We’re excited to announce the October WNN Amber Grant Winner — Helen Adeosun, founder of Sittercycle. Continue reading to learn more about her and her business journey.
WNN: Congratulations on winning the October Amber Grant Award!
HA: Thank you so much, it is such an honor! I am so excited, and I actually was inspired by last month’s winner — the founder of Designr!
WNN: Can you tell us a bit about the genesis of Sittercycle? How did you go from an EdM in Education from Harvard to starting Sittercycle?
HA: Great question! I actually had the beginnings of SitterCycle while I was a nanny the summer before I started grad school at Harvard. I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and work on something very meaningful given my background in teaching and training I started thinking about the educational offerings I could have used to be a better nanny. The children I cared for before I started grad school were on the autism spectrum and so often I felt that there was so much more I could have done to help, and spent the summer researching autism and how to best engage my charges before they headed back to school. My vision for SitterCycle is to help nannies and caregivers navigate providing care and the professionalism that entails. Throughout beginning SitterCycle I have been so fortunate to come in contact with nannies, educators, and entrepreneurs, that share this greater vision. The EdM was actually great preparation because it helped me translate a larger vision into the actionable steps to take to begin building SitterCycle, instead of entering education policy (my degree area) SitterCycle gets to be a part of a professional in home childcare education movement, something we don’t focus on too much in the US. I am so grateful!
WNN: We were surprised to learn there are associations and conferences for nannies! Beyond that, when most think of nannies, they think of wealthy people who hand off their kids to be raised. Can you help dispel that myth?
HA: Yes, it’s absolutely amazing! There are over a million nannies in the US alone, and the families they work with range the gambit and are no means all wealthy. I currently also work as an on call nanny. Nannies are as diverse in their skills, experience, and background as the families that they work with. Nannies work part time, full time, may have transitioned from the business and education world, come from all over the world, and their career is helping to grow a happy and healthy child. I just came back from a conference called Nannypalooza hosted by a career nanny, Sue Downey, and I was inspired by the various households and the diverse skill sets of those nannies. The greater message is dispelling the myth that nannies are babysitters: great nannies are women and,yes, men, who work 40+ hours a week and work in partnership with parents to care for children, successfully manage households, and are indeed professionals in every sense of the word. It’s an incredibly fulfilling profession and we do a lot more to ensure that nannies are fully recognized as professionals.
WNN: Sittercycle is an educational web platform for caregivers. Can you give a couple examples of what a caregiver would learn from Sittercycle.
HA: SitterCycle loves bringing experts to nannies. Our classes find the best experts on various aspects of childcare and we partner to create classes. By the end of this year we aim to launch 4 classes on our site on very distinct skills including nutrition and food allergies, the basics you should know starting out as a nanny, and teaching beginning literacy skills. We have podcasts with special guests including Alan Kazdin of the Yale Parenting Center and from the Dr. Phil Show on discipline to offer skills nannies and parents can use. In 2014, we aim to partner with organizations to host online classes, webinars, podcasts, and many opportunities to learn from experts.
We wish Helen the best of luck going forward!
Thank you for reading.