Meet Adie Walls, 50% of the powerhouse “Team Walls,” Caring franchisees with locations in Brazoria County and Wharton, TX. Adie is the 2018 winner of the coveted Hedgehog Award, a yearly tribute voted on by Caring’s National HQ Staff and present by Caring’s CEO and Founder, Jeff Salter (both pictured above).
The Hedgehog Award it reserved for a Caring franchisee that exemplifies the best attributes of the hedgehog; the ability to “hunker down” avoid distraction and stay focused on doing the work in front of her.
Anyone spending more than a few minutes with Adie quickly recognizes why she is such a perfect fit for this award. The word driven feels like an understatement when applied to Adie. She is highly focused on the work she does providing high quality care to help seniors remain in their own homes while maintaining their safety, independence and quality of life. Adie truly has a passion for seniors and assumes the role of advocate for any senior in her care. Adie will be the first to tell you that she does not worry about money or numbers, but leaves those details to her husband and partner, Mike. She is only concerned about “how we can go help more people.” Despite - or more accurately, because - she is not solely focused on dollar signs, Caring Senior Service of Brazoria County was honored in April at the Caring Owner’s conference for surpassing the $1.5 million mark for revenue in 2017, after less than 4 years in business.
Adie Walls, 2018 Hedgehog Award Winner & Caring Franchisee
Adie's Motto: Find a Way. Make a Way
When your motto for life is “Find a way. Make a way,” which is the case for Adie, the “way” can lead you to many destinations off the beaten path. Making a way for Adie means working the night shift alongside her caregivers if needed, making sure her clients have groceries, and any additional services they might require. Sometimes “making a way” means maneuvering around a cow in the middle of a dirt road to get to a new client’s home, or making sure your caregivers and clients weather a catastrophe like Hurricane Harvey. Adie’s staff knows there are two words that will never be tolerated when it comes to finding and making a way: “Can’t” and “Won’t.” Her staff also know that this is not just a rule for them, but there is nothing she asks of her team that she is not willing to do herself.
Adie and her Grandpa, Cooper Ancona
Caring Lessons Learned at Home
Growing up in Lake Jackson, Texas, South of Houston, Adie always felt that care-giving came naturally to her. She decided in third grade that she wanted to be a teacher and spent her teen years babysitting and was a pre-school teacher prior to becoming a full-time mom to her three children Connor 17, Natalie 14, and Mason 10.
Adie also fondly recalls feeling more like a fourth kid than a first grandchild to her grandparents, Cooper and Harriet Ancona when she was young. Adie describes her grandpa, a retired chemist and patent agent at Dow Chemical “as adorable, sweet and kind as when I was a kid, just with less hair and more wrinkles now.” Adie’s grandma was a dedicated school librarian who inspired Adie’s dream to become a teacher. Both of her grandparents have always been splendid examples to Adie, as well as big supporters of local theatre and active in their church, especially the choir. The unconditional love and support she received from her grandparents was a constant in Adie’s life that contributed to her caring nature and tremendous work ethic. This bond with her grandparents would prove to be a catalyst for her in later years.
A Longtime Member of the Caring Family
Adie came to learn about senior care because her husband Mike Walls was the Franchise Sales Director for Caring Senior Service for 8 years. Mike not only introduced Adie to the Caring family, but also to the concept of franchising and the senior care industry. They both watched the franchisees Mike brought into Caring’s system seeing the arduous work they put in, but also the rewards. He was providing individuals the ability to change their lifestyle and create opportunities for their families that never existed before, and it became very hard not to want the same for themselves. Mike and Adie also realized that it was essential to have a desire and passion to help other to succeed, and Mike certainly recognized those qualities in his wife, Adie.
Deciding to Make the Leap
In 2013, after Mike and Adie returned from a Caring Senior Service’s annual Owner’s Conference at a game ranch in Bandera, Texas they both decided it was time to take the leap and become Franchisees with Caring. Their plan was to open a location close to the San Antonio area, where Mike would continue to work at Caring’s National Headquarters and for Adie to be the full time Agency Director –running all aspects of their franchise business. Mike and Adie recognized the work load would be high because of Mike’s intimate knowledge of Caring, senior care and franchising, but they both felt well supported by Caring’s over 20 years of knowledge, experience, and information Adie still feels that "I can't imagine doing this on my own and not having the support from the franchise."
The exciting part of becoming a franchisee soon started – the scouting for office locations, preparing for training, researching licensing requirements, and best of all sharing the good news with family and friends. Mike, Adie and the kids made a trip back to their hometown of Lake Jackson to visit friends and family and let them know about the new phase they were embarking on. While Adie was elated, her celebration could not help but have a bittersweet edge. Three years earlier, Adie’s grandpa, Cooper had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the more she learned about senior care, the more aware she became about what his future would look like. She also knew that once she started her Caring franchise she would have less and less time to make the 4-hour drive to visit with her grandparents, check-in on them, cook for them and make sure they made it to all their appointments. While Adie felt conflicted, she also knew that she had to take advantage of the opportunity she had in front of her.
Adie and Mike Walls
Since Adie tried to keep most of these concerns to herself, she was shocked when on the ride home from their visit to Lake Jackson, Mike turned to her and asked, “Would you ever consider moving back to Lake Jackson?” Apparently, the appeal of coming home was not felt by Adie, alone! Just like that, the course of their plans changed and they never looked back on a decision that would give Adie the best of both worlds: The chance to grow and build a Caring franchise location, and the opportunity to take care of the two people who meant so much to her for all her life, her grandparents.
Many Reasons to Celebrate
When Caring Senior Service of Brazoria County opened they immediately had their first two clients – Cooper and Harriet Ancona. Recently Cooper turned 95, at home, where he still lives with his wife Harriet, thanks to the full-time care provided by their granddaughter and Caring franchisee, and 2018 Hedgehog Award Winner, Adie Walls.