Tomorrow’s Kickoff – #2020AprilDeskEscape


Well, this is different.


I mean, I never thought we’d be doing #AprilDeskEscape from our homes. And, some of us are not supposed to leave our homes at all!

That’s okay. We’re going to look at how we can do a different kind of #AprilDeskEscape which begins tomorrow, April 1.

Remember, the purpose of #AprilDeskEscape was to get us away from our desks and out into the fresh air for at least 30 minutes, three times a work week. Why? Because our minds and bodies need time away from our monitors, our desks, and now.. most likely, our families.

So here are the three ways I suggest to approach 2020 #AprilDeskEscape for us all. And, yes!!!! please do send pictures with the tag #2020AprilDeskEscape or #2020CoronaVirusEscape where it is appropriate. I’ll be posting up a summary of photos from our peers from across the globe.

  1. If you can leave your home, please take a walk and post up your photo with location, info and #2020AprilDeskEscape on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can tag @officerenegade for Twitter or or Instagram, or @KemFoley on Facebook
  2. If you cannot leave your home, what is an object or view that helps settle you? Cat? Dog? A painting? Is it a closed-door keeping everyone out? Be real. Be you. Just no nudity, please! Take a picture and send it along. I’ll probably be posting pictures of my coloring.
  3. If you cannot leave home, what is a website, Instagram account, or YouTube channel that brings you joy, laughter or a moment of respite? Share the link, the account name and I’ll re-share it on this blog site.

Remember there are several hashtags dedicated to our administrative community related to health and wellness. You can use what works for you, but please include #2020AprilDeskEscape.

Biting Back- Was Your Office Ready?

One of my peeves has always been the inconsistent telework policies across organizations, especially within organizations.

Managers had plenty of leeways to work remotely, were provided with equipment and access to all necessary software and server and/or cloud access. Now we see or hear stories about companies scrambling to have their entire team work remotely. I even saw a post from an administrative colleague this week in which the entire team was told to work from home, but no one notified her! They all left the office and she’s sitting around wondering where everyone went. Oy.

My point is that many companies were ahead of the curve for this event. I’d be curious what percentage had to add extra equipment and capacity to accommodate their teams.

Please participate in the poll I’ve created to gather some insights on remote work preparedness. I’d love to see if my hunches are right.

How To Handle a Demanding Workplace

This article appeared first in January 2020 issue of Executive Secretary Magazine

Hot off the press! I’m delighted to share my latest thoughts on How to Handle a Demanding Workplace first and foremost through Executive Secretary Magazine – the must-read publication for any administrative professional seeking career development methodologies and training insights. 

If you enjoy what you read and are interested in subscribing to #ExecSecMagazine you can get you a 30% discount when you mention this article. Email now for more info. 

#ExecSecMagazine #ExecutiveSecretary #NeverStopLearning

Checking in! How’s it going?

Nubble Lighthouse in Maine

Checking in! How are you doing? I write this blog-title sentence in an email or text at least five times a day. It’s the way I connect with family, friends, and colleagues. Lately, I’ve also taken to leaving voice to text messages as they’re more likely to garner a response.

Do you have a ‘thing’ you do each day to help you re-connect? Is it something that boosts your energy?

Almost at the end of the response is the question directed back to me, how are you? This is my opportunity to take a deep breath, think, and respond. I aim to respond with a positive and authentic response.

I had stepped away from blogging regularly. I made a goal this year to try and post at least once a month here, and submit an article for each issue of Executive Secretary Magazine for 2020.

So, I’m checking in! How’s it going? Almost through the first month of 2020 and are you energized, drained, concerned, excited? Do you have an event you’re looking forward to attending? A vacation? I’d love to read all about it. Feel free to share in the comment section below. ~ Kemetia


Live Blogging from ESLIVE Day 2

Good morning from Atlanta.

Over 150 top-level EAs from all over the world are here.

Lucy’s been talking about the fabulous Eth Lloyd and World Summit. Talking about the career progression levels attached to skills, not job titles. Level 1- entry to Level 5- executive

The value of ISIPHO admin. An amazing project and effort.

LISA OLSEN- The Mindset of a Mentor – How do we think about Mentoring, what’s a mentor?

Kemetia -thoughts: What are we sharing all that we learn with our colleagues and those new to our field? What is our mindset? Are we super protective of our knowledge? What about those peers that feel they have nothing new to learn? [My thought is, has anyone asked them if they still love their work? Or are they just doing time?] It’s hard when you know your colleague is just trying to get by until they can retire or they have bills and obligations but cannot risk losing their steady paycheck.

Next great thought from Lisa — Are you a relationship engineer? – Well, think about it. Not everyone is great at relationships. Some folks have 4 or 5 marriages. [We pardon this presentation for the SQUIRREL SLIDE!!]

Lisa is bringing the SNARK this morning! so dang funny. And the attendees are now up and demonstrating various samples of interpretive dance based on how to truly respond to the person that walks over to your desk and asks if you got the email they JUST SENT!

Are YOU open to changing your mind based on new info? Do you have a response or excuse every time someone makes a comment about your performance? Do you admit when you mess up? It’s key to being maintaining trust and credibility as an assistant?

And let’s talk about the difference between having a BIG ego vs. a STRONG ego. [Kemetia note: much like the difference between knowing the difference between confidence and conceit.]

Oooh.. Lisa brings the awesome clickbait topic up stating you cannot multi-task. There’s no way to give 100% focus. [I’ll step to the side here while EAs of the world break into hives given this is a staple skill posted in our job descriptions. Or, the very much unstated skill set expectation of hiring professionals]

What do you think? Do you give others the courage to do great things?


Shelagh Donnelly- now up. Presentation on Cybersecurity: How to Take the Lead in Risk Mitigation for Admin Professionals

Shelagh writes about cybersecurity for Diligent Insights. She talks about mitigating risks applies to processes and practices. Company insiders- employees are the greatest security risk to companies. One way? by backing up personal data on work computers -utilizing USB drives or downloads from personal accounts.

Companies are going to begin bait-testing employees and it may start to show on employee evaluations. – Shelagh Donnelly.

—break– back in 15- apologies! had to step away for a work thang!


Anel kicks off her session talking about PA (translate admin) stressors. All the stressors we, as a profession share, and doing more with fewer colleagues to support the workload with smaller incremental pay increases and limited recognition.

What are the global stressors? Global economic issues. Working across time zones. Addressing cultural differences, body language norms, supporting remote teams, industrial and technologic revolutions and exponential changes.

Action is the antidote to anxiety~ Anel Martin

Here are a few key phrases Anel shared today

Take on the tough stuff. Stay focused on a single block of time.

Don’t forget: What you say to yourself matters.

If you commit, you are accountable. [Hello! Stop overcommitting.]

Know your job description so you can smash it! Know it so you can exceed it.- Anel


Peggy is sharing about her journey to becoming an international speaker and author. She asked the attendees: Have you ever had a dream so big it has scared you? She credits her inner circle to helping her take the risk and helping her get to her goal.

Don’t get caught in the comparison crap~ Peggy Vasquez

Such great insights about her success and journey. Reminds all of us that we need mentors.

[Kemetia thought: as Peggy addresses the group about sitting with challenges, all I can think about is the phrase, ‘Breathe in Faith, Breathe out Fear.]


Debbie is talking about her career journey .. she didn’t even want to be an executive assistant when she first started.

Debbie ~ Never go back to a job you leave– you left that job for a reason!

Never pass up an opportunity? [Kemetia’s thoughts: Yes. I do believe in the phrase, To Thine Own Self Be True. So if the opportunity presents itself but it is not true to you? Ponder that.]

What do we need to do to get the recognition we want? What can we do to up-level the work we are doing? Where is our weakness?

Referring back to her book – some key points Debbie mentions how important is to learn how to exceptionally communicate with people.

Time management – there is no way to ever get it all done.

Overwhelm: And it is not going away. How do we deal with distractions? Multi-tasking sucks. Stress. Loss of productivity and it impacts your productivity. Much like climbing a hill of sand.

I love watching and listening to Debbie truth-tell.

What’s eating up your time? Log all the things you do. Make some decisions- pitch solutions, ask for the help you need to start and get control. Focus on the focus. Some tips: Create time blocks, see all of your work as projects. Create cones of silence, find a closet, create signage. Bascially, telling others- I’m too busy to tell you I’m too busy.

First thing in the morning: delete the garbage: go back to the top: Now, do! less than 3 minutes.; now, Defer- Make those tasks, they require more time to do.Tasks first, emails secondary. It’s a behavioral change to get used to.

Do the calendar appointments support their goals, what are the top goals for the next week? “I’m optimizing my executive’s time, not “calendaring”

Get Better Info.. Not More Info- Debbie Gross

how long is the call? date and day. home or cell? provide alternate numbers. how are the complicated names pronounced. Where are the backup documents. Create templates…. for everything you do. It will establish consistency.

Look at the calendar holistically. Qtr by Qtr. What’s the back up plan if your executive’s digital tool dies. Calendar Snaphots.

Remember their calendar is THEIR calendar. No matter what. Don’t make the calendar personal.

Stop jumping in.. Acknowledge!

How are you going to change your thinking about this role

How are you going to add more value for your executive?

How are you going to grow and develop your relationships?


  • your thoughts create your life
  • the power is within you
  • follow your higher intelligence, God/Source/Universe is always speaking to you

The Heart of the Matter

Hey folks.. just a few quick updates on the latest goings-on with this admin.

First, you may recognize that the #AugustDeskEscape fizzled here, but it didn’t die! Instead, it took on a new life and new leadership. Jannie Oosterhoff was incredibly successful with her facebook page and efforts called #EveryDayWalking so as that took off, I stopped posting about #AugustDeskEscape. The bad part was I didn’t communicate that well to anybody. So I apologize. The good news is that #EveryDayWalking is superb and fun and an active facebook group, so head over there to participate.

In other news, I have returned to full-time work as an executive assistant here in Maine. I’m thrilled to return to the work I find so challenging, interesting, and motivating. I’m sure I’ll have new stories to share.

And, in case you missed this fantastic news… I am involved with starting up the IAAP-Seacoast Branch. The branch will offer professional development, networking, and opportunities to reconnect with other administrative professionals in the Portsmouth, NH to Portland, ME corridor along I-95.

The goal is to host events in three different areas of the Seacoast in order to reach as many administrative professionals as possible. I look forward to sharing more details as they are available.

The heart of the matter is that I made some shifts in my priorities, and writing and training others had to wait. Here’s wishing you a very successful Fall 2019. Or, if you are in the other hemisphere, a very lovely Spring 2019. ~ K.

Day 1 #AugustDeskEscape

Sometimes the “DeskEscape” is about being present with family.

Last night Mother Nature had her way with me- stopping me from trying to work more than 8 hours by blasting through our new hometown with a great big storm that took down trees and power lines. No way to work. No internet. Good going, Mother Nature! So much for doing a kickoff video for #AugustDeskEscape. So the photo above is of me, my husband and wonderful daughter walking the beach late today. I didn’t get in my usual number of steps but that’s okay.

Today turned into a beautiful day. Our power was restored about 3am this morning, and the town public works, fire department, police department and many other city employees spent most of last evening well into the morning cleaning up the debris. I drove to Boston to pick up our daughter. She’s not seen our new home. She’s entering her last year of university and before we know it she will be out on her own for reals.

What does this have to do with #AugustDeskEscape? This challenge isn’t just about the physical get up and get out, though that’s the major focus. It’s also about taking time for oneself. Taking time to sit in the quiet of a darkened home due to power outage. Taking time to be present with our loved ones instead of being on our computer or our phones. It can also mean ‘Escape’ from the work you bring with you in your head.

So be sure to travel over to the photos page to see posts from our colleagues from Day 1.