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!


YG0813Certified Household Manager

Top Three Standards:

Property & Grounds


Personal Statement:

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I am the second oldest of nine children. Growing up surrounded by my family of 11 in a three-bedroom, one-bath home, I attended Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. My mother and father taught us how to have a strong work ethic, proper morals and values.

My grandfather was a sign painter who bartered for groceries, gasoline and anything he could. My grandmother worked as an operator for the Bell Telephone Company. My grandmother never possessed a driver’s license; she took the city bus everywhere she needed to go.

My father was a Vice President at General Electric. My mother was a top level C.E.O. of domesticity. My mother juggled and balanced finances, shopping, cooking, unequaled love, care and support for the other 10 people in the house, while never thinking of herself.

In a family of 11, you just naturally helped with everything. From a young age we cooked, cleaned house, babysat, changed diapers, did laundry, folded laundry and helped with yard work. When I got my first car, I quickly realized that I was a neat freak, as it was always spotless and in perfect mechanical condition.

I have spent more than 30 years in the service industry and have managed homes for Fortune 500 Principals. I am a two-time Certified Household Manager of Starkey International. My skills include planning and coordinating, vendor management, construction project oversight, wine cellar purchasing, inventory and control, daily menu planning and cooking. In addition, I am experienced with all the ins and outs of entertainment, whether it’s a party of two or a 300-person function. Hiring and training staff, account management for all household-related expenses and fulfilling payroll are all a part of my administrative expertise. Later in my career, I have developed a tremendous amount of knowledge in landscaping, gardens and construction.

I place a high value on personal achievement. I push myself to become better and continue learning. I have successfully owned and operated a restaurant in Sedona, Arizona. But more importantly, I provide unconditional love and care for private families. My goal is to work for a private Principal and live onsite, with possible travel included. Thank you for the opportunity.

My top Service Standards are Property & Grounds, Maintenance and Administrative.

Property and Grounds:

  • Served as the owner’s representative for the new construction of a 10,000-square-foot, 12-bedroom beach home in Turks and Caicos; worked regularly with architect and general contractor to ensure quality, timeliness and budget of the project 
  • Oversaw the construction and maintenance of a $1 million, 70,000-gallon swimming pool, complete with water features 
  • Skilled with new construction on properties ranging from 5 to 80 acres, taking the project all the way from dirt removal to finished product, including blueprints, vendor management and final punch list 
  • Experienced with remodel projects: working with heavy equipment to finalizing interior details 
  • Years of hands-on experience with mowing, weeding, edging, fertilizing and tree trimming; knowledgeable with seasonal planting 
  • Experienced with irrigation systems, deep root tree fertilization, mosquito and insect management 
  • Capable of operating pool and spa systems and caring for outdoor buildings, structures and furniture 
  • Capable of entry gate and fencing upkeep, roof and gutter repair and setting up large-scale outdoor holiday decorations  


  • Established property-wide maintenance schedules, including quarterly HVAC unit checks, filter changes, duct cleaning, quarterly refrigeration compressor cleaning, dust removal and biannual ice machine disinfecting
  • Established weekly pool cleaning including filter changes and equipment checks 
  • Completed monthly irrigation inspection and regular automotive care, including oil change, registration, plates, tires, insurance and cleaning 
  • Knowledgeable in the operation and maintenance of heavy equipment, trucks, tractors, mowers, entry gates, fencing and property security, wells and water treatment systems, large commercial grade pools and water features 
  • Skilled at sprinkler repair, seasonal plantings, tree fertilization and tree trimming, installing artificial turf and implementing a property-wide organic fertilization program 
  • Experienced with roofing and gutters including repair and replacement 
  • Knowledgeable with auto repair and maintenance; scheduled maintenance, repairs, license and registration, and cleaning for stable of cars 
  • Crafty handyman skills including minor electrical, plumbing, paint, drywall and carpentry 
  • Bid, contracted and provided oversight for interior and exterior painting of 15,000-square-foot home


  • Capable of processing financial records, daily reports, payroll and account reconciliation
  • Skilled with hiring and training staff, inventory control, purchasing food, alcohol and paper products 
  • Negotiates, manages and pays vendors 
  • Responsible for all expenses related to home property, including all monthly bill paying, grocery inventory and purchasing, wine/alcohol inventory and purchasing
  • Capable of logging employee hours and monitoring vacation and sick time 
  • Experienced with monitoring daily bank account activity for fraud 


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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