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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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An article on Forbes referred to Executive Assistants as the “glue that binds all pages together.” In fact, after having worked as an Executive Assistant at two different organizations, I can’t think of a better way to describe the Executive Assistant role. Every successful Executive Assistant strives to provide top-notch service in a way that makes them an indispensable asset to their organization. Over the years, this role has transformed from an administrative support role to a strategic planning one and it requires expert-level skills. Here are the 7 skills that have helped me succeed as an Executive Assistant throughout the years: Unrivaled Task and Time Management Abilities: No two days nor two projects in this role ever look identical. Organizational habits, the ability to prioritize work based on need, and a natural tendency for time management are a must in order to succeed. Situational Anticipation: Being able to anticipate the needs of your

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About 14 years ago I found myself in the uncomfortable and frustrating situation of butting heads with a fellow Executive Assistant who made things as simple as setting up meetings between our Executives a constant uphill battle. It was essentially her way or the highway, which created a working environment that I found increasingly more difficult to navigate. I had just read Ben Franklin’s autobiography where I learned about a psychological phenomenon called the Ben Franklin Effect whereby the act of doing a favor for someone, especially a person that you dislike or feel neutral about, makes you like them more. The name comes from a story in Franklin’s autobiography, in which he asked a rival legislator if he would be willing to loan him a book from his library. Flattered, the man lent it to Franklin. One week later, Franklin returned the borrowed book with a thank you note.

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On the surface, my bio may look pretty boring. For the last 25 years, I’ve worked at the same company, supported the same executive, been married to the same man, and lived in the same town. However, if you dig a little deeper, you will see I love to stay challenged. While I have supported the same executive, I’m also a mother of four active kids, as well as a wife, athlete, writer, and team builder. I’ve been asked how I measure success. My answer has always been the same. I ask myself this one question: Are you happy? In my experience leading administrative teams, I’ve found that if an Executive Assistant follows these five guidelines to create their own happiness, I end up with a high-performing, happy EA that I tend to retain. I hope you find these guidelines helpful to you as well in creating happiness in your own

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I know a lot about fear — I’ve been locked in its tight grip many times. But recently, I’ve come to realize that those unnerving experiences can be amazingly empowering. For administrative assistants, professional growth is necessary. Throughout our career, we will find ourselves challenged by new expectations — public speaking, leadership roles, collaboration, responsibilities outside core competencies — and fear may link arms with us. But we have a choice: see fear as a prison, or an opportunity for a managed partnership. First, it’s important to understand the chemical messaging in your brain. This is the foundation for controlling how you experience fear, how you will act on that experience, and how the experience will ultimately impact your personal and professional growth. We will focus on the two most common types of fear: the fear we seek for thrills, and the real and perceived dangers we don’t seek out.

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On May 2nd, 2019, the very first Chicagoland Admin Awards Gala was hosted at the historic Hilton Palmer House Hotel. Ike Saunders, EA to Christopher Kennedy, had the incredible honor of taking home the prestigious Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence. Ike’s acceptance speech brought down the house. It had all the best stuff that speeches are made of, it was inspirational, hysterical, surprising and had the audiences’ complete attention. It also includes an interesting twist involving the same date in Kennedy history 50 years ago to the day! Here is a complete transcript. Cheers! Sunny Ike Saunders’ Acceptance Speech Transcript: “I would like to thank and congratulate Sunny Nunan, her assistant Dustin, and the committee members for bringing the Admin Awards to Chicago. The vibrant, diverse, talented crowd in this room is testament to your ability to coalesce a community of incomparable administrative professionals in a city that is

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I’ve been an Administrative Professional for 34 years, and during my role as an Executive Assistant, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve experienced the hollowing feeling of being left out by my coworkers, nor can I tell you how many times I’ve had Assistants come to me after their team or executives excluded them from a birthday gathering or happy hour or important meeting and say, “I can’t believe no one even asked me if I wanted to join.”   “I know, unfortunately, that happens” I tell them. “I’m so sorry.”   It’s hard to explain why it happens, because it is inexplicable. But I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Clearly, everyone knows we’re part of the team — if the copy machine is broken or there are questions about travel, expenses or various office processes, we’re the first ones people come to for answers.

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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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