Valerie Aiken, CEO
I chose this career path because
My mother worked as a day worker and caregiver for 30 years, cleaning and caring for the sick. I saw what a difference she made in lives of the people she cared for and their families and that never left me. My mother was a huge influence in my decision to get into healthcare.
I started at the Veterans Hospital in research and then moved to home-care. I owned a home-care company for while, but eventually sold it. I now own Health Force, LLC which is a company that provides case managers all over the country who co-ordinate care with medical specialists.
I prepared for this career by
As far as formal education, I received my Associate's degree in Retail Management from the University of South Carolina. As for my career in healthcare, much of my knowledge and expertise has been learned through experience, on-the-job training, and educational courses. I am committed to continuing my education and I seek opportunities to learn more and enhance my business.
The biggest challenge I've overcome
At first, the biggest challenge I had was balancing my family and work life. Now my challenge is balancing my free time with my work in several non-profits.
My greatest strength(s)
My greatest strengths are my abilities to pull people together and to help others. I can pull my team together, as well, which enables them to work better as a group for a common goal.
My greatest accomplishment to date
I have two accomplishments I am very proud of. The first being that my daughter was Miss America 20 years ago! The second being that I donated my bone marrow to someone who was waiting one and a half years for a match. I actually had the opportunity to meet her a year and a half ago and it was amazing.
My personal/professional goals
My goal is to have more time to travel and continue to work with others doing volunteer work so I can give back. I want to work with organizations stressing healthcare for children.
Toward that end, I am focusing on aligning myself with organizations involved with children's healthcare and I am also starting to travel more. Next stop, a family trip to Martha's Vineyard!
What/Who has inspired me the most
What inspires me is thinking about the poor environment I came from. My Mom was an amazing, caring, and hard working woman and she inspired me to go into healthcare and she still inspires me as an established professional. When I am faced with a decision at work, I always think, "What would Mom do?".
I most want to be known/remembered for
I want to be known as someone who worked hard, who cared about others, and who gave back.
I participate in the following organizations/memberships
- Ridgewood Ladies Golf Club
I support the missions of these charities/volunteer my time
- United Way of South Carolina
- Women of Philanthropy
- Children's Trust
- Links, Inc.
I enjoy the following hobbies/interests
I love to travel and play golf.