Traci Beagley, Founder and CEO, Sunland Home Care
Today, most entrepreneurs sail ahead only with the primal goal of generating revenue from their business. However, standing as a stark contrary to such entities, some business leaders believe in doing more than just making a profit with the fruits of their labour. True business leaders not only focus on bringing change through their business but strive to lead others on the path of success while working towards the overall growth of society. One such avid entrepreneur who firmly believes in giving back to the community and making it better through her dedicated endeavors is Traci Beagley.
Raised in a family where serving the seniors was a part of the fabric, Traci had a spirit of giving back to others since childhood. Her great-grandpa, Joe Farnsworth, grandpa, Ross Farnsworth, and her father Craig Ahlstrom began building 55+ active adult communities in 1958. Traci was brought up serving the seniors in the community while being involved in several activities starting from making thank you baskets when customers bought a new home to singing in a Christmas program each year with her extended family. Following this family legacy, Traci has been serving seniors her entire life.
The Beginning of Sunland Home Care
In January 2013, Traci’s family opened the doors to The Summit at Sunland Springs for offering memory care services. A few years later, the second phase of the assisted living was also completed and launched. Initially, Traci didn’t have the intention to get into the business. However, after few months of setting up Sunland Home Care, the satisfying experience of seeing the difference it could make in the lives of each individual and family persuaded her to continue working towards this goal.
“It’s been an incredible experience to help people that have been living in the active adult communities that my family has built. The studies show that people want to age in the comfort of their homes. And we get to provide that service for them,” asserts Traci.
Fostering a People-Centric Work Culture
When asked about the differentiating strengths of Sunland Home Care, Traci states, “We are in the business of people. We don’t sell an expensive computer or phone. We work with people. It’s about a service you can provide when people are feeling vulnerable and are not as independent as they used to be.” The ardent business leader firmly believes that when you treat your employees well, they will treat your customers better. Keeping this belief at the core, Traci has cultivated a value-centric and employ-first culture at Sunland Home Care. As a leader, she always encourages her team to work hard and maximize their potential while making their family a priority.
“We believe in treating staff and clients the way you would want to be treated. We have helped staff fix their cars, pay rent, put food on the table, get free certifications so they can continue working. Many of our employees are women. I know what it feels like to be a working mom and so I have an understanding and empathy for what we all go through,” affirms Traci.
Having such empowering culture, the company has been certified by its employees as a Great Place to Work in 2019 and 2020. Also in 2020, it was accredited as one of the top 5 Fortune Best Workplaces for Aging Services. Being a non-medical home care company, initially, it was difficult for Sunland Home Care to help people with a medical need, such as medication management or wound care. This always frustrated Traci and hence as a solution, she along with her team pivoted and added private duty nursing services to their portfolio in 2020. Today, it has a medical director and a Registered Nurse who can provide a plethora of medical services in the home. Currently, the company is also working towards its goal of reducing hospital readmissions by helping in managing medication.
Sailing against the Tides
Every entrepreneurial journey comes with some sort of challenges and setbacks. For Traci, the toughest challenge was to deal with the life-threatening illness while keeping the company running. In 2018, when Tracy was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, she was devastated. With so many employees dependent on her for a paycheck, she was worried
“It was really hard. I now know that many of the seniors we care for experience the same feelings. I can relate to them. I have so much empathy for people who have health issues and complications. Having good health is priceless. Although I would never wish this for anyone, this experience has had a profound effect on everything I do and value,” says Traci.
This challenging experience solidified her belief in hard work, perseverance, trust, teamwork, and above all her fervor to giving back to society.
Bequeathing Values of Excellence
According to Traci, the entrepreneurial journey is not a linear path. Instead, it’s a messy route with 3 steps forward and 2 steps backward. Drawing the valuable life lessons from her cancer journey, Traci advises the budding entrepreneurs to find out what their strengths are and build upon them. She adds, “Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. Trust people to do their jobs. Make sure what you are doing every day is meaningful to you. Life is too short for not to be engaged in something you don’t enjoy.”
Keeping these key lessons at the cornerstone, Traci along with her team is focusing on expanding the presence of Sunland in Arizona to serve more people in the community. Moving into the future, the true business leader continues to create a benchmark in the industry while building a legacy for the next generation to look up to.