Jennifer Expanded The Foundation as a Nanny & Teacher, Before Transitioning Into Nanny Placement Services & Eventually Building Her Own Successful Business. Meet Entrepreneur & Owner of Perfect Fit Nanny Agency, Jennifer Hassett
With over 15 years of experience as a nanny, teacher, and placement coordinator, and business owner, Jennifer has learned that finding a trusted and reliable childcare solution, although imperative, is just the beginning of a parent's journey during their nanny search. As a mother and a nanny employer herself, she understands that finding a person that completes your family puzzle is sometimes an overlooked component and is her focus when considering the potential ‘fit’ between families and nannies.
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with Perfect Fit Nanny, tell us more about it.
JH: A Perfect Fit Nanny Agency was founded in 2009 by Janet Pemper, a close friend of mine whom I met in Scottsdale, AZ while we were both nannying sweet baby boys the same age. In 2011, I joined A Perfect Fit as a placement coordinator, while also furthering my nanny career and working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Human Relations. During this busy time, I met so many dedicated and skilled nannies, some of which we still represent today. Once I completed my education and the kids I cared for began school, I was ready for a larger role within A Perfect Fit.
As luck would have it, Janet was ready to pass the torch so she could focus her energy on raising her growing family of four little ones! So, in 2016, I officially purchased A Perfect Fit. Since becoming owner, I opened three additional locations in Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, and Miami, FL. Our team has grown from 1 to 18 since then! We currently work with seven office staff and employ 11 nannies who provide childcare for the Phoenix Suns at the arena for players’ and coaches’ children during their home games.
Q: What has surprised you about business ownership?
JH: The thing that surprised me most about business ownership is how emotionally invested I am. I call APF my first born child and I truly feel that way. I am invested in every single family we help the same way I am invested in finding a nanny for my own daughter. This is an important job! I want every nanny that we work with to find families as amazing as the families I nannied for during my nanny career. It never feels like work to me, it is my life and I love it!
Q: Were there moments in your career that were pivotal to getting where you are today?
JH: Absolutely! One moment that stands out the most was from back when I was a nanny. I worked for a family full time for several years caring for their two amazing boys. The boys were starting school which meant the family no longer needed me full time. It was a perfect opportunity for me to focus on APF while still making a steady income. The family was beyond supportive and even coached me on my business plan. Without the support and guidance of them I do not think I would have had the confidence at the time to make APF my full time career. Within six months of splitting my time 50/50 the company grew enough to support myself off of the agency’s income alone. I found the family a replacement using my agency’s resources (she is still with the family today!) and made APF my full time career. I will forever be grateful for that family believing in me so much!
Q: What is it about your job that most excites you?
JH: Creating lifelong relationships between nannies and families. I am still very close with the families I’ve nannied for, and it warms my heart to know that I am able to help facilitate these relationships. It truly is so much more than just a job.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
JH: It sounds cliche but the greatest fear I have had to overcome to get to where I am today is fear itself. As a business owner, I constantly have to make decisions that not only affect me but affect my entire team. I still feel fear to this day in the decisions I have to make but I make them with confidence knowing that it is necessary in order to keep things moving for my business and for my team. I have to take risks and overcome fear in order to successfully run my company. It doesn't mean I don't feel fear, or I don't take my time making heavy decisions, but I don't let fear stop me, I push through it.
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career?
JH: One of the most memorable moments in my career was winning APNA’s (Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) Judith Langer Merlin Scholarship this year. I was selected by the APNA board because of our strong practices and representation of the nanny community. Our team is extremely passionate about the nanny community and providing them with excellent service so it was such an honor when I received the news that we won the scholarship and will have the opportunity to attend the conference free of charge in Florida this year!
The late Judi Merlin was a pioneer in the establishment of standards of professionalism for nanny and household staffing professionals. She co-founded the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, and served 17 years on the Board of Directors, including many years as co-President. She was forever a mentor and cheerleader to those establishing new, start-up nanny and household staffing referral agencies. Judi was the founder of A Friend of the Family, a successful nanny referral agency in greater Atlanta, Georgia. She operated her agency from 1984 – 2014. She pioneered the temporary, on-call nanny referral model, and was unfailingly generous with colleagues across the country in sharing her experience and mentoring them in theirs. Judi was also a pioneer in the corporate back-up care arena. She provided back-up care nannies directly to her own corporate clients in Georgia and South Carolina, as well as through Work Options Group, which became Bright Horizons. Judi also was passionate about referring knowledgeable caregivers and developed ongoing nanny educational training programs that she used in her own agency. Judi was a truly great woman who will be sorely missed.
To honor her contribution, and in her memory, the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies established the Judith L Merlin Memorial Scholarship fund, with the objective of rewarding one applicant annually with funding to attend the APNA’s annual conference.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
JH: Delegate, delegate, delegate! This was something that did not come naturally to me, and I have just recently mastered. When I first took over APF I was very controlling and wanted to do everything myself. I had the mindset that only I could do things the way I wanted them done. Because of this I overworked myself and lost sight of my work life balance because I took on too much. It hindered APF’s growth because I was only one person and could only do so much. I have learned that building a strong team of supportive staff members that I trust has been the key to our success. Without my amazing staff we wouldn’t be where we are today!
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
JH: Be the strongest version of yourself while never forgetting to also show compassion. Business is cutthroat and requires so much strength but those of us who forget our compassion and our softer side ultimately lose sight of all things that are truly important. We are women for a reason, we have an innate ability to see things differently and to handle things more delicately. Use that to your advantage and allow it to empower you and those around you. I constantly show compassion and strength in the workplace and the results of that are a team that knows they can rely on me and come to me. There's much to be said about that.
Five Things About Jennifer Hassett
1. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Hiking! I love being outdoors in beautiful scenery, the fresh air, and breaking a good sweat.
2. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?
The Price Is Right. My mom laughed because all of my friends wanted to watch cartoons Sunday mornings and I wanted to watch game shows.
3. Do you read reviews, or just go with your gut?
I am a huge review reader. I am an avid Yelper and was even on the Yelp Elite Squad for a couple of years. I cannot go out to eat without reading reviews first.
4. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
I love football and am a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and have been for as long as I can remember, though I cannot throw or catch a football to save my life.
5. What was your favorite subject in school?
Science. I loved learning about things that related to practical life and enjoyed the hands-on experiences. I loved it so much I ended up being a middle school Science teacher!