CEO of Home Care & Healthy Agency WAYS, Kedrin Johnson (Photo Courtesy: Brian W. Carter)
CEO Kedrin Johnson is a local “shero” to her community with a successful business, Home Care & Healthy Agency WAYS and multiple career endeavors under her belt.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it should certainly be the exact same to build a community of successful and positive people. CEO Kedrin Johnson of Home Care & Health Agency, WAYS, LLC lives her personal and professional life by this enlightened theory. The inspiring entrepreneur seeks to empower, educate and employ the community at large with her go-getter attitude, while showing women they can succeed at anything they put their mind to.
Being a well-established business owner does not hinder her from climbing the ladder of success, nor does it keep her from encouraging others to do so. Stating that Johnson “stays on her grind” is an understatement; the savvy businesswoman spoke with the Sentinel recently. “We are constantly hiring and my main objective is making sure we keep people employed and empowered,” states the proud owner. “There are a lot of women in the nursing industry, and we are starting to see more males enter into this business. It’s a good industry to be in.”
Many CEO’s, they all have a backstory to their success and Johnson’s journey proves to be no different. “I use to be a probation officer for fifteen years, it was then my mother-in-law had gotten ill and I started providing care for her. Then my family and I started caring for my grandmother who recently passed away. I think it has always been in my spirit to be involved with caregiving, because I started off at the Crenshaw Senior Citizen Center on Santa Rosalia Drive, right in the Crenshaw neighborhood.” It was then at the age of fifteen she recalls having a passion for helping elderly people. “I had no idea that was going to resurface. I actually went into another career becoming a probation officer dealing with juvenile girls.” Her first career aided young women through their hardships, led Johnson to her initial passion and later a mentoring program.
“With this company, I just know that when caring for someone, you don’t want anyone to come into your home. Fortunately for my grandmother and mother-in-law, they had my family and I to take care of them. For some people, they need to have an outsource to come in and help, family members want to be able to trust people with their love ones. Coming to this understanding allowed Johnson to make the connection start her business.
On giving aspiring entrepreneurs advice on starting their own business, “I truly believe entrepreneurship is amazing and there are so many resources out there.” Johnson suggests anyone looking to start their own business should not be afraid to share information. “That is something I saw among my people is that we don’t like to share information. We may feel if I tell another competitor something, they will get ahead of me and that is not good. It is always better to be resourceful and have resources that you can share.”
Further she states that potential business owners should not be scared. “For example, if you have to jump, then go ahead and do so. I do believe that you have to jump, but when you do, be ready to swim, because there is an ocean full sharks out there. You have to be careful and get the information, run with it and put the hours towards it. If you put 8 hours towards a job or business, you’ll be successful. Anything you do consistently regardless of distractions and setbacks cannot prevent you from following out your plan of success.” She admits confidence is key. “With me starting my business, I truly believed in my heart there is no business I cannot do. Once you start focusing yourself, anything can come your way and you can just make it work.”
Johnson is a firm believer in what someone puts out in the universe will happen for them, “I always said I wanted to be a probation officer and I became one. I believe my business is going to be successful. WAYS is going to be a franchise in next the five years. Within the next year, I will have five agencies open, I currently have one and I am going to have one at the end of this year.” In order to succeed in starting a business and consequently be great in one’s personal and professional life, there has to be a sense of resourcefulness, a healthy perspective and relentless attitude.
“Our company promotes empowerment, education and growth,” she adds.
Johnson is not only looking to employ the community but to urge them to educate themselves. “We encourage our employees to continue their education, not to solely become a home caregiver, but go further and get their degree and become Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Once you become a CNA, then you have the ability to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and then a Registered Nurse (RN). We want you to take those tests, because if this is the field you want to be in and you’re taking it serious, we want to help you. I have an “open door policy,” for my caregivers that if any of them need to come into my office to speak with me, I have resources that can help them get the things they need.”
One of Johnson’s mission is to pay it forward, “We’re a tree going straight up, but we have branches and we need our branches to grow straight out and the only way our branches can grow is if the people we hire are growing with us. If I have a CNA and my business is going great, four years from now, she gets her RN degree, WAYS will have a position for her because she grew within our company.”
On her reason why she stands by education, “my grandmother was behind education, because she was uneducated. Her mother had a third-grade reading level. She ended up becoming a very successful woman in the Labor Unions. She was a part of many women who brought Unions into Kaiser Permanente Hospitals, she was trailblazer.”
A former Dorsey High School student, Johnson said she had no plans of going off to college, “I thought I was just going to go to El Camino College, I didn’t know if I wanted to go to college. Her plans of not attending college were short lived as her grandmother had other plans for her.
“I had no idea that she had filled out an application and got me accepted to Clark Atlanta University. She came in my room, woke me up and told me to pack my bags. She took my sister and I to the airport, as I realize where we were going to Atlanta, I still had no complete idea. I had never left California. As we get to Atlanta, she takes my sister and I to Montgomery Ward and buys us a type writer, black and white tv and clothes then dropped us off at Clark and introduced me to my Residential Advisor and say bye.”
“I cried,” she admitted, “I’m a L.A. girl and didn’t want to be in Atlanta. I ended up doing two years at Clark and moved back to Los Angeles, followed through with my initial plans, working and going El Camino College, later graduating from Cal State Long Beach receiving a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and became a probation officer. That is how I found out I was going to college,” she laughs.
Due to her passion for aiding and encouraging others, Johnson has a 501 (c) (3) to start a non-profit for a mentoring program that will help at-risk youth, ages 18 to 24. “I want to mentor girls. I feel that this age group can be troubled, from 18 to 24 decisions are being made, you’re getting out of your mother’s house because you don’t want to follow the rules, hanging out with the wrong people making bad decisions and dating the wrong guy, things are happening within this age group.
“I believe if we take a group of ladies, place them in a six-month residential program and mentor, support and teach them. They graduate with financial literacy, etiquette courses, knowing how to open a bank account and attain a great credit score. The niche about my mentor program is that I want to focus on women mentoring women because we have a lot of male mentoring groups, but [not] enough for women, sisterhood fellowships.”
Ways Home Care is located 1620 Centinela Ave. Ste 308 Inglewood, CA 90302 serves Inglewood and surrounding areas. Their services extend all the way to Lancaster, California. “We would set up a satellite office out there and conduct interviews, orientations and get caregivers out there. Our agency cares that our business is growing and we want to continue to expand but right now we are pleased to be in Inglewood.
“My mother is so instrumental in my life right now and has been my support system as well. She is a strong woman too and followed in my grandmother’s footsteps too. We have long line of powerful women in our family. ”Johnson proudly proclaims that her husband, Paul Johnson is key asset to the company and her success.
“I remember talking to my husband one day, saying to him that we should start on our home care business. We started doing research and here I am. We help each other, this is something we’ve been working on for a long time, and building it from the ground up and it just keeps growing.”
Go to www.wayshomecare.com for information or call 888-271- WAYS (9297) (24HR LINE).