Mohamed Basha is a self-described servant leader. More to the point, he’s pretty confident that most of his employees would also describe him that way. “One of the things I’m passionate about in life is service, and serving people,” he says.
The 32-year-old started South Burlington’s TLC HomeCare and Nursing when he was just 21. Today he serves as President and CEO (he’s also in charge of IT) of the rapidly growing company, which employs almost 500 people and offers a broad range of services to patients in Vermont and New Hampshire. From the beginning, he’s approached leadership with humility. “My philosophy is you have to constantly learn. For me to be a good leader I have to constantly be willing to learn: from experiences, from mistakes, and learn from people around me, from our secretary to my VP. I thrive on growth and finding new challenges.”
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Indeed, Basha has been living this philosophy since he was a kid. His college career began during his sophomore year in high school. Eager to get started toward a degree in engineering, he took advantage of classes offered by CCV and the Burlington Tech Center. But he quickly realized that the engineering path wasn’t a lifestyle he wanted. “I didn’t want to spend my life in front of a computer,” he said. “I wanted human interaction. I wanted to work with people.”
By the time he graduated from high school, Basha already had a year of college credits under his belt. He finished his associate degree at CCV in just one more year, and then transferred to Castleton University, where he completed a degree in nursing. Soon afterward, an experience with a family friend opened his eyes to a growing need for home health care in the Burlington area.
He admits that starting the company was overwhelming. He says every step was a challenge. “I don’t come from a business background, so starting from scratch and just learning the ropes, learning the business aspects like writing a business plan, the accounting aspect, the marketing aspect, building relationships.” But then again, that humility: “I’m not any smarter than the person next to me. To me it’s all about hard work and being committed and not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Just keep at it ‘til you get there.”
Basha has been widely recognized for his leadership at TLC, where in addition to providing care to hundreds of patients—including roughly 70 veterans—he has also prioritized volunteerism, raising money for and awareness of other health care organizations. In October, Basha was named Vermonter of the Month by Attorney General TJ Donovan. This list recognizes Vermonters who are doing exceptional work in their communities. Last year, Vermont Business Magazine included Basha in its 2016 Rising Stars class, a “40 under 40” group of emerging Vermont leaders.
Basha’s motivation is simple. “It’s about giving back. To me that’s one of the principles of life is being able to share what you have, be it knowledge or wealth or whatever it is, but also giving back, because that’s the only way we get better.” Clearly this has served him well. And lucky for Vermont, he’s just getting started. “It’s always about the next process, that’s what excites me to go to work,” he says. “Stagnation doesn’t excite me, and I don’t like limits.”