It all started with a dream. It sounds like a borrowed phrase… but it did genuinely start with a dream. Just over 10 years ago, I woke up in the morning in a cold sweat. I’d had a dream about my twin girls, the girls I had been an Au Pair for in America.
I was 21, had been in New Zealand for just over a year and I realised that if I felt this strongly about my two little girls, there must be an opportunity to introduce the Au Pair concept to New Zealand.
A few months later, after limited consideration and no market research… backed with strong drive and a ‘willingness to do stuff’, we were in market. Our first Au Pair, Petronella, arrived in New Zealand soon after.
Through the years, Au Pair Link had some amazing wins. We were the first Au Pair agency in the world to be licensed as an Early Childhood Education provider. That’s huge. We grew into one of the largest Au Pair agencies in the world and by far the largest in Australasia. We welcomed about 1,000 Au Pairs per/annum. Who in return, through their travel as well as their friends and family, contributed about 16M per/annum into the local tourism sector.
I am so incredibly proud of what the business achieved under our ownership, but even more so since we’ve handed over the reigns. It’s an interesting journey, letting go of your ‘first baby’ and realising that the next part of the journey doesn’t belong to you. What’s continued to impress me and make me beam with pride, is the culture of the team we developed. It has long outlived our tenure with the business.
Creating something that is enduring and a culture that long outlasts the founders is a truly magical thing. A culture is so much more than just one or two people. In fact, it’s not based on a number of people at all. It’s something that’s long lasting and transferable. Something strong that can be shared in. It’s about a shared vision and goal that resonates with not just you, but everyone in the team.
At the end of the day, what is a business other than a group of people, driven by the same goals and aspirations to make a difference and change the world? So – here’s to all of you, every single Au Pair Linker through the years who was or still is part of our journey. You are too many to mention, but in particular to some of our original crew – we love you.
To all of those families and Au Pairs who took the opportunity to become part of our journey. Thank you for trusting and supporting us, together we continue to change the world. By embracing other cultures in our homes, allowing our children to be nurtured and taught by another person, we remove barriers and break down cultural differences. I’m a firm believer that the only way that we can truly build bridges and understanding is through embracing people from different cultures and all walks of life.
To Au Pair Link, thank you for all the lessons we learned along the way, for the people we learned those lessons with and who supported us then, and now. Here’s to the next 10 years!