Eve 12/Day 11- Countdown to Executive Secretary Live

I wanted to provide a short list of people that I admire and learn so much from via social media. Sharing information is a good thing!

1. Kate Nasser /@KateNasser – Kate is one of the first customer service leaders that I connected with through Twitter. She does a 10am eastern tweetchat on Sunday mornings – #PeopleSkills chat. Her web site is www.katenasser.com

2. Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt.  These two gentlemen authored, World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.  They also are the most amazing tweeps- >sharing HELPFUL information, resources and advice via their respective Twitter handles @TedCoine and @MarkSBabbitt.

3. Brian Fanzo aka @iSocialFanz on Twitter. I met Brian through the #Tchat tweetchat on Wednesday evenings, 7pm eastern. Little did I know I was connecting with an unbelievable vault of social knowledge, but someone as excited about social as I am.  His site – iSocialFanz.com.  And, he even loves NFL and NHL as much as I do (albeit a rival team..but that’s okay).

More resources to be posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this thought from Vala Afshar, CMO, Extreme Networks — from his twitter feed in the last 24 hours.  I love to follow his posts.  Inspiring!  @ValaAfshar



An Interview with Victoria Rabin, CEO & Founder, Executive Assistants Organization


CEO / Founder
Executive Assistants Organization (EAO)
Behind Every Leader Events (BEL)

Ever since Victoria Rabin came onto the platform for administrative training, her passion and energy has captured the attention of assistants all over the world.  Her unique approach, her ability to garner presentations from some of highest level EAs in the business world, and her willigness to take risks has taken EAO on a fantastic journey of almost three years.

I had the benefit of speaking with Victoria and several members of her team at the November 2013 Behind Every Leader conference in New Jersey.  I later approached her about sharing some of her story with you.

Q1. You’ve had a whirlwind tour ongoing for about two years. What would you say has been your biggest challenge during this time frame?  How about your biggest success, the thing you want to brag most about?

A1. Indeed, in a mere two years EAO has changed lives, including mine.  What once was an inspired vision has now been realized.  And with that, EAO has the honor and the responsibility to take this vision to the highest heights.

This is an ongoing mission, and just like all remarkable quests, it has not and will not be an easy.
But let’s face it, If it were easy, EAO would have been realized a long time ago. For decades, Assistants have not been given the resources and support they truly need to become indispensable in their role. Why? Because seldom times do assistants make a stand. Until now.

The challenge with redefining any industry to one of power and leadership is simple.. Change is not always welcomed without a guaranteed advantage or certainty. Having successfully launched twelve active EAO Chapters, multiple EAO events and Behind Every Leader Conferences, as well as garnered some highly respected press coverage, I believe that EAO has broken through and become an epicenter for senior Assistants around the globe.

Q3. Your assistants must be amazing. Tell us a bit about delegating and working with assistants after having been employed as one for many years.
The amusing irony is that I was a successful Executive Assistant working for great Executives.  I am now a great Executive working for the success of hundreds Executive Assistants.

My team at EAO is extraordinary.  We practice what we preach and ensure that communication, trust, and upmost respect remain at the forefront at all times. No one can create anything to an exceptional standard solo. Working in unison is the only way to be the best of the best. I adore my team.

Q4. Do you see distinct tiers re: the level of skills and professionalism among administrative professionals? I know I perceive that to be the case.  What do you think pushes some administrative professionals to excel while others do not?

There are administrative professionals and there are career Executive Assistants.  I can say with conviction that the two are different breeds. EAO works alongside the career assistant.  This remarkable group of individuals are hungry to excel and possess an insatiable drive for excellence. Much like their relentless Executives. . They do whatever it takes.

EAO is not for everyone. Intentionally. We work with EA’s that make a stake in their future. That invest in their future and exude a dedication to excellence.

Q5. I know EAO is headquartered in San Francisco.  Have there been any cities during your travels that have surprised you?

At EAO we do not comply with one fits all. Each and every EAO Chapter boasts its own heartbeat. . Its own character.  We ask the most important questions and then we listen intently to the feedback we receive.  Every EAO is completely different. . And this is what matters to our members, and to us.

Q6. What do you think is the toughest  skill and /or the toughest soft skill for administrative professionals to conquer?

Communication is and always will be highly sought after topic for development.  EAO teaches members how to build a symbiotic and unbreakable partnership between the EA/Executive.
The toughest of all is staying current with the latest technologies, apps and efficiency platforms. The only way to always remain ahead of the curve is to consistently educate yourself.  At EAO we are very privileged to have technology webinars seminars and workshops taught by industry giants.

In addition to continued education and training (which is paramount in every quest for excellence) the equally most crucial aspect of personal and professional growth,  is sharing knowledge expertise and best practices with each other.  At EAO we urge members to make a habit of doing this each and every day. Our slogan ‘every Member is a Mentor’

Q7. (And I gotta ask this..!)  Have you ever caught yourself being star-struck when working with a celebrity or their assistant on BEL?  Tell us about it.

I have met some incredible people over the years. Needless to say, this is one of the ‘perks’ of leading this organization.  The interesting part is that each and every celebrity employer and his/her assistant was soughd out and approached, often more times than once, by myself and team with an undeniable and relentless proposition to join us on this exciting journey.  For me personally, receiving their acceptance and shared belief is the most riveting part of the initial introduction

But let’s face it, the real stars are the assistants.  They are the ones that make the Executive’s world turn each day. And now it is our chance to place each and every one of these remarkable individuals on a pedestal. One of my favorite quotes portrays how EAO value our members;

“Next to Excellence is the Appreciation of it” ~ William Makepeace

Leaders.. by Example

Life is all about learning. Some lessons are not so hard. Some lessons..sock it to you.

I am constantly amazed at how maturity comes in to play as I approach learning new skills and take on new responsbilities. And, I mean.. there are two kinds of maturity, right?

One being “Mature” by age.. and the other ..what I label.. emotional maturity.

Now.. I have the first definition of Mature down. I am not ashamed or embarrassed by my years. Rather, I’m grateful. They have helped shape .. my Emotional Maturity.

How does this relate to being a Paid, Professional, Nudge?

Early on in my career.. I had no cares.. whatsoever on how my work impacted others around me. I was solely focused on looking good and making sure the boss was ok. I didn’t care about whose feelings I hurt or how my attitude impacted those around me.

I also was not as punctual, honest nor as hard-working. I felt the work world was my oyster. and who the hell cared?.. as long as everyone liked me…… It didn’t take long for that shine to wear right off!

One of the best pieces of advice my first female boss gave me was to cut back on my coffee intake. Now.. some of my friends and colleagues now would say that I never headed that advice. They are mistaken.
But, it wasn’t what she said.. It was the delivery. It was her workplace approach and sage maturity that made me (all 23 years old) stop and think. Hmmmm. She might have something there. And, she most certainly did.

Her advice, her approach to her staff and her dress all were SO professional and the utmost in professional. She didn’t take sides with staff (all women.. poor lady!) and she never corrected you in front of peers. Instead, she would pull staff into her office and very clearly without rancor– approach the subject of whatever area that required improvement or a different approach. Her patience with Junior staff was amazing. When I reflect back on it now.. I realize just how much I learned.. purely by her example. And..I’m surprised she put up with me!

Several months ago.. she retired from the same institution that I had once worked at in Baltimore. I called her not long before her retirement and we chatted about how much our lives had changed. I had stayed in touch with her for more than a decade.

Now, I am in a leadership role. I realize how important it is for me to set the example. To communicate appropriately and patiently… to really demonstrate the key facets of professionalism in dress, behaviour, work product, punctuality and courtesy.. and respect.

By no means am I considered a stodgy type (except to my kid!).. but my ” Maturity” has allowed me to see the value of my age and workforce experience… to put things in perspective and help me try to be a respectable leader.. by Example.

And that..is something we all can continue to learn and share with our peers.

Just a quick note about volunteering- part 1

So.. you’ve been asked to volunteer– and it happens to me alot because I’m outgoing, do a great amount of public speaking and can be pretty darn frank when it comes to communicating.

Here are some thoughts to ponder before responding to the invite-

1. What is my motivation for volunteering? Is it another excuse to get out of the house? Am I trying to impress someone who works for that organization? OR- duh, do I really want to help this particular organization or person?

2. Time? Do you really have the time to commit? Will it go on your resume but you’ll never be able to actually attend any functions or participate on any committees?

3. Money- Can this organization take my money instead of my time? What is it that they expect from me?

4. Organization expectations- Are they expecting loads of time, strategic planning and intense effort requiring 20 hours a week? Are they really seeking a networker and cheerleader that can bring other people into the fold to give a much smaller amount of time? Are they looking for perfection? Are deadlines a matter of life or death?

These are all valid questions.. and certainly, there are more. This is something that I’m invested in.. both at my alma mater and my professional association. However, I am very honest with these folks. If I can’t do it.. I can’t do it. I communicate very clearly about my time constraints (family, house, full-time job). I expect the same back from their leadership.

More on this soon..