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1st Choice Au Pairs opened in February 2004 by owner Jay Poole. After hosting au pairs in previous years from the countries of Slovakia and Romania, Jay and wife Theresa were disapointed with the methods used by existing agencies to provide a quality service. Information about candidates was sketchy, with other agencies often only acting as 'forwarding' points to send on forms received by FAX or email from an overseas agencies. The forms often lacked any translations and when further clarification or information was sought of a candidate, it was extremely difficult to obtain any further details. The emergence of internet based agencies created more choice, but caused much greater concern about lack of checks. From an au pair's point of view, this method was also seen to be of high risk, with many young girls choosing to travel to a foreign country and commit to living with a family they had simply met over the internet.

So the challenge was to create a highly professional agency that would reinvent how the entire process worked, giving greater peace of mind for families and au pairs alike, and 1st Choice Au Pairs was born.

Staff profiles

Jay Poole

Picture of Jay Working in the High Tech Telecommunications industry in his earlier career, Jay led a number of change management programs - helping to reinvent the way well known companies such as Nokia Networks and Lucent Technologies did business. Jay decided to use his knowledge of new technology tied to change management to reinvent this service business from scratch and 1st Choice Au Pairs was born.

Ramona Barbulescu

Picture of Ramona Ramona is a graduate of Babes Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca majoring in European Studies and International Relations. She was initially helping the agency to organise events in Romania and has since joined us in the UK earlier on in 2009. Ramona still travels back frequently to meet new candidates and is on hand to speak with candidates in their own language. She is from Oradea, a city in western Romania.

Suzy Zelinova

Picture of Suzy Apart from Jay, Suzy is the longest serving member of the team. She is currently studying for a masters degree in marketing in Newcastle. Suzy has worked as an au pair on two separate occasions and was the first Slovak office administrator here in the UK back in 2004. Since then Suzy has regularly worked on a part time basis for the agency in Slovakia, meeting new candidates andis still lending her support from time to time.

Michael Pratt

Picture of Mike Mike has been providing his services to the agency since the very first overseas event week in May 2004. Mike is a member of the British Psychological Society and has a Masters degree in Psychology. He has worked with many businesses over the course of the last 20 years, working as an evaluator of training requirements and providing leadership and management training.

Mihaela Cepoi

Picture of Mihaela Mihaela has much varied experience and has worked in journalism, sales and office management. She has a degree in Philosophy-Sociology from the university of Craiova. Mihaelahelps support events across the south of Romania.

Andrea Matiaskova

Picture of Adya Studying at the University of Trencin Management School. Adya has been a regular helper to the agency at events across the central and northern part of Slovakia.

Kristina Kironska

Picture of Kristina Studying a Bachelors degree in Business Administration at the University of Management in Bratislava. Kristina has been helping at registration events in the southern region of Slovakia.

Our Old Members of Staff

The agency would not be here if it hadn't been for the efforts of...

Adriana Istvanikova

Picture of Adriana Adriana worked as the UK office manager from September 2004 until June 2005. She moved to London and is now working in Canary Wharf.

Alexandra Gromova

Picture of Sasha Sasha was with the agency from July 2005 until June 2006. She is still popping in to see us from time to time and is working in Peterborough.

Janka Rapcanova

Picture of Janka Janka was with us during 2006 & 2007. She is now living and working back in her native Slovakia.

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