Crummer Grad Olive Gaye Named I-4 Business Leader of the Year
Olive Gaye ’09MBA, founded GenCare Resources and has grown the company to over 80 employees in just 6 years.
Being competitive was instilled in Olive Gaye’s blood from a young age.
One of 11 children growing up on a farm in Westmoreland Jamaica, Olive says everything was a competition.
When she started to see her older brothers leave the island and go to the United States, her competitive drive kicked in and she wanted the same.
“It wasn’t easy to leave the island,” said Gaye.
But as evidenced through her career that has seen her start a business in a new field, with virtually no previous experience, Olive Gaye has never shied away from a challenge.
After attending a vocational boarding school in St. Mary, Jamaica, Olive secured enrollment as an international student in Orlando.
She hasn’t looked back since.
Taking the Leap
In just 6 years since starting GenCare Resources, Olive Gaye is already receiving accolades, being named the Healthcare Business Leader of the Year by i4 Business Magazine.
“It meant so much to win Business Leader of the Year, because it made me feel like I’m doing something OK,” said Gaye.
While the personal success is humbling, GenCare Resources also won the 2017 Business to Watch award presented by GrowFL and the Edwards Lowe Foundation, an honor that validated the culture Gaye has been hoping to bring to the upstart Central Florida healthcare company.
“To get the Business to Watch Award proves that the model and the structure of the business is working. Not just in a financial sense, but in the sense of being involved in the community, providing work for people, and making a difference for people,” said Gaye.
Olive Gaye didn’t start GenCare Resources as a doctor or a nurse who saw an opportunity to advance the industry, like how many new healthcare companies are started. Instead, Olive had been working as an executive in Human Resources at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority for over 13 years.
Before that, she held a number of different human resource-related careers with no entrepreneurship or healthcare endeavors.
However, she did have a friend and penchant for fancy tea in China, and that was all she needed to inspire her to start GenCare Resources.
“I had a great friend, she was an older lady,” said Gaye. “I used to sit down with her many evenings, drink tea and talk about her travels with her husband all over Europe.”
As the years went on and her friend started to become older, she realized this amazing person she knew wasn’t getting the home healthcare she deserved.
“I always thought, what can I do different, or if I had a home care agency, what would I do differently,” said Gaye.
“So, I came to Crummer to do my MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship and international business,” said Gaye.
Getting her masters was a lifetime goal, and she admits it wasn’t easy, balancing a full-time job while completing the MBA program.
“I am so bad at math,” laughed Gaye.
As she went through the MBA program, she started to feel more empowered than ever, and her entrepreneurial spirit started to flourish. She couldn’t stop thinking about her friend and how she could make home healthcare better.
She started by dipping her toe into smaller entrepreneurial endeavors, like catering Caribbean cuisine, but she quickly realized breaking even in food service is incredibly difficult.
It was a good learning experience for her, but she knew deep down she had to follow the one idea she’s had in the back of her mind for over a decade.
Now equipped with her Crummer MBA, she decided it was now or never.
“It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life,” said Gaye.
In 2013 she officially left the airport, investing nearly all her savings into starting GenCare Resources.
“I did all the things a financial advisor tells you not to do,” admits Gaye.
In just six short years, GenCare Resources has grown to 80 employees and multiple divisions, including private duty constant care, the skilled nursing division, Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the recently formed GenCare Staffing Solutions.
The Mission of GenCare Resources & Community Help
The best compliment Olive Gaye has received was from one of her nurses that had been in the home healthcare industry for 35 years who said that this is the first company where she felt like she wasn’t just a paycheck.
“It made me so happy to hear,” said Gaye. “Our core values are treating others with dignity and respect, because one day each of us may need someone looking after us, and we will want to be treated with respect.”
Olive says GenCare Resources strives to be a strong member of the community and wants to differentiate themselves in the healthcare landscape as a company that truly cares about the people they look after.
She attributes much of her success is such a short amount of time to being active in the community personally.
She is a proud graduate of the Athena PowerLink program, which helps empower female entrepreneurs, and Leadership Orlando. She is a Board Member of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Home Care Association of Florida and the Florida Executive Women.
“Wherever I found resources, I used them to navigate this new industry,” said Gaye.
Chief among all her affiliations and resources is Crummer.
“I always come back to Crummer, I always call the Entrepreneurship Center,” said Gaye, who was speaking on campus at the time.
“I felt very empowered after my degree here; I still use the resources and come back here. I remember when I first started, I’d always call up the professors and say, ‘hey, I have this problem,’ and they are always willing to help,” said Gaye.
Despite how frightening it was to leave a good, steady job, Gaye says it was the empowerment of the Crummer MBA that propelled her and gave her peace of mind as she navigated a brand-new field as a first-time CEO.
“I feel like I had all the resources and tools I needed, because that’s what we were trained to do with our Crummer MBA—take what we learned and build on it,” said Gaye.