Today a prospective client called, seeking private service training for her current household staff. She exclaimed, “Whew! You were hard to find, Mrs. Starkey!” Given that Starkey International comes up first when you Google Household Management, I was stunned until I asked, “What were your search words?” She replied, “Domestic Staff Training.” Those who know me and my work understand that I have been a wordsmith for this unique profession of Private Service and have written extensively for the industry, developing the use of over 100 words and terms including coining the title “Household Manager.”
Over the years I have rallied against ever referring to our Graduates as “Domestics.” The term domestic often has a negative association including: uneducated, low skill, not always trustworthy, non-English speaking, and more; this is not a good beginning for a growing young profession. The word Domestic is defined in Webster’s 1999 edition as, “pertaining to the home, family, or household affairs” and “tame; domesticated”. Much of my work over the last 30 years has been to actually create a world-recognized, well-respected, educated, and appropriately paid profession. The term domestic continues to play a vital role in defining those that do the more unskilled, hand’s on cleaning and outside heavy grounds work in private service. However, to continue to utilize the word Domestic to define, categorize, or refer to those who have attained years of service management education, abilities, and expertise as a “domestic” is much like referring to an architect as a carpenter!
Travel & Transportation
Above all, sincerity and honesty are my highest values and I have always tried to surround myself with likeminded people. Integrity, loyalty, dedication and discretion all go hand-in-hand and have guided me in every part of my life both personal and professional. Dedication to hard work and perseverance is the philosophy I have employed in every job or task I have undertaken. I truly have a gift for hospitality with a high level of competency and have successfully turned my gifts into a lifelong career of service. Whether I’m serving as an Estate Manager or club manager, I truly go the extra mile. My 22 years in the Air Force, six years managing a private country club and nearly three years managing a private estate have taught me the meaning of teamwork and the importance of task completion.
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio to an Italian and Irish family who came to America in the early 1900s with dreams and hopes of making a better life for future generations. My family’s Italian heritage and culture have influenced me with a great sense of family. All of our gatherings were always filled with lots of great food, conversation, a sense of belonging and family pride. My grandparents were hardworking and very successful in carpentry and telecommunications. My mother grew up as an only child with a solid parochial education. She married soon after graduation and was blessed with two sons. Her sense of family was a key pillar in making me the person I am today. She truly shaped and forged the no-nonsense and well-rounded personality within me all while maintaining a sense of humor. She always wanted her sons to have the ability to care for themselves in every aspect of their lives and so she taught me many of the skills I use today. Early in my life, her teachings shared a great sense of caring and creativity within me and lit the fire inside my service heart.
My life’s experiences have allowed me to reach a high level of skills and the style of service in which I am most comfortable. I have worked in the hospitality industry going all the way back to my first job during high school, where I served at the local country club in my hometown in every capacity there was (waiter, bartender and chef’s assistant). My years in the Air Force have given me the well-rounded and balanced professional experiences to draw from for all of my different positions. As a personnel technician (human resource manager), I seized the opportunity to excel in areas of human resource management (promotions, employment, retirements and separation). I have also managed two command sections as well as two protocol offices. My Enlisted Aide experience has pushed my level of knowledge even higher in entertaining and event planning. After I retired from active duty with over 22 years of honorable service, I have come full circle in that I rose to become the General Manager/Chief Operations Officer for a private country club soon after being hired. I served at the country club for six years before being recruited as an Estate Manager. My time in the hospitality field has most definitely provided me with the necessary experience and skills to significantly raise the standards of service and guest care in my current role. Summing up my style of service would be professional, competent and a very comfortable delivery system with the highest level of integrity.
My Top Standards are Administrative, Entertaining, Culinary and Travel & Transportation.
- Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word/PowerPoint/Outlook/Excel)
- Manages budgets ranging from personal funds (monthly operation expenses) to governmental funds (as an Enlisted Aide)
- Processes all invoicing for all vendors, utilities and other household expenses, including tracking expenses and bill pay (accounts payable and receivable)
- Skilled with customized service delivery systems based on the standards and preferences of six Air Force senior officers (Generals) as well as adapting the Starkey System to a private club
- Manages and cultivates vendor relationships to provide the highest standard of support and value
- Capable of processing all daily, weekly, monthly and yearly staff schedules
- Edits and maintains household system binders that include housekeeping, culinary and maintenance as well as other service standard guides
- Proficient with Crestron in smart home technology operation
- Published author of training articles and materials for education of new Enlisted Aides
- Plans and executes events from two to 800 guests
- Experienced planning formal events for military and foreign dignitaries, including formal dinners
- Six years of experience planning and executing events at a country club, including weddings, fundraisers and casual outdoor gatherings
- Skilled with raising the level of detail and excellence among an event staff
- Capable of overseeing all event logistics: guests lists, invitations, table settings, centerpieces, lodging and musical entertainment
- Culinary Institute of America ProChef (Level 1) and American Culinary Federation certified
- Experienced private cook for General Officers in their homes as an Enlisted Aide
- Comfortable with a wide variety of cuisines and all service styles (formal and informal)
- Skilled with cooking formal dinners for senior global officials
- Knowledgeable of nutrition, proper food prep/safety and menu planning
- Experienced supervising private chefs and working with them to menu plan and stock inventory in accordance with dietary needs and restrictions
- Learns and understands flavor profiles and comfort foods (family favorites) and collaborates with staff to plan menus and meals accordingly
Transportation & Travel:
- Extensive travel experience in both Asia and Europe
- Drives Principals and guests as needed
- Experienced with safety and service on private aircraft (G5) and coordinating with staff, pilots and ground personnel
- Books travel accommodations (domestic and foreign)
Clothing and Valet
I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Catholic family with two older siblings. My mother and father immigrated to the United States from Ireland, where they both held “domestic” positions. Growing up, my mother worked as a nanny and my father worked as a chauffeur. Later in my youth, my mother pursued her love of service and completed nursing school. Due to my parents’ influence, as well as growing up in a Catholic household, I was raised with very strong morals, values, and ethics. I believe in respecting others and treating them as I would like to be treated. I value conscientious, well-done work and view this as a form of self-respect. I hold myself to very high standards and have a very strong work ethic, instilled by my Irish-Catholic family.
As a child, I worked jobs as a paper boy, shoveling snow for neighbors, worked at a soda fountain, as a camp counselor, and as a houseman one summer on Martha’s Vineyard. From a young age, my life was dedicated to serving others. As an adult, I pursued a career in teaching, being of service in an educational capacity. I was of service to my family and friends, acting as a designated gift-buyer for special occasions. I also worked as an event coordinator after my teaching career, orchestrating intimate and gala-type events.
My personal work style is very “hands-on,” with a pleasant, cooperative, and positive attitude. I pride myself on having a very good sense of humor and being able to find laughter in daily events and activities. I believe that service is simply “providing personal assistance to someone in need.” My work ethic lends itself to accomplishing this task in a professional manner, respecting boundaries, and acting in accordance with the given situation. I am very results-oriented and believe in communicating and working in a very respectful manner.
My upbringing has brought me to a point of being very family-centric. As a child, most of our entertaining was centered on family events and holidays. These are some of my happiest memories, and I enjoy working in Private Homes where I can enable other families to thrive and enjoy their time together.
In 1995, after the sudden passing of the Headmaster at Starkey International, I assumed the role of educating two subsequent classes while the Institute looked for a permanent Headmaster. My years of experience in education and teaching, combined with my lifetime in Private Service, made me an ideal person for this temporary role.
As I have grown in my career in Private Service, I am now in a place where I would like to provide a high level of service as a Personal Assistant, “go-to person” or Household Manager. I am capable of providing almost any need within a household from Administrative, to managing vendors and overall seeing what needs to be done. I would also be capable of scheduling/managing personal events and parties. I am happy to travel with a Principal for business and to other homes as well.
My top five standards are: Administrative, Entertaining, Clothing and Valet, Maintenance and Personal Care.
Technical Skill Synopsis:
- Familiar with the use of PC and Mac operating systems and other specific software
- Experienced with managing multiple staff in multiple homes
- Manages schedules, calendars, and household budgets
- Bill paying and account reconciliations
- Scheduling and oversight of vendors
- Comfortable hiring, training, and terminating staff
- Able to create Household Management book, detailing the duties and expectations of all staff
- International travel and concierge needs including tickets, hotel, drivers and security
- Cares for crystal, china, and silver
- Coordinates and executes formal and informal entertaining events
- Creates a desired ambiance in the home, based on a Principal’s standards
- Knowledgeable in floral arrangements, placement, and specific requests
- Able to properly set a table for formal and informal dining
- Utilizes the “Ballet of Service” to coordinate and execute events within a home
Clothing & Valet:
- Launders and irons clothing
- Specialty fabric, shoe, and leather care
- Rotates clothing for seasonal storage
- Organizes closets and packs for business and leisure travel
- Experienced personal shopper; coordinates outfits for Principals to fit any occasion
- Has a great personal interest in clothing and fashion
- Educated in the procurement and purchasing of fine clothing
- Comfortable packing and unpacking for travel
- Familiar with high-end designers of both men’s and women’s fashion
- Renovation and decoration experience in multiple homes
- Coordinates basic maintenance of HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and security/smart home systems
- Coordinates repair and maintenance of HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and security/smart home systems
- Being the overall eye when remodeling the home
- Manages and maintains records of all systems within a home
- Able to perform minor maintenance functions such as changing light bulbs and hanging photographs
- Comfortable assisting with essential hygiene and basic daily functions
- Natural affinity and communication style
- Life experience with relatives, friends, and acquaintances
- Able to manage medications and appointments
- Familiar with various types of therapies (occupational, speech, visual, etc.)
- Comfortable driving to and from appointments and social activities
- Experience working in a home with frequent high-level house guests
- High level of concierge service offered
- Guest management (profiles, likes/dislikes, services and tourism offered, etc.)
- Knowledge and experience of regular health maintenance for cats and dogs
- Comfortable working around domestic pets
- Able to manage medications and appointments for grooming, vet, and miscellaneous needs
- Experience caring for children
- Training and/or experience in childcare/education
- Natural affinity and life experience with children
- Comfortable working in a child-sensitive home