Luxury lifestyle management positions are becoming increasingly common among high net worth individuals. People are seeing the value of one capable person to manage their lives and staff to give them back time and peace of mind. We spoke to Ronald Rodgers, former lifestyle manager for Tyra Banks, about what the role entails.
‘I was once told by a client I have a bit of the Don Draper about me,’ says Ron Rodgers. The client he’s talking about was Tyra Banks, American actress, former model, and creator and judge of TV show America’s Next Top Model, for whom Ron worked as her lifestyle manager for a number of years. He does look a little the legendary Mad Men character, though with more of the friendliness of actor John Hamm. His swept-back hair is coupled with a friendly smile. But there’s definitely a can-do air of capability about him, too.
Ron used to manage Tyra’s staff, life and properties, and has worked in luxury lifestyle management for similar clients all over the world, smoothing their busy paths through life. His tasks have covered everything from event-management, hiring staff, cooking, managing yachts and planes, to overseeing real-estate purchases and renovations. He is quick to tell me that this role – call it luxury lifestyle manager, executive assistant, or bespoke PA – is not for the workshy.
Luxury lifestyle management isn’t all about glamour
‘People shouldn’t get into luxury lifestyle management for the glamour,’ says Ron. ‘Yes, your principal – your employer – may well be a celebrity or have an outwardly glamorous life. They will move among wealthy, famous people, but I’ve spent my life in these circles in various positions and you quickly understand that of course they’re just like you and me. And they’re very busy, running complex lives, and your job is to make that hectic life run smoothly. You’re not going to be posing for photos in front of fancy cars and properties.’
If you’re managing staff and properties for your employer this lifestyle manager role comes with a great deal of responsibility. It takes a decent employer to make sure the position doesn’t run past 60-80 hours a week. The nature of the role means that you’ll often be working unsociable hours. But it’s this variety that is so appealing to someone like Ron. There’s rarely a dull day.
He says, ‘I’ve been in a position where a cleaner has let the principal down, and the buck stops with me. What I’m saying is I’ve spent a couple of weeks cleaning because we couldn’t find the right cleaner to replace the one that left.’ You have to be willing to work at all levels. You may well accompany someone on a private jet, but you may well have to vacuum a carpet, too. He is keen to emphasise that the job involves a lot about discretion, too. He says, ‘I see PAs coming from model agencies attracted to positions where they imagine they’ll be part of a celebrity lifestyle, but your job is rarely about being seen in public, and when it is you have to behave in a professional way. You’ve got to be a certain kind of person to be dedicated to giving your best all the time whatever you’re doing.’
Luxury lifestyle management is about taking care of details
Part of Ron’s luxury lifestyle management roles has been to manage properties and estates across the globe for wealthy clients. People want their lives to be seamless, so knowing every detail of what is expected in their lives is crucial. Ron’s speciality is caring about the detail. He creates extensive manuals for all staff to make the principal’s life flow easily. He calls this Residential Continuity Management, and it’s about knowing the tiniest details from what sort of gin the visiting mother-in-law likes to drink and having it ready, to the dietary restrictions of the principal’s children and sometimes their friends, which people are likely to visit each property, and how the breakfast table should be set in all the houses across the globe, too. ‘I catch all the details before they fall through the cracks,’ says Ron.
Ron is a man with a fascinating CV. He used to be an Executive Director at the University of Miami, in its prestigious International Business and Banking Institute, where he was primarily responsible for fundraising. He morphed into his new life after buying and renovating a house. He was so successful at it that people kept asking him to help with their property projects. Ron’s aptitude at fixing problems led to him working with a highly successful New York businessman full time, across a number of properties, and things went from there.
His most recent position has been six years as an Estate and Equestrian Manager on a large private estate in France, for a wealthy Finnish businesswoman. However, as she downscales Ron is seeking his next new challenge. ‘After six years working in rural France, I’d quite like a city position next,’ he says.
‘However, you don’t see luxury lifestyle management roles in many job-listings,’ says Ron. In fact it’s only really a position in the US, the UK and in a few places in Europe. ‘At the moment, when I’m searching for jobs, I look for labels like Executive Assistant, or Personal Assistant,’ he says. But, as we’ve experienced here at 14fiftyseven, those job titles can cover so much, and for a position like Ron’s the salary will be $100,000 minimum, which is often more than advertised roles suggest. This isn’t a junior role. Like Ron, we’re keen to spread the luxury lifestyle management word – and for it to become the go-to job description for busy successful individuals who need assistance across their work and personal lives.
Does your contact need an expert luxury lifestyle manager? Contact Susie Osborough, Director at 14fiftyseven
Call us at 14fiftyseven to talk through your household staff recruitment needs and budget, and we can find you PAs, lifestyle managers, house managers, nannies, and more. Call +44 (0) 208 616 1457 or email email@example.com or fill in our online enquiry form.
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