Boomerang blessings Featured

11:05am EDT November 20, 2003
When Nancy Diller-Shively decided to leave her career at a large, publicly traded company to start Cambridge Home Health Care, she says she was "pretty overzealous" in thinking she could hit the ground running.

In fact, it took four years of tough financial times before the company started to show a profit.

"I was determined if we got through this, and the company became successful, I was going to make sure we give back to the community. That's what set the precedent for our commitment to community projects," she says.

Diller-Shively remembered that commitment and stuck to it. As president of Cambridge, she encourages her office staff to volunteer with a charity of their choice on company time.

"Other business owners ask, 'Hasn't that impacted your company by allowing your staff to go out and do these things?' It really hasn't because we've done nothing but grow from year to year," she says. "It's helped the cohesiveness of our group. There's such a good attitude, knowing the corporation supports their volunteer work."

In addition to her staff's individual projects, Diller-Shively committed Cambridge staff to working with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter as a group.

"It's very rewarding. We commit four hours as a team every Wednesday and work on the home for about three to four months," she says. "We find real team-building doing Habitat."

Cambridge also contributes to other organizations including the American Heart Association, in part because heart disease has had a personal impact on her staff.

"Most of our management team, office staff and field staff know someone affected with heart disease," Diller-Shively says. "We felt we could become active with the American Heart Association and touch our employees on a personal level."

Diller-Shively says it's important for companies to encourage community service and giving by their staff as well as others in the community.

"It hasn't taken an inordinate amount of time or energy on our part, but I can't express the rewards that have come back to the company and staff from being involved in these projects," she says. "If other business owners hear about our projects and are encouraged to do the same type of thing with their employees, then I think it's wonderful." How to reach: Cambridge Home Health Care, (330) 668-1922, www.cambridgehomehealth.com