Domestic Staff Training

Mary Louise StarkeyToday 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!


My top four standards are Administrative, Maintenance, Property & Grounds and Security

    Personal Statement:
My background is strong in family values and well-grounded in work and social behavioral patterns. My father, Robert Dietrich, was a builder of high quality custom homes and an astute businessman. My late mother, Eleanor Dietrich, was a secretary for the Connecticut State Police Department and a strong stabilizing factor in our home. My grandfathers, maternal and paternal, were hard-working factory laborers, while both of my grandmothers were housewives.   Throughout my life, I found great satisfaction and a rewarding comfort in helping others, which led me to becoming a volunteer fireman at the age of 20. Shortly after that, I realized without hesitation that my purpose was to go the extra mile for people. This was not only satisfying and rewarding for me, but it also brought joy into my life. That’s when I realized that I was, and always would be, a natural “Service Heart.”   Organization is a necessary and natural practice of mine. When I worked with my father building homes, I realized I had a natural sense of order and a definite eye for detail. My father recognized this talent also and soon had me supervising projects for him. Later, when I became an Estate Manager, my attention to detail and ability for absolute organization served me well in ensuring my clients’ safety and comforts, which in turn brought me joy and confirmed my “Service Heart.”   I recognize that I am a perfectionist, dedicated to the highest possible standards of professionalism and personal service. I am friendly not familiar, invisible yet available.   I am also an excellent communicator. I make sure there are no stones left unturned and I am not afraid to ask questions, to clarify my Principals’ exact needs and wishes. I believe my delegating skills are exceptional; I exude ease and comfort in my authority, making others appreciative of serving and comfortable in following directions. I’m also very hands-on when needed whether it is for a minute or a month.   I have been with my wife for 26 years and after 16 years, God blessed us with our amazing daughter. We made the decision to homeschool our daughter until she was 10 years old, in order to create a solid foundation for her future and meaningful experiences with our family. We made this decision after the passing of our 33-year-old employer, who had three amazing daughters of his own. He was the most kind-hearted and amazing employer, father and individual I ever had the honor of serving. After seeing first-hand just how short our time with each other can be, we made this life-altering change. We believe that this was one of the best decisions we have ever made as a couple, despite the many sacrifices it involved. Our daughter is now 10 years old, and I am ready to embark on my next, and hopefully final, long-term estate management position.  

My top four standards are Administrative, Maintenance, Property & Grounds and Security.


I am experienced in maintaining relationships with existing staffs as well as hiring and training new staff members that will deliver exactly what Principals expect and desire. I pay attention to minute details and I’m a personable leader with excellent negotiating and problem solving techniques. I also excel at establishing priorities and handling multiple tasks. Developing a professional working environment with vendors is something I enjoy, which also ensures that the service vision set forth by my Principals is delivered. In addition, I have managed family, staff and vendor schedules, as well as budgets for the entire household and special projects. I am also accustomed to working with Family Offices.


My expertise includes vendor/construction supervision for various projects, including roofing, plumbing, electric, refrigeration, HVAC, appliance repair, painting, pest control, landscaping, garden service and pool maintenance. I’m also experienced at overseeing new construction projects of any scale, from garden sheds to a new 32,000-square-foot estate. In addition, I’m an expert in contractor selection and relations, vendor selection, negotiations and contracts, garage and storage facilities, vehicle maintenance and boat/Jet Ski maintenance. Part of my role as an Estate Manager has been in creating preventative maintenance schedules for both the interior and exterior of a property.

Property and Grounds:

I have managed the day-to-day procedures of homes ranging from 10,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet with extensive grounds and landscape features, ensuring an efficient and smooth flow in operations. I supervise all vendors and service personnel, while also being directly accountable to owners for overall management of properties, staff and service. I’ve always been passionate about creating, maintaining and improving exquisite grounds based on my Principals’ desires, as I believe the outside of the home is as important as the inside. I am very hands-on in all aspects of working with grounds.


Keeping the confidentiality and privacy of my Principals is always at the forefront of my mind when it comes to security concerns. My security experience includes the installation of multiple camera systems, as well as the scheduling and coordination of close protection bodyguards, at home and abroad. I am also an expert with motion systems and infrared camera systems. 

Technical Skills Synopsis


  • Trained in Starkey Service Management Model
  • Extensive experience in operations and responsibility of personal property interests
  • Experienced in staff development, interviews, hiring and training
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Proficient at maintaining multiple budgets for households and properties
  • Good at maintaining household calendars for Principals, staff and vendors
  • Detail-oriented, energetic and personable leader with excellent negotiating and problem solving techniques
  • Ability to establish priorities and handle multiple tasks
  • Experienced in vendor/contractor supervision; maintains all household and property records
  • Oversaw multiple construction projects, ranging from a new 10,000-square-foot retirement condominium to a 32,000-square-foot residence in Dubai
  • Comfortable with managing multiple homes.


  • Sincere passion to meet and exceed employer needs with the highest cleaning standards within the home
  • Trained in proper cleaning procedures of antique furniture, art work and rug maintenance
  • Capable of performing hands-on cleaning and housekeeping duties
  • Experienced leading household staff of 16
  • Skilled at developing daily, weekly and monthly task sheets for the housekeeper to ensure all tasks are accomplished in an efficient and timely manner
  • Leader and team player with exceptional organizational, communication and training techniques
  • Experienced developer of inventory system of all household items for insurance and other purposes


  • Experienced with coordinating and scheduling tasks with Chef and/or caterers
  • Capable of creating daily/weekly menus according to preferences
  • Able to create flavor profiles for Principals and their family/friends

Clothing Care:

  • Knowledgeable in fabric care and the proper techniques for clothing care
  • Knowledge of proper ironing and steaming techniques
  • Experienced with purchasing clothes for Principals and have assisted Principals in the purchase of formal wear or clothing for special occasions
  • Detailed, labeled and organized closets, along with creating a complete clothing inventory for tracking products
  • Inventoried and photographed Principal’s jewelry, shoes, handbags and other accessories


  • Expert at the planning, coordinating and execution of special events, including in-house corporate events and other social functions
  • Capable of coordinating any social event with the highest level of excellence
  • Assisted as necessary with special events of 120+ guests
  • Experienced in hosting formal gathering for foreign dignitaries
  • Capable of leading and coordinating teams with highly organized efficiency

Property & Grounds:

  • Nearly 20 years of experience managing day-to-day procedures of multiple grounds, ensuring efficient and smooth flow of operations
  • Skilled at maintaining valuable relationships with all vendors and service personnel
  • Knowledgeable of elaborate pool systems, Jacuzzis, steam rooms, waterfalls, massage rooms, tennis courts, boat houses, garages, etc.
  • Experienced with scheduling, negotiating and supervising various landscapers, gardeners, pool technicians and other vendors
  • Directly accountable to owners for overall management of properties, staff and service
  • Maintain all household and property records
  • Daily observation and surveillance of properties


  • Skilled at supervising renovations and repair for roofing, plumbing and electric, refrigeration and HVAC, appliance repair, painting and pest control, landscape and garden services, pool maintenance and more
  • Capable of personally troubleshooting basic maintenance issues, including plumbing, electrical, irrigation and other problems within or outside a home

  • Skilled with updating proper function of media within the home, including sound systems, security systems, TVs and more
  • Experienced with hands-on garage and storage maintenance, vehicle maintenance and  boat/Jet Ski maintenance
  • Experienced with scheduling preventative maintenance inside and out of property

Transportation and Travel:

  • Extensive experience with domestic and international travel
  • Clean driving record
  • Experienced as a personal chauffer
  • Extensive yacht experience, with the ability to navigate any vessel up to 100 tons
  • U.S Coast Guard licensed Captain
  • Ability to organize complicated, multi-country travel itineraries, including air, land and sea transport

Safety and Protection:

  • Oversee the installation and maintenance of elaborate security systems, including alarms and infrared cameras
  • Concealed weapon permit
  • Understand privacy and confidentiality of Principals
  • Perform daily and nightly walks around property and grounds to identify any anomalies

Personal Care:

  • Dedicated to the highest standards in professionalism and personal service
  • Guest care: Skilled with accommodating up to 15 house guests at a time in private homes, meeting every need during their stays
  • Pet care: Comfortable exercising, feeding and nurturing cats and dogs. Experience dealing with many different animals, including horses, zebras, giraffes and orangutans
  • Child care: Experienced in chauffeuring Principals’ children, sourcing tutors to meet their educational needs and taking them to various appointments


YG0813Certified Household Estate Manager/Chef

Top Three Standards:

Property & Grounds



Top Standards:
Clothing and Valet
Personal Care






Personal Statement:

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

Personal Care:

Elder Care:

  • 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

Guest Care:

  • 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.)

Pet Care:

  • 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

Child Care:

  • 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





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I, as my clientele, work to keep a fairly low profile in my Private Service work. There have been claims that I am very difficult, and much more. Most of the stories written about Mary Louise Starkey have come from tabloids to sell papers. Unfortunately, they are...