Women & Business Profile: Tonja Smith, MHA
She is CEO of Allegheny Community Home Care.
As a young girl growing up in Rankin, Tonja Smith was ambitious and hard working. Her persistence paid off in 2015 when she founded Allegheny Community Home Care, which supports people who have intellectual disabilities such as autism, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The company purchases and furnishes homes for their clients where they provide staffing and 24-hour supervision. “Since we spend 24 hours a day with our clients, positive relationships are built,” Smith says. “We celebrate birthdays, graduation and Christmas. Our goal is for our clients to have a successful life just like you and I.”
Allegheny Community Home Care grew into a multimillion-dollar company within its first two years. As CEO and president, Smith oversees administration of 11 group homes and a clinical and behavioral facility. She has full responsibility for strategic planning, development, operations, sales and marketing, customer service, human resources, administration, and the overall financial performance of the company. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Smith’s goal is to expand ACHC outside of Allegheny County to 30 group homes. “ACHC is a life-sustaining company, therefore we did not have the luxury to close down for three months during the pandemic,” Smith says. “Our staff worked tirelessly 24/7 throughout the COVID crisis. They are the real heroes!”
ACHC is a complex and demanding business that requires focus on quality of care while increasing revenue and managing costs. Smith oversees a long list of responsibilities, such as negotiating and executing managed care agreements, managing a fleet of vehicles, staff development and education and complying with the federal, state and local regulations that govern the industry. Smith also points to a few recent highlights, including redesigning internal procedures and controls to track contract development and vendor payment and establishing Key Performance Indicators for all operating departments.
What advice does Smith have for women seeking success in business? “When delegating or facilitating, remember to describe the picture, teach one how to paint the picture, describe how the colors complement each other, paint the picture, allow it to dry — then sell it for $2 million.”
What is the best advice Smith has ever received? “Dream big — Walmart started in a small city and look where they are now!
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