The following article was published October 9, 2010 in the Norfolk Daily News.
Former nanny helping others find right match
By SHERYL SCHMECKPEPER
The fact that Candi Wingate has published a “parents guide to finding the right nanny” is certainly newsworthy.
That’s because the Norfolk native has parlayed her experience as a nanny into several worldwide businesses that provide a number of services for time-crunched families.
So it would make sense for her to put that knowledge into a book.
But that’s just part of Wingate’s story.
She’s also been rubbing shoulders with a number of celebrities, including “Dr. Phil” McGraw and Jon and Kate Gosselin, stars of the TV shows “Jon and Kate Plus 8” and now “Kate Plus 8.”
Her next adventure? Having tea with television’s “SuperNanny” Jo Frost.
So how did the Norfolk woman go from relative obscurity to getting phone calls on Saturday afternoon from the producers of television shows?
her success to her parents, Doug and Becky Stevens, who own Apache Manufacturing in Norfolk, for instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in her.
“I never dreamed when I went to be nanny that I would . . . keep moving on to ‘what’s next?’ ” she said.
Her story begins in Texas where she moved after graduating from high school to serve as a nanny for a family that included five children — ages 7, 5, 3 and newborn twins.
She stayed for a year before returning to Norfolk and going to work for Nannies of Nebraska, a nationwide nanny placement agency located here.
Wingate eventually married Tyler Wingate, son of Skip and Marilyn Wingate, and the couple eventually bought Nannies of Nebraska, whose services include screening and interviewing nanny candidates and families and matching the them together.
“Families contact us and pay a fee to have us find a nanny for them,” she said.
In time, Wingate said, she realized that there “had to be a more economical way” for families and nannies to connect.
So she created nannies4hire.com
, an online service that matches nannies and families. Perspective families and nannies complete the necessary forms and the computer finds compatible matches using ZIP codes and other criteria as guides.
The website also provides sample interview questions, reference forms and contracts and other information.
The process is less labor intensive than the service provided by Nannies of Nebraska, which means the fees are lower, too, Wingate said.
, which match families with babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, elderly companions, pet sitters and more.
Along the way, Wingate wrote her first book — “100 Tips for Nannies & Families.”
Just recently, Wingate’s venture was listed as one of Inc Magazine’s 500 fastest growing private companies. The company also received the 2010 Nebraska Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
While building a local company into a worldwide enterprise is, as Wingate says, “a fun story,” the real adventure started a few years ago when representatives from the Dr. Phil show called and asked her to help locate perspective nannies for a couple who were going to be on his show.
The couple was having trouble caring for their large family, Wingate said, and McGraw — who counsels people on a variety of topics on his show — was going to advise them to hire a nanny. He wanted nannies4hire to coordinate the search.
As fate would have it, the mystery couple ended up being Jon and Kate Gosselin of “Jon and Kate Plus 8” fame.
That opportunity led to Wingate’s appearance on an episode of “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” during which Kate Gosselin and Wingate interviewed perspective nannies.
“We had lunch with the crew and casting directors,” Wingate said. “It was great fun.”
Since then, Wingate has appeared on an episode of “Insider,” a TV news magazine. She and the company have also been featured on TV and radio shows and newscasts and in website, magazine and newspaper articles.
Plus, she continues to work with the Dr. Phil show by arranging for care for the children of the show’s guests.
Her latest adventure is assisting on ABC’s “SuperNanny.” And that’s why Wingate has been invited to have tea with Frost, the star of the show.
While the organizations are still working on the details of the meeting, Wingate expects it to happen this year.
will take Frost a copy of her new book, “The Nanny Factor,” which was released Oct. 1.
In it she shares insights gained from her experience working as a nanny, running a “nanny” business and having nannies care for her and her husband’s children, Trent and Tyson.
Yet, despite her “fame” and good fortune, Wingate and her company still focus on helping nannies and families find each other and build good relationship.
“Since our children were little, we’ve always had a nanny, so I can relate to what families are going through,” she said. “I want to give them the resources they need to make a placement.
The rest of the story is “just fun,” she said.