A DR Care Solutions' Narrative: How We Get To Do What We Love Best
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
This is the story of how a National CEO of a well-established family business turned her hand to founding her own entrepreneurial start-up.
Danielle Robertson was six weeks old when her mother, Dena Blackman, established the first Australian home care provider, DIAL-AN-ANGEL in March 1967. Meanwhile her father, Leon, was running retail menswear shops established by his father in the early 1950s.
DIAL-AN-ANGEL: 1967 - 2014
Family business is part of Danielle’s DNA. She grew up learning the ropes of both businesses, and role modelling her parent's strong work ethic, resilience and tremendous empathy for helping others.
Danielle worked alongside Dena from 1986 and was mentored to become her successor on retirement in August 2003. It was a true family affair with Danielle’s eldest sister Nadine running the Brisbane operations for 20 years and her second sister, Nicki, involved in the mid-1980s.
Being a third child in a family of four didn’t faze Danielle. She took to learning and leadership, and had the drive and determination to succeed. Early on it was clear that Dena and Danielle were in sync with each other, and that Danielle was the natural successor.
Danielle Robertson & Dena Blackman: working together in the family business, DIAL-AN-ANGEL, is one of our greatest achievements.
DIAL-AN-ANGEL was a national organisation with 10 offices nationwide. By 2014, it was supported by 10,000 contracted Angels, 1,500 staff Angels, and 80 office staff. More than 40,000 families were assisted in its 48 years of operation.
After 11 years as CEO, Danielle led the strategy of selling the family business. It was sold in September 2014 and Danielle worked with the new owners for nine months.
The family gene for business niggled, prompting Danielle to seek out market gaps. On 11 May 2015, DR Care Solutions was born with the mission of assisting families to find the right care, support and accommodation for their ageing or disabled loved ones.
Danielle was aware of the complexity of the care sector and the emotional vulnerability of Australians trying to navigate it. With 34 years’ experience in the aged care, disability care and home care sector, she had the expertise to support families during this phase of life.
The decision was a good one. In just over five years, DR Care Solutions has assisted more than 200 families to find the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Danielle works with families to determine whether they should downsize, remain at home with good quality support, consider other options or move into residential aged care.
It is a family business with Danielle's partner and two adult children assisting on an ‘as needed’ basis to help build a sustainable, professional, scalable family business.
Family Business Australia (FBA) has been a critical support in Danielle's business journey. Danielle and Dena joined in 2001. They have benefited from its wide-ranging support which caters for start-ups through to multimillion-dollar family enterprises. They signed up to family business governance courses, strategic planning courses and the peer-to-peer forum groups. To help them through the complexities of succession and exit planning, they engaged FBA Accredited Family Business Advisers.
Having experienced the membership benefits and knowing that family business is the backbone of the Australia economy, Danielle has given her time to the organisation. Since November 2016, she has been Regional Chair of FBA NSW/ACT Chapter and a National Board Member.
Danielle joined fellow family business owners on Friday 18 September 2020 to celebrate Family Business Day. The day supports the sector and acknowledges the qualities of such businesses - trusted, loyal, agile, and efficient when times are difficult. The sector's handling of COVID-19 has certainly demonstrated these qualities.
To find out more about Danielle Robertson and DR Care Solutions' services, contact Danielle here: