“My grandmother marched for a woman’s right to vote, and I wish she were here today. I know she would be proud of me,” says Annie Davis, founder of Seattle’s Annie’s Nannies, Inc. Household Staffing, upon learning she has won the 2009 Mayor’s Small Business Award. “Even with my grandmother’s influence, my family raised me to be a wife and mother – period! I’m now in my 25th year as a business owner. One of the reasons I created Annie’s Nannies was the hope that I could give the next generation of women in my family the foundation to pursue whatever they’d like.”
Annie’s daughter, Suzanne Royer McCone, became her business partner 24 years ago and is now company president in charge of day to day operations. Running the business together allowed Annie and Suzanne to spend more time with Suzanne’s two daughters. The girls spent many afternoons playing in the company office alongside their mother and grandmother. “When the girls were young, one of the secret yardsticks I’d use to measure a nanny candidate was how well he or she interacted with them,” says Annie.
Prior to founding the first nanny placement service in the Pacific Northwest, Annie was teaching and counseling delinquent youth for Seattle Public Schools and pursuing a Master’s Degree. She borrowed $1,500 from a family member and launched what is now the region’s premier nanny placement agency. Although Annie’s intent was to run the business part time, she soon realized her pioneering effort would be a full time commitment, as she was helping define the industry from the ground up.
Household staffing agencies have come and gone in Western Washington, but Annie’s Nannies remains at the profession’s forefront - in part because of its commitment to families and children. This past year, Annie’s Nannies responded to the swine-flu related closures of Northwest schools by offering discounts and help finding short-term nanny care. Annie, her staff, and some of the nannies they represent contribute child care every year for PEPS, a parenting support group luncheon, local school auctions and other events. Annie is a member of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and a board member on her neighborhood community council. She is also president of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, A Household Staffing Alliance – a non-profit that helps set household staffing practices nationwide. Annie’s son Jordan Royer, a father of two girls, ran for Seattle City Council this year.
Annie’s Nannies has employed between one and five people since 1984 and has found jobs for thousands of others. “We work hard to take good care of our employees and customers,” says Suzanne. “I promise that our company will continue to operate with integrity and honesty, and I expect we’ll be in business for a long time considering that Annie has four granddaughters.”
FUN FACT: The father of company President Suzanne Royer McCone, Charles Royer, started the small business awards when he was mayor 25 years ago - the same year Annie founded the company.