Meet the Founder: Lydia Thibodeau of Sommet Nannies - Greenwich Moms

 

Finding reliable and top-notch childcare is at the top of every new mom’s list—but can often feel next to impossible, akin to finding a unicorn.  Jumping from nanny to nanny can be stressful for both parents and kids, so finding the right person without a lot of trial and error is crucial. Sommet Nannies has helped hundreds of families find their own childcare unicorn since 2015, through thorough vetting, extensive communication and best-in-class providers.

Lydia Thibodeau founded Sommet Nannies, which currently has offices in Boston, Chicago, Washington, and soon, New York City, after working as a nanny through high school and college. “I learned how important a nanny’s role is to the family’s overall wellbeing and quality of life. When I decided to open an agency, I knew that I wanted to focus on placing college-educated nannies whose skills and experience would enable them to grow with a family and adapt to their ever-changing needs,” says Lydia.

In her interview, Lydia, who lives in Boston with her husband and two young kids (1.5 and 3 years old) shares about her journey from finance to entrepreneurship, what separates Sommet Nannies from other agencies, and more.

Want to try Sommet Nannies? Mention LOCALMOMS or put it in the notes section to waive the $500 registration fee.

For anyone not yet familiar, how would you describe Sommet Nannies?
Sommet Nannies is a nanny placement and domestic staffing agency that focuses on connecting college-educated caregivers with professional families. Many of our nannies have backgrounds in education and worked as teachers prior to pursuing an in-home role. We love finding nannies with classroom experience as it allows them to provide academic enrichment throughout the day as well as support the ongoing needs of a child as he or she develops.

We currently offer services in Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and New York, as well as the surrounding areas. In most of these locations, we are the only agency that exclusively offers candidates with a 4-year college degree. This focus, in addition to our continued post-placement support, is what truly sets us apart from our competitors.  While nanny placement is the service we are best known for, we also staff household managers, personal assistants, chefs, and executive assistants.

 

 

Can you please share a bit about how you came to launch Sommet Nannies?
I began my career in wealth management prior to becoming an entrepreneur. While some aspects of the job were exciting, I never felt that working in finance truly utilized my greatest strengths and passions. During high school and college, I had consistently nannied for several local families and had developed meaningful relationships with them.Since becoming a mom myself, I have an even deeper understanding of my clients’ childcare pain points. I have learned firsthand how life-changing having the right support in place can be and strive to provide that experience for our families. It sounds cliche, but it truly does take a village, and helping families find their perfect nanny is incredibly rewarding.

It sounds like hiring highly educated people is important to you?
Yes—all of our nannies hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, and about 30% of our candidates hold a Master’s degree as well. Specifically, our team seeks out candidates who have degree concentrations in early childhood education, elementary education, special education and childhood development. In over 8 years of business, we have found that college educated nannies have an ideal combination of industry knowledge across multiple ages, professionalism, experience, and ability to be collaborative with families. Candidates who graduate with degrees in education have demonstrated a strong passion for working with children, curriculum development, and creating a structured environment. They are also some of the warmest and kindhearted people I know! In addition, having a college degree professionalizes the industry a bit more and attracts a very different kind of candidate than what is currently available in many markets.

 

 

What is your best advice for moms struggling to find the right person to help them?
Hiring someone to care for your children on a daily basis is not a decision to be made lightly or without proper due diligence. Given this, my best advice is to invest in the process. This can mean spending the money to engage a reputable agency or buying a subscription to an online database of resumes. Outside of the financial implications, plan to invest the time and effort into holding interviews, consulting references, and negotiating contracts. Hiring a nanny requires a lot of work from families up front, but the effects of making the right hire are invaluable and lasting.

If finding time in your busy schedule poses a challenge, partnering with an agency like Sommet Nannies can be a lifesaver. We handle all aspects of recruiting, interviewing, candidate onboarding, payroll, and continued support. While working with an agency requires a financial commitment, candidate quality tends to be much higher than what is available on the open market, and having a team of industry experts in your back pocket will set your family up for success. Whatever route your family chooses to go, don’t forget that sometimes finding the right caregiver is a marathon and not a sprint. Most families are seeking a lasting relationship with their nanny, and similar to dating, you want to make sure you find the right match.

Anything else you’d like to share? 
Whether or not you have decided you would like to partner with an agency, I love connecting with parents and talking about their childcare needs. Hiring a nanny is a huge decision, and I am honored to be a resource and sounding board to anyone who wants to explore the nuances of in-home childcare. No question is a silly one, and I can say with confidence that after 8 years in business, we have seen it all. Our team at Sommet Nannies looks forward to connecting with you soon!

Want to try Sommet Nannies? Mention LOCALMOMS or put it in the notes section to waive the $500 registration fee.

 

 

This story is sponsored by Sommet Nannies. 

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