Interview with the 2016 DEMA Educator the Year – Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions

Tonya Sakowicz is the founder of Newborn Care Solutions, a company dedicated to the education of families and training of Newborn Care Specialists and Nannies. As an INA Credentialed Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist, and Parent Educator, Tonya provides consulting and in-home sleep conditioning for her clients, in addition to teaching seminars. Her training focuses on proven strategies, methods, and tips found to be the most beneficial for the newborns and their families.

LATRICIA FRIEND: Congratulations. How does it feel to be selected as the 2016 DEMA Educator of the Year?
TONYA SAKOWICZ: Thank you! It feels amazing, to be honest. I was shocked when I found out I had won, as I had no idea I had even been nominated. Moreover, to know that all the hard work that we have been putting into our training programs is recognized and awarded is amazing. It pushes me, even more, to work harder for our students—now I have not just my expectations to live up to, but the honor DEMA has given my company.

LF: When matching newborn care specialists to client families, what is your key to success?
TS: We do not participate in the matching process other than working with agencies to spread the word to our students about potential openings. Agencies are so happy with the quality of training that our students have that many companies come to us first whenever a position arises because they are proud to send our students to their principals. I believe that is because we work so hard to make sure our students have in-depth, evidence-based and current information. This benefits our students because they are more in demand. It makes me so incredibly happy to see and hear about our student’s success. When one of my students nails a six-month, $175,000 contract, I am THRILLED for them!

LF: How will winning this award affect Newborn Care Solutions?
TS: I think it will drive us to be even better. You do not go around announcing you won “Educator of the Year” and then sit on your laurels. You have to strive to do more with more excellence. So in the end, the biggest effect will be the benefit to our students because it makes me work even harder for them
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Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Bonnie Low-Kramen
2014: Donna Shannon
2013: Association of Premier Nanny Agencies
2012: Charles MacPherson Associates

Photo Credit: DEMA 2016 Convention

Domestic Match logo

Interview with the 2016 DEMA Agency of the Year – Domestic | Match

As a staffing agency, Domestic | Match assists families to find applicants for all household positions – particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, although they place management-level candidates to families throughout the United States. Founder and Director Daniel Wood’s experience extends to all sides of the hiring triangle as a candidate, a hiring manager, and a third-party recruiter. It is this unique understanding of all facets of the private service market that allows Daniel to make effective matches.

Daniel Wood Domestic MatchLATRICIA FRIEND: Congratulations. How does it feel to be selected as the 2016 DEMA Agency of the Year? What was the reaction of your family/friends/colleagues?
DANIEL WOOD: We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the Agency of the Year by DEMA. We truly have a passion for helping others to succeed in their professional careers, and for bringing a degree of relief to our very busy clients. It is an honor to be acknowledged for what we love to do.

LF: You were missed at the convention and Chef Peter Downs accepted the award on your behalf. He mentioned his friendship and professional association with you. How would you recommend candidates to develop a relationship with a staffing agency?
DW: I am grateful to Peter for accepting the award on my behalf. I have known Peter for many years now and have a great respect for his dedication to his employers and the Private Service profession.

It is so important that candidates understand the importance of developing relationships with the agencies that they choose to have represent them. I believe that the foundation of a healthy agency/candidate relationship is based on honesty and clear communication. When we meet new candidates we really want to know what is important to them, and we need them to communicate with us professionally and quickly. The little things are important to us. Does someone take the time to address us by our names when they email us? Do they send a follow-up note after our initial meeting with them? The details matter. That being said, the responsibility of building a strong relationship should not fall solely on the shoulders of the candidate. We enjoy getting to know our candidates and strive to treat everyone with respect.

LF: When matching domestic staff candidates to client families, what are your keys to success?
DW: The keys to our success are simple really, honesty, excellent service, and paying attention to the small details. Honesty is so vital. We feel strongly that our candidates should have a very clear understanding of a potential new work environment before they make a life-changing commitment to our clients. There are challenges with every position; candidates should know about those challenges and decide for themselves if they wish to proceed with an opportunity. Our clients and candidates are busy. We strive to make the hiring process as seamless and simple as possible. Providing excellent service is a must.

Serving a family in a professional capacity is so vastly different than any other employee/employer relationship. Everyone on my team has worked for families in the past. Our clients and candidates seem to value that greatly. We have a deep understanding of the very intimate employment relationships that develop within a private residence.

LF: How will winning this award affect Domestic | Match?
DW: The most immediate affect has been on my team. We all feel so proud to have been selected to receive the award. In addition, I hope that the award will play a role in helping us to connect with even more amazing people from around the country who are in search of new private service opportunities.

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Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Aunt Ann’s In-House Staffing
2014: Robert Hanselman Domestic Agency
2013: Precise Home Management
2012: Distinguished Domestics Services

Photo Credit: Daniel Wood, Domestic | Match

The Inside Scoop: The 2016 DEMA Private Service Professional of the Year – Roger Cushwa

Working with Roger Cushwa in his role as President of the NY Tri-State Chapter is inspiring. He spends over 20-hours each month meeting with members, luxury service suppliers, and potential members – not including our board meetings, ad hoc committee meetings, phone calls with agencies, or emails with the national office.

Roger’s 25 years of service related experience ranges from distinguished military service and former law enforcement officer to being the general manager of a member-focused private club. In 2011, he completed the Starkey International Institute for Household Management’s four-week certification program, followed by his Associates Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Hospitality/Tourism Management from Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

He is driven to have a positive impact on his Principals’ lives; allowing them the time to enjoy their interests. As an Estate Manager, he has overseen multiple locations, supervising the housekeeping, culinary, maintenance and landscaping staff. He excels at vendor management, gaining favorable contracts with his negotiating skills. Moreover, as with most Estate Managers, he coordinated residential, project construction, and renovation with experience substantial budgets of more than $1.5M.

As the Membership Co-Chair of the NY Tri-State Chapter, I spoke to him about being this year’s recipient.

Latricia Friend: Congratulations. How does it feel to be nominated by your peers as the 2016 DEMA Private Service Professional of the Year?
Roger Cushwa: It is a great honor and extremely humbling when I look at the past winners, and others I know in this profession.

LF: In your role as chapter president, what has made the biggest impact in your life? Professional Life?
RC: The chapter board members that I work with are the best. We have come together as a team, and we work extremely well together. We do not always agree, but I feel that we have had a very positive impact on not only the Tri-State Chapter but the association as a whole. Professionally, it has allowed me access to suppliers that I would have never known about were it not for my fellow DEMA members, and I now have a network of friends that spans the globe. I have made some wonderful friends and this list just continues to grow the longer I am in DEMA.

LF: During your acceptance speech, you mentioned several people in the room and members of the NY Tri-State Chapter board.
RC: I recognized the other chapter board members and encouraged everybody to support their local chapters. As a volunteer board, it is difficult to find folks that want to commit the time and energy to another leadership role. These folks need the support and encouragement of their chapter members to make the association reach the level of recognition and impact in our profession. By doing this, we strengthen not only the organization but every member in private service and making everyone better.

LF: You inspire me. Who or what inspired you to start a career in private service? Your work on the NY Tri-State Chapter board?
RC: Thank you, I was working as a mechanic in Myrtle Beach SC, and a customer left a section of the paper in the lobby. There was an article about a lady who had moved from California to Myrtle Beach, and she attended Starkey International Institute. I remember thinking that this sounded like something I would love to do. I went home, watched the video, and I remember getting chills and goosebumps. I started yelling for my wife to come here, that I had found what I was meant to do. It took me almost five years before I made it to Starkey, which was an incredible experience. I discovered that I have always loved to serve and make people feel special, and our industry is a perfect place for that to happen.

From my first position in Florida, I learned about DEMA and joined the West Palm Beach Chapter. I am passionate about the purpose and benefit of DEMA. This industry is so isolating for the Private Service Professional. So, to have an international association and network of professionals who understand these special needs is priceless. I had known then current Tri-State Chapter President, Steve Feldman, of Renovation Angel for almost three years before I moved to the northeast. I remember, moving to Connecticut and starting my new position on Monday, February 24, 2014, and Tuesday the 25 I was at my first meeting. I supported the chapter and in June Steve asked me to be Co-President with him. I worked with Steve until the 2014 convention and when he stepped down – I became the Chapter President.

I am passionate about DEMA, and I believe very strongly that with all of us working together, we can have a better and more positive impact on the lives of our Principals. The impact that we can have on society can boggle the mind. Imagine if my Principal was able to devote and extra three to five hours a day on curing cancer, creating jobs, reducing the debt, or improving the quality of life for not only all of their direct employees but society as a whole. This is the role that I play. I can give that person the time and space to figure out these problems without having to worry about the houses, cars, cleaning, yard work, and all of the other daily tasks that won’t lead to the cure for cancer, create jobs, or help restore balance to our planet.

LF: How will winning this award affect your work?
RC: I hope that it makes me even more committed to bringing the message and benefits of DEMA to not only Private Service Professionals but also to the Principals that we support. I want every Principal to have the best care possible, and every Private Service Professional to have the best working environment possible.
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Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Gary Cockerham
2014: Sara Recer
2013: David Barrie, Jr
2012: Richmond Schmidt

 

Photo: Matthew Haack, DEMA Co-Founder and President; Roger Cushwa, 2016 PSP of the Year; and Michael Wright, DEMA Co-Founder and Vice President

Photo Credit: DEMA 2016 Convention

2016 DEMA Convention

 

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.

Spring Clean Your Career Documents

The weather is warming up. Cherry blossom festivals are taking place. Last week you scrubbed off the grill in anticipation of dinners cooked over an open flame. Next week you plan to clean out your closet and drop off un-used items at Goodwill.

And what about your résumé?

Spring is a good time to pull up your career documents to update them. “What career docs?” you are asking. “I just need a résumé and cover letter.” Yes, a résumé and a cover letter are the bare minimum. To start, add a reference list. Then add a detailed employment history and a social media disclosure statement. To complete your application package, do you have an electronic copy of your recommendation letters? Have you scanned your education credentials? Your driver’s license? Your passport?

Résumé
If you updated your résumé at the beginning of the year, use this time to complete another career document. Maybe you took on additional responsibilities since January and need to update it anyway. If you did not update your résumé at the beginning of the year, now is the time to do so. Your current résumé focuses on the last 10-15 years of your current job industry. However, take notice of how much experience the employer is requesting in the job description. If it is a senior management role that requires 15-20 years of experience, consider listing your entire career on the résumé you submit.

By comparison, you may create a master résumé for your own references, which includes every job you have held. This document, which is never sent to a potential employer, could be several pages long.

Cover Letter

Like a great suit, everyone should have more than one cover letter. Ideally, you would write a fresh cover letter for each job, or at least have three or four letters that you can easily adapt to job postings. Have a few that are ready for a quick tweak – especially for an email message. Do not forget to put in extra effort to customize the letter for your dream job. Including research specific to that employer or situation will help you stand out from other applicants. This applies to follow-up letters and thank you letters as well.

Reference List
Rather than stating “reference available on request” on your résumé, have a prepared reference list. This is a one-page document that includes three or four professional references and up to three character references. Ideally, you want to select people who would be willing to speak with a potential employer, discussing you, your achievements and the attributes that make you the best candidate for the job at hand. I usually add a paragraph that describes my relationship to the contact, how long they have known me, in what capacity: mentor, supervisor, colleague, staff reporting to me and what skills they can validate. If a written recommendation letter exists from an individual and you plan to add it to your application package, make a note of it on this list.

In fact, when was the last time you communicated with the people on your list? Now is a good time to reconnect. Find out what they are up to and fill them in on all the happenings in your life. If a colleague mentioned writing you a recommendation letter the last time you spoke, then follow-up on their offer. Make it easy for them by directing them to your LinkedIn profile.

Employment History
NOTE: You will not distribute this document! It is a one to two page reference sheet to help you prepare for interviews and completing job applications. Modeled after your résumé, the history lists extra details, such as the address for each position, your supervisor or HR department with their contact information and your starting/ending salary at that company. For a private service position, you would not list your work location. Instead, list the business address of the family office or LLC. More frequently, private service agencies are asking why you left each previous position – list the reason here. My employment history has a section for previous addresses and my driver’s license number.

Private Company, LLC      9/2011 to 4/2014
Private Chef to Mr. and Mrs. John Successful
Confidential Work Location, Any town, USA
Jane Smith, HR Coordinator, 123 Main Street, Any town, USA, (123) 456-7890, jsmith@email.com
Starting Salary: 87,500/year
Ending Salary: 98,000/year plus discretionary bonus
Reason for Leaving: Spouse relocated to San Francisco, CA

Social Media Disclosure Statement
Peter Van Ryder of Estate Management Solutions recommends this type of document in his ‘Essentials to Household Management’ training. With all of the attention given to social media, having a document that discloses your activity makes sense. This year alone there have been several articles and news stories concerning social media accounts and an employer’s right to view them or have access to them. If you think that a potential employer will run your name through a search engine, then why not list the social networking that you do. Incorporate the line, “At no time will your privacy or confidentiality be at risk,” to indicate your commitment to keeping personal life and work life separate.

Now that you completed your career documents, you can kick back and enjoy the weekend. If you are starting or in the middle of a job search, then you are all set for your Monday morning job hunt session.

It’s a New Year! Are You Ready?

tips, new year, 2014, goalsWe will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called ‘Opportunity’ and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.
– Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Have you made your 2014 resolutions yet? The New Year is a chance for a fresh start at work. The holiday season has come to an end and all the festivities are over. So, what can you do to start the New Year off right?

Set realistic goals.
Write down your goals – it forces you to get clear about what you want. With this list of what you hope to accomplish in the New Year, include goals for your current job and for your career. Make sure each goal has a detailed achievable plan: when the goal will be reached and what steps are needed to complete it.

Document your successes.
Keep track of your accomplishments. Quantify everything that you can and be as detailed as possible: include what you did, why you did it, how it benefited your employer and how much time and/or money was saved. This list will be helpful as you prepare for your annual review.

Update your résumé and professional profiles.
Ensure your résumé and professional networking profiles are up-to-date, especially if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to search for a new job. LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ each allow you to post information to highlight your expertise. Make sure your online profiles feature the information you want people to know about you, when they search for you.

Join a professional association.
Professional organizations provide many opportunities to network and volunteer. At least attend a local chapter meeting or the association’s annual convention. Or take a more active role in an association where you are already a member. Look for a small task to start and then plan to increase your involvement.

Be flexible.
It is difficult to go very far at work if you are not flexible. Try your best to be open to new ideas and new ways to do things. Make it your goal to say “yes” more than “no” at work when it comes to requests and suggestions from your colleagues and supervisors.

As the year progresses – celebrate your successes.
For every goal reached, acknowledge your accomplishment in a positive way. If you reduced the operating budget, have dinner with a mentor. Made positive changes to staff, then spend an afternoon with your significant other.

By the end of the year – give thanks.
If you work with a team (colleagues, staff or vendors), acknowledge how they have helped you in your career over the course of the year. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts.

It is important to start the New Year with a fresh perspective; this provides an opportunity to refocus on professional goals to ensure that you are expending your energies on projects that are going to make a difference and further your career. Making a conscious decision to think about the New Year as a new beginning provides a natural milestone to reassess your career and its progress.

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