Fearless Female Founders Making a Difference
Esha Oberoi is the founder and CEO of Afea Care Services, an in-home aged and disability care service. Her mission is to empower our most vulnerable members of society, through the provision of loving and compassionate care. Launching her business at just 24 years old with a passion for social change, Afea Care Services have experienced a compounding growth rate of over 100% year on year.
Suffering from depression in her early twenties, it was when she landed a job in a local nursing home that her life began to take on some direction. Recognising that many clients were in full-time care who needn't be, she set out to redefine the experiences of ageing community and launch an in-home service. Through caring for others, Esha began to learn to care for herself. By adopting mindfulness, meditation, yoga and journalling, and spending her time making a real difference in other people's lives, she healed past wounds and overcame a dark period in her life. She is now a passionate advocate for mental health, believing as a society we need to be having more conversations about emotional energy and managing mental wellbeing. Esha wholeheartedly believes that 'with compassion and care we can change the world.'
Interview with Esha Oberoi
Question: What is Afea Care Services?
Esha Oberoi: Afea Care Services is an in-home aged and disability care provider, empowering people to live their best life and continue living in the comfort of their own homes. We provide services in the form of personal care, meal preparation support, transport assistance and respite to family carers.
Esha Oberoi: Question: What inspired the creation of Afea Care Services? In my early twenties I was working as a carer in a nursing home and realised how many people I was caring for in the nursing home actually could have continued living in the comfort of their own homes with a little support. They weren't in the need of full-time care and they could have managed with a couple of in-home care visits a few times a week. This is an option a lot of people aren't aware that they have through services like Afea. This for me sparked the idea of a loving, compassionate care service that would redefine the experiences of the most vulnerable communities.
Caring for others helped me understand the significance of self-care and hence I continue to build this business around the principals of nurturing love and compassion. It is now our purpose through our work that we empower people to continue living at home for longer, with the support they need when its required.
Question: How have you overcome personal challenges to create a brighter future for yourself and the next generation of women in business?
Esha Oberoi: Before starting out in business, I really struggled with my mental health and feelings of self-worth. I struggled to keep a job and lacked stability in my professional and personal life. As I was introduced to the concept of care of others through one of my jobs as a carer, it become very clear to me that I also had to look after my wellbeing. Over time I discovered the benefits of meditation and mindfulness which helped me to restore the most important relationship I have, the one I have with myself.
I overcame many challenges in the business to grow to the size where we now help more than 500 families a week! We have more than 40 full time staff in our head office and 300 carers. One of the things that is really close to my heart is supporting young women in believing in themselves and overcoming any self-doubt. We are the only thing that stands in our way and I love mentoring young women leaders in the business to help them realise their potential.
Question: What does International Women's Day mean to you?
Esha Oberoi: International Women's Day for me is about women supporting women as much as the rest of the community supporting us. We need to appreciate each other in the boardroom and support each other's success, not be threatened by it. I would also love to see more softness and femininity being valued in the workplace and business. International Women's Day for me is about the celebration of the feminine in our personal and professional spaces and the recognition of the women that are using their influence and power to create positive change in the world.
Question: How do you celebrate International Women's Day?
Esha Oberoi: We plan on celebrating the day with our carers, recognising them for the work they do in the community and their service. This year we are planning on hosting a number of high teas in cafes around Sydney to bring our female clients, carers and support staff together to share stories of inspiration and resilience. We will also be organising pamper packs as a gesture of gratitude for our carers.
Question: How do you hope to use your successful business to create a positive change in the world?
Esha Oberoi: I would like to spread more compassion and joy through our work. We have an opportunity to increase connection and engagement in vulnerable communities. We want to continue making an impact in the lives of people that need our care and consideration and to do this with heart not just transact, which is what can often happen as a business expands.
Question: Can you talk through your business goals for 2019?
Esha Oberoi: We currently help more than 500 families a week and by the end of the year, we want to make that in excess of 1000 families in NSW on a weekly basis.
Meditation and mindfulness have had a huge impact on my mental wellbeing and I've now built these into our business operations. Before staff meetings we have a 5-10-minute guided meditation, which helps people come to each meeting with calmness, clarity and compassion. In 2019 we want to extend this practice to our carers and clients, successfully rolling out guided meditations before each service is delivered by a carer.
Question: How did meditation help you overcome depression?
Esha Oberoi: Meditation allowed me to restore the relationship I have with myself. It was difficult at first because it was so confronting sitting in silence and observing my thoughts! It was scary to feel the truth of my emotions but over time the interesting thing was that I felt the emotions and embraced them, whether they were sadness or loneliness. And over time as I started to confront them, I learnt to manage them or dismiss them because they were either not serving me or they were not relevant anymore. I love meditation for what it has done in my life, it has transformed my relationship with myself.
Question: What's next for you and Afea Care Services?
Esha Oberoi: Afea Care Services can make a larger impact in our community and our intent is to remain really focused on delivering the best outcomes for people that are aging at home or living with a disability. We are continuously investing in technology to better serve our clients and have a few new things to introduce this year to empower our clients in managing their care with more choice and control.
I'd like to continue evolving myself personally so I can be a better leader for the employees around me. This means continuing to be reflective, sharpening the saw, being aware of the leadership behaviours that serve people and which ones don't. I would like to explore my creativity in a purposeful way with an intent to improve on the employee and client experience at Afea.
Interview by Brooke Hunter