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sHeroes: “We would all benefit from practicing kindness”, With Becky Torrez of BrightStar Care

We would all benefit from practicing kindness. It sounds like such a simple request but is something of a lost art. Instead of kind gestures, we often hear about the extreme opposites — people who are driven to violence, people whose mental health impairs their understanding of the world, people who refuse to listen to […]

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We would all benefit from practicing kindness. It sounds like such a simple request but is something of a lost art. Instead of kind gestures, we often hear about the extreme opposites — people who are driven to violence, people whose mental health impairs their understanding of the world, people who refuse to listen to those who look, sound or feel differently than themselves — but, in reality, we all react with those emotions, just on a smaller scale. We get mad, lonely, confused and even egotistic. As a society we need to start applying more sympathy, understanding and kindness to others who may be struggling when we are not. Kind gestures don’t need to be grandiose. Take a small project off a stressed co-worker’s plate, pay for a friend’s coffee, say ‘I’m sorry’ more often, invite a quiet student to eat at your lunch table. Kindness is all about extending your hand to someone.


For my series on strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Becky Torrez. Becky Sennes Torrez is a former teacher and stay-at-home mom who opened a BrightStar Care, home health care agency, close to seven years ago in Las Vegas. She grew the business from two people to over 180 employees. Work aside, Becky has been married to her husband Marc for 21 years and has two children. Her son Connor is a sophomore at Arizona State University and her daughter Sophie is a senior in high school.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My husband was a Regional Vice President for Trader Joe’s. The position required a lot of travel, so he made the decision step back into a store manager role giving him more time to spend with our young kids. Soon after he said, “We should really look into starting a business.” I started the search process and Googled my way into owning a healthcare franchise. I chose BrightStar Care specifically because of its positive leadership and strong business model that values a “Higher Standard of Care” by providing a personalized care routine for each patient that adapts and caters to their lifestyle.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading BrightStar Care of Las Vegas?

BrightStar Care doesn’t require previous healthcare experience, so I was very much under the tutelage of the experts when starting out. It didn’t take long until we were taking care of well-known celebrities, all the way to people who were penniless or have little to no family left to care for them. I’m very mindful of what a privilege and responsibility it is to care for people in their darkest hour. It has been very eye-opening to realize that no matter who you are, rich or poor, famous or not, death does not discriminate.

What do you think makes the BrightStar Care franchise stand out? Can you share a story?

BrightStar Care is a superior brand that offers medical and non-medical services, all overseen by a Director of Nursing who provides extensive training and mentorship for our staff. I know this sounds so basic, but we answer the phone 24/7. You are connected directly to a member of our staff — it’s not an answering service. I recently had to find care for my mother-in-law in New Mexico and I was horrified at the number of companies who did not answer their phone or neglected to return a call. When you are in a crisis, you can’t wait until Monday at 9:00 AM for someone to help you, and with BrightStar Care, you don’t have to.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m looking for ways to share the many resources that are available to patients once they leave the hospital, which aren’t yet being serviced. This idea was sparked last summer after my 19-year-old broke his leg, which required surgery and a hospital stay. The trend in medicine right now is to discharge patients from the hospital as quickly as possible, which makes sense in theory, but can leave many people floundering as they are suddenly without care and advice. Sometimes simply providing medicine isn’t enough. The “concierge medicine” trend boils down to providing service to the patient until fully healthy. I’m trying to widen the breadth of available services to doctors so they can better meet the needs of patients outside of their hospital stay.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their teams to thrive?

Flexibility is a skill in high demand. Leaders need to meet their team members in the middle. I had to stop teaching when I had my son because it was all or nothing. Companies that don’t adapt a more flexible schedule or are averse to having a constructive conversation about it will start to suffer the consequences as more and more people leave for workplaces that will. I never want a member of my team to choose between seeing their kid’s school play and going to work. As long as people are pulling their weight and not taking advantage of a situation, allow them the flexibility to have a work/life balance.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Don’t tolerate gossip. Our office defines gossip as complaining about an issue or a person to someone who does not have the ability to help you fix it. There is a fine line between looking for advice and looking for an outlet to complain.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband Marc has been my biggest supporter. Before I started BrightStar Care, I was a stay-at-home mom. We had a very “1950s” type marriage — he was the bread-winner and I did everything else from managing our kids, to volunteering, to running our household. When our lifestyles changed and I could no longer care for the kids with the same intensity, he stepped in flawlessly. Above all else, he is an undying support system for us. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that he was supportive–and encouraging–of my choice to be a stay-at-home mom, and then of my choice to transition to a career woman.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m in a position to help people, whether it is a client or an employee. One of BrightStar Care’s core values tells us to “Follow the Golden Rule,” which teaches us to treat others how we want to be treated. It is our guide in all we do. When we receive calls from people who have been abandoned and are alone, we step in, no question. If we can’t help someone, we find someone who can. For our employees, we are always trying to reward the hard work we see day after day, whether it is offering better benefits and bonuses or training and events. We firmly believe that if we take care of our employees and they are happy, they will take care of our clients and make them happy.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Find people who excel where you may be lacking and give them the opportunity to shine. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who want to be better at the expense of someone else. I’m super competitive, but I operate with the philosophy that we can all be great. Someone else succeeding does not equate to me failing. Recently, I was calling someone who I used to mentor and asking for advice. He’s kicking butt and growing his business at a break-neck speed. I wanted to learn from him.

Don’t wait for people to fail, encourage them to succeed. Recently, I witnessed a team member see someone fail and come to me and say, “Aha! See, she screwed up. I was right about her.” I told her what I saw — someone with the opportunity to prevent the screw up from occurring in the first place, but who chose to prove herself right. It is all about perspective and how you choose to interact with people. Always choose to extend a helping hand.

Embrace change. Change is inevitable, and while hard to deal with as it’s happening, you always come out better on the other side. Look for new and better processes, technology, ideas and people. You’re hindering your ability to grow if you are unable to see change as a positive.

It’s about the team, not the leader. If your team will fall apart if one person leaves, it’s imperative to do a better job of cross-training, diversifying and strength-building. Even when BrightStar Care had key people leave, our team survived and thrived in spite of it. Set your team and yourself up to be able to weather storms.

Place emphasis on what really matters. Your value in life should never be determined by your career, a business or a possession. I am able to enjoy more material items and nicer things because of my success, but I will never let it define me. If it all went away tomorrow, I still have my family and friends which will always mean more to me than a material item.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We would all benefit from practicing kindness. It sounds like such a simple request but is something of a lost art. Instead of kind gestures, we often hear about the extreme opposites — people who are driven to violence, people whose mental health impairs their understanding of the world, people who refuse to listen to those who look, sound or feel differently than themselves — but, in reality, we all react with those emotions, just on a smaller scale. We get mad, lonely, confused and even egotistic. As a society we need to start applying more sympathy, understanding and kindness to others who may be struggling when we are not. Kind gestures don’t need to be grandiose. Take a small project off a stressed co-worker’s plate, pay for a friend’s coffee, say ‘I’m sorry’ more often, invite a quiet student to eat at your lunch table. Kindness is all about extending your hand to someone.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life/work?

Each January, I make a vision board for the year ahead that I fill with quotes. The one quote that has had the most relevance for me this year is, “There isn’t enough room in your mind for both worry and faith. You must decide which one will live there.”

This year, I have tried to spend less time worrying about situations I can’t control. I have a box next to my bed and it says, “Pray more, worry less.” It has little pieces of paper in it, and when I am really worried about something, I write it on that paper, pray on it and try to move on. I guarantee when I open the box at the end of the year, many of the things I worried about never came to be or we handled it when it did. Life is a series of ups and downs. Enjoy the highs and realize that the lows will eventually pass.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Reese Witherspoon is someone I feel is truly making a positive impact. I can glean that she’s infectious, confident, smart and philanthropic — she spearheads projects that support women, which is of high importance to me. She’s successful at what she does, but at the end of the day she’s a mom who still makes time to play with her dogs and her kids. That speaks volumes.

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