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Melinda Vail Goodnight, Senior Executive Assistant at Southwest Airlines once found herself in the all too common and uncomfortable position of being somewhere where she didn’t feel valued while supporting someone that she knew didn’t truly embrace the Administrative role. The idea that a highly-skilled Executive Assistant could have an enormous impact on a Leader and Organization? Lost on her boss, and likely never to be found. Faced with the decision to stay at a job that paid well, was five minutes from her home (but caused her enormous stress) or enter into the abyss of the unknown that often comes with change, Melinda chose to consider new opportunities which lead her to her dream job. Where? At a place that they say is harder to get into than Harvard – Southwest Airlines. This episode of Backbone Live talks about when it’s time to make that change, what to look

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La Donna Finnels-Neal was first discovered working at Walmart when someone approached her and knew raw talent when they saw it. Soon after she was working for Enron in the administrative field in Houston, Texas. Not too long after that, she was emailing Ken Lay the CEO of Enron, while copying the HR Leadership team, to challenge him about why Administrative Professionals weren’t being promoted at Enron. He answered, and eventually as a result of her performance and “I’ll take on any challenge” approach to her role, La Donna was promoted. If we had to pick one word to describe La Donna and this interview, it would be courageous. And if La Donna had to pinpoint the one thing that she believes is holding Administrative Professionals back; that would be confidence. Get ready to be challenged and inspired in this next episode of Backbone Live! (And forgive me for the

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Allison Miller is Chief of Staff at Access Healthcare in Dallas, Texas, and the winner of the 2016 Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence in DFW. Allison is one of those people that whenever I’m with her, I inevitably end up wishing I was recording our conversation because she drops so many “matter of fact” yet enormous gems of wisdom accumulated during her “take no prisoners” approach to her role as an Administrator. Allison is straight-talking, clear thinking, courageous, and one of the most gifted communicators I’ve had the pleasure of, well, communicating with and I’m excited to share her with you. This interview marks our first Backbone Live Blog which is a no-frills interview on Zoom which gets to the heart of the matter – or several, very quickly. I hope you enjoy! Sunny

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Nadine King is the Founder of Black Admin Magic and Author of The Ninja: Chronicles of an Assistant, Pastor, and a Coach. She is also a 20+ year Administrative veteran with experience supporting C-suite executives, vice presidents, executive directors, local church leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs as an executive assistant and virtual assistant. I learned about Black Admin Magic, Nadine’s organization while working the Polls this year with an Executive Assistant who was a proud member of the organization, which I had never heard of before. Launched in February of 2020, this up and coming membership organization of Administrative movers and shakers has big plans and a powerful mission. I reached out to Nadine to learn more, and am excited to share my interview with you. Did you know from the beginning you wanted to become a career Administrative Professional? My choice to start in the administrative field was because I was

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”   Marianne Williamson A year ago I was invited to attend an event called I Am Remarkable. Those of you that know me well know that there’s a pretty good chance I rolled my eyes at the title and was tempted to sit this one out. Self promotion is something that drives me absolutely nuts today. Everybody is so focused on building their personal brands that they forget that the essence of any truly great leader or mission is serving others, not yourself, and certainly not your

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Many months back, I learned my executive nominated me for a very prestigious professional award, and not surprisingly, found myself in a complete state of shock. Being a notoriously shy introvert, the situation I found myself in boiled down to me conquering three life-long fears: becoming publicly visible – being judged in public – and public speaking. I also learned that I would have to officially “accept” my nomination in order to advance in the competition, which meant MY action would equal a steadfast commitment to swiftly unearthing numerous layers of embedded life-long discomfort. I genuinely wondered, could I even do this? Am I willing to be this vulnerable in a professional environment? Prior to the acceptance deadline, my mind was flooded daily with an overly thick milkshake of work-life memories. Like Scrooge, I was visited by several ghosts of my administrative past (both welcome and unwelcome) – none of

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Assistant, you are a leader. As an assistant, you constantly face obstacles that hold you back from accomplishing your career goals. Whether it’s a job change, shifting deadlines, a micromanaging executive, a toxic co-worker, a high-pressure project, or an intense negotiation with a vendor, the administrative profession is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking to maintain the status quo and be “just an assistant,” this book is not for you. But, if you want the confidence and ability to conquer the challenges that most try to avoid, then you’re in the right place. The Leader Assistant outlines four pillars—embody the characteristics, employ the tactics, engage in relationships, and exercise self-care—that will help you rediscover your passion for the profession and become a confident, future-proof, game-changing Leader Assistant. If you neglect even one pillar, you’ll head for burnout, stagnation, and anonymity. You are meant for so much more.

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As I conveyed in my 2017 article of 5 Steps to Shifting your EA/PA Career When You Have Hit the Top: “There comes a time when you have hit the top of your ‘ladder’ as a Senior EA/PA, Assistant to the CEO/Chairman, a Chief of Staff, or any other number of titles that let you know that there are no higher Administrative titles in your company that you can apply for, nor a significantly higher pay grade that you can break into.” The goal of the above article was to offer options on how to transition out of the EA/PA role into a cross-functional position because, at that time, if you truly wanted to developmentally progress in a significant way and/or access higher pay-grade opportunities within the administrative field, there seemed to be no proposed framework or methodology in which that could be accomplished. One year later, in a single

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Sponsored Post by: Robert Half Administrative professionals provide real benefits to the people they support and the organization at large. They are the shrewd wizards behind the company curtain, the chiefs who keep the office running efficiently, the brilliant multitaskers and detail-oriented coordinators. The best administrative professionals aren’t just supporting players. They add value to the job in ways that make them critical to an organization’s success. What are their administrative skills? Everything from planning to communicating, organizing to problem solving. And given the role many administrative staff are playing in supporting their teams in today’s challenging business environment, they deserve the recognition more than ever. What does it take to be the kind of administrative assistant businesses can’t do without? Here are five administrative assistant skills that can help you get hired, succeed on the job and drive your career. 1. Industry knowledge Knowing the three T’s of the

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© 2020 by Deidre L. Dixon Looked over at my sister and what did I see? Someone fly Someone strong Looking back at me. Said hello to my sister and what did I hear? Someone kind Someone smart A woman I could revere. Explored beyond the surface and what did I find? One with strength One with poise Story similar to mine. She was Black, Brown, Yellow, Red and White. She was tall, medium, short with a weight from heavy to light. She was middle class, poor and she was wealthy. She was in bad shape, doing okay and completely healthy. She was married, divorced, separated and single. Her hair was blonde, gray, red, black, brown and mingled. She was an elder, young and she was middle-aged. She was just getting established, floundering through life and set for the rest of her days. She was encompassing a whole spectrum of

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The Backbone Blog is all about the modern Admin. Created by the Admin Awards, Backbone is all about leveling up and inspiring Admins to do their very best work. It’s also about overcoming outdated stereo-types about the profession and those that serve in it. We work hard to tell the stories of innovators, change agents, thought leaders and pioneers who area making a phenomenal impact to their organizations and profession and inspire others in the process. We believe the best ideas and insights come from Administrative Professionals themselves, so that’s what you’ll find here.

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