One of the most noticeably useful roles on a day-to-day basis for a busy principal is that of the Family Assistant. An UHNW (Ultra High Net Worth) individual will very likely have numerous business and other projects all making demands upon their time, yet like many of us they might also have a family. There is a work-life balance to consider, and it’s important that the time they do have with their family is of a pleasant quality, not entirely spent on life’s errands. Enter the family assistant, who will help them to maintain this balance, enjoy the time they have available to spend with their family, and assist with innumerable necessary tasks.
A family assistant can be thought of as a combination of a household personal assistant and a nanny rolled into one. Responsibilities do of course vary depending on the employer and their family, and some family assistants focus more on the administrative duties necessary to manage a home, whilst others are more involved with childcare.
As anyone with a family of their own will tell you, it’s impossible to make an exhaustive list of all the tasks one might have to undertake. Multiply this by the fast-paced, often international lifestyle of an UHNW family and you start to get an idea of the scope this role can cover. However, these are some of the more common tasks a family assistant might have responsibility for:
- Support the children’s personal life, scheduling activities in and out of school, travel, play, etc.
- Arrange travel such as flights, transfers and other transportations, accommodation, dining and other family activities.
- Help to coordinate functions, philanthropic engagements, and personal events such as birthdays.
- Complete forms and administration connected to school, extra-curricular activities, healthcare, official documents, etc.
- Have responsibility for selecting, wrapping and giving gifts.
- Family IT requirements, such as the creation of spreadsheets, rotas, calendars and so on.
- Involvement with and management of healthcare.
- School drop off / pick up, entertaining children and other childcare related activities.
- Light housekeeping duties, keeping the home organised and neat.
- Assist with taking responsibility for household upkeep and maintenance.
- Running errands, and performing administrative tasks such as checking and replying to emails, phone calls, and other communications.
There might be more specialised activities too, depending on the employer – for example, suppose that the principal’s family is deeply involved with equestrianism. That could bring a whole raft of very specific tasks into the role. There is therefore a great deal of variation between roles as well as within.
Naturally, the skills required for a candidate to excel in such a role can be varied too, but will centre on their being a real “swiss army knife” of an individual. Key skills include:
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Supremely well organised, and detail-oriented
- Friendly, personable, outgoing and able to communicate at all levels
- Discreet and circumspect: the family assistant will no doubt be privy to all kinds of personal information.
- A resourceful, self-starting problem solver and multitasker