When Cathy Thorpe joined Nurse Next Door as its president in 2014, she already knew the home-care provider from being a customer five years earlier. Her mother was recovering from surgery, and she was struck by the quality of care the company delivered to her family. Four months later, Thorpe began a friendship with co-founder John DeHart, whose daughter attended preschool with hers. Over the years, the two parents would meet for coffee where talk would inevitably turn to business. Thorpe was impressed by the company’s core values and vision for making people’s lives better, not just more bearable; DeHart admired Thorpe’s smarts. “She would ask me these piercing questions about the business,” DeHart says. “In a very short amount of time, she would figure out what the issues were—what the challenges were.”

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