Female Business Leader Excels in Community
Adonica Ellis never realized that she was doing anything special. When she was a child, her grandmother had a massive stroke. Ellis stayed by her side and helped her relearn basic tasks like talking, writing, and driving. She also helped her father when he had severe medical issues.
People kept telling Ellis she should be a nurse. Ellis knew she was queasy around needles and that she did much better with numbers. When her husband’s grandmother needed home care, Ellis’ mother-in-law researched companies that could help her. When she discovered Visiting Angels, she realized that there were no locations nearby. Ellis’ mother-in-law decided to bring Visiting Angels to Florida. Five years later, Ellis and her husband brought the company to Madison County.
Visiting Angels came to Madison County in 2010. Being part of a larger organization, the franchise already had a set of rules and guidelines to help start the new location. As part of the company’s national rules, owners of each franchise must get out of the office and be involved with the business itself. “We’re involved in the daily business; overseeing, managing what is going on, and making sure the care is what we say it is going to be,” said Ellis.
Ellis finds her work to be emotionally demanding yet very rewarding. Often, Ellis sees people at their most vulnerable times. Even if she does not get to interact with clients each day, she feels blessed to be able to help. “I love the fact that I can meet with families. They open up very quickly as to what they are feeling,” said Ellis.
A large part of Madison County are those from the baby boomer generation. The people in this generation are desperately in need of additional care and are going to hospitals and nursing homes for help. Ellis felt this as a push to bring Visiting Angels to the area so that these people did not need to leave their homes for the care that they needed.
A Growing Business
When Visiting Angels began, it only had one client and a caregiver that worked 20 hours a week. Ellis eventually had four employees and was perfectly happy with having just those few. Now her company boasts over 50 employees and more than 100 active clients. “We’re probably reaching close to over 700 people that we have cared for throughout the time,” said Ellis.
Ellis recently moved Visiting Angels from Pendleton to north Anderson. This move has not only brought Ellis closer to her family but also had a positive impact on the business. Visiting Angels is now located directly off of Scatterfield Road where the building and additional signage can easily be seen. Ellis has also seen growth in north Anderson. Many businesses are finding success in the area and she wants to be a part of this growth and help revitalize the area.
Challenges & Opportunity
It is difficult to be a female leader in business. Many similar health and home care companies in the area are run by men. To Ellis, she felt that she had to prove herself to them. She began working with the other owners and she felt like she was not being taken very seriously. As time has passed, Ellis feels like she belongs and that she has their respect.
“It’s very tough being a woman business owner. All too often when people call, they automatically want to talk to the man who handles everything. They’ll talk to me and ask ‘who’s the real boss?’” said Ellis. She knows that what matters is not a person’s gender, but that one’s heart is in the business.
Ellis’ favorite part of running her business is getting to help people in need. She enjoys helping those stay where they are comfortable and get the care they need. Adonica Ellis does something special and continues to do so. She looks forward to being a part of the growth in north Anderson and helping more people live safely and happily in the place where they are the most comfortable: at homes.