Fatou Ceesay, Cairasu Home Care

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Fatou Ceesay, owner, Cairasu Home Care.

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

Offering quality personal care services to seniors is a very rewarding career. Being able to come alongside to meet a client’s basic needs has such an immediate impact in their lives. The companionship and friendship we offer is so critical for them to receive at a time when they are living through the most isolated phase of life. The close bond we create with them not only helps the senior client, it also provides peace of mind for their family.

Our biggest challenge is connected to our greatest joy. We are hired to help a senior near the end of their life. We grow to love our clients like parents and grandparents even though we only get to work with them for a few years, and sometimes less. When they get to life’s end, we grieve their loss like they were a part of our own family. So this becomes a double loss for us: the relationship as well as income for our business. While our primary concern is the difference we make in client’s lives, the instant loss of revenue that needs to be immediately renewed is a planning challenge.

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

When it comes to business, I most admire my dad. He always said, “Be patient. Growing a business takes time and patience is needed to be successful.” He was an ethical, successful, hard-working entrepreneur and I always have looked up to him for how he handled his business. He didn’t think about how much he was going to make, it was about how much of a difference he would make.

Therefore, when dad spoke about how to be successful in business, I listened. He taught me the key was to be genuine, polite, and nice, and to always remember to speak up when needed. He also instilled in me to provide quality to the best of my ability. Clients deserve good quality service and compromising quality would not only affect my business, but it would diminish the meaning of why I started the business. He shared so many valuable nuggets, but the ones I live by are: admit when you are wrong; give back as much as you can; it’s all about making the needed difference; be content; don’t push too hard; and those who are meant to work with you will seek and find you. Dad’s wisdom has been my business foundation.

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

For me, I’m privileged to be able to do what I love the most. I love being an independent female entrepreneur and enjoy the incredible business relationships that have grown into friendships. However, I don’t think I’ve arrived at my high point yet; I’m still on my way up. I love every moment of what I do, but also know that as I grow and change the opportunities will continue to get better and better.



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

I’d be relentless about stressing the importance of focusing on continuing education. I didn’t pursue my college education until I was divorced and needed to support my family and myself. My younger self didn’t see how crucial it was to receive an education and I dabbled with taking classes. Education is crucial for your overall development. I now realize that education provided what was necessary for me to be a success in owning such a complex business.

5. What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

The friendly people and collaborative business spirit that thrive here impress me the most. Moving from The Gambia to living and working in the culturally diverse city of Madison provides richness to the fabric of my life here in the U.S. The amazing people I’ve met who are open to helping and working with me has made me feel like I’m not alone on my business journey. These professional connections have helped me form collaborative relationships to help me in my business growth. Dane County is a great place to raise a family and operate a business.

6. Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

Since I’m not as athletic as I used to be, it may surprise people that in my youth I was a really fast runner. I actually won medals in high school for running 100- and 200-meter races. Rounders, a bat-and-ball game played between two teams, was another sport that I excelled in. While living in The Gambia I won medals when competing at the regional level in rounders.

7. What are your guilty pleasures?

I actually love to eat breakfast before I go to bed. My favorites are a bowl of porridge and cup of chai tea. As a child, the porridge my mother made for the family wasn’t ready before I left for school, as I had to leave so early. Because I loved porridge, she always put it aside for me and I would eat it before I went to bed. Now it’s a comforting tradition to end my day.

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