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Child’s play

David Mirhadi
Staff Writer

When she was a teenager, Susan Gouveia loved babysitting.

Now that she’s a grownup, her babysitting business has grown up, too.

Only this time, her customers are professionals climbing the corporate ladder who want to make sure their children aren’t left on the bottom rungs.

Gouveia runs Corporate Kids Events, providing childcare to parents whose work takes them away from home for days, even weeks at a time. Gouveia’s job allows parents to effectively take their children to work, even when work takes them far away.

“I’ve been doing this my entire life,” she said. “Now we do this for corporate circles and people who can pay enough to have their kids taken care of on multiple-day conferences so people can take their kids.”

Gouveia runs sales and marketing for the firm she co-owns with her husband, Garen. (They’re no relation to the Gouveias who operate Gouveia Flooring and Design in Grass Valley.)

The Gouveias have offices in Grass Valley and Monterey. They also contract with local teachers and educators to act as facilitators when a contractor, such as Kaiser Permanente, wants to conduct a three-day retreat in Los Angeles.

When that happens, the Gouveias hire individuals who will set up a custom day-care program that may include a specific theme such as Harry Potter or an educational hands-on program on site, so the children can accompany their parents and not worry about where Mom or Dad is.

Rates are based on the number of children and the venue they’re staying at. The company has also branched out into providing events that cater to special-needs children.

“It’s a real niche we’ve fallen into,” said Susan Gouveia. The company’s clients include the National Hemophilia Foundation, Omaha, Neb.- based Kiewit Construction, the John Muir Medical Group. The company also provides on-site childcare and activities for hotels in the Monterey area.

The company also offers certification and licensing programs for prospective babysitters and child-care providers.

Corporate Kids Events provides all of the materials for an upscale child-care experience ” costumes, educational materials, face-painting materials ” whatever a client wants to pay for.

Business is going quite well, Gouveia said, noting the company schedules 125-150 events a year, ranging in length from one night to one week, and as long as six months for long-term assignments.

She said the company generates revenues of about $1 million a year.

The company has representatives all over the world. In many cases, these program managers are teachers ” some locally based ” that travel with the company on holiday breaks and vacations and set up the currriculum for the children while their parents are immersed in PowerPoint presentations or corporate tongue-lashings.

The Gouveias have worked with corporate clients who will take their children to conferences in Vail, Colorado; Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, the Bahamas, “and all the states in between.”

The Gouveias do this so that they, too, can bring their children to the events and retreats.

“It offers us a nice lifestyle,” Susan Gouveia said. “This is great. I feel really blessed to have this company.”

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail dmirhadi@theunion.com or call 477-4239.

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