This article originally appeared in DEMA eblast for convention updates. Kellie is currently in Orlando attending the 2014 DEMA Convention.
By Kellie Geres, House Manager, DC Chapter President
I’ve been in private service for over 25 years. I started as a nanny to a wonderful family and each position after that I was a nanny / household manager. Flash forward 20 years and my current job was in a state of transition. The need for a house manager was evident, though the family had outgrown the need for a nanny. With two high school age kids, one now driving, the child care aspect had taken a back seat. Luckily my Principal and I have been able to communicate very well and we were both on board with transitioning the job to full house manager, with limited ‘adult supervision of minor children’. Everyone was happy, and continues to be happy, as I’ve been here now for over 10 years.
Around the time that the job was in transition, I became acquainted with DEMA. I met Mike Wright for coffee at a local restaurant during one of his trips to DC, attended meetings regularly and when the opportunity came to take a leadership position in the chapter, I was asked to be president. I accepted. I’ve been involved with industry organizations almost as long as I’ve been in private service.
Attending an industry conference, is a must for any professional.Lawyers do it. Teachers do it. Accountants do it. The DEMA Convention is a must for any private service staff or company that deals with private service, staff or HNW homes. Why?
Where else can you walk into a room and not have to explain to others what you do? Stepping into the DEMA Convention and having a roomful of peers and professionals who ‘get it’ is priceless. Being able to say I work in Potomac, MD for a HNW individual and have no one question who you work for, what do they do that they have staff, what’s a house manager, or wow! they must be so rich to have you and be accepted for what I do, is worth the price of admission to the DEMA Convention.
Also, where else can you meet and forge relationships with some of our industry’s top experts? The opportunity to meet Charles MacPherson, a legend in Private Service and training. I’ve had the opportunity to hear him speak several times, and I continue to learn something new from him each time. Or Peter Van Ryder, who has taken his Essentials of Household Management on the road, and shares his expertise with others. His enthusiasm and passion for DEMA is contagious. Or Andrew Lowrey. Butler, trainer, placement director, problem solver, dog wrangler – passionate about DEMA and all things private service. I’m honored to call him friend and colleague.
Industry leaders in placement are in abundance as well. I’ve known of Bob Hanselman for many years, as he was a name whispered in awe and sometimes fear while I lived in Atlanta. It seemed to take a lot to get through his placement doors. Meeting him at DEMA last year, and spending time with him, I realized he is just an everyday guy, with a passion for private service and top quality placements. Seeing Judi Merlin of A Friend of the Family who placed me in a job when I first relocated to Atlanta and continues to be a mentor and friend for many years.
And let’s not forget the access to today’s leading companies that work with PSP’s and private homes and their owners. From smart home technology, to selecting the finest wines, DEMA Vendors support the organization and share their art and expertise with convention attendees – during convention and beyond. Find a solution to a problem you might be having or learn the latest in smart technology. Find a vendor you and your principle can trust, at the DEMA Convention.
Being able to connect with other PSP’s across the country and network and forge relationships. On a recent trip to LA, I reached out to LA Chapter President Richard Prendergast and was able to attend a local chapter event, meet others, and reconnect with some I had met at previous conventions. I know to check and see if there is a chapter wherever I may travel and connect with local leadership or members should I have any needs while traveling. All this made possible through DEMA and relationships built by attending convention.
All of this is available to you, whether you’re a DEMA member or not, butONLY if you attend the DEMA Convention. This will be the best investment you make in yourself and your career. I’ll see you in Orlando!