As 2021 Administrative Professional’s Month is once again behind us, I found myself really reflective this past year, on what it means to serve in a profession that means so much to so many of us.
My whole life I’ve witnessed the passion and pride that Admins have for their Leaders, Organizations, and Profession. As the daughter of a retired Executive Secretary, I remember how often my Mom would talk about how she couldn’t wait for Mondays to come. She absolutely loved her job. She loved taking care of people. She loved learning. She loved how no two days were the same. She loved being a Secretary. And the people she served and worked alongside absolutely loved her.
Jeannette Castellano, Retired Executive Secretary & Inspiration for the Admin Awards
As an adult, the Admin Awards has given me a unique perspective through the thousands of stories told by Executives about the extraordinary impact and value they receive from their Administrative Partners. If I’ve learned anything over the past decade, it’s that there has never been a shortage of appreciation by those that are successful and worthy enough to have an Administrative Professional supporting them. Those that don’t have an Admin? That’s sometimes where the noise comes in. People who think they’re “too good” for the role – or don’t show their company’s Admins the tremendous respect they deserve. I chuckle when I hear ridiculous stories like these – which fortunately are few and farther between than when I started this journey 10 years ago. I think to myself ‘with that kind of ignorance, you’ll never have an Admin yourself – so problem solved’.
The amazing thing about Administrative Professionals is that they are a rare combination of so many unique attributes that you don’t often see all in the same person. They’re the unicorns of the organization.
They have confidence yet humility, they’re courageous yet cautious, intuitive and logical, optimistic yet realistic, they’re capable of leading yet have no problem following. They’re capable of managing incredibly complex tasks and projects while not complaining when they have to stop in the middle of something important to do something mundane because their Leader needs it done right away. They will do whatever it takes, whenever, to get the job done – and with no resentment or ego. And when they leave the office and go home? They’re also often the people that their families are relying on in tremendous ways also – so it often never stops. Yet they wake up, do it all over again, and still somehow make you feel like you’re the only person in the world that matters.
This past Administrative Professional’s Month was also a reminder of someone really special who helped pave the way for the millions of Administrative Professionals that consider their chosen profession their calling, Colleen Barrett. Colleen was the legal secretary to Herb Kelleher – the founder of Southwest Airlines who over the course of her five-decade career at Southwest went on to become President & COO of the airline – showing Admins everywhere that the sky truly is the limit. As Southwest Airlines celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year you can’t help but wonder where that iconic company would be today without Herb & Colleen. They say at SWA that if Herb was the brains of the operation, Colleen was the heart. As we reflect on our 10 year anniversary at the Admin Awards, I will be forever indebted to Colleen for taking a chance on the no-name daughter of a Secretary in Dallas, Texas who had the idea that recognition of Administrative Professionals was long-overdue and agreed to allow us to name our program’s most prestigious award in her honor, the Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence, which today is the Administrative Profession’s highest honor.
Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus, Southwest Airlines and inspiration for the Administrative Profession’s highest honor, the Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence
Thank you, Mom. Thank you Colleen. And thank you to the millions of Administrative Professionals who make so much possible for so many.
We see you. We appreciate you and yes, we love you.
Founder, CEO & Proud Daughter of an Executive Secretary
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