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






Personal Statement:________________________________________

I was born in Waco, in 1956. My father was born and raised in Michigan City, Indiana, and joined the Air Force after high school, where he was transferred to Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama.

My genteel Southern mother, a business graduate of the University of Alabama, was living with her parents and working in Civil Service at Craig Air Force Base. Within three months of their introduction at the base, they were married by a Baptist Minister who greatly influenced both of their lives.

As newlyweds, they moved to Waco, Texas so that my father could attend Baylor University and become a Baptist Minister. My brother born 18-months after me, was so close in age that my parents dressed us as twins.

At the age of 6, we moved to Alabama for my father to take on various pastoral positions, where my brother and I were educated in the small towns of Calera and Anniston. In 1970, we moved to the city of Mobile, Alabama where he became the Campus Minister for The University of South Alabama.

My mother was a caring, devoted homemaker who worked to provide additional income.

Financial challenges were the primary source of conflict in my parents’ marriage, yet they raised us in a beautiful and loving home. There was no extra money for unbudgeted expenses: we seldom vacationed, dined out of the home, nor went to the movies. If we desired spending money, my parents encouraged us to work for it, instilling in us a true Southern work ethic: “anything worth having is worth working for.”

The powerful influences of a small town Church-centered life that comes with being a Preacher’s daughter created multi-decade values and friendships that have greatly impacted my life. I count myself fortunate to be raised by a loving, hardworking family, influenced by Church families from Texas to Alabama. In my adult life, the encouragement and prayers of friends-like-family from Churches in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and Indiana have made me the person I am today.

I graduated in 1978 from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication.

My plan was to complete a master’s degree in Marketing, yet I was offered a 12-month assignment with Alpha Delta Pi, the first secret society for women, and spent 1978 and 1979 as a Traveling Collegiate Consultant. The experience taught me much about the importance of self-motivation, as I learned etiquette protocol for travel and consulting.

I enjoyed chapter site visits and meeting new alumnae and students from Santa Barbara, California to Charleston, South Carolina – igniting an interest in consulting, personal development and interpersonal relationships.

I have a gracious, southern service style, with a deep work ethic to persevere everything I do. I sense what is needed, while focusing on being a good listener. I am well-versed in managing people and expect integrity and a job well done by each person I oversee.

At this stage of my life, I have decided to transfer my skills to the Private Service Profession. I educated myself at Starkey International to prepare for a position as Household Manager. I am aware that I have a “Service Heart” – (a term used to describe “a person who has a natural aptitude to give and who seems to be born to serve.”)

I have been blessed to care for both elderly family members and dear friends in their “golden years.” Elder care I provided often required daily assistance with medications and meals. Other experiences included socialization and taking them on local adventures to assist in keeping them active and engaged. I believe compassion and a listening ear is important in caring for the elderly and I have years of experience in planning and leading activities for seniors.

While I am open for most environments and have much to offer as an Estate Manager, Household Manager or an Executive Assistant; including bookkeeping, concierge services for vacations, non-profits and foundations, my passion is caring for others, managing lifestyles and personal care.

My brother is married to a terrific woman named and he is a well-respected Golf Instructor. He has been one of Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Golf Teachers” for two decades. My parents and my grandparents have passed away. Yet, I have an abundance of cousins whose relationships I enjoy. I am single, with a 4-year old Maine Coon Cat named Maxi, who is incredibly well-trained. I will go wherever I am needed that I may “make a difference.”

My Service Standards are:

Thorough, well-written communication, organization and focused attention-to-detail, and solving business challenges with Marketing and Communication solutions are my strongest abilities.
My computer skills are solid with current knowledge in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint
and Office 365.

I have managed schedules for staff and vendors in a calendar / task format, Excel spreadsheets and in a project management software program called WRIKE. I have performed accounting functions, when required. And I have generated detailed special event countdowns.

I consider myself a caring, compassionate, goal-driven Manager, with focused attention on accountability.

Even though I come from a humble background, my Mother and Grandmother were passionate about their personal collections of china, crystal and sterling silver. Saturday mornings were Household Chore day in our home. One of my least favorite weekly assignments was cleaning silver. However, I learned to appreciate the beauty in bright, shiny sterling silver. I know cleaning and I am excellent in training and managing staff in all areas including setting up Zones and Task Sheets along with preferred products, per the client’s requests.

I prefer organic foods and have two decades of preparing meals using organic ingredients.
My Mother had adult on-set Diabetes and thus, I have experience with healthy, no-sugar, low-fat cooking. One of my best friends developed debilitating food allergies 22 years ago that caused her to change her career path at 50 years of age and became a self-taught Organic Farmer. She greatly influenced my choices in food and food preparation.

I would be comfortable preparing meals, as needed, or supporting a Chef or other staff member with shopping, weekly meal planning, and maintaining a pantry.

Clothing and Laundry:
I have managed a sizeable seasonal wardrobe for myself when traveling for business. I have knowledge of caring for high-end clothing and linens.

Early in my career, I built a strong reputation for fun, engaging, entertaining, and memorable events in every major market in the United States. I am well versed in entertaining with more than 4-decades of experience with literally hundreds of events from intimate gatherings of 6 to multi-day grand opening activities. I have knowledge of Emily Post-style entertaining, table settings, and service. Events I have planned and executed range from casual BBQ’s and picnics to new business expansion activities to private black-tie dinners.

I want to be in charge of entertaining and special events (personal and corporate), based on the needs and desires of the Principal and their Family. After vetting a dependable team of resources, I can handle a variety of on-going entertainment, including small teas, bridge gatherings, luncheons and dinner events.

Property and Grounds:
I owned and managed 7-acres of mountain property in the southern central portion of The Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We enjoyed vegetable and seasonal flower gardens that I maintained. I selected plants, pruned floral gardens and was responsible for daily watering.

In 2002, I purchased 5,000 three-year old Frasier Fir seedlings and supervised the planting of these small trees on our 7-acres of woodlands. Today, they are 15 and 18 feet tall, providing year-round evergreens on the property.

I can change a light bulb, and locate electrical breakers when the electricity goes out. I also know how to perform careful examination of trained maintenance resources to handle urgent maintenance challenges, as well as, on-going proactive maintenance requirements for 4,000 sq. ft. or larger sized homes. Yes, I am familiar with Smart Home Technology


Safety and Security:
I have had personalized training in a form of martial arts for self-protection. Jujitsu was at the core of the training by a coach who travels and trains Navy Seals. I have experience with property alarm systems in 3 or 4 recent settings (residential and business).

Ten years of corporate travel, 3 out of 4 weeks per month, provided a baseline for hassle-free travel plans. I traveled throughout most of the United States including Hawaii and Alaska.

I am familiar with private airport logistics and travel.

Touring 3 of the Bahamian Islands on a private yacht owned by a wealthy New York Insurance magnate, was an educational and memorable experience.

I am familiar with Domestic and International travel and have toured Canada; England; France; Italy; Hong Kong; Mainland China (Shanghai, Beijing) Salzburg & Vienna, Austria; Prague, The Czech Republic; the Baja Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Tulum, and Cancun Mexico; the Dominican Republic and many of the Caribbean Islands including Grand Caymen, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.

Personal Care:

Children, Elders, Guests and Pets

Child Care:
I can work in a household with children, yet I have had no experience as a Nanny or Private Tutor.

Elder Care:
I have been blessed to care for both elderly family members and dear friends in their “golden years.” Some of the care required daily assistance with medication and meals. Other learning opportunities about Elder Care was in creating interesting and appropriate social activities including taking them on local adventures and mornings out.

I am knowledgeable in planning and leading activities for my elders. Because of the love and friendship of my maternal grandparents, I’ve always had a heart for Elderly persons. As a University Sophomore, I considered Social Work as a college major. I believe compassion and a listening ear is important in caring for the elderly.

Guest Care:
I formed a Cabin Rental business in the Southern Central Great Smoky Mountains, just 3 hours north of Atlanta in 2000, where I perfected my hospitality and guest care talents. Twelve years of 5 out of 5 ratings from every Vacation rental guest, indicates the type of guest care I will bring to the client and their family and friends.

The 7-acre property accommodated as many as 6 guests in the two-bedroom “Cabin Nestled in the Woods,” on an average of 9 months per year. I loved taking care of my guests.

Additionally, I provided customized Mountain Concierge services, based on interests in Area Outdoor Adventures, National Park excursions, Site-Seeing Activities, Spa and Massage Services, Dining Out, Casino visits, and Shopping experiences.

Guests were provided the best possible visit with proactive and consistent communication, an impeccably clean environment, a well-stocked kitchen and refrigerator with coffee, milk, mountain farm-raised eggs, cereal, juice, a filled wine rack, ‘s’mores makings, ice cream bars and hospitality treats .

Pet Care:
I am comfortable with caring for both dogs and cats and have no pet allergies. I have trained my own pets with great success. In recent years, I had a Dachshund who lived to be 21 and a Cocker Spaniel who lived to be 17 years old. “Browsin,” the Cocker, survived Cataract surgery and removal of his inner ear canals in both ears, requiring home health care and medication management. In spite of his hearing loss, I was able to teach him sign language.


Certified Estate Manager/Elder Companion

Top Standards:
Personal Care (Elder Care).






Will go anywhere for the right position

Personal Statement:
I was born in Garfield Heights, Ohio, a small suburb outside of Cleveland.  My mother was Catholic in her religious beliefs and my father was raised Lutheran, but not practicing.  My sister and I attended church regularly as children because my mother wanted to raise us with a spiritual belief or a ‘Higher Power’, something greater then ourselves. The parenting we received allowed  us to then explore our own choices in spirituality.

My father was an electrician by trade.  He had a 30 plus year career working for the Electrical Power Company in Cleveland.  He started out as a union lineman and worked his way into management. My mother was a caring and devoted housewife.  She stayed home to raise my sister and me.  She was always active in our PTA and had hobbies of her own of tennis, swimming and golf. Mom also was a swimming instructor for summer camps.  Soon after my sister and I started middle school, my mother began to work in retail clothing.  She truly enjoyed her part-time job and the independence it afforded her.  I was fortunate to be raised by a very loving family, including grandparents, who lived just around the block from our home.  My parents and grandparents were all blue-collar, working class people who instilled in me a true midwestern work ethic – work until the job is done, and do your absolute best.

Sunday’s after church, my sister and I would walk to my grandmother’s for Sunday dinner that we would help prepare.  Holidays were great fun and my grandmother was an excellent cook and baker.  I always helped with the meals and baking, and was responsible for setting the dining room table with her lace tablecloths and best china.  I also helped my grandfather in his garden and yard.  He always had an impeccably manicured lawn and a great garden along with fruit trees on the property.

When I was in junior high school, I started babysitting.  These were primarily weekend and summer positions.  I continued to babysit even when I got my first ‘real job’ as a waitress.  I have always been a hard worker and able to find jobs that I truly enjoy, and they have all revolved around service.

I married my high school sweetheart, and together we purchased our first home. The house was a 75-year-old Tudor-style home, which we gutted and completely remodeled into a beautiful living space.  I loved the feeling of accomplishment from organizing our projects, setting deadlines and doing the work. In this process, I developed a better understanding of quality within many aspects of my life.

In 1985 I made the decision to become a registered nurse after working as a printer for 4 years.  I attended the best nursing school in Ohio at the time, Kent State University.  I was asked to become part of the International Honor Society for Nurses.  This truly was an honor and a very humbling experience for me.

In my nursing career, I worked cardiac ICU, post heart transplant patient care, Quality Management and as a Home care coordinator.  My nursing experience allowed me the opportunity to work in medical sales and service (I sold pacemakers).  I truly loved this career of 15+ years.  The travel, places I lived in our country, the moves I have made to be working with different companies were great experiences.  I especially enjoyed all the corporate entertaining.

I used to plan dinners with doctors and staff.  I would have keynote speakers fly in to present products and procedures. Other events included trips to Aspen and Banff Canada, golf outings, etc.  I also utilized strong administrative skills, including heavy calendar management and correspondence.  I am comfortable in a variety of environments and can seamlessly transition from an office to a private home or medical setting depending on what the situation demands.

I am very hard working and believe in the mantra, “Live the life you love, and love the life you live.”  I have loved all of my career paths as they have brought me to this place in life where I know I’m meant to be… the private service industry.  I know my service heart developed when I was very young, along with my passion for truly caring for and about people.  My ability to take care of others and provide a service to meet their needs is a skill in which I take great pride.

For me, communication is the key to any successful relationship.  I am direct in my communication style and appreciate the same in return.  I also believe in asking questions in order to fully understand the scope of the request so I can meet or exceed expectations.

* My top Service Standards are Administrative, Culinary, Entertaining, and Personal Care (Elder Care).

Administrative – My administrative skills developed when I worked in nursing and the health care industry.  I would manage and delegate staff including everyone’s time in the operating room, sales calls, and patient device follow-ups.  I was also responsible for ‘After Market Research Studies’ that required hospital administrative meetings and collaboration including physicians and patient authorization.  I organized new product launch dinners, including guest physician speakers.  I organized all of their accommodations including travel, airport pick-ups, hotels, etc.  I accompanied physicians to different cities for professional corporate outings and served as their go-to person for all administrative needs while conducting business.

Culinary – I have always had a passion for cooking and exploring new cuisines.  As a child, I used to help my mother and grandmother in the kitchen for family events and holidays.  My interest in cooking led me to try new cuisines and learn how to recreate dishes in my own home.  I have utilized food and my culinary skill to manage my health and wellness throughout the years and recently completed raw/vegan-cooking courses to further develop my talents.  I am comfortable following recipes and enjoy cooking healthy dishes, full of flavor and unique ingredients.

Entertaining - I believe that entertaining comes naturally to me.  I have fond memories of hosting small dinner parties and for friends and family soon after I got married.  I loved the prep of the menu, planning the shopping lists and making my task sheets for everything to be done right up to the hour of my event.  I soon became interested in flatware patterns, china, wine glasses for each type of wine, flowers, music, and caterers.  Reading and educating myself about different entertainment styles became a hobby.  I also liked to go camping with friends and plan a gourmet menu and cook at the campsite.  I loved the interaction with all of my guests and bringing people together.  When I was married, our second home had a small gourmet kitchen. I had a commercial stove and appliances with all high-end fixtures.  It was a great place for me to relax and have fun.  My corporate entertaining experience also influenced my ability to plan unique and special events for guests in both formal and informal settings.

Personal Care (Elder Care) – I decided to go to nursing school in 1985.  I started my nursing career at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) in Cleveland, Ohio.  I worked as a staff nurse on a Post Open Heart surgical floor.  I worked exclusively with cardiac surgical patients and heart transplant recipients from all over the world.  After leaving cardiac nursing, I moved into patient coordination roles for homecare and quality management.

After nearly 10 years with the Cleveland Clinic I started my career as a clinical specialist in the medical device industry.  I was taking care of patients who had pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators.  My job consisted of being with the physician in the operating room, supporting my products at implantation of the device and device follow-up.  I truly enjoyed the patient/physician interaction and checking their devices and communicating to them all information they requested.  I also loved all my relationships with my physicians and the trust we had between us. In addition, I always like meeting new people, talking and listening to them. My entire life and careers have been dedicated to caring and providing service for people.

Technical Skill Synopsis:


· Create a Service Vision based on the knowledge and information about the Principal(s)
· Manage schedules and calendars
· Familiar with PC and MAC operating systems
·  Comfortable with MS Office
· Trained in the patented Starkey Service Management model
· Staff Training and Management
·  Management of after market Research Studies (medical)
· Perform household inventories and maintain stocking lists
· Prepare daily work schedules for staff and vendors


· Capable of zoning a home for cleaning and creating task sheets
· Identifies tasks and services to be done an initiates work to be performed
· Knowledgeable of specific cleaning products and their appropriate use

· Able to plan menus for daily meals and special events
·  Comfortable creating simple meals with everyday pantry items
·  Skilled in raw & vegan food preparation
·  Contact caterers for corporate and personal events
·  Inventory kitchen and pantry
·  Capable of paring food and wine
·  Experienced home cook
·  Comfortable cooking a wide variety of “family favorites” based on family, traditional recipes
· Able to grill, roast, and sauté meats and vegetables

Clothing & Valet:
· Organize closets for clothing, linens, and specialty items
·  Seasonal management and rotation of wardrobe
·Packing and unpacking for travel
· Ironing of clothing and linens
· Everyday laundry

· Experience in purchasing fine wines and spirits
· Experience in planning corporate outings
· Management of correspondence for corporate events
· Prepare menus with restaurants for entertaining at their establishment
· Knowledgeable in floral arrangements
· Creating desired ambiance in the home based on a Principal’s standards


Grounds & Property:

· Seasonal plantings
· Knowledgeable in maintenance of outdoor structures (pool house & barn)
· Knowledge of horticulture and personal interest in gardening
· Experience managing & working with gardeners
· Experience managing in ground salt water swimming pool
· Experience managing grass tennis court (including sprinkler system)
· Seasonal upkeep of pool house (outdoor kitchen, bath and shower)

· Experienced in property maintenance
·  Experienced with vendor use
· Knowledgeable in warranties, manuals and specifications
· Maintain accountability of who came on & off the property

Transportation & Travel:
· Managing vehicle maintenance schedules, insurance, registration and licenses
· Coordinate various modes of transportation for principals, their family and guests
· Organizing travel wardrobes
· Experienced in international travel including flights, hotels, and ground transportation

Safety and Protection:
· Knowledge in monitoring alarm systems
·  Knowledge in implementing a fire safety and evacuation plan
· Perform safety checks of residence and surrounding property as needed

Personal Care:
Child Care:
· Babysitting experience
· Trained in infant CPR

Pet Care:
· Daily care including walking feeding, exercise, and providing attention & love
· Manage vendors including veterinarian, groomer, trainer, and specialty care
·  Overall care of domestic pets, including overnight pet sitting
· Track and maintain all records including medical and pedigree

Guest Care:
·  Able to create customized itineraries and profiles for guests
·  Provide transportation services
·  Overall creation of guest profiles including favorites, allergies, and preferences
· Comfortable providing suggestions for local area attractions and entertainment

Elder Care:
· Hands on experience in caring for chronically ill people (cancers, dementia, cardiac, transplant patients)
· Physician/patient advocate
· Comfortable assisting with all ‘Activities of Daily Living’ (hygiene)
· Comfortable with end of life concerns & managing hospice
· Maintained detailed logs & calendars of progression of illness, daily functions and general behavior
· Provided chauffeur services for more active persons
· Shared life experiences with relatives and acquaintances
· Hands on nursing experience for 4 years

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