow old that connects your deep desire to help those who are at a crisis point — to guide them and help shape their last time on this earth?
You will lean on relationships, especially when the male-dominated banking lenders have a revolving door with answers of “no.” Your father’s dedication, outside of the farm, to the community bank will connect you back home. A loan from that bank in Michigan will provide the fiscal edge to launch your dream business: private duty home health care.
Surround yourself with people whom you trust, who can be honest with you, and you can be honest with them. Just as you saw the love your father and brothers had for the land they sowed, use that same emotion, enthusiasm, and trust to build the business of your dreams.