It's Okay To Ask For Help

Sometimes you stumble upon an offering that truly makes your life easier. Recently, my sister located a resource that provided us with a means for locating assistance for my mom, who suffers from dementia: http://www.itsallaboutaging.com/blog/?p=230

In an effort to keep my mom’s mind stimulated and her body active, I had been researching services online which provide options for caregiving on a basic level to seniors. My interest was to find a local woman who would understand my mom’s situation and act as a companion to her in my absence. The site through which we found assistance was http://www.Care.com.

The company was started by Sheila Lirio Marcelo, a seasoned entrepreneur whose passion for business and family led to the founding of Care.com in 2006. After enduring frequent struggles to find quality caregivers for her two boys, Sheila recognized a lack in resources available to help families address their care needs. Care.com was created to fill that void. After we were paired with a successful match for my mom, I asked Sheila (SLM) for her perspective on the importance of developing a healthy network of friends and partners…

AM: What kinds of qualities attract you to someone when you meet them for the first time?

SLM: I’m always trying to surround myself with people who are energetic, genuine, great listeners, comfortable in their own skin (self-confident) and, most of all, those who are passionate about what they do. I love the energy level and creativity that happens when I’m chatting with these people. An example of someone I met who then became an inspiration is Susan Lyne, the CEO of Gilt Group (Susan was formerly President of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and, before that, President of ABC Entertainment). She’s now my advisor and mentor. Her personal style, passion, professionalism are traits that are truly admirable. I love meeting with her and brainstorming!

AM: What group has had the greatest impact on shaping your business?

SLM: The Care.com community—the Co-founders for believing in the mission and me from day one; the management team for their drive, leadership, and dedication; the supportive board and advisors; the employees focused on delivering excellence to our customers; and most of all the families and providers we help by providing a service they need—connecting working parents to child care, home care for seniors, special needs caregivers, tutors, and even pet sitters and housekeepers. It’s this entire group that keeps me getting out of bed everyday excited about what I do.

AM. How has a “buddy system” helped you to stay the course?

SLM: As a mom, an entrepreneur, an investor, a board member, and a CEO, it’s easy to feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions. And the pulling isn’t just from others, but it’s my own mind convincing me that I either have to be perfect or that I must do it all. I’ve spoken to many women through the years and those are not uncommon thoughts for anyone. I’ve realized that I don’t have to do this on my own. It’s far easier to feel centered and focused if you surround yourself with a team you can trust and a family who loves you. Thankfully, I have both!

AM: Which communities do you enjoy getting involved with?

SLM: I love being a part of any community that gives back to others and values education and learning: I am part of a great group of executives—the Creative Good Council—who are all eager to help each other, but also believe that there is so much to learn from others. I also enjoy helping out two non-profit boards with my strong belief that investing in youth education will make a difference for future generations: http://www.af-usa.org/, which focuses on building a community of Filipino-Americans to help support and build up the educational infrastructure for children in the Philippines; and http://www.publicschoolperformance.org/, an organization that helps improve education in the US through proven and measurable results.

I really recommend that everyone get involved in organizations and charities outside of your business life. It broadens your scope and connects you to people outside your usual circle, which contributes to a better learning experience for yourself.

AM: What advice would you give to someone who is feeling isolated?

SLM: I read the book and watched the movie, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. It reminds me of the importance of how much we need people in our lives and that it is okay to ask for help. ?

Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the Founder and CEO of http://www.Care.com. In 2007, Care.com won the Stevie Award for “Best New Company of the Year.” Sheila graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Economics. She went on to pursue both an M.B.A. and a J.D. from Harvard University in Business and Law, graduating with honors and receiving two prestigious awards: the Dean’s Award for overall leadership and contributions to Harvard Business School; and the Fitzie Foundation Award, given by the Margaret Fitzgerald Grogan Petersmeyer Foundation, which honors the most outstanding female students. She resides in the Boston, MA area with her husband and two sons.

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