Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sandra Hinrichs, I am 44 years old and mother of 3 children in the age of 4, 7 and 9 years. Together with my husband I am living and raising the kids in Frankfurt am Main. I was born in the Rhineland, between Düsseldorf and Cologne, and lived and worked in the area until I moved to Hessen in 2010.
Could you tell us a little more about all you did before founding Main(e) Familienagentur and how you decided to start it?
Puh, a bit of a long story, but I try to keep it short. After my A-levels (Abitur) I completed a two-year-apprentice ship at McKinsey, consulting firm. After that I spent 15 months in total in Chicago and worked in the Research Department at McKinsey.
After that I worked a couple of years as Executive Assistant to a Partner and next to it in Event Management before I began studying (parttime in the evenings) Business Administration. In between I changed my job to work in Practice Management and after my diploma (Master equivalent) I moved to Frankfurt. After my second child I started working parttime in Professional Development until I became pregnant again. Instead of returning to my old job I decided to get self employed to help other parents organizing their family and work life for them. It has always been my passion to organize events for friends and family with children and to research for best locations, classes, tips, etc.
I have always worked in an international and professional environment, and I am very much interested in people and their cultures. And the combination of all this made me founding Main(e) Familienagentur.
Before we go more into detail: What three career-learnings would you say led your career path up to where you are today?
I have always followed my passion: Even though it didn’t feel obvious in the beginning, I always did what I really liked and looked for jobs that suited best to my strengths and passions.
There was one job that I should have quitted
earlier than I did and unfortunately, it slowed down my career, but in the end, the experiences I made, made me to the person I am today, and I learned a lot from it.
Furthermore, I think that it is
very valuable to have a mentor on your side, someone that believes in you and in
what you do.
So, in fact, listen to your gut feeling, follow your passion, and look out for
mentors that point you into the right direction, because they believe in you.
Please tell us a little more about Main(e) Familienagentur. What services do you offer and for whom are these services targeted?
I founded Main(e) Familienagentur in 2020 and we offer tailored everyday family life & leisure organization for Expatriates, pregnant women, working parents and new families in Frankfurt. It‘s not always easy finding your way around in a new environment. I am an expert in these matters. As a German/English speaking mom of three I know the challenges of daily family life, and with my agency I support families individually and creatively to settle in into their new life in Frankfurt or as a working parent with a good work-life-balance. Becoming a mother for the first time is overwhelming and exciting and often there are many questions and pregnancy can be also stressful. There are many things to do that parents should take care of before the child is born. And this, of course, in addition to the job. Compatibility starts already now, and I support parents-to-be to organize themselves well.
What are the main questions your clients come to you for and some of your advice?
Many clients ask me for help finding childcare to return to their job after staying home with the baby for a while. Firstly, they need to decide (almost during pregnancy already) when they would like to return to their job as they need to let their employer know, how long they will be on parental leave.
I can recommend checking at what age childminder or creches start taking care of babies before you finally decide and tell your employer. In theory, children are admitted from the age of 8 weeks, but as a rule, children must be at least 6 or 10 months old.
Once the parents have an overview, they must decide whether they look for a childminder or a crèche and what’s best for their family situation. Then they need to apply for a place in daycare which can be hard and time consuming depending on where you live. Sometimes there are specific dates at which you must be registered or registration tools that need to be used to be considered getting as place for your baby.
What positive impact do your services have when it comes to career development?
From the parent’s perspective, the services of Main(e) Familienagentur help being well prepared and organized becoming a parent and returning to the job after maternity or parental leave. I assist with words and deeds and safe parents a lot of time researching for best doctors, institutions, classes and many more. Foreign parents new to the city of Frankfurt get help finding their way around in the new environment, especially when they don’t speak German well enough to research or getting in touch with experts they need.
As an employer, companies can ensure that employees can concentrate fully on their demanding job. The employer supports their employees with families individually and in line with their needs in integrating into their new home for example and in balancing family and career. Employees feel recognized and valuable, especially well-educated mothers get support continuing their career next to raising children. This way companies can avoid shortage of skilled workers and increase female leadership going forward.
Last but least what do you enjoy most about your job?
I love doing research and to dig in deep to find the best information you can get and to network and to connect other people to each other. I love organizing family events, trips, and holidays.
My favorite event is the Kinderwagenkino. I had the idea of establishing it in Frankfurt. Lights in the movie theatre is dimmed, sound reduced, and parents can stand up and walk around. Babies can be fed or crawl on the floor or just sleep in the stroller or in mom’s or dad’s arms. Parents don’t have to worry when the baby cries and can feel comfortable surrounded by other parents in the nice atmosphere of the cinema. Since its start in November 2021, it has been a great success. Tickets were sold out immediately and parents with their babies had a good time coming over to the Harmonie Kino in Frankfurt Sachsenhausen. They enjoyed watching a good movie and being in company with other parents to share day-to-day experiences of family life or even career plans for when the baby is in day care.
It just makes me happy to see satisfied families and I really enjoy helping and making them joyful and less stressed by contributing a part of being able to spend quality time as a family.
Thank you so much for sharing all your valuable insights with us!
If you want to find out more about Main(e) Familienagentur or get in touch with Sandra: