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Darya Moldavskaya '12

Leap of Courage Impacts Families

“The majority of people spend at least eight hours a day at work and their work often defines them. So, making the workplace better seemed like a good place to start.”

After working at Mercer in human resources, then graduating from Cornell Tech with a master’s of engineering in computer science, she found a niche for impacting people’s lives by co-founding ReverCare. The start-up helps family caregivers identify, select and vet resources to help them care for aging loved ones.

ReverCare grew from what Moldavskaya saw unfolding in her personal life.

Her parents, Boris and Nadia Moldavskaya, are balancing careers with caring for Boris’s 90-year-old mother in their home following her hospitalization for an injury that limited her mobility.

Boris spent weeks making phone calls to government agencies and medical offices to get Medicaid to cover a home health aide. He and Nadia took time off of work to care for Darya’s grandmother while they worked to resolve caregiving needs.

ReverCare was born at Cornell Tech during Moldavskaya’s final semester, one devoted to multi-disciplinary teamwork to solve real world problems. She and co-founder Kiyan Rajabi won a $100,000 Cornell Tech Startup Award that includes a year of office space in Cornell Tech’s state-of-the-art Tata Innovation Center.

“Receiving the award has given us the courage and necessary support to take that leap and commit to doing something we really believe in.”

This summer, the team tested its framework.

“We learned that family caregivers need more than just information about how to solve their problems. Even when they know how to do something, like apply for Medicaid or find professional in-home help, they simply don't have the bandwidth to do it.“

“Because of this, we've decided to have our care coaches provide not only information, but also encouragement and support in getting things done. Similar to a personal fitness trainer, we are now coaching people toward what they want to accomplish.”

Helping an aging loved one challenges caregivers emotionally, financially and physically for years at a time; Moldavskaya hopes ReverCare helps set the bar for resources offered by employers to workers, much the same way it offers assistance to parents.
“In my eyes, ReverCare will be a success if it becomes standard for employers to provide assistance for employees caring for elderly loves ones beyond emergency back-up care.”

“The ILR curriculum inspired our business model of employers offering our service as an employee benefit,” Moldavskaya said, “The ILR School played an incredibly vital role in how I ended up where I am. “It did a great job at not only preparing me to enter the workforce, but also gave me an ability to critically think about how to make the working environment better for all.”

As ReverCare enters its next phase, Moldavskaya acknowledges the path forward is unmarked.

“With ReverCare, there is no predefined measure of success for intermediary steps. There are no grades, promotions or raises that signal that I am moving in the right direction. This level of ambiguity has been the most challenging and, at the same time, most rewarding part of doing a startup.”

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