Rosalind Prather with Trusting Connections joined us for a great podcast interview. Thank you Trusting Connections Tucson for serving our community well.
Dr. Tompkins:Hi, I’m Dr. Emil Tompkins and I want to welcome you to the natural parent podcast. Where we are committed to helping families achieve their ultimate goals in health in a very natural way. And I’m here today with a very special guest. You’ll see her in a moment. Rosalind Prather from Trusting Connections. Rosalind Prather is a Trusting Connections Co-Founder, a nanny placement agency and sitter service in Tucson, Arizona. She’s helped grow Trusting Connections from a small two woman operation into a full service agency with over 100 employees and over saw the agency’s expansion into Southlake, Texas. She currently serves as the marketing and client relations director, and travels between Texas and Arizona to lead the marketing and sales efforts of both of those locations. Rosalind owned her first business at the age of 22 and comes from a family of successful entrepreneurs. She has a background in retail management, sales and public relations, but she was also a nanny early in her career and emersed herself in the industry before joining forces with Caroline Mawkin, her business partner and long time friend.
Rosalind is above all the proud mother of two girls and has a deep understanding of the joys and struggles of family life and parenting. As a successful mom-preneur, Rosalind is very passionate with sharing her insights with female business owners to inspire them to believe that being a mom and a business owner is a beautiful possibility. Rosalind has been an INA conference speaker in both Los Angeles and Louisville and recently spoke at the APA conference in perfecting your sales call. She’s made appearances on new 4 KVOA in Tucson as a local childcare expert. And she’s also the author of the ‘Trusting Connections Blog’, where she shares parenting advice and inspiration.
I want you to take a moment and join us here with Rosalind Prather. And thank you so much for being here. Its great to have you here Rosalind.
Can you expand upon your fantastic bio that we just talked about?
Rosalind: Well I think that it’s been interesting as an agency owner because it’s on all points of the triangle. I’m also a mom and have my own nanny and have been a professional nanny. So, I’ve been on the nanny side, the mom side, and the agency side and that really helps, and when I’m helping clients to be all those things.
Dr. Tompkins: It’s so important to be able to understand because most people do just come from one aspect of the transaction or that experience and if you don’t have experience in each of those areas, it’s really hard to understand what the mom is going through or what the nanny is going through, or yeah that’s really awesome. It’s like in my office, I’m a chiropractor, and we take care of patients who are dealing with all sorts of health issues and have all sorts of health goals and if I’ve never experienced any problems health wise it’s really hard to put myself in my patients’ shoes. So, yeah, it’s real important and that’s probably why you’re so successful.
So tell me what events maybe led you up to developing this specialty that you have?
Rosalind: Well both my business partner and I were professional nannies in college, here in Tucson. And we just really recognized a need for this type of service. I think that, you know, all agencies of course care about the professionalism aspect and hopefully safety. We just wanted to take it up a notch. So, we have just gone above and beyond the call of duty in terms of our screening procedures, and in terms of the quality of service we provide, the customer service that we provide to our clients.
Dr. Tompkins: That’s great. Can you tell me in this course of starting and running this incredibly successful agency that you have, were there any points of real struggle before the breakthrough?
Rosalind: Yeah so, well I think the first would be I found out that I was pregnant with my first baby the month that we opened.
Dr. Tompkins: Oh wow!
Rosalind: So you can imagine my business partners hesitation a little bit. So, trying to find out, as a mom, you know pregnant for the first time, I’m a new business owner, how I’m going to deal with all that was certainly a challenge. And I think we faced all the challenges that new business owners face. We worked really hard in the first few years. And I love telling business owners this because it’s true. I feel like something magical happens around the four or five year mark when it’s finally you’re seeing the fruits of your labor and it’s just like there’s a switch and suddenly people know about you and you don’t have to work so hard at it. You have to work as hard but in a different way and we doubled our revenue and something magical happened around that mark, but it certainly was not about challenges.
Dr. Tompkins: Wow! That’s really wonderful. So tell me more about your agency. What it is that you provide and what makes what you do so special?
Rosalind: Well we are a classic nanny referral agency in the sense that if parents are looking for a full time nanny, we are match makers. So to us, it’s not just, is the nanny qualified and safe but rather is this person truly compatible with the family. We believe that a nanny should be an extension of who the parents are in terms of who the parents are in terms of child rearing philosophy, and beliefs and even political and religious inclinations are important too. So, we are like matchmakers for families and nannies.
On the other side, we have a sitter service that is really for families even if they just need an occasional date night. And we have about 100 employees. We hire all of our nannies and sitters that then our families can use on a part time occasional basis. We also provide emergency sick back up care. Which means you’ll have access to our agency 24/7, 365 days a year. If it’s five o’clock in the morning and as a member you wake up and you have a sick kiddo, you can call us and we can usually get someone to your door within an hour and a half. So, it is huge peace of mind for families, especially those that don’t have family or other help in the area.
Dr. Tompkins: That’s amazing. Now, I heard you mention something. You said, as a member. So, when families get started or they decide they want your service, how does something like that work out? That membership model?
Rosalind: Well we are very personalized. So, once you become a member, it starts with filling out a registration form. And then, we actually visit every single one of our clients in their home. We come to them, really get to learn right off the family. What their values, and their beliefs and their parenting styles are so that we can provide that personalized care. And then once they’re a member, they can use the service as much or as little as they need to. So, some of our families in our flex membership do use us full time because they don’t wan to do a placement. They don’t want to be the employer, but some families in flex membership just use us a few times a year. And they love the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if they needed someone, we’re just a phone call away.
Dr. Tompkins: That’s wonderful. It’s just in hearing this I can think of so many different ways a family would be able to use your service. One thing that I notice and hear, I talk to a lot of families and I hear more often than I ever want to hear. I’ll ask something about, do you ever get to go out on, you know, when’s the last time you’ve gone out on a date with your husband or your wife. And I will hear things like ever since we’ve had kids, we’ve never left their side and I cannot even think of the last time I’ve gone out and just spent time with my wife or spent time with my husband, and I just think if only. And a lot of it is just trust. Being able to trust someone to come into their home and take care of their kids, the most precious thing to them. And to hear about how some of these, the ways you guys go above and beyond in matchmaking, but also making sure that you have good, trustworthy, safe people who are providing the service. Tell me more about the security part of how you handle that.
Rosalind: Yeah. We have one of the more rigorous screening processes in the industry. So, for example, we don’t do standard computerized background checks because we know that they’re not affective. We actually partner with a local private detective who investigates all of our nannies by hand. We do drug testing, which the vast majority of agencies in the country do not. We’ve also developed what we call TC’s core care competency exam which is a test that helps us understand a candidate’s knowledge of child development and other childcare related topics. An extensive reference check and interview process, we do phone interview and in person interview and the list goes on. I mean, nannies really have to jump through a hoop to work for our agency and we know we’re picky because for one, less than one out of every nine nannies is deemed a good fit for us, but we’ve also nannies that have worked with other agencies that couldn’t pass our process. So, we know we’re very picky.
Dr. Tompkins: Wow I had no idea it was that … that you could be that selective. And I bet that gives parents a lot of peace of mind.
Rosalind: It does. It has it’s challenges. I mean staffing, and recruiting, and hiring is a challenge for any business owner. Especially for us, because when the demand is there you know and we can’t … you know our challenge has been more how our we going to find the nannies that meet our criteria more so than it’s been how are we going to find clients.
Dr. Tompkins: Yeah
Rosalind: But we have the mentality to say we’re booked than to bring on mediocre people.
Dr. Tompkins: Wow. Well I think that, that’s definitely the way to do it. Rosalind describe your ideal client. The person who you feel you can help the most.
Rosalind: Families with young children. Although, we do help families with older kids, maybe in high school that aren’t quite driving yet and the parents just need that after school shuffle. Driving to and from activities. Primarily families with infants as young as brand new, home from the hospital. We have great over night newborn care nannies. Or daytime newborn nannies that we have extra requirements for them. So, we have nannies that have experience with multiples, special needs. Really any family that needs that help. Now, while we primarily focus on childcare, we do have some clients that use us on a personal assistant capacity. A lot of the gals on our team our great for errands, meal prep, grocery shopping, and just being that extra set of hands for busy working business professionals.
Dr. Tompkins: Wow that’s really wonderful. Last question. Is there one tool or resource that you feel is vital for families that you feel like a family shouldn’t be without?
Rosalind: I think that, for moms in particular, having a village, and having other moms that you can vent to, you can find encouragement and support with. You know mostly, not just for new moms, but maybe seasoned veteran moms that are experiencing a challenge. And we love being that for our clients. More so than just providing childcare, we like to be a resource. And so, we do have a box of tissues in our office. It isn’t … Caroline and I joke that we sometimes feel like we play the role of therapist because we work so intimately with our families. I think that with all the gadgets and things that you can buy what moms and families really need is that support and that emotional support.
Dr. Tompkins: I think your exactly right. And it’s really exciting to hear about the things that you gus are doing there. If someone wants to contact you at Trusting Connections, what is the way to do that?
Rosalind: They can call. It’s 520-544-6612 and if they press extension 101 that’ll come directly to me. They can email us. It’s easy. It’s info, I-N-F-O, at trusting connections . com (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they can also visit us online, trustingconnections.com. We have a great contact us page. We’re also on Campbell. So, pretty centrally located if anyone wanted to pop in and visit with us, we welcome that as well.
Dr. Tompkins: That’s wonderful. Well, it’s exciting to hear about what you’re doing. You guys are doing really good things and we’re so happy to support any kind of organization or agency that’s going to do wonderful things for families in our community and you clearly are doing that. So, Rosalind I thank you for hanging out with me today and for any of you who feel like you need some help with the family, with the kids. Just some time away. It sounds like this is a very special agency that would be able to provide that for you. Rosalind thank you so much.
Rosalind: Thank you so much. You guys are awesome over there and we are happy to refer clients your way too. So, you do an amazing service as well.
Dr. Tompkins: Well thank you very much and we’ll talk to you soon.
Rosalind: Okay thanks so much.
Dr. Tompkins: Thank you.