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Melissa O’Connor, owner/administrator, Home Again Assisted Living

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Melissa O’Connor, owner/administrator, Home Again Assisted Living.

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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

Working with the aging population presents an amazing opportunity to be involved in all aspects of a person’s life and care. You need to look at the whole person and start there to make sure you are addressing all of their wants and needs. The health aspect in assisted living is mainly what people think of but you have to look at the mental and emotional, as well. That is where Home Again Assisted Living is different — we look at the whole person versus just looking at their diagnosis list.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I really look up to my husband, Martin O’Connor. He has been the driving force behind my own personal successes. He has such a unique approach to business and his development company, Realm Development LLC, has shown success due to Martin’s vision. His years of experience in both the finance and real estate world have allowed him to develop the ability to see and act on trends that have not come into the mainstream view. Because of this he has helped keep Home Again Assisted Living the state-of-the-art care communities that we are today.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

I do not have one specific high point necessarily. It is the accumulation of many experiences related to knowing that the company I helped create has had such a huge impact in the families and residents that trust us to help their loved ones. Knowing that because of us an individual had a more fulfilling life than if they would not have lived with us. It is not always about the quantity but the quality of life that makes the difference. We currently have three communities — two in Columbus and one in Cambridge — and will be opening our newest and largest community in Waunakee in 2017.

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Caring and being invested in others is a strength not a weakness, knowing that what you give of yourself will come back at you tenfold. I tell staff members when we are dealing with a sad or difficult situation at the end of a resident’s time that emotions are not a weakness, they are a sign that your heart is in the right place at the right time.

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