My name is Taylor Speer-Sims, and I am obsessed with historic houses. I grew up on a farm in Michigan, and had to do about any type of farm work that you can think about. While I hated it at the time, I can honestly say that my work ethic was gained by my experience. You cannot fake life on a farm!
At an early age, I moved to California where I began modeling. It was different in the 80's; you didn't have to be so tall. Most of my work was as a promotions model for high-end department stores and events. Interestingly, I did many events at Grand Estates, Country Clubs, and Yachts (though, they were tied down).
After moving back to Michigan, I began working as a receptionist at a luxury apartment community. The wealthy and famous were year-round or part-time residents. Here is where I learned all about the great and bad traits about property on the water, golf course maintenance, and event coordination.
I went on to manage apartments that were created out of historic (mostly Victorian era) mansions. And, I also managed entire small estates. I learned the differences between restoration and updating, codes and historic district rules, residential and mixed property usage, as well as old places and historic properties.
Becoming an assistant property manager made me aware of safety regulations and bidding. I had so many properties to keep up with, that I also had to learn management systems and priorities. After creating the OSHA books for my own managers, it became a standard in the company. Moving to property manager within a year, and also the youngest woman manager ever in the company, I worked twice as hard as the men in the company and kept longer hours, too.
I was then offered a position as a recruiter for a friend's company, and I took it. I worked with her filling jobs in the manufacturing, HR, and customer service fields. I then went on to recruit for flight attendants for the best airlines in the air. Showing tenacity, I moved on to management. My team was the best that had worked for the company, filling over 110% of the year's required hiring quota within just over half the year!
The economy tanked and I began working with another recruitment agency as their large corporation/regional recruiter. I just didn't fit in, so began working for myself and subbed out to a few companies at the same time. I did well, but realized that I didn't like it as much as history... and big... old... houses!
I found myself as a household manager for an elite entrepreneur. He had multiple properties, but I only ended up assisting him with his main residence and four subsidiary homes. Two were condos, and one was a single family located within a country club, and another was a small estate on the lake.
In between, I taught modeling and etiquette to young ladies and business women individually and for groups. There were time-period specific requirements to some, such as the Titanic Era, Antebellum Era, and 1950's. Others were Church based curricula. It didn't matter to me, I loved it all.
Because I love history, I decided to go back to school and do what I love. I received my Bachelors in History from American Military University where I focused all of my papers on houses, estates, castles, and palaces. Currently, I am attending University of Nebraska-Kearny as a master of arts in history student. I am specializing in house museums and houses of American elite during the long eighteenth-century (1680-1815). I am researching and writing on my thesis as you are reading this!
I am worked in the collections department as intern at The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson. For two and a half years prior, I was Weekend Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at the Tanner House mansion museum and the David L. Pierce Center museum in Aurora, IL for the Aurora Historical Society.
Also, I now have enough time in my studies to manage again. I will, however, be choosy. I will not work for every person that contacts me, only those who interest me and those locations that fit within my specific specialties. If you would like to see some of the services that I provide, click here: Countess Estates Management Services, or if you would like to hire me, give me a call at 615.603.6374.
Here on the Sassy Countess blog, I share my likes on material culture, architecture, interiors, land, and social history. I include visits to historic houses, and any corresponding events they might have. As I delve deeper into my thesis writing, I will be including more on what I learn from my research. I am excited that you are here.
Feel free to comment on the pages, and/or contact me at SassyCountess@Live.com.
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