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 told I had the gift of administration, and truthfully, I do. If you had asked me when I first started in the administrative profession if I believed in it, my answer would have been “NO!” – I did not believe in it.
In my mind, there wasn’t anything extravagant about being able to “administrate.” Who grows up saying, “I want to be an Administrative Professional,” the person filing paperwork, answering phones, and doing the projects others do not want to do. Of course, there is more to the profession than that, but at the core of administrative work, these tasks are part of the job, especially at the entry-level.
Although I did not know from the beginning that this was what I wanted to do, it worked out to be the best opportunity for my career. I am glad that I did not go with my first mind.
When you go forth into unknown territory, you never know where you will land.
Why did you create Black Admin Magic (BAM) and what’s the organization’s mission?
I created Black Admin Magic to support the advancement, growth, and professional development of women of color in the profession. The mission has been to build, elevate, and excel the experiences of BAMs, creating community and programming that supports a pipeline towards success.
We are currently underway with a new launch and are excited for what is ahead for the community. Please, stay tuned.
How is the experience of Black Administrative Professionals different from that of other Administrative Professionals?
As a nation, we are still dealing with racism, having never truly healed and 2020 was a year of heartbreak. Black people in our nation are experiencing vicarious trauma. Although we (Blacks) are a diverse people, with various backgrounds, experiences, careers, etc., we are all feeling the pain from the sting of racism. With what our nation is facing, it should be quite clear the experiences of Black administrative professionals are different. Beyond our profession, we walk in shoes that our White counterparts have never had to try on.
We wear skin that is feared by so many.
We fear for our family. We fear for ourselves.
We wake up first as Blacks, not as administrative professionals.
Marginalization is experienced by our people regardless of profession, from Black executives to Black engineers, to Black physicians, to Black administrative professionals…
A recent BAM poll brought to light some of the experiences of those in our community. Below are a few responses to the question: Do you think there is a difference in the support you receive as a Black administrative professional in comparison to your White colleagues?
- I have had to work 2X harder
- We are viewed as angry black women, too vocal or a threat, so we are not always given the same opportunities
- My white colleagues are groomed for promotions, while I have not experienced this type of support
And, the list goes on.
Black support groups are necessary for two reasons:
1) to provide access to community without retribution and; 2) as an engine to mobilize community affecting change within an organization
We must have organizations set aside for supporting the #culture, no matter the profession. Supporting the elevation of Black people is not canceling out White people or other races, quite the contrary. It is a matter of leveling the playing field, so that every race is regarded as human, important, vital, and simply worthy.
This is why Black Admin Magic is needed now and beyond.
What can other Administrative Professionals do to support their fellow Black Administrative Professionals?
Here is a simple list to start:
- Listen first, knowing you might feel uncomfortable as to what is being shared
- Do not try and interpret your fellow Black colleagues’ experiences, just offer sincere support. Be an ally!
- Provide access to opportunities- if you are the EA to the CEO or the support to “decision-makers” in your organization, be purposeful in including other Black administrative professionals on high-level projects, etc.
- And, never assume that your fellow Black colleague is not experiencing ill-treatment. Always check-in.
If you could only give one word of advice to fellow Administrative Professionals what would it be?
Never stop learning! You may know a lot, but you do not know it all.