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2016 DEMA Convention

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If you attended the 2016 Domestic Estate Managers Association Convention this past weekend, you are probably still processing all the people met, the conversations had, and the knowledge, technology, and products presented. If you were unable to attend, then you missed the best gathering of private service professionals to-date. Participants represented multiple states from across the country, including Hawaii. However, the member that traveled the farthest came all the way from the Principality of Monaco.

As in past years, Career and Job Fair began on Friday, August 26 at 9:00 am. More than 20 firms (placement agencies, a consulting firm, and a resume writing/career coach) spoke in-depth with candidates, gaining the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face. After lunch, Donna Shannon/Personal Touch Career Services spoke about personal branding, Bonnie Low-Kramen/Be the Ultimate Assistant led a much-needed discussion on salary negotiations, and David Gonzalez/EstateJobs.com gave insight into the recruitment process.

The convention officially kicked off with a western-themed cocktail reception on the grounds of the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. Estate managers, private chefs, nannies, executive protection specialists, luxury service suppliers, personal assistants, household managers, staffing agencies, and several presenters networked among the cacti. Personally, I conversed with friends, colleagues, and first-time attendees, discussing such diverse topics as annual reviews and salary negotiation, evolving roles and responsibilities, and best practices of fractional household/estate management. I overheard several discussions on searching for a laundress and suggested firms to use for background checks (most recommended was Via Integrity). People openly shared requests for and advice on every type of service provider. Of course, many chapter members engaged in good-natured boasting for the coveted Chapter of the Year Award.

This year, the Saturday sessions included two tracks of workshops – one for private service professionals and the other for service suppliers. General session veterans Charles MacPherson, Bonnie Low-Kramen, Kris Coleman, and Dr. Chris Sidford held informative discussions on the future of hospitality, emergency preparedness, international security measures, and medical safety. During the day, workshop presenters included Ray Nugent, Olivia Nugent, Michael Wright, Catherine Brown, Tonya Sakowicz, Steve Feldman, Jay Bakaler, and Matthew Haack.

Rather than holding the standard Awards Dinner on Saturday night, DEMA broke out the casino chips for roulette, blackjack, and poker offering valuable prizes for the participants. Everyone enjoyed the high-spirited fun and excellent food, along with the opportunity to continue networking with each other.

Please extend your congratulations to the recipients:
Agency of the Year – Domestic Match. Chef Peter Downs accepted on behalf of Daniel Woods.

Educator of the Year – Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions

Supplier of the Year – Christofle Paris, a convention sponsor and international luxury brand known for its silver craftsmanship.

Chapter of the Year – Palm Beach, The Flamingo Chapter

Private Service Professional of the Year Award – Roger Cushwa, NY Tri-State Chapter President

DEMA Lifetime Achievement Award – Claudia Allensworth. Andrew Lowery accepted on her behalf.

On Sunday, a panel comprised of Mrs. Green, Steve Feldman, Roger Cushwa, and Brian Bishop discussed recycling and earth stewardship as a function of estate management. Workshops presenters Karen Brooks, Dr. Joel Cohen, Colleen Forgus, Jit Jayakumar Gary Cockerham, Richard Schmidt, Charles MacPherson, Andrew Lowery, Guy Sporbert, and Renate Mousseux spoke on a variety of personal service and managerial topics, from how to hold a proper Afternoon Tea to Managing PSP Expectations.

Throughout the weekend, an exhibition hall was populated with 23 local and national service providers. Many thanks to every company that was represented. Click here, for a full list of exhibitors.

While I am re-energized by the buzz and excitement of networking, fellowship with colleagues and friends, and meeting new members and first-time convention attendees – personally, I need a few more days to process all the conversations, presentations, technology, and energy.

I look forward to next year and hope to see you at the 2017 DEMA Convention!

P.S. I made all of my photos available to the national office and ask that you do the same. Be on the lookout for all the professional and candid shots on DEMA’s website and Facebook page.

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About the Author:

Private Service Consultant • Certified House Manager • Over 10 years of career coaching experience, specializing in career documentation (résumé, cover letter, reference list, salary history, project portfolio and LinkedIn profile) of private service professionals, hospitality and executive/personal support staff. Follow me on Twitter @CareerDocsNYC
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