Be True To You, No Matter Where You Are

Dunkin’ Donuts at Dubai Ice Rink,  Dubai Mall, Dubai UAE

Just a week ago I was on a 14 hour flight home from ExecSecLIVE Dubai. Here I am sitting on the couch, trying to be succinct about what I saw, what I learned, who I met, what I ate. Or maybe that isn’t so important.

Okay, maybe it is.

Here’s what I really took away from my experience.

  1. Be you. Be yourself. Don’t worry about comparisons
  2. Know your stuff (content)
  3. Learn from the attendees. At the Q& A, be open to learning from attendee questioning and feedback
  4. Honor the jet lag. Each of us had jet lag in varying degrees
  5. Always keep an open mind. I particularly appreciated hearing the message about completely mastering our core job duties before taking on more. So true
  6. Try new things! I went ice-skating in Dubai. Try new foods. I tried some very interesting stuffed dates and figs
  7. Be courteous in your host country. (Well, you should be courteous all the time but that’s another blog post.)
  8. Stop and listen. When meeting other attendees, listen more than you talk
  9. Our perceptions are not always accurate. I’m honestly not sure what I thought Dubai would be like, but I know that I found it to be a wonderful mix of modern and ancient.
  10. Our preconceived notions and stereotypes can and should be shoved aside– meet people where they are, as they are
  11. The weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday.
  12. It was obvious that the hotel was well-prepared for guests arriving all day and all night from all over the world. Many options were offered to help guests until rooms became available at check-in, including resting in the hotel spa at no charge.

I didn’t take my laptop to this conference. I took my Kindle. I had my phone. My goal was to not take so many pictures that I missed out on experiences. I also wanted to listen to the other presenters. I know if I had my laptop with me, I may not have been as attentive. That’s just the truth.

One last thought. I used to show the speaker picture (see below) to my friends and say, “One of these things is not like the other.” This was my way of saying I felt like I was not like the other speakers and did not belong there.

Dubai 2016 Executive Secretary Live – Speaker Team

I will no longer utter those words. After a bit of research last week, I determined that I’ve delivered more than 100 presentations, taught more than 20 classes and have presented at the four major administrative conferences. Of course I belong up on that stage. And, I know now, more than ever, that there is no better way for me to be true to myself than sharing my administrative professional career experiences and life lessons with others. That’s why my motto is #KeepLearningKeepGrowing !

PS. I was so happy to find a Dunkin’ Donuts in Dubai!






Coffee & Conference Prep 2016

It’s Annual Meeting  Time!

As usual, the last days before staff leave for our annual meeting was incredibly hectic with several challenges. It started with an unexpected visitor to our office building. The person was under duress of some type, had found themselves an unlocked utility closet on our floor, and had moved in for a bit– deciding to sing while there. Once several staff members realized what the issue was, the person was escorted to our building lobby and local officers assisted this poor soul from there.

Today, like most of the east coast, our internet service was interrupted by Denial of Service attacks. Fairly tough to function fully in today’s modern office setting without internet service. Gratefully, our VOIP phone system was not impacted. Our internet service returned prior to lunchtime today.

Also, I recently turned over the responsibility of ‘holding down the fort’ to the young woman who took over my front desk position. You can only prepare new staff so much for the week prior to annual meeting. It has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. And, this being the 50th Anniversary year for the association means extra stress while staff tries to address all the last-minute adjustments or issues. I have to say, our new temporary staff assistant handled the call volume like a pro today. Oh, did I mention we also had a dozen VIP visitors to our office today for a committee meeting that lasted half a day?

And, of course being cold and flu season.. Yes, there’s a nasty cold traveling our office. Boo Hiss. Coffee can fuel you but it can’t kill a cold yet.

The amazing thing about this is that I heard no yelling, no kvetching in the kitchen. We had plenty of food and coffee to keep the staff going as well as some well-timed bowls of Halloween candy. Now going on my eighth year with the association and having worked within associations for the majority of my career, I can say I’m happy to be one of several staff members staying behind. We can troubleshoot issues from our office and via our cell phones during off hours if need be. We also have an opportunity to get our work caught up and be prepared for the post-conference return of the staff, which will be quickly followed by a full-staff debrief of the conference.

I’m grateful that I get to work with some very fun and superbly talented folks. It makes these few intense pre-conference days far more tolerable. There is a mutual recognition and respect among staff that we are all in the same tsunami of last-minute preparations.

I can’t wait to hear all about the conference when our staff returns. In the meantime, I’ll be following all the happenings via #StaffingWorld posts on Twitter.

Safe travels to my colleagues. Hoping our conference is exactly the combination of educational content, networking and expo vendors attendees want.








The Start of the Journey

Good morning from SFO (San Francisco, CA).

I’m constantly reminded on my travels of the diversity and cultural differences across this wide country of ours.  This morning was NO different.

For example, DC folks– well, we tend to dress up a bit more when we are headed out on business travel and look terribly out of place when arriving in a very casual Cali atmosphere. I can see just from the few minutes in the cafe line that SFO takes sustainability WAY seriously and it’s no joke. At Tyler Florence’s section of Napa Farms Market in the airport, I had entirely too many choices when it came to a yogurt parfait. My East Coast tendencies were showing. I did not want greek yogurt, fresh honey nor fresh fruit compote. I just wanted the damn granola, strawberries  and yogurt. The I hastily realized why they had offered the honey. It had no sugar.  It was pricey and yummy..but I will wish it had been sweeter.

Oh.. and there is a serious massage storefront w/ tables.. so if you don’t care who sees you on the tables getting a clothed massage at the airport. Go for it.

Secondly, I got the evil eye from no less than 3 people at the computer desks here at the terminal– (I don’t have an iMAC pro… I don’t have a MAC..) Oh, well. My daughter does though.  It’s no surprise that this airport is built for working on your device (phone, laptop, tablet). There are charging stations, tables for plugging in and working and free Wi-Fi.

Hats are VERY big here. as in large and popular. They follow this trend of very large brims and being over-sized. (Here’s a great site with examples.)

img_20161007_103416018I decided to book with Virgin America for my trip. This airline has been a favorite of mine , along with Virgin Atlantic for the last ten years. Virgin America was recently sold off to Alaska Air, which also has a very strong customer service reputation. I’ll transfer flights here and head to Las Vegas where the adventure will continue. It’s been a long time since I have blogged daily. Let’s see how I do during this adventure to the Office Dynamics Conference for Administrative Excellence.  #adminconf  #KeepLearningKeepGrowing

ExecSec LIVE -London 2017

As EAs/PAs, we can never plan too far ahead. I’ve already started planning to attend the Executive Secretary LIVE – London in March 2017. Speaker information is below. If you are from the DC Metropolitan area, you may recognize two of our amazing peers, Debbi Shaffer (Audacious Admin)  and Anita Maginniss are slated to present!
If you book through my blog, you can use the discount code listed at the bottom of the post.

Executive Secretary LIVE returns to London for a fifth successive year in March 2017, featuring fourteen of the world’s top trainers for Assistants, handpicked for their exceptional content and delivery.

Speakers include;

  • Al-Husein N. Madhany Executive Assistant to the Chief Information Officer, Facebook
  • Courtney Clark Speaker, Survivor, Optimist
  • Marlize Schneider Exec Assistant: The Rev Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth
  • Sandy Geroux Motivational Leadership Speaker, Trainer & Author
  • Debbi Shaffer Award-winning Senior EA & Founder of Audacious Admin
  • Anita Maginniss Events specialist at MITRE and Founder of Admin Angle
  • Susan Leahy Event energiser & motivational speaker
  • Teri Wells Senior EA, Speaker & former South African PA of the Year
  • Corrine Hoisington Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional in Computer Tech
  • Vickie Sokol Evans World Class Microsoft Office Master Instructor
  • Bonnie Low-Kramen One of the most respected voices in the profession
  • Heather Baker World Class Trainer, best-selling author & creator of BakerWrite
  • Peggy Vasquez Chief EA to PNNL Director, Author, Trainer and Speaker
  • Lucy Brazier Your Host and Publisher of Executive Secretary Magazine

The full workshop and conference programme is available by clicking here.

We have managed to secure you a 10% discount when you book before 30th March 2017

To claim your discount just enter the code OFFREN17 at checkout.

Work Your Package 2016

I’ve heard a great deal about this  women’s conference but had family schedule conflicts that kept me from attending. That’s about to change. Not only will I be at the Work Your Package Conference at the end of September, I’ll also be presenting a session titled,  Social Ain’t for Everybody, Just the Sexy People.


I’m always trying to push myself to meet new people, learn about different perspectives and help others. I’m very much looking forward to this conference. Check out the agenda. Single Day registrations are available and registration is open for twenty more days.

Here’s the link for more information!






Where we go.. we are the same..via Practical PA

I’m just back from a week in the UK where we held the first of our regional events in Edinburgh and Leeds. The PA Big Questions took place at The George in Edinburgh and Horizon in Leeds. I was really pleased that we had 50 assistants at the events, all there to discuss the issues…

via So the Big Questions happened… — Practically Perfect PA

Sept. CAP Exam Info & Local Job Postings

Just a few notes tonight!

1. There is still time to  register for the upcoming CAP Exam Review Boot Camp at the Annandale Campus – NVCC. Information on registration, cost and schedule are here. The deadline to REGISTER for the Fall CAP Exam is June 1, with late registrations being accepted up until June 8 with an extra fee.

2. An IAAP peer from RSM, Inc asked me to post these two job openings.

3. DC LAN IAAP has completed educational programming for this program year (July 2015-June 2016.  However! We are aiming to get the local DMV-based  Administrative Professional crowd together for a social at National Harbor late Summer. Be on the lookout on the IAAP Mid-Atlantic Facebook page or on my Twitter feed @OfficeRenegade.

I’ll have a more detailed update on last night’s demo & program regarding Working With Boards and Committees posted here in the next day or so.

Thanks! ~ K