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!

CC2021

  My top four skills are: AdministrativeHousekeepingClothing & Valet               I was born in the Southern Province of Zambia in a town called Monze.   My parents met at the University of Zambia where my mother claimed...

YG0813

YG0813Certified Household Estate Manager/Chef

Top Three Standards:

Property & Grounds
Maintenance
Administrative

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SJ2018

Top Standards:
Administrative
Entertaining
Clothing and Valet
Maintenance
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:

Administrative:

  • 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

Entertaining:

  • 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

Maintenance:

  • 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

 

 

 

 

Employers Seek the Best in Private Service

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...