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The Admin Awards recognizes administrative excellence in nine distinct Award Categories including the program’s most prestigious award which elevates the Professional who embodies the “spirit” and proficiency of nationally renowned (former) secretary, Colleen Barrett. Colleen was the Legal Secretary to Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s Founder, who rose from Secretary to President and COO of the airline during her five-decade career at Southwest. Below is the complete list of all award categories across all nine markets in addition to the Founder’s Award which is the only company award offered by the Admin Awards and is described below. Nominators do have the ability to nominate an Administrative Professional in more than one award category however an admin can only be declared a finalist in one award category (the award category with the highest score from the judges is retained).

The Team Achiever Award

Recognizes the high performing Administrative Team that worked together on a common goal, significant project or business initiative that resulted in a positive outcome.Award Category Questions

Toyota Start Your Impossible Award

This Award is for those Administrative Professionals that have overcome adversity either at home and/or at work, are not afraid to take on massive challenges, inspire those around them with their perseverance, and see no limit to the possibilities of what they can achieve! A Dallas exclusive award.Award Category Questions

Strategic Partnership Award

This award embodies the tremendous impact an Executive Assistant and Executive can have when they work together in true business partnership to advance the needs of the business by relying on the EA role to deliver greater strategic value to the executive and organization.Award Category Questions

Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence

This is the Admin Awards’ most prestigious award and honors the Admin that best demonstrates many of the qualities which enabled Colleen Barrett’s rise from legal secretary to President and Chief Operating Officer of Southwest Airlines.Award Category Questions

Administrative Excellence in Public Service Award

The Administrative Excellence in Public Service Award honors Administrative Professionals that are involved in either the public or private sectors in the following industries: Healthcare, Biotech, Pharma, Education, Government, Nonprofit, Military, Law Enforcement, Fire & Rescue, Politics. Professionals in these areas have made significant contributions to the success of their organizations in an Administrative capacity.Award Category Questions

Above the Call Award

This is the award that's all about providing exceptional customer service both internally and externally and honors the Admin whose job responsibility involves significant interaction with others such as coworkers, customers, vendors, company visitors etc.Award Category Questions

Loyalty Award

The Loyalty Award is presented to the Administrative Professional that has a long history of effective service in the Admin profession (minimum of 15 years) and/or has a long history of effective service to their existing company or executive in an administrative capacity (minimum of 10 years).Award Category Questions

Spirit Award

This award celebrates Admins that are the "heartbeat" of their companies, and consistently exhibit a positive, can-do outlook and is the person that people are drawn to during good days and bad for their optimism, enthusiasm, and positivity.Award Category Questions

Achiever Award

For Admins who have a reputation for “getting it done” – either a significant project that had a company-wide impact or day in day out achievement of tasks and projects.Award Category Questions

Leadership Award

This award recognizes the Admin who leads others (formally or informally) and demonstrates a variety of leadership qualities including persistence, focus, integrity, innovation, patience, decisiveness, open-mindedness, empowerment, generosity and a passion for helping fellow employees and their organization succeed.  Award Category Questions

Founders Award

The Admin Awards' only "company" award, this award recognizes organizations that provide an exceptional work environment through the demonstration of specific criteria that brings out the very best in its Administrative Professionals.Award Category Questions

Colleen Barrett, Her Journey from Secretary to President of Southwest Airlines and the Award that Bears Her Name

The Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence is the most coveted and prestigious honor bestowed by The Admin Awards and is named after a legend in the administrative profession, a woman who first proved herself indispensable as corporate secretary to former Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher before ascending the ranks to President and COO of the Dallas-based company in 2001.

Throughout her five-decade career at Southwest, Colleen advanced from Legal Secretary to VP of Administration, to EVP of Customers to President and COO and President of one of the world’s most successful airlines. Since 2008 Colleen has served as President Emeritus of Southwest and is revered for her leadership and decision-making abilities, along with her dedication to ensuring the needs of customers, employees and all other stakeholders are met.

Colleen has won many business and industry awards including one of the most important, historic and visible aerospace awards in the world, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy which reflects a timeline of the most innovative inventors, explorers, industrialists, and public servants in aeronautics and astronautics.

Colleen Barrett, Servant Leader and Superstar

Colleen Barrett at the Dallas Admin Awards

Colleen is also a fierce advocate for the administrative profession and the understands first-hand the extraordinary impact that high performing Admins have on an organization’s success.

The Colleen Barrett Award honors Administrative Professionals who are following in her hallowed footsteps. Barrett has long credited Kelleher with helping her to succeed: “If you have a boss who will let you stretch,” she said, then you have opportunities to learn. With the Colleen Barrett Award, bosses also have an opportunity to show superstar admins how much their dedication to excellence means — and how far they too can potentially rise.

The award will be presented by Barrett to an Administrative Professional who best exhibits those traits that helped her have an extraordinary impact in her role as an Admin and include: high proficiency, shares the same values as their organization, is passionately committed to their organization’s purpose, demonstrates a legendary passion for customer service internally and externally, and has a heart for employee advocacy.

View a sample winning nomination here.

Nominate extraordinary Administrative Professionals for the Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence Here.

How The Admin Awards Works

Becoming nationally known as the ‘Academy Awards for Admins’, the Admin Awards is the country’s first and only awards program dedicated to providing executives and coworkers with a powerful platform for recognizing the backbones of their organizations, Administrative Professionals, in nine award categories.

The Admin Awards was created by the daughter of an Executive Secretary in 2012 who experienced first-hand the tremendous impact her mother had in the profession before retiring just shy of her 80th birthday. Today The Admin Awards is one of the country’s fastest growing business award programs. To read the backstory, visit https://northtexan.unt.edu/issues/2018-fall/administering-recognition

How are Nominations Submitted?

Executives and coworkers from area companies in our nine markets submit nominations through our website in support of their extraordinary Administrative Professionals (Administrative Assistants, Executive Assistants, Office Managers – there are over 150 titles that reflect the Administrative profession). Nominations can be submitted in one or more of the nine award categories before the below  deadlines. There is no cost to nominate thanks to our Sponsors.

2021 Nomination Deadlines: 
Houston – February 10, Midnight
Silicon Valley – March 1, Midnight
Chicago – March 15, Midnight
Philadelphia – April 5, Midnight
San Francisco Bay Area – May 17, Midnight
Pacific Northwest – June 14, Midnight
Denver – July 19, Midnight
Dallas/Fort Worth – August 16, Midnight
Boston – September 16, Midnight

Once a nomination is submitted, Nominees are notified instantly through our awards portal that they’ve been nominated for an Admin Award, and by whom. Candidates must accept their nomination to stay in the competition.

Who Participates?

Thousands of companies have participated in our nine-year history including companies of every size and industry including many of the country’s Fortune 500 companies, mid-market, small business, start-ups, nonprofits and government institutions – any organization that relies on the administrative function is invited to participate. The competition produces Finalists and Winners from every company size and industry sector. Click HERE to view a snapshot of some of the companies that have participated in our program.

The 9 Admin Award Categories & the Program’s Most Prestigious Award

There are nine individual award categories, including the program’s most prestigious award, The Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence, which celebrates the spirit and proficiency of former Secretary turned President of Southwest Airlines during her five-decade career. Colleen personally evaluates and selects the Finalists and Winners in the award category that bears her name.

There is also one company award category, The Founder’s Award, which celebrates progressive companies that create an exceptional work environment for Administrative Professionals and meet specific criteria.

‘Cheers to Nominees’ Cocktail Reception

Once nominations close, the annual ‘Cheers to Nominees Cocktail Reception’ kicks off the competition and is a celebration of all Nominees who attend alongside their Supervisors and other Nominators. Thanks to the generosity of our Sponsors, this event is complimentary. Finalists are NOT announced at this event but approximately one week later.

Determination of Finalists and Winners

An independent board of Judges including Colleen Barrett evaluates and scores each of the candidates, determining the Finalists and Winners in each Award Category. These decisions are based solely on the written nominations. Neither the Admin Awards staff nor program Sponsors have any role in the judging process.  Finalists are announced on our website, Adminawards.com.

The ‘Good as Gold’ Admin Awards Dinner Gala & Celebration

The nine Admin Award Winners are announced, and all program Finalists are honored at “Good as Gold”, The Admin Awards Dinner Gala which is a five-star experience held annually in each of our program cities. Companies attend to cheer on the Finalists and display a tremendous sense of pride! While the Admin Awards is a competition, at its heart it’s a celebration of every Administrative Professional that attends the gala who receives an awesome commemorative gift valued at over $50, and is registered to win over 12 amazing prizes valued at over $500 and as much as $20,000 in some markets!

To watch a short video of the Good as Gold gala, click HERE.

‘Good as Gold’ Admin Awards Dinner Gala Details are coming soon.  Alternative plans are now being made as a result of COVID-19 for all remaining 2020 programs.

Houston – February 26, 2020 | Hilton Americas
Silicon Valley – Coming Soon!
Chicago – Coming Soon!
Denver – Coming Soon!
Boston – Coming Soon!
Dallas Fort Worth – Coming Soon!
San Francisco Bay Area – Coming Soon!

Finalist & Winner Pride

There is a tremendous amount of pride that companies display when they have an Administrative Professional that advances to the Finalist or Winner status. Nasdaq celebrated Nancy Nordberg, Maxim Integrated, for winning the Leadership Award on the Nasdaq Tower in Time Square. DocuSign brought over 30 attendees to cheer on their Finalist, Daniela Bin Oteiza who went on to win the Loyalty Award.

Who Can Be Nominated for the Admin Awards?

The Admin Awards program is a unique celebration that recognizes administrative excellence and honors the invaluable contributions of administrative professionals.

To be considered for an Admin Award, nominees must currently serve in an administrative role – supporting executive(s), department(s) and/or region(s) at for-profit or nonprofit companies and organizations within the market area. Please visit your local award page to view the full list of eligible cities in your market.

If “Administrative” or “Assistant” is not in the Nominees’ job title yet they are serving in an administrative function they are still eligible for the competition. There are over 150 titles that reflect the administrative profession. If an organization deems the role as administrative in nature and the Nominee agrees, the Nominee is eligible. If you have any questions regarding potential Nominees’ eligibility, please contact us at [email protected] for more information.

IMPORTANT: Nominees that won an Admin Award within the past three years are ineligible to advance to the Finalist or Winner’s status in any award category but can return to the program the fourth year and have an opportunity to advance should their nominations warrant advancement.

Who Can Nominate

Anyone can nominate an Administrative Professional that’s experienced the outstanding work of an Admin which includes supervisors, coworkers, vendors and clients.


How to Win an Admin Award in Five Steps

Whether you’re nominating an Administrative Professional for the first time, or are nominating a previous year’s Finalist hoping they take the stage this year, check out these five tips on how to craft a winning Admin Awards nomination and increase your Nominee’s chance of advancing in the competition. The key is to be very specific, and to provide examples and anecdotes to demonstrate why your Nominee deserves to win an Admin Awards in your chosen award category. Remember, this is the only information that the judges will have when determining Finalists and Winners.

1. First, start with a rock-star Administrative Professional.

That is the first critical step towards creating a winning nomination. By identifying Admin that exemplify excellence, are invaluable to your organization and that you can’t imagine your life without, you’ll be more likely to craft a winning nomination. Sincere enthusiasm and appreciation comes through loud and clear to judges during the evaluation process. Two-liners such as “Jane is great! We enjoy working with her.” Eh, not so much.

2. Direct supervisors really need to participate.

It’s not uncommon for companies to submit several nominations in support of their Nominee, but it’s critical that the Admin’s direct Supervisor(s) also provides a written nomination if the candidate is likely to advance. Judges put more weight on nominations provided by people with direct involvement with the Administrative Professional versus non-supervisors, especially if it’s the solo nomination.

3. Be specific, be specific, be specific.

Nominations that include specific anecdotes, examples of awesome-ness and statements that can quantify the impact an Admin has had on the business are more impressive than vague generalities. Details are key. Remember, all the judges have to go on when evaluating your nominee are the written nominations. Be thorough and detailed.

4. Submit one big condensed nomination or several separate nominations.

People often ask us if it’s better for a company to compile nominations and submit one big one, or if it’s better that individuals nominate on their own. Either way is acceptable although the judges tend to prefer one compiled nomination when evaluating candidates we’ve been told. If you compile, be sure to include names and titles of folks providing input next to their contribution in the compiled nomination so judges can see who’s saying what. The key is to encourage ALL nominators to take the time to provide a thorough, heart-felt nomination. Quality over quantity, always. One amazingly detailed powerful nomination by one direct supervisor can absolutely out-perform several lightweight nominations by the supervisor and non-supervisors nominating the Admin.

5. Rally support internally and externally.

In addition to Supervisors and Coworkers, don’t hesitate to encourage clients and vendors to also contribute to your Admin’s nomination. Feel free to invite folks outside of the organization to also contribute to the Admin’s nomination but again, remind them that a heartfelt, thorough nomination is key to advancing in the competition. Anyone that’s been positively impacted by the work of a deserving Administrative Professional is eligible to nominate!

Ready to go? Nominate Now Here!