Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Heather Satchwell, Founder of Gia Jean Valentines, where disabled people can find and organize their own care with a personal assistant.
How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey.
I lost my leg two years ago and was thrown into the disabled community overnight. I thought as I worked my whole life, I would be helped, and everything would be fine. Far from it and I had the biggest fight on my hands I’d ever had for the right wheelchair, aids and adapting the home. Fight for help to be allowed care. After the social services said how many hrs I was allowed, it was down to me to find and hire someone. I was desperate for help as I’m a single mum and now newly disabled it was crazy. I was housebound for the first year. Anyway I hired someone and the long and short of it eventually they tried to kidnap me, and I was stabbed in the fight to stay in my house. I decided there has to be more out there to protect us and help. And that is why I started my company.
Who are your role models?
My role model is Ellen, with all she does for charity. I’d love to be able to start my own charity for the disabled community one day.
What inspires you?
My daughter inspires me. She smiles through everything we have been through. Operation after operation, she’s been there holding my hand. She deserves the best of me, and that’s what inspires me the most. I’ve also told her it’s important to share what you have with others that don’t have that. To look after others and help people is my drive.
Please tell us about your company.
The company has been set up to help the disabled community. Stop any harm coming to anyone the way it did to me. I’m the director of the company. It’s a subscription-based website where it’s very cheap for the disabled community to make profiles and search PA profiles. Gia is the name, and it stands for giving independence all round. The PAs have their profiles in which they can choose who they work with and on what days and even the rate of pay they charge, and the client (disabled person) can have the freedom to arrange the care they want by who they would like and when. Giving power back.
What’s your most memorable experience?
Showing Gia my daughter the prototype and logo with her name. She beamed, and she loves it.
Which social media channels work best for promoting your work?
Mostly Facebook, but we are building slowly at the moment.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is this fails. The thought of someone else getting attacked like me or worse than me.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I can’t answer the strategies that have worked as I’m still learning and building slowly. If we had an investor from the start, I think it would have helped massively.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
What keeps me going is the system is broken, and I feel disabled people aren’t even a thought. The whole coronavirus showed how disabled people are left to sort themselves out. This keeps me going as I think till the world sees how it is, things will not change.