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 4 Standards

Personal care


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.

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.

Culinary/Entertaining: I first learned cooking and entertaining from my grandmother, who would set a formal Thanksgiving table complete with her best china, silver and crystal. Over the past 30 years, I have managed as many as 35 staff members at one time. I coordinated, planned and cooked for parties, including intimate dinners for two, backyard pig roasts, and three-day events with 300 people. Many years of schooling and on-the-job practice have sculpted me into a very skilled, innovative, and accomplished chef. I have also coordinated weddings, special events, corporate parties, women’s luncheons, high tea, and entertaining in private homes. I also know how to buy, design and arrange floral pieces on a daily basis.


Administrative: I have performed a multitude of administrative duties. All of the construction logistics, interior decorating, hiring and training, accounts payable and receivable, payroll, bookkeeping, taxes, and insurance are some of the tasks I have completed. My thought process and organizational skills allow me to handle any situation with comfort and ease. I love to organize and plan. I am able to handle emergencies because all details have been carefully planned and coordinated.


Personal care:  Growing up with nine brothers and sisters made it easy and natural for me to be comfortable with kids. I have raised four children and have four grandchildren. I am very comfortable with newborn babies and children of all ages. In the first private home where I worked, the Principals had a 15-year-old son. With the absence of his parents, I became his friend, guardian, and mentor. I am now working with a family of four children, ages 5 to 17.

Technical Skill Synopsis:


  • Successful management and ownership of two restaurants.
  • Processing of financial records, including nightly reports, payroll and payables.
  • Hire, supervise, train and schedule staff members.
  • Responsible for ordering and inventory control while managing multiple vendors.
  • Basic Microsoft Office, Outlook and internet research.



  • Upheld strict sanitation and cleanliness for working restaurants and private homes.
  • Familiar with a variety of household surfaces and proper care and maintenance.
  • Performs detailed hands-on cleaning and teaches others by example.
  • Managed housekeepers for private family.
  • Able to zone a home and create task sheets.



  • Highly experienced, formally-trained and talented Chef.
  • Successfully served as Private Chef / Household Manager for over 7 years.
  • Created menus, planned, prepared for restaurants, catering and private homes.
  • Excellent savory and pastry skills.


Clothing Care:

  • Skilled in clothing care and wardrobe maintenance.
  • Understand proper closet organization and management.
  • Proficient in laundering and ironing clothing and linens.



  • Experience in coordination of special events, both within the home and at restaurants.
  • Trained in the art of formal service.
  • Knowledgeable in floral arrangement.
  • Coordination of vendors.
  • Certified level 1 Sommelier.



  • Able to create and implement weekly, monthly and annual maintenance schedules.
  • Experience re-building cars.
  • Experience in performing basic household repairs.
  • Orchestrated all the construction logistics for multiple remodels.


Property and Grounds:

  • Basic ground care: mowing, edging, fertilization, blowing, etc.
  • Maintenance of outdoor structures and facilities.
  • Construction and blueprint knowledge.
  • Responsible for major construction projects.


Transportation & Travel:

  • Coordinated travel through China, Taiwan and Vietnam as part of 2-year contract


Safety & Security:

  • Working knowledge of home security systems.
  • 3rd degree black belt with family safety and security training.


Personal Care:

  • Supervision and mentorship of employer’s children.
  • Gracefully and effectively juggle wants, needs, daycare, medical visits, sporting activities etc.
  • Extensive experience in restaurant hospitality.
  • Trained in creating guest care management profiles.
  • Experience in caring for and training dogs.


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.

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