Building a business out of a passion is one thing.
Running that business with compassion is a whole other thing.
Nathalie Thomas, the executive director of The Thomas House, a Tallahassee, Florida-based group home for adults with disabilities, operates her small business with both attributes.
It’s regularly showing her passion for what she does, and always being compassionate to her staff and residents, that has led Thomas to discover the key to success in her business: consistency.
“Being consistent with the staff, with my residents, just across the board. And what that means is just daily treating people with respect, the way I want to be treated,” Thomas explained. “And that’s the foundation of my business, really.”
Thomas says it’s consistency in treatment of others that has led to her business flourishing to two packed groups homes today after starting with one house – and one resident – back in 1997. And she’s shown that consistency from the start.
“One parent needed help for the weekend. My house was pretty big, and I said she could come for the weekend because I was a teacher, and I knew the student,” Thomas said. “And one parent told another parent, and they told another parent, and then I became a full-fledged business.”
Even as The Thomas House expanded, she made sure everyone was still treated consistently well.
“I’m going to get old one day and may need to go into a nursing home. I feel like if I was to have to go into a facility, I’d hope someone would treat me with care, dignity and respect,” Thomas said. “I run my business that way, too. Meaning the way I treat people, I would hope someone would treat me the same way. So, that’s just basically my philosophy.”
Margaret McMahan’s daughter joined Thomas’s home in 2005. She says the consistency in care has remained over the years.
“She cares about her residents and she actually really loves them. It shows in how she takes care of them and puts their need before hers,” McMahan shared. “She’s just so open and honest and you don’t feel like she’s hiding anything from you.”
That consistently good treatment of others doesn’t stop with her residents. Thomas says always treating her staff well has helped lead to where she is today.
“I’m hands-on. If I ask a staff to do something, I’m not asking them to do it because I don’t want to do it,” Thomas said. “I let my staff see that I can do it and I will do it.”
They say consistency is key. To Thomas, it’s the secret to her Good Company.