As a parent, finding the best childcare can sometimes be a source of frustration and stress. How do you locate and screen the right candidates? How do you ensure that the match is ideal on both ends? Insert The Nanny League. Why use a childcare agency, and what makes The Nanny League different from the rest? See our exclusive interview with founder Lindsay Aspell Thomason, as well as the difference in her incredible vision to see every child flourish.
Q: In your own words -- what does The Nanny League mean to you?
Lindsay: The Nanny League is my proudest achievement to date. The journey that led to its inception is truly unique, and one that I am both incredibly proud of and grateful for. I have learned so much about myself since starting The Nanny League; I have been able to recognize my own strengths & weaknesses, and I continue to learn something new every single day. The work challenges me and fulfills me in ways I never imagined. My education & background in Psychology, working directly with high profile professionals in the entertainment industry, along with my role working as a professional nanny, has given me the tools to be successful in my role as head of The Nanny League today. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life; I am doing exactly what I was always meant to do. We are doing quality, important work. And that is the most rewarding feeling in the world.
Q: What is The Nanny League, and what makes it different?
Lindsay: The Nanny League is essentially a high quality service that matches high-profile families with college-educated nannies through a highly specialized, secure process. Our applicants are screened extensively (more on that later!) to ensure that they are going to be a great fit for the family.
We are different for several reasons, but first and foremost, because we really stand by the nannies we are sending to our families. They endure an extensive screening process, and I personally interview each nanny and clear them before sending them to a family for an interview. I also feel that in a way, I serve as ongoing support for both nannies and families. Even after the contract between the nanny and family is signed, I’m always here for any ongoing help and support that they need. I treat my clients and nannies as an extension of my family, and I think that personalized care makes all the difference.
We are also doing great work to end child sexual abuse, and I can’t wait to share more about that with you.
Q: How did you get started building The Nanny League?
Lindsay: I was a publicist. After working in entertainment for a few years in LA , I hit my breaking point. It was not the right career path for me, and I was unfulfilled and unhappy. I then switched gears and took a leap of faith. I accepted a position as a live-in nanny because I was so passionate about pursuing a career in childcare. I wasn’t sure at the time what that looked like, but I saw the value of a college-educated nanny firsthand. They were able to help with homework, wrangle the kids and transport them to activities, and truly act as a household manager. They wear so many different hats in comparison to others who are just labeled as a “babysitter.” These nannies are taking on a huge responsibilitity in a high profile position that is constantly moving. I also recognized that sometimes being a nanny meant working hours similar to any other parent, which often meant around the clock.
I was a live-in nanny for about 18 months, and then a live-out nanny. I had my Oprah “aha!” moment when I was passing UCLA one afternoon, contemplating my next move. I didn’t feel like being a career nanny was right for me in the long run, but I did love the response to the field. Many of my friends were envious of the money I was making and how much I loved what I did! I realized that being a college-educated nanny is a viable career option that’s really under the radar. A little lightbulb went off, and I began the venture of creating The Nanny League. I truly wanted to connect high-profile families with college-educated nannies, and I wanted the agency to be more -- I wanted to create a platform for giving back, providing jobs, and helping women pursue their own dreams.
Q: Tell me where you are today. What have you become since that moment?
Since that time, I’ve created a database of over 1,000 nannies nationwide, and we just launched the first ever online nanny training program for Stop the Silence, which educates nannies about child sexual abuse prevention and the signs of recognizing child sexual abuse. We are the first to mandate it, so agencies everywhere can hop on the bandwagon and have their nannies get certified so we can take one step closer to ending childhood sexual abuse.
Q: Why college-educated nannies?
Lindsay: That’s a great question. They are truly part of your everyday lives, and your nanny is essentially someone who is going to serve as a third parent. They are inside your home and your mind to make your life easier, and even to provide a skill set you might not possess. So many working parents might not have a passion for child development or early childhood education, and that’s ok! That’s where we step in. You want someone who can provide those tools and resources to parents and offer their expertise. That’s so priceless, especially with families who want to be present and also know that their children are well taken care of when they’re not physically there. Since the kids are healthy, happy, and safe, this means that they can focus on being a fully present parent with that incredible peace of mind. College-educated nannies also serve as a “Jill of All Trades,” so to speak, because they can likely grow with your family. It’s a matchmaking service. No nanny and family are the same. It’s all about finding that perfect match.
Q: Speaking of matches...what makes a good one with a nanny and a family?
Lindsay: It’s essentially like dating, in a way. You have to go by what qualities are the most important to you and to your family -- your morals, values, education, and history. People really gravitate towards like-minded individuals. You are typically going to seek a nanny that emulates your own values, needs, and personality when you’re not physically there. Of course if they bring something extra, that’s even better. You essentially are looking for someone that will challenge your child and who wants to be around, as well as someone who has glowing references and an amazing resume.
A word of caution, though -- just like dating, they can look great on paper, but then when you meet them, you realize it isn’t the best match. That’s where having an expert nanny agency is so valuable and helpful to families. It’s a huge piece of the formula that makes this successful.
Q: What kind of credentials do your nannies need in order to be placed with a family?
Lindsay: I personally interview every potential nanny. We have a ten-page application, a nine-point reference call check (three personal, previous nanny experience references, as well as three previous work history and other references). I also perform an extensive background check that includes a driving record, Megan’s Law clearance (which ensures that they are not on The California Sex and Arson Registry), as well as mandated First Aid/CPR and Stop the Silence Training. I joke that it’s like working for the CIA -- and this is all before you even meet with families! I only send candidates to families if everything comes back perfect and clear. It’s important to me to have a strong work ethic, and it’s all about quality over quantity. If you’re in this for the money, you won’t succeed.
Q: Do you offer other services besides nanny placement?
Lindsay: We do! We also help families find a summer or temporary nanny, personal assistants, tutors, night baby nurses, newborn care specialists, nannies for special needs, and babysitters.
Q: Do you think your PR/entertainment background serves you well with managing your agency?
Lindsay: Absolutely. I have experience working with celebrities in the entertainment industry, and now I’m working with them with their most prized possessions -- their children! It’s a different relationship, but it all comes down to understanding people. It’s such an intimate service, and I really work hard to understand everyone’s needs and wants. Sometimes, especially as first time parents, they don’t really know what they need, and it’s amazing to be able to provide them with peace of mind and help them assess their family’s needs. When I first started I had no idea that my true gift is that of matchmaker.
Q: Anything else to add about The Nanny League or your personal background?
Lindsay: You truly get what you pay for, and there is no better investment than your child. If you’re able to afford a third car or vacation home, you can legally pay your nanny -- and you should! You deserve to give your child that high-profile, college-educated professional. You want someone who is going to show up and perform their job, as well as love what they do.
I can’t even express to you how much I love what I do. I am so passionate about it! It is so rewarding, because we are helping children. The magic that happens after a match is made is just so fulfilling and empowering. Lifelong relationships blossom from this. It’s a very organic snowball effect because both sides are just so thrilled with the match and services provided.