Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nazca Fontes, Founder of ConceiveAbilities, located in Brisbane, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Since 1996, the ConceiveAbilities team has had the privilege of helping many individuals and couples around the world create and build their families with egg donors and surrogates. Our full-service agency is centered on our guiding principle, Matching Matters. We take our over 25 years of proven process and experience to create the best, most compatible match between hopeful parents and surrogates, allowing both parties to focus on what matters most: a healthy surrogacy journey. ConceiveAbilities is committed to leading with innovation. As we enter our third decade in business, we strive to continue providing best-in-class surrogacy service with the top surrogacy experts to the families and surrogates we serve. We believe that anyone who wants to become a parent deserves a family. You can find details about becoming a surrogate and becoming a parent via surrogacy on our website.
Tell us about yourself
My professional background in fertility clinic laboratories led me to become a protégé of the industry's premier practitioners. I was dissatisfied with the current state of donor recruitment at the time and decided there had to be a better way. I founded ConceiveAbilities from the floor of my small apartment 26+ years ago with a dream of being the best in the industry. It has grown into the exact business I dreamed of. The most experienced full-service surrogacy agency leading the industry in best practices. We have deep relationships with IVF clinics, fertility experts, and scores of surrogates and families who built their families with surrogates. It's an honor every day to be a part of creating such a profound impact on our intended parents' and surrogates' lives. We look forward to growing, learning, and refining our process to continue to lead surrogacy into the future.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
ConceiveAbilities is the only agency worldwide to use our proprietary matching methodology called Matching Matters. The Matching Matters process focuses on the art and science of human connections, and results in 97% of intended parents being matched with the first surrogate presented, and shortens the average ConceiveAbilities engagement to between 13-18 months (as opposed to 18-24 months with other agencies). In the 26+ years of building families, ConceiveAbilities continues to flourish in its ability to match parents globally.
I am also incredibly proud of our 2022 #MilkBankChallenge that inspired women across the country to donate over 620,000 ounces of donor breast milk to milk banks in need. We know our surrogates are incredibly giving, and this just proved it even more. When we first launched the campaign in June, we had a high goal of reaching 500,000, so we are humbled that women joined us in helping build strong family foundations and helping families have enough milk to feed their babies, even during the infant formula shortage. We are looking forward to continuing this initiative in 2023.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The biggest obstacle we have is helping people understand surrogacy. There are many myths and misconceptions about surrogates, including why a woman becomes a surrogate. We recently commissioned an independent study through Accelerant Research to learn more about the women who become surrogates. Accelerant found that surrogates are educated, purpose-driven women who feel a deep calling to help someone become a parent. She is motivated by the personal experience of knowing someone who has struggled to build their family and wants to prevent another person from going through similar struggles. She has done deep research to make sure that becoming a surrogate is right for her and her family, and her decision to do so is empowering. Our mission is to share the facts about the process to allow women an opportunity to consider the profound impact they can have on the world by becoming a surrogate.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
After almost 30 years in business, I can identify the top 3 areas of focus for any business, no matter the industry:
- People - Learn how to hire well. It's a learned art and something many managers and founders don't know how to do well. Learn and then hire the very best people you can afford who have skill sets better than your own. I am incredibly proud of my team and the deep professional expertise they bring to each and every surrogacy journey.
- Scorecard - What gets measured gets done. Have accountability for everyone in your organization that is linked to your company's goal. Everyone should know how their work directly impacts the company's goals, and that work can be measured through a weekly scorecard. These should ladder up to quarterly and yearly goals.
- Your purpose - It sounds cliche, but if you know your company's reason for being and tie your company's values to that purpose, it sets the tone, providing cohesion and purpose for your people and for the clients you serve. For clients, they intuitively feel your company values and how you differ from the competition from the moment they interact with your employees if you know your purpose and hold steadfast to your values in how you hire, train and motivate your team.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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