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 primarily a result of my upholding very high standards within the Private Service industry, and because I too come from a high-net-worth family. Service providers don’t always appreciate my leadership messages. The service world as personalities, hold their self-esteem in what they can do, not in developed understanding of the world.
Most employers Starkey chooses to serve are at $750 million in assets and above. They continue to come back as they have learned they want the best of the best,
and Starkey positions our Graduates to succeed through a variety of specialized services. High-net worth clientele have much to lose financially when they have hired the wrong Household or Estate Manager.
My military Graduates have kindly named me the First Lady of Service. I am honored. I began training Enlisted Aides who serve Admirals, Generals, and their spouses in 1998. They are amazing service professions who I am grateful to represent as they retire to civilian life. As my commitment to Private Service spans over thirty-
five years of experience, I come to you with a seasoned ownership
of knowledge that I greatly enjoy sharing. The world of Private Service has overwhelmingly changed recently. These changes have placed some of my high-net-worth Principals who are new to hiring at risk. These changes have also made our industry very difficult to understand. Terms and titles are not consistent, position descriptions are often developed by families and family offices who are listing needs as opposed to positioning workers to succeed in functional positions. Further, education in Private Service is not considered important.
“Anyone with good organization skills can do it!”
Many hire construction managers who helped build their new home or bistro managers in their neighborhood to be their Household Manager not realizing that very little knowledge in these two professions is transferable. Yes, the construction manager brings knowledge to complete the punch list, but that’s where it ends. I recently served a principal who did hire the bistro manager located at the end of their street. She was a lovely lady, had a big service heart, everyone liked her, but she knew nothing of Private Service.
She walked into rooms during meetings; she lacked etiquette and privacy in talking about her employer to others. She did not understand accepted daily practices and procedures or the service tools essential to the Household Management profession.
I know a special employer who has ultimately interviewed 35 butler- cooks in search of her specific match. I have learned much in working with her over many years. This may sound unreasonable, but for her it was a process of learning how to work with staff in the 21st Century because of her diplomatic background.
The world of domestics serving as housekeepers and housemen is not to what I refer. My graduates come with bachelor’s degrees, years of experience in such areas as home building, landscaping, culinary, hospitality, professional organizing and event planning. This is a beginning and good experience base, but still not Household Management or being educated in the profession.
“They just don’t know what they don’t know!”
Many new employers hire a Household or Estate Manager, but the candidate has no directed training. My diplomatic client who taught me much about placement also taught me Starkey’s little known match making essentials:
1. Lifestyle and Career Goals; Most persons entering the Private Service profession must have the desire to “make a difference” in the life of another. It’s a lifestyle requiring irregular hours, commitment to high standards, almost impossible with their own young children, and must have training in household etiquette and protocols, with unwavering privacy.
2. Why is the candidate in Service? What is their motivation? Until a candidate can clearly answer this question, their motivation comes from being told what to do as opposed to being inwardly motivated. This is an essential trait that supports work being performed on the employer’s agenda, not their own.
3.What is their most prominent Moral, Value or Ethic? Belief Systems must be matched with employers’ to appropriately understand and represent employer’s interests.
4. Essential Skills are categorized into ten Standard areas. Candidates must have superior skills in a minimum of three Service Standards, and usually four to succeed. Check Starkey’s Website to learn all ten Service Standards.
5. Private Service candidates have personalities that mirror a variety of Service Styles that are sought by employers. Service Styles must be matched to the employer’s to receive desired levels of service. Ultimately, it’s the personality, motivation and lifestyle matches that support long term placements, not only the technical skills. Thank you for the opportunity to share.
Call me with your questions. 1-800-888-4904
Mary Louise Starkey
First Lady of Service ,