Marissa Sandler is the co-founder and CEO of Careseekers, a platform that connects individuals, families and businesses with aged care and disability support workers.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I was born in South Africa and moved to America and then Australia where I did my schooling and live today. As a child I had a really strong sense of social justice and felt very distressed at the inequities that existed in the world. I adored traveling and seeing the world and I always thought I would be a journalist. I went to university and absolutely loved studying and decided to become a human rights lawyer. I did this for fifteen years and worked on incredible projects with incredible people – my passion was womens’ human rights and I worked on projects including paid maternity leave, women’s imprisonment, supporting women with disabilities who were involved in care and protection cases. My role models would be the incredible bosses and colleagues I have had over the years who I draw on everyday as I run my own business.
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
Careseekers is about empowering people to live life on their terms. It does this in so many ways – by supporting people with disabilities and older Australians to live independent lives in their own homes. People using our platform choose their own support workers and when they receive their support. Careseekers also supports people to work in aged care in disability work in a way that is flexible, well paid and allows them to balance other responsibilities in their lives. It allows women who have not been able to work due to their caring responsibilities to use their expertise to get work.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
Yes, when I was a lawyer I was supporting women with disabilities. As part of the cases we sometimes had to try to get them support workers in the cases we were working on. It was so hard! I decided that if I truly wanted to make a difference, it wouldn’t be as a lawyer but as someone who could help people find good support workers who could walk alongside them everyday – and hopefully this meant less need for lawyers who walk with them in court.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
Now that we are on the other end, I think that the pandemic was the most significant global event many people of my generation have lived through to date. The global economy largely stopped, children stopped being educated, we didn’t leave our homes, people died and we didn’t know when there would be an end to it. On a personal level I found it challenging to run a company and simultaneously homeschool my children as the sense of responsibility was enormous. Professionally, we did some great initiatives at Careseekers during the pandemic like getting grounded flight attendants and other airline staff work as support workers!
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
They love it! We have had thousands of people using our platform – they love choosing their own support workers, who they really get along well with; workers love finding work that suits their schedules and being able to earn money in this way.
How has your life changed because of your venture?
Enormously! I have a deep found respect for anyone who has run a successful business, I now really understand the hard work that has gone into it – and the vision and hurdles people have had to jump through. Before doing my business, I worked in the not for profit world and I don’t think I appreciated how creative business could be and how so many solutions to society’s problems can be solved by creative businesses.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would like to see a fairer distribution of wealth and opportunity in the world. It feels like the gap between the have and have nots is getting greater and greater each year.
Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
You can do it. You are doing it.