Carrie and Jens Hillen, Owners and Co-Presidents
We have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of our lives. We now live in Orinda with our two children, with our extended families nearby.
After careers working in national client service organizations in finance, law and technology, we decided that we wanted to work together and use our talents in our own business doing something that was meaningful to us. When we learned about the opportunity to become owners of Town + Country, we jumped at the chance.
Running Town + Country is a very personal endeavor for us. We share our clients’ values, cares and concerns. With young children, as well as aging grandparents, we understand first-hand the importance of top-notch in-home care. We also appreciate the challenges that families face in trying to find just the right person.
We love that our work gives us the chance to work with people that we really care about: Bay Area families and the amazing men and women who are pursuing careers of service.
We feel very fortunate that our work and families are so rooted within the Bay Area community.
Read more about Carrie’s background
Carrie worked for Price Waterhouse, PHB Hagler Bailly, Charles Schwab, and Charles River Associates. Carrie holds a BA from UCLA and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Read more about Jens’ background
Jens started his career at Oracle as an engineer, worked at the law firm of Latham & Watkins after law school and most recently helped run FlashPoint Technology, a small venture-backed company based in the Northeast. Jens holds a mechanical engineering degree from UC Berkeley and earned his law degree at USC.
Sarah Thigpen, Vice President, San Francisco
Sarah was born in San Luis Obispo and grew up in San Diego. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working as a Nanny throughout college for a family with whom she’s still in touch. After working in Manhattan for two years, Sarah moved to San Francisco in 1993 and joined Town + Country in 1998. Even now, Sarah continues to be touched daily by the stories she hears from both Nannies and families about the strong connections Town + Country helps foster. She also feels incredibly fortunate to work with such an amazing team of women in the San Francisco office. Sarah lives in the North Bay with her husband and two school-age boys.
Kristine Lange, Director, Palo Alto
Kristine grew up in Naples, Florida and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Psychology from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Town + Country, Kristine spent 12 years working for community service organizations. Kristine worked with child protective services and then for Big Brothers and Sisters matching children with adult mentors. She moved to the Bay Area and joined Town + Country in 2006. Kristine enjoys working at Town + Country because, “it’s great to work with a team of people who pride themselves on customer service, relationship building and a passion for successful placements.” Kristine lives on the Peninsula with her husband and two sons.
Sarndra Elejorde, Placement Counselor, San Francisco
Sarndra grew up on a dairy farm in New Zealand. She received a Diploma of Early Childhood Education, a National Nursery Examination Board certificate and a Certificate in Special Needs Education. Sarndra left New Zealand in 1994 and moved first to Canada, then England and finally the United States where she worked as a Nanny and a Baby Nurse for over ten years. Sarndra joined Town + Country in 2001 and says she enjoys working here because, “I love working with a great team, in a fast paced environment, helping our candidates find great jobs.” She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son.
Tessa Kotch, Placement Counselor, Palo Alto
Tessa grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Tessa has been a part of the Town + Country team since 2006. She also has several years of Nanny experience and appreciates the importance of finding the perfect fit for both families and Nannies. Tessa lives in Mountain View with her husband.
Maira Lazdins, Placement Counselor, San Francisco
Maira grew up in Toronto, Canada and moved to the United States in 2006. She earned her Master’s degree in Organization Development from American University in Washington, DC, and has seven years of recruiting experience. Maira has recruited for a variety of positions, and has worked in both agency and in-house recruiting environments. Maira enjoys being a source of support and guidance to clients and candidates during the search process, and building strong relationships to help identify the best fit for each position. Maira relocated from Washington, DC to the Bay Area in 2013 and currently lives in Albany with her husband.
MaryPat Power, Placement Counselor, Palo Alto
Mary Pat grew up in Westport, Connecticut and Lexington, Massachusetts. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MaryPat has spent much of her career in non-profit work. She founded and directed two early childhood education programs including Playschool in Atherton. She is the former Director of the Children and Outreach Programs for the Child and Family Institute in Menlo Park. In her free time, she continues to do volunteer work with children. MaryPat joined Town + Country in 2002. She likes the fast-paced work environment and team approach. She feels satisfaction when she can help Nannies find employment, and help families find great Nannies. MaryPat lives in the South Bay with her husband and two children.
Melissa Seevers, Placement Counselor, San Francisco
Melissa grew up in Menlo Park with her parents and three siblings. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and joined Town + Country in 2006. Melissa loves working in the temporary department filling urgent requests for families and hearing the relief in a parent’s voice when she tells them that a pre-screened, qualified Nanny is on the way to their home! Melissa lives in Oakland with her husband where they can be found riding their bikes or enjoying the sun at Lake Merritt.
Cara Sullivan, Placement Counselor, San Francisco
Cara was born in San Francisco and grew up in Redwood City. After attending Foothill College in Los Altos, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of California, Davis. She worked as a part-time Nanny throughout college and babysat regularly while growing up. She is the oldest of three siblings and the proud aunt of two nieces. Cara joined Town + Country in 1999 and has been here ever since! Cara says, “I love working at Town + Country because we are all passionate about what we do, and we have fun, but we work hard! The feeling that comes from helping people find jobs, and helping families find great Nannies, is one that never gets old.”
Jennifer Talia, Placement Counselor, Palo Alto
Jennifer joined Town + Country in 1994. She grew up in Cupertino and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from San Jose State University. Jennifer is truly passionate about finding the right match for both families and Nannies. She and her team pride themselves on delivering excellent customer service and building long term relationships while making successful placements. Jennifer lives in the South Bay with her husband and two daughters.
Heather Wakely, Placement Counselor, San Francisco
Heather grew up in Southern California and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. While in college she worked as a Nanny for a family with whom she is still in touch. After working in both the Publishing and Advertising industries, she is happy now to have a found a company to work for that prides itself on teamwork and helping people find the perfect fit for their families.
Nancy McIlvaine, Senior Advisor
Nancy grew up in North Palm Beach, Florida. She has her Master’s degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She was originally placed by Town + Country as a Household Manager in 1993 and stayed with that family for three years, and later joined Town + Country in 1997. Nancy worked full-time with Town + Country for fourteen years, drawing on her own experiences daily as she worked with clients and candidates making matches that enabled incredibly hardworking candidates to use their skills to make a client’s life easier. Nancy currently serves actively as an advisor to Town + Country, assisting the Executive & Estate Staffing team. Nancy lives in the North Bay with her husband and two children.
Christy Bruegger, Recruiting Counselor, Palo Alto
Christy grew up in Redwood City and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Azusa Pacific University. She was originally placed by Town + Country as a Nanny in 2007 and enjoys bringing her in-home work experience to her position on the Nanny team. She loves matching hard-working Nannies with wonderful families and finds her job very rewarding.
Amy Chen, Recruiting Counselor, Palo Alto
Amy grew up in Washington, DC and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Elementary Education from The College of William and Mary. Amy built a career as an educator in one of the nation’s top school districts. She knows the delicacy needed to provide insight and build confidence. She enjoys using her experience to build successful relationships with the candidates and clients. She joined Town + Country in 2012 when she moved to the Bay Area.
Lara Evans, Recruiting Counselor, Palo Alto
Lara grew up in the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of California, Davis and later got her Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University. After moving back to California, Lara worked for a staffing agency and a web-based HR consulting company, and then joined Town + Country in 2011. She enjoys working in Town + Country’s fast-paced work environment and building relationships with new and current Nanny candidates. Lara lives in the East Bay with her husband and daughter.
Amy Horning, Recruiting Counselor, Palo Alto
Amy grew up in Washington State. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Washington in Seattle. She worked as a Nanny through college. Amy first worked at Town + Country from 1998 until 2001 and then left to be a full-time Mom to her two daughters until joining the team again in 2012. Amy lives in the South Bay with her husband and two daughters
Lindsay Lechner, Recruiting Counselor, San Francisco
Lindsay was born in Los Angeles but has lived for most of her life here in the Bay Area. She earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, San Jose and her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Lindsay worked as a Nanny all throughout college and for several years beyond. She started working at Town + Country in 2006, and has been part of our hardworking team since then.
Rebekah Santos, Recruiting Counselor, San Francisco
Rebekah grew up in Richmond. She has an Associate’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco and is now completing her Associate’s degree in Business at Diablo Valley College. Rebekah enjoys working at Town + Country because she can use her in-home experience and love for children to relate to the candidates she works with. Rebekah volunteers as a Sunday school teacher at her church and lives in the East Bay.
Marissa Shelton, Recruiting Counselor, San Francisco
Marissa grew up in Marin County. She has her Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Cabrillo College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from San Francisco State University. She worked as a preschool teacher and a Nanny prior to starting at Town + Country in 2011. Marissa says that she enjoys working at Town + Country because she gets to help people every day. “I feel good knowing that I am helping families and children receive the best possible care, and I am helping great Nannies find wonderful families to work with.”
Heather Whitaker, Recruiting Counselor, Palo Alto
Heather was born in Texas and grew up in Lake Tahoe. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of San Francisco. She was placed by Town + Country Resources as a Nanny and later as a Personal Assistant. She enjoys working at Town + Country, because she can use her own experiences working in-home to help guide the candidates she works with. “It is a great feeling to hear the excitement in a candidate’s voice when I am able tell them that they have been hired in a great position.” She lives in Pacifica with her husband.
Bev Brown, Finance and HR Coordinator
Bev was born in Montreal, Canada and moved to the United States in 1983. She graduated from Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina with a degree in Accounting. Bev joined Town + Country in 1998 after moving here with her husband and two daughters. Bev says that “It is gratifying to work at a company that provides such a valuable service and where the efforts of the staff are so appreciated!” She is active in both Social Justice & Leadership Ministry at her church, and lives in the South Bay with her family.
Stanley Hutchinson, IT Director
Stanley was born and raised in Southern California where he graduated with an Associate’s degree. Stanley spent time practicing and teaching yoga and doing small sustainable community civil engineering in British Columbia, Canada before he went on to study Graphic Arts and do darkroom and typesetting work. After managing a computer store in Idaho Falls he came to San Francisco, working with a number of high tech firms. He joined Town + Country in 2003, and has been keeping everything running as fast and efficiently ever since. Stanley lives on the Peninsula with his wife.
Amanda Shone, Marketing Director
Amanda grew up in Sonoma, California. She earned her Associate’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco and is now completing her Bachelor’s in Business Marketing at San Francisco State University. Prior to joining Town + Country, Amanda managed trade shows and showrooms, assisting with buying, website design and customer relations. Amanda volunteers for the Stand By Me Mentoring Alliance and prides herself on the mentoring relationships she has built over the past four years.