Home health care business owner: ‘Investing in our youth will set us up for greatness’

Sue Cook, president of Homewatch CareGivers, poses in the company offices Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Sue Cook owns a Homewatch CareGivers franchise in Las Vegas and is president of the Personal Care Agencies of Nevada, which ensures home care providers are licensed and offer proper services. She opened her business in 2009 and last year was recognized by the international brand at Homewatch CareGivers’ annual conference. Cook was singled out to receive the Paul Sauer Visionary Award for best exemplifying the founder’s mission of compassion and care for all people who need home health care services.

Do you have any recent news you’d like to share?

Outside of my day-to-day work, I regularly present to local organizations such as assisted-living, skilled facilities and caregiver groups. Some presentations are broader, but many are used to educate on specific topics like dementia or living with chronic illnesses. It’s important that the community is well informed on these types of topics as they become more prevalent in the community.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

When I launched my franchise, I was talking to Bob Sternberg, vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Homewatch CareGivers, and he said, “Just remember, you’re starting out, so watch your cost. That will hurt you more than anything else if it gets out of control.” I’m a firm believer that no matter how long you’ve been in business, you should run your company with the amount of mindfulness and awareness that you had on your first day.

If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?

I really love living here. I’m not from the Las Vegas area originally, but when I moved here I instantly fell in love with its openness and friendly atmosphere, so there isn’t much I would change. If I had to change one thing, it would probably be shifting construction on roads to updating our schools. Though I know repairing infrastructure is important, we need to develop schools so that our children can have the best environments to learn. Schools are meant to inspire and educate, so keeping them fresh is super important.

What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?

I think the quality of jobs available could improve, and that’s a change that will take some time, starting with improving education. I’m a firm believer that investing in our youth will set us up for greatness in the future.

What’s your favorite place to have fun in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is a blast, but my favorite place has to be outside — anywhere. The area’s weather is beautiful and I love to just be outside in the sun as much as possible.

Describe your management style.

I like to think I challenge my employees to be creative and organized. I love when my team members come to me with ideas and suggestions to improve systems that are already in place. Innovation is such an important part of running a home care business. However, I am a stickler when it comes to documentation; keeping our paperwork is extremely important for our team and for our patients’ safety.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see Homewatch CareGivers of Las Vegas tripling in size because of the growing need for nonmedical home care. People are living longer and our community will need more home care services if that continues.

What is your dream job outside of your current field?

I would want to be a pilot. I love to travel and learn about different cultures, and if I could fly my own plane, I would be able to do that more often.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would live in the Caribbean, probably Aruba. I absolutely love the beach, and Aruba is gorgeous.

Whom do you admire?

There are so many people, who can pick just one? I admire Paul Sauer, the founder of Homewatch CareGivers, because he started this international business from scratch. I admire Paul because he saw a need for quality home care while he was pet sitting for neighbors and provided a solution. It is an honor to work with him. I also admire former first lady Michelle Obama because she saw the need to help kids to improve their diets and overall health. To improve life, we have to start educating children about their health early, and Michelle did an incredible job making this a priority for the nation. Finally, I admire female leaders who have worked through their hardships, made something of themselves, and continue to give back to others, like Barbara Corcoran from “Shark Tank.” She has money, but uses her money to help others.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Misspelled words. I can pick them out right away — it’s a gift and a curse.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I was raised on a farm in Indiana. We raised animals, including cows, while growing up. Growing up in rural Indiana was nice, but being closer to the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas is more enjoyable for me.