As part of our ongoing Spotlight Series, we are excited this year to delve a little deeper in our various committees and the purposes they serve for your membership. We asked INA Co-President, Tonya Sakowicz to tell us about the committees she serves on.
Can you tell us about the NCS Track that is offered at the annual conferences:
This track was created only a few years ago, not long after the INA officially adopted the term “Newborn Care Specialist” with the idea that while the classes in the nanny track were wonderful, they were not geared specifically towards the age range most newborn care specialists work with and that if we were going to have the term within the INA and we were meeting the ongoing education needs of members through conference, we needed to address that. We had also offered a NCS 101 course the previous year that was supposed to be 2 hours but people wanted so much more it ended up being carried over to another day and going on for an additional 5 hours; we knew we needed more. And so the new track was created, NCS and those interested in this niche part of the nanny market started coming and it has grown steadily ever since. We now regularly have maxed out rooms at conference.
We were very excited at the conference this year to see such a detailed and dedicated NCS track; can you tell us more on what is in store for the future of this track?
We listen very carefully to the feedback from attendees when they share their comments via our feedback forms. What we consistently hear is “even MORE in-depth speakers and content” and so we will continue to try and meet that request. We clearly see that our NCS attendees are highly educated individuals in their field and so we are continually seeking speakers that can meet that level of knowledge and provide new information, new ideas, and fresh perspectives.
This year the INA rolled out the credential NCS exam. What more can you tell us about this exam? Can you tell us how it can be beneficial to the members?
This is a project that has been several years in the making and we are very proud of this exam and all the work that has gone into it. The main creators were myself, Cortney Gibson and Danielle Bujnak, along with the assistance of varied members of the NCS committees over the past few years. It is a challenging exam and really shows that an NCS knows what they are doing if they pass this exam. It is based on studies and recommended practices from all around the world. Resources were drawn from the US, UK, Israel, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the World Health Organization—all over, in order to ensure that NCS understand what are considered best practices on a worldwide scale and so that the exam would be relevant to all attendees, regardless of their country of origin. A study guide was also prepared so that NCS could go into the exam prepared. Those who have taken the exam have shared that the study guide was invaluable in their preparation. For NCS and nannies who wish to show specialized knowledge, passing this exam does just that. And for agencies, they can be confident that if someone has passed this exam, their knowledge base is sound. Those who pass the exam receive a certificate and specialized logo and the right to call themselves an INA Credentialed Newborn Care Specialist.
Can you tell us about the Growth and Retention (NCS) committee; what is the function of it?
This functions really almost as a sub-committee of the main NCS committee, but the point of it is to examine what benefits we as the INA are offering to our NCS members. It is a relatively new consideration with our new membership category of NCS.
How does it benefit INA members?
This committee will look at NCS specific member benefits that we can offer. As this grows and expands the vision is to offer information and opportunities including ongoing education, business, and legal advice resources, business-related insurance resources, marketing and website information, etc… Being an NCS is different than being a nanny as there is a business and marketing side to it that nannies do not need to deal with and yet the business track of INA does not fully address. So the vision is to bring specialized information and benefits to NCS members.
How can INA members access these benefits/who can members reach out to if they’d like to know more about this committee or take advantage of its benefits?
Anytime a member wants to be more a part of a committee or learn more about the benefits of a specific committee, they should first reach out to the committee chair and find out what kind of commitment is required or if the committee offers what they are after and if they want to volunteer to help, then to reach out to the INA office, fill out the volunteer agreement and get going! In particular, the Growth and Retention committee is just getting off the ground and we can definitely utilize those who have a passion for this industry. You can reach out to committees and the INA office via email@example.com
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our membership?
We love our member ideas and member help! So many of the great things that INA offers now came originally from member ideas and member help. Heck, the entire ideas for NCS, an NCS track, an NCS Exam and now an NCS Business Membership Category all came from our membership. But we can’t do it all alone, so please join us if this is your passion!
Tonya Sakowicz – (Phoenix, AZ) Tonya is an INA Credentialed Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist (NCS) and Parent Educator who does both consulting and in-home sleep conditioning for her clients. Tonya has 29 years of experience as a Nanny and NCS. She is a certified Eco-Maternity Consultant and Green Birth Educator and founded Baby Go Green, Inc. In 2003 Tonya was voted the Professional Childcare Provider of the Year and a year later nominated for the INA Nanny of the Year. That same year, she was nominated by her peers for the NAN Harriette Grant Memorial Award. Tonya is the founder of Newborn Care Solutions dedicated to the training of Newborn Care Specialists and helping families adjust to life with their newborn baby. Tonya is a proud wife and mother of two. Tonya has been a member of the INA since 2001 and joined the board in 2015. Please see the Committee Appointments list for a list of committees for which Tonya is the chair.