Last month at the International Nanny Association Conference the Nanny of the Year was announced. Congratulations to Joanne Barrow! Here is an interview with Joanne conducted by the authors of RegardingNannies.com.
What prompted you to apply for INA NOTY?
I became a member of INA last October and learned about NOTY a short time later whilst searching their website. I’ve been a Nanny for more than 2 decades, I knew I’d made a valuable contribution to the families I’d worked for and I felt I could be a positive role model for the industry and the association, so I made the decision and applied. When my previous employer, and then my current employer both wanted to recommend me and other prior families I’d worked for and my even charges started writing letters, the process just took on a life of it’s own. It was quite a bit of work to complete the application but personally I really enjoyed the process and it got me inspired to get more involved in my industry.
How did you find out you won?
One of my nominating families threw a surprise dinner party for me at their home in New York City. The children greeted me at the door all dressed up grinning form ear to ear and made the announcement as I entered the dining room. They recited a poem they’d written and the youngest had drawn a picture that is now in a “2013 Nanny of the Year” engraved frame I was given to mark the occasion. It was a wonderful surprise.
What is your greatest accomplishment as a nanny?
There’s a great sense of pride I feel when I look at the children whose lives I’ve been a part of. It’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to know you’ve been a positive and guiding influence in a family’s life, I don’t imagine much can beat it!
What would you say to other nannies to encourage them to apply for INA NOTY?
Go for it! The recommendations alone are such a tremendous validation of your dedication and a job well done. When you start hearing from your former employers, your agents and if you’ve been at it as long as I have your grown charges! You’ll know you’re doing the right thing. The hardest part is stepping forward to accept the award knowing that the nominees by your side are all equally deserving; it’s an extremely humbling experience.
I heard more than once at conference that Nannies were ‘put off’ by the work involved in the application. It’s true, it is a process but I think they make it that way for good reasons. Don’t be put off by what’s involved, Marcia Hall provided great support throughout with her step by step guide on the INA’s website blog. The process really encouraged me to look inward on my 22 year career; for me it was a fun and inspiring project that re affirmed my passion for what I do.
What words of wisdom do you have for nannies – for career nannies and those just starting out?
I have always felt that the most important thing is knowing where your values lie and never taking a position that requires you to veer away from them. You need that guiding compass everyday, stay true to it.
If you weren’t a nanny, what would you be doing?
I’m a care taker at heart, steady, thorough and conscientious. Before moving to the US in 1991 I was an Auxillary Nurse in the UK caring for the elderly. If I had to guess I’d say I would probably have continued on in the nursing profession. Children were always destined to be my future though, that was clear to me when I was a child myself.
What do you wish you would have known when you first started out as a nanny?
Flexibility is your friend. It will save you from wasted power struggles with three year olds, make you a better employee, allow room for change in an ever changing environment and open you up to a world of opportunities. Embrace it, arms wide open. J