Belina Calderon-Nernberg is the CEO and founder of a group of successful companies - 1Heart Caregiver Services, LA Jobs Employment Agency Inc. and Summit Medical Billing Solutions, Inc.
As President and CEO of 1Heart Caregiver Services, one of the fastest growing in-home care service companies in California, Belina has been responsible for the company’s increased productivity and consistent profitability for more than 12 years. Belina provided the vision, leadership and direction that the company needed to achieve its short-term and long-term goals. As her greatest accomplishment, the company is now equipped with expertise to expand its business operations to different States in the U.S.
Belina brings with her a corporate experience of 23 years, with 13 solid years of experience as CEO of an employment agency and a senior care service company in Southern California. Belina’s principle-centered leadership and strength in her ability to combine corporate talents pave the way for the company to achieve greater heights.
Belina has a degree in Economics from the University of St. La Salle, Philippines. In 2013, she was honored with the Los Angeles IMAGE AWARDS – an award given to emerging leaders in business, community service, arts and entertainment. In June 2014, she was also awarded the title of Ambassador of Goodwill by the HiFi (Historic Filipinotown) Neighborhood Council. This title is bestowed to carefully selected Filipino-Americans who are persons of integrity who have the ability “to promote, reach out, influence and mobilize public interest and support of the ideals, values, principles and programs of the Historic Filipinotown.” In December 2015, she was also the recipient of the TOPLA (The Outstanding Pilipinos in Los Angeles) Award for Leadership Excellence in Human Resources.
Belina’s company has been a certified member of reputable home care associations and have been featured in Asian newspapers and other media publications all over the United States like Yahoo! News, Google, TV, radio and newspaper online due to its various accomplishments, corporate programs and contribution to the senior care industry. Belina’s vision remains solid and strategic as the company moves forward in its goal of making a positive difference in the home care industry.
FranchiseExpo: How and when did you become involved with 1Heart Caregiver Services?
Belina Calderon-Nernberg: I went into the caregiving business in late 2003, 3 years after I started LA Jobs, an employment agency that provided professional workers at the corporate level. Within the first couple years of operations, LA Jobs gained the trust and confidence of the local business community in Los Angeles, with our expertise in finding the right person for their specific personnel needs. It wasn’t long before our clients started calling me for people who can take care of their family members as well. At first, I would refer them to other domestic or homecare agencies but as the calls became more frequent, I realized that homecare was definitely another great business opportunity that I had to take on. The writing was on the wall, the population in the US was aging, the growing demand was evident… and I was already in the business of matching people, employment-wise.
FE: What are some of the advantages in being a 1Heart franchisee?
Belina C.N: It’s a business that requires a low cost investment. As everyone knows, there is a huge market out there that needs the care we provide and that senior population is growing every single day. We have established strong relationships based on trust and confidence on our services with referral sources locally and national brands. We are also very focused on fully supporting our franchisees as they grow their business.
FE: Who is your ideal franchisee?
Belina C-N: That would be someone who has a good balance of compassion and business sense. Someone who is compassionate and inspired to help seniors and those in need of care. At the same time, he or she has to be motivated enough to push the company forward to actually realize the income potential that the senior care industry is giving us. Our ideal 1Heart owner is one who is professional, reliable and responsible - not afraid of failure and has already decided in his heart and mind that he wants to be his own boss.
FE: Tell us a little about the Senior Care Market?
Belina C-N: Just like the rest of the world, we are an aging nation. Every single day, at least 10,000 people in the US turn 65. This older population - numbered at 44.7 million in 2013, represent 14.1% of the US population. This means, about 1 in every 7 Americans is 65 years or older. As the baby boomers grow older, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million by 2050 --and the surviving baby boomers will be over the age of 85. Life expectancy has also improved in the past decades. In 2010, anyone turning 85 is expected to live another 6.5 years. People are living longer but they are not getting any younger. What does this mean? This means that the ageing population will require focusing on chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's, heart diseases, etc. With chronic illness comes disability. Our seniors will be needing help with their activities of daily living - and long term care services such as those we provide will be very important and inevitable.
FE: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
Belina C-N: Being a business owner is not easy. It takes a lot of dedication, time, energy and sacrifices as well. Financially and emotionally, the rewards are great and it makes all of the hard work worth it. Now that we've offered this business as a franchise, the work has multiplied in a way because now, we are doing everything we can to help each of our franchisees realize the same success that we've had over the years. The rewards of course, are multiplied as well because their success also becomes our success.
FE: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
Belina C-N: When I made that first step to start my own business, my children were my inspiration. I wanted financial freedom for my family.
When I expanded into the senior care business, my mom inspired me -- she was a brave woman who lived for 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. During those 5 years I was more than 7000 miles away from her and never got to take care of her other than yearly short visits and a lot of long distance phone calls. Providing in home care to each and every senior we care for at 1Heart is my way of giving back to her the love and care that I wasn’t able to give her because of the distance that separated us. She continues to inspire me and I see her in every smile that I get from the moms and dads that we take care of.
As my companies grew, so did my team. I saw the hard work, loyalty and "heart" they had for the company we all helped to build and now they inspire me as well to continue doing what's best and what's right to achieve our goal. They are part of my "whys" and when the going gets tough, I get up and move on because I know they're there to back me up.
FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
Belina C-N: First, you have to be sure you're ready to be a business owner. This means, you prepared not only for success but most important, for failures as well. Do not think that just because you own a franchise, you don’t have to work as hard or that the money will just come in. Your success will depend on how well you follow the system that has been established by the franchise.
There are a lot of great franchise businesses out there that one can do. You have to know your capabilities, what you're really good at what industry you're interested in.
FE: In your opinion, why do you think that 1Heart Cares would be a great opportunity for someone?
Belina C-N: Everyone can agree that the senior care market will continue to grow in the next 3 decades. There will be a landslide of income opportunities in this industry and 1Heart offers a proven successful business model for someone who has the right attitude and mindset to grow their business. Start-up cost is low for a business in an industry that offers so much income potential.