When Aleksandra Kisielewicz immigrated to the United States from Poland eight years ago, she only had a basic understanding of English and a drive to make her mark in New York.
Over the past few years, she dove headfirst into the English language, taking classes at Suffolk County Community College, where she was awarded a certificate of achievement in the English as a Second Language Program. In May 2011, the entrepreneur-at-heart decided to take another new step, and founded the Hamptons Employment Agency, a business that places domestic workers with employers in the tristate area.
Now, after just three seasons on the East End, Ms. Kisielewicz is considered one of the top businesswomen on Long Island, and has been awarded the 40 Under 40 Award by Long Island Business News. She was honored at their annual awards dinner in Woodbury on January 30.
“I am so excited,” Ms. Kisielewicz said last week while sitting in her Southampton office. “I am so happy because this is big for me. To be honest, I always believed that I had some business skills as an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know what I could do with it.”
The 40 Under 40 award is given each year to accomplished business leaders under 40 years old. Ms. Kisielewicz, 31, was selected from a pool of over 200 applicants.
She had moved to the US with a degree in finance from the School of Management and Banking in Cracow, Poland. She excelled in her ESL classes at Suffolk Community, where she was also certified in hotel management, which she said helps her understand her clients’ and her employees’ needs.
After graduating, she began working at GalleryB in Sag Harbor, where she ran the sales and administration offices. There, she realized she loved working with people and had a flair for organization. That is how Ms. Kisielewicz became inspired to start her company.
Now she is busy preparing for the months ahead. In March, she will marry her longtime boyfriend, Ross Kardwell, in a small ceremony. Immediately after, she will start planning for her fourth and biggest summer in the Hamptons.
She will not place just anyone with her high-end clientele. For her company, which hires household workers like maids, gardeners, bartenders, personal chefs and chauffeurs, Ms. Kisielewicz interviews all potential staffers. Each must be able to pass a strict background check and have several references to be considered. Ms. Kisielewicz must also like the person she places.
“I do background checks and reference checks but most important I need to talk with you,” she said. “I need to see if you are a kind person. Then I can see if you are good for a position and if I have something available for you.”
The Hamptons Employment Agency is growing. Ms. Kisielewicz and her staff—one office woman and several vendors who are in and out on a daily basis—are moving to a bigger office on Hampton Road in Southampton. To accommodate the needs of her Hamptons clients, many of whom live in the city during the winter, Ms. Kisielewicz opened a second office on Madison Avenue and 57th Street.
“I didn’t expect it to grow so big so fast,” she laughed. “I expected it to grow slowly, but not how it is.”
Although Ms. Kisielewicz is excited to watch the company expand in ways she never imagined possible.
“It is an honor to receive Long Island Business News’ 40 Under 40 Award.” she said in a release. “This recognition demonstrates what is possible for young business people, whether you’re an entrepreneur or excelling in a corporate position. Hamptons Employment Agency is thriving, and the 40 Under 40 Award is a source of pride for everyone in our organization.”