KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
March 23, 2020
By Pat Baldwin
As Katy students begin online classes, parents will inevitably share their instructional challenges. To support local families, College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors offers valuable tools. They have added vital resources and special pricing to serve clients’ needs during this national emergency.
Doina Berea repeats the idea like a mantra: “Happy parents mean happy families.” And now, in the midst of crisis, the owner of the area franchise of College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors considers herself a first responder to the latest childcare needs of her clients, many of whom are dealing with various coronavirus-triggered situations.
“Everything has changed,” says Berea. “Demands for back-up care now are huge.”
Berea’s clients are families and companies seeking short-term and long-term childcare typically in the home or at business locations. Berea has added remote tutoring services, using FaceTime and Zoom, and has team members prepared to help Katy Independent School District students as online classes are established. Established clients have certain virtual scheduling options.
Berea has added health concerns to her vetting process so that neither her team members nor families are exposed to any risks.
“We are a dynamic industry,” Berea says. “I have to stay informed.”
Currently, that includes keeping clients and team members up-to-date regarding precautions to be taken regarding the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
The Katy franchise is currently offering a 10 percent discount on all tutoring and, on a case-by-case basis, revamping criteria for placement fees including waivers and discounts.
“I just put aside everything so I can help other people in my situation,” Berea says. Her “situation” includes keeping two children busy at home while she works.
Berea says she is passionate about her business doing well by doing good for both her clients and her team members.
Reputable Company Responds to Disaster
Glassdoor recently ranked the national franchising company as 50th among the 100 “Best Places to Work 2020.” Glassdoor, a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies, quoted one reviewer: “I get to choose when I want to work, very flexible, a lot of great benefits and compensation.”
Team members are highly vetted and trained college students who most often are majoring in nursing, education, social work and pre-med. Berea says she currently serves local clients with 55 to 60 students from area colleges.
But Berea does not need Glassdoor's designation or an emergency to spur her toward quality and high standards in every aspect of her expanding business. She knows that hiring a nanny, sitter, tutor or other caregiver is time consuming and emotionally draining. She says she interviews every team member as she would for her own two children.
Since 2009, Berea has provided families with nannies and tutors. Then came sitters. Then she devised event and conference childcare services. She notes that childcare is a valuable amenity that encourages attendance at an organization’s gathering.
Her company also provides “back-up” placements for families with emergency needs. She recently expanded offerings to include short-term respite care for children with special needs. And she is working to gain state approvals to extend the respite care to long-term placements.
Her overall mission, she says, is to build stronger families. She emphasizes that she knows firsthand a parent’s anxiety about childcare services when she is absent – whether working, traveling or even on a date night with her husband.
“My nature is to help people,” says Berea, who was born and raised in Constanta, Romania.
She moved to Houston in 2000 and earned an M.B.A. in finance from St. Thomas University. She used her finance degree working for Stewart Title Company, Coastal Bank and GEMSA Loan Services before striking out on her own.
She says her business background meshes well with her personality traits. The combination results in making her company successful while “making people happy.”
She adds, “It’s not all about making money. I do everything with passion.”
One thing she is passionate about is her volunteer work. At the top of Berea’s list, because her children attend Katy Independent School District schools, is the district's Junior Achievement program.
Berea explains that her competitive edge over traditional childcare options includes one-on-one attention and an emphasis on matching values. In other words, she strives for a good “fit” between families and team members. That sometimes includes personal interests, hobbies and experience with newborns.
She acknowledges her service might be a “little more” expensive if it’s just for one child, but she considers the cost comparable when several siblings are involved. And she points to the advantages of having educational activities provided to school-aged youth.
While carefully selected and vetted, team members also undergo ongoing training. The nannies, sitters and tutors take regular quizzes, participate in monthly calls and attend quarterly meet-ups.
Berea says her first priority is “quality.” After all, “Happy parents mean happy families.”
For more information, visit the Katy franchise’s Facebook page or visit their website here.