Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Interview with Sue Downey ~ Co-creator of Nannypalooza

I've known Sue for a few years, starting when I was a nanny in the Philadelphia area. With Nannypalooza coming to the Washington, DC area October 3-4, 2009, I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Sue some questions about Nannypalooza and share with you all.

Why was Nannypalooza created?
Lora Brawley and I felt there was a need for affordable, high quality training. At the heart of it, that is the most important aspect of Nannypalooza. While there are many other great conferences, we wanted to create a more casual, less expensive option. Originally we thought it would only serve a small regional area, but it has grown as nannies have wanted to travel from all over the US to attend.

Why do you feel Nannypalooza is the success that it is?
I think the atmosphere we have been able to create at Nannypalooza is the key to success. While we are serious about our profession, we are all about creating an inclusive, fun environment - much like we do with our kids every day! We have had some amazing support from the nanny community as well - nannies who come back year and businesses that really support nannies and what we are trying to accomplish.

What is your greatest accomplishment associated with Nannypalooza?
Just being able to keep the price low is a big accomplishment for us and something we constantly struggle with. The 'palooza is all about fun, relaxed learning and connecting to others who feel the same way. It is a struggle every year to find enough financing, and to make tough choices about what we will offer or where we will be located. However, thanks to some incredibly supportive companies and some creative thinking we are still less than $100 for 6 workshops and 3 meals! This means that even nannies who are just starting out on their career path can attend.

What would you say to nannies that feel Nannypalooza or conferences in general are not for them - they don't feel they need to attend these types of venues?
It is easy to dismiss these events, especially if you have to pay for them yourself, but I think that there is NOTHING in the world like being a room full of people who share your professional ideals and hearing some new idea that will make a real difference to the kids you care for. It is important to invest in yourself. As nannies we often complain about the lack of respect we get from the press, from outsiders, or even from our employers. It essential to respect ourselves and know that to be professionals we need to continue learning. Conferences are one great way - certainly the most fun way in my opinion! And there are many options for GREAT conferences. You should try a few - INA, NAEYC, NannyPalooza - and see which one fits best for you. However, conferences aren't the only way to continue learning. If you are not attending conferences, make sure you are still training in some way.
What is the one thing you hope nannies take away from their Nannypalooza experience? At least one new idea, one new connection and a sense of enthusiasm and pride!

Anyone with ideas or questions should feel free to contact us. We are willing to work with people to make sure that anyone can attend whenever possible, and we welcome input from all sources!

Sue Downey is a professional nanny in the Philadelphia area and president of PhillyNannies.

Nannypalooza offers an amazing lineup of speakers. Some of the workshops include: Nanny Contracts, Challenges of Adolescence, Infant Massage, Time Management for the Nanny Manager, Defusing Sibling Rivalry and Working with the Special Needs Child. This is just a small sampling of the many workshops offered.

Presenters include: Kathy Webb, and Nannypalooza Sponsor, Patricia Cancellier with PEP , Carolyn Stulberg - Alexandria School and Lynne Ticknor - Certified Parent Educator. Again, this is just a small sampling of the presenters that will be at Nannypalooza.

Still want to learn more? Read the Frequently Asked Questions about Nannypalooza.


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