In our latest director briefing we spoke to Nataly Tormey, the owner of Harry Helper. Nataly delves into her background and experience in health and education, the creation of Harry Helper, her vision for the future of the company and much more! Read on to learn about this passionate and trail-blazing business as well as how you get involved in this opportunity.
Eden Exchange: Hello Nataly, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. First off, can you tell us about your professional background and experience in the sector?
Nataly Tormey: I have a background in working as a registered nurse and immunisation nurse. I also hold certificates in Emotional Intelligence, Training and Assessment, Mental Health First Aid, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
I have devoted myself to educational design and delivery for the past five years; developing, designing and running all my programs myself. I started off by creating ParentMedic, followed by the creation of Harry Helper, and now there’s a new one in the making!
Eden Exchange: You have considerable experience in the community health care sector in Australia, can you tell us about your different projects and your different roles?
Nataly Tormey: I have worked as an accredited first aid educator in the past and still work as a community nurse. In the past I developed a mental health program in partnership with Dr. David Arthur designed for the in-home care/nanny sector.
Since then I have focused on community health education and design. I developed and created ParentMedic where I teach parents first aid, and Harry Helper where I teach kids about health.
Eden Exchange: What does Harry Helper do? What is your vision for the company?
Nataly Tormey: The aim for Harry Helper is to raise future generations of capable helpers that can help themselves as well as others. To date we have taught over 3,000 kids which in turn has impacted over 12,000 family members. The program begins with the child attending an incursion with Harry Helper, then resources are sent home to continue their learning as well as resources for the educator.
My mission for the future is for the Harry Helper program to be provided to all kids. The program teaches four foundation topics; these were the main topics that we found are most effective in teaching a child confidence in their ability to help. These foundations are:
- Body basics: to know what our body does and the role of each body part
- First-aid: in a non-traditional way. Broken down: first = first person and aid = help. It’s not all about the application of physical assistance, but the first to help.
- Safety: also in a non-traditional way. We focus on what safe feels like by talking about safe zones, boundaries and what does or does not feel safe to do.
- Building belief: Basically, “I now know what to do. Now that I am capable I must believe in myself to do it.”
In addition to this, we also do programs to meet community needs. We have built a summer safety session, which is building to when our helpers’ world will turn upside down, with a focus on eco-system breakdown.
Each topic is generally broken up into multiple bite-sized incursions. We are about continuity of learning. Not just a one-time “pop up” incursion.
Eden Exchange: Why is it that you’ve focused specifically on child education and support? How do education and practical training come into play in your platform?
Nataly Tormey: I saw a lack of the belief that a child can learn such skills, but we know they can. There is a real art behind designing this content so that it is fun, light hearted and empowering. This is one of my talents, taking the fear out of learning content that normally is fearful. It takes time in its development to have a real outcome.
We have been seeing demand for developing the Harry Helper program for primary schools, holiday care programs and other environments. However, before we expand to these places we want to focus on early learning centres and meeting the curriculum and NQS needs before moving on.
Eden Exchange: Talk us through the process behind your product – how does it work and how does it set itself apart from other educational support programs?
Nataly Tormey: An insane amount of consideration and input takes place from idea inception to launch. I pilot each program I develop for an extended period of time and any program I develop is in consultation with those I develop it for, as well as their families and industry professionals working with those people.
In this circumstance I developed the program in consultation with the early learning sector, industry bodies, partners, those respected in the industry in addition to centre owners (small and large, public and private), the educators, centre directors, the kids, and the families! As I build the programs I measure outcomes, and whether or not it is suitable for the environment it is delivered in. I then ensure that it can be adopted into the market easily and can be paid for.
My passion is also using my programs to improve health outcomes and increased social impact. There is a real gap between research and health promotion, not to mention translating this into a brandable product that sells and improves health literacy and understanding. This is my passion; the psychology behind health promotion, education and the learning outcome, and branding the product so that it is appealing, fun, engaging and easy to adopt into different communities.
Eden Exchange: What stage of development is your product currently in? What have been the indicative results of your trial runs so far?
Nataly Tormey: Harry Helper launched in 2019. During this year we have grown to 39 individual franchise providers. We have taught over 3,000 kids and impacted over 14,000 family members. The feedback is amazing, and the industry loves it. What can we say…
Eden Exchange: What gap in the market are you filling and why is it a good time to be servicing the educational child services industry?
Nataly Tormey: Is there ever a bad time? In terms of social impact, this benefits our kids and our future. Harry Helper is changing lives by bringing learnings that we used to have at home with our parents, and assisting educators to implement these learnings in a caring and supportive environment.
Eden Exchange: Where do you foresee the greatest demand? What has the response in the market been like to date?
Nataly Tormey: Honestly, hand on heart; we can’t meet demand. It’s growing at a rate I never expected it to grow and we are limited to the fact that it is only me managing the program. The response has been amazing and the demand is huge. We aim to grow to be able to meet that demand.
Eden Exchange: What are the next steps in the development of your company? Where do you see your business in three months as well as a year from now?
Nataly Tormey: We want to build master franchisees, someone or multiple ‘someones’ who would like to help scale the program nationally and internationally (there has already been some bites in the Asian market). We are aiming to gain government funding to scale our Harry Helper ACCESS program, where we contextualise content for kids with special needs. We want to see the program grow like it deserves.
I am aiming to be able to move away from business operations. I have a new program I want to build (watch this space!) in mental health. That doesn’t mean I won’t still take care of all the educational development, mentorship and support in Harry Helper, but just means someone can step in to grow this baby with their business skills to get it where it needs to be.
Eden Exchange: What kind of support team do you have in place at Harry Helper?
Nataly Tormey: Harry Helper is run by myself and one other person who helps with recruitment. I then have an online portal that trains individual educators.
I run online workshops and engage with people via a help desk. I then empower my franchise providers to become volunteer team leaders. I also draw support from an insane amount of industry and business mentors.
I utilise technology a lot. I have a national team, 39 in Harry Helper and 60 in ParentMedic. Managing 100 people on my own meant I had to build a team around me and use online technology to share education and support with strong systems in place. This has been done and it works.
Eden Exchange: Can you tell us a bit more about some key achievements and challenges the company has encountered so far? Do you see any potential future challenges?
Nataly Tormey: Some of our key achievements include:
- Summer Safety Program (free!)
- Appearance on The Circle on Channel 9
- Convention with key industry friends (president of Australian ChildCare Alliance and CEO of Early Learning Australia)
- Significant industry acknowledgement
- We’ve taught 3,000 kids and 14,000 families
The challenges? We need more man-power to keep the wheels turning!
Eden Exchange: What’s the best thing about your job? What drives you to do what you do?
Nataly Tormey: I am improving health, but in a way that has never been seen before. I commercialise a product, I teach health in a way that is not traditional. The results may seem subtle, but they will change lives as well as save them. On top of that, all of these impacts are going to continue into future generations to come. Why wouldn’t I love what I do?
Eden Exchange: Thank you, Nataly, it’s been a pleasure.
About Harry Helper:
Imagine a generation of empathic, proactive, helpful young people, with the skills and confidence to make a difference. That’s what we’re doing – and we invite you to join us.
We’re giving children the confidence to help, through age-appropriate education in first aid, health, and wellbeing. We are the only early learning education program delivering incursions for 3-5 year olds in health, first aid, safety and wellbeing.
We deliver this service through our network of Harry Helper businesses. We use a unique business model that empowers our business owners just as much as it empowers the kids we teach.
Harry Helpers are franchise businesses run by passionate educators who’ve completed rigorous training.