Best of Federal Way 2021 winners/finalists share insights into success

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The Mirror recently announced our Best of Federal Way 2021 winners and finalists. We asked these winners and finalists a few questions about their success. Their answers will appear in the Mirror for the next few weeks.

Comfort Keepers: Winner, Adult In-Home Care

What has running a business over the last year been like?

This past year with the pandemic, our business has been very busy as we provide home health care services in the privacy and comfort of seniors’ own individual homes. With the elderly being a highly vulnerable demographic to this particular virus, it significantly increased our business. It was emotionally challenging having to change and learn a lot of new operational procedures. Zoom and Docusign quickly became new tools to safely operate our business. New training for all of our caregivers also had to be implemented. Operating our business has been both challenging and rewarding on many levels this past year due to numerous big changes in our operations.

What’s the secret to your success, even during difficult times?

I believe our success comes from two things. The first is the fact that our clients/customers want to remain in their own homes and need care. The demand for caregivers far exceeds the supply right now, so our difficulty comes when we have to refer prospects/clients to other agencies because we don’t have enough caregivers. The second key to our success at Comfort Keepers is our high customer service. I truly believe that being proactive and communicating with our clients when there are issues or problems differentiates us from our competitors. No one is perfect, so how we handle any issues with our clients is extremely important to us. Our entire office staff truly cares about our clients’ well-being and our amazing caregivers.

When pandemic restrictions are lifted, what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing?

At Comfort Keepers, we’re looking forward to being able to visit our clients in their homes again. It will be wonderful for our caregivers to be able to hug their clients again without having to be socially distanced. Our office staff all agree the biggest things we all look forward to is not having to wear masks, taking vacations and seeing family/friends again.

— Kim Sanchez, Comfort Keepers

BECU: Winner, Credit Union; Finalist, Mortgage Agent Company

What has running a business over the last year been like?

Running a business, the last year has been challenging, but has come with so many learning opportunities. BECU has done an amazing job setting up our centers with proper PPE to protect our teams and members. I would say my biggest takeaway in 2020 was the ability to stay flexible. Adjusting to the ever-changing state guidelines along with changing regulations. If I could use one word to sum up running a business for the last year, the word would be insightful.

What’s the secret to your success, even during difficult times?

For my team, we prioritized giving an exceptional member experience. We knew with all the changes there would be some challenges, but we knew if we provided each and every member a wonderful experience while in our branch, they could momentarily forget about it all and leave feeling appreciated and valued.

When pandemic restrictions are lifted, what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing?

My family has a trip planned to Chelan, Washington, for 10 days. This will be the first time my son and his cousin will be meeting. They are at the age of two and a half, so the first time interaction should be very fun. Really looking forward to the sun, relaxing and seeing the kids play together.

— Danny Bounds, Federal Way Pavilions NFC Manager

Multi-Service Center: Finalist, Local Charity/Non-Profit

What has running a business over the last year been like?

For MSC, the last year has been amazing and tough, requiring flexibility and innovation to adjust to providing some services remotely to ensure the safety of our customers, volunteers, and employees. Clear communication with all stakeholders has been critical to our success as well as recognizing the stress our employees and volunteers have been under and being proactive in providing resources to encourage self-care. We have had amazing community support and also embraced technology to improve some of our processes, but also have seen an increase in need in our community, that unfortunately, will probably extend past the pandemic. We have learned a great deal about the impacts of long-term stress and different ways of providing services that we might not have previously considered and we hope to carry these lessons with us as we plan for the future.

What’s the secret to your success, even during difficult times?

MSC’s success can be attributed to many things, but two in particular stand out, a generous community and a fabulous staff. Our community has really stepped it up with donations to help us meet the need and also met our call for volunteers when the pandemic first hit and it wasn’t safe for many of our volunteers to continue. Private donations are typically more flexible than government funding requirements and these donations have helped us to be agile in meeting the rapidly changing needs of our community throughout this pandemic. Our staff has been amazing, showing great flexibility in quickly adjusting to make sure that they can still serve our customers in the best way possible while maintaining safety guidelines. Their compassion and commitment to helping people has never been more evident than during this past year.

When pandemic restrictions are lifted, what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing?

The first thing we’re looking forward to is hard to narrow down as there are so many, but I think it would be the ability to start serving our customers face-to-face for our all programs. The technology we have is great, and has definitely gotten us through this difficult time, but it is not quite the same as having that in-person interaction.

— Robin Corak, CEO


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