The Inside Scoop on All Things Au Pair in America
Are you a current or potential Au Pair in America host family? Wondering who works behind the scenes to match you with the perfect au pair?
Introducing Lorraine Somma-Mates, Assistant Director of Placement here at Au Pair in America.
With over 20 years of experience, Lorraine oversees the entire au pair placement process from registration through post placement and ensures that host families receive top-notch service and support throughout. An excellent customer experience for our host families and au pairs is her number one priority.
We recently sat down with Lorraine to learn more about her position, her advice for host families, and about cultural exchange in general. Here are her honest responses.
Q. 1: Tell us a bit about yourself and your position at Au Pair in America.
“I started my career here at Au Pair in America as a Placement Coordinator,” Lorraine said. “Then, I worked as Regional Program Manager, as Placement Manager, and today my title is the Assistant Director of Placement.”
As Assistant Director of Placement, Lorraine oversees the Registration, Placement, and Post-Placement Teams to ensure that the entire placement process runs smoothly – from start to finish.
Q. 2: What’s the most rewarding part about your role as Assistant Director of Placement?
“The most rewarding part of my position is providing mentoring, training, and support to my entire team so they may give our customers the best experience possible,” Lorraine said.
She said that one of the advantages Au Pair in America has is the high level of support we give our host families.
“I supervise a growing team of full-time Placement staff. Their experience level is incredible, and I truly believe that there’s not a question we can’t answer. My team’s knowledge, support, and ability to actively listen to customer feedback really helps us to succeed.”
Q. 3: Why do you think cultural exchange is so important?
“Cultural exchange programs like Au Pair in America are instrumental to helping individuals from different backgrounds experience globalization in a positive light,” Lorraine said.
She explained that cultural exchange doesn’t only help people understand different cultures; it also unites individuals from around the world.
“These programs are conducive to building intercultural bridges while fostering mutual understanding and global friendships.”
Q. 4: What is one thing you love about working at Au Pair in America?
“Working with our host families is one of my favorite things,” Lorraine said.
For Lorraine, it’s extra special to get to know host families that return year after year.
“One host family worked with us for 18 years, so we really got to know them. They recently sent us a thank you card because their children are grown now and they will no longer need the program. Things like this are very meaningful.”
Q. 5: What advice would you give to potential host families?
“Make sure to devote as much time to the process as you can,” Lorraine said.
Being as flexible as possible when reviewing au pair applications, she explained, can give host families greater access to our application pool. “You don’t want to miss out on your ‘ideal’ au pair because you narrowed your search too much,” she said.
“I continuously tell my host families to ‘cast the widest net’ possible when reviewing au pair applications and advise them to paint a realistic picture of their family when interviewing prospective au pairs. And, most importantly, I tell them to always go with their ‘gut’ when making their final choice.”