The Best Part? You are not alone.

Tonight I came home from work and per usual, hopped on Twitter.

I knew things would be kicking off in Sydney, Australia for #ExecSecLive.  I immediately searched the hashtag and starting following posts from the conference.

Executive Secretary Live is a fantastic administrative conference that travels the globe.  So many administrative conferences: IAAP Summit, AIOP ACT, IMA, ASAP Annual Conference, AdminToAdmin, EPAA,Office Dynamics, AEAP, Be the Ultimate Assistant, and this list is hardly complete! For a complete list, visit / for an administrative association near you. Or, visit for a full list of training events. [Self-disclosure, I’ll be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE, Johannesburg later this year.]

I get super excited when I think about administrative conferences! We are NOT alone! You have had a crazy work experience, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that another attendee has had either the exact same challenge or something very close.  There’s an instant recognition. An instant acknowledgment of mutual respect.

That feeling is wicked awesome—and that’s a good thing! It’s such a relief and also a tidal wave of joy to meet our career colleagues.

If you are an administrative or office professional, I promise you with all my heart that you simply MUST find a way to get to an administrative conference. It will change your world, your perspective, and expand your network in ways you cannot fathom.

Here’s a tiny sliver of the friends I’ve made via admin conferences.  As Diana Brandl says, “We are in this together!”


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Updating Your Certification Designation

I must admit to having missed this announcement. But, back in November, the IAAP Certification Administration Board which oversees the CAP, notified members of the new and proper way to display certification designation.
This change meant the designation should reflect separation between our certification and any specialties we hold.  So, effective 11/1/17, the new CAP format standard was announced.

Signature before: Kemetia MK Foley CAP-OM

       Signature updated: Kemetia MK Foley CAP, OM

Would you please take a moment to update yours & share the word with fellow CAP designees?  Thanks!

DC LAN IAAP Event- 5/24/16

Best Practices: Working with Boards and Committees

This event for DC LAN IAAP is open for members and non-IAAP members, and is an IAAP approved program for 1 re-certification point.


When: May 24, 2016 | Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm | Where: Nixon Peabody, LLP – DC

5:30 to 6:15pm Networking Dinner and Program introduction
6:15 to 7:15pm Diligent presentation from Ray Judge
Quick break 7:15 to 7:30
7:30 to 8:30 pm Working with Board and Committees Overview
8:00pm to 8:30pm  Closing

Location Notes:
Intersection of 9th & H
Closest Metro Stop
Chinatown/Gallery Place — Yellow/Green/Red Lines
Easy to find garage parking/ pre-pay — Utilize

NOTE: Cancellations must be received 48 hours in advance to accommodate catering requirements. Any concerns regarding dietary restrictions, please email Kemetia.

Open to members and potential IAAP members.  For more information about IAAP visit

AN Director: Kemetia Foley, CAP-OM (

Executive Secretary Live 2015- #KeepLearningKeepGrowing

For a few years now, my motto has been #KeepLearningKeepGrowing.

Being here in London for Executive Secretary Live helps me refresh that purpose, that focus. Because it’s not just about presenting, but learning from presenting (what works, what are attendees getting from the session, what do I need to refine). It’s not just about networking but it’s about listening and learning from more than 250 peers from around the globe. If we keep an open mind, remain open to the possibilities that we have valuable information to share and others have important things to share with us– it’s just golden.  A golden opportunity to #KeepLearningKeepGrowing

Looking forward to an amazing weekend. ~ K

Day 5- Countdown -ExecSecLive- My Tribe of Career Teachers

My career started in academics where I was working for a law school in New York out on Long Island. I directly supported the Dean of Records– and he was not only a Dean, but he was also a Rabbi. Little did I know he would turn out to be my first career mentor. He helped me navigate the college policies and procedures as well as took time to explain the meanings and history of many Jewish holidays and customs as I was not raised in that faith.

Move forward to last month when I was working on a gratitude list — a list of people who had been part of, or had crossed my career path over the last 25 years, and a pattern began to emerge. I considered this list of people (and it’s a fairly extensive list) to be my career tribe.

Each person I consider to be a part of my career tribe has had most, if not all of the following qualities:

  • A significant amount of volunteer time dedicated to serving others
  • Had a hobby or interest that brought them great joy
  • A history of traveling to and/or living in multiple countries
  • Spoke at least one additional language
  • Was interested in learning what made other people feel good about themselves
  • Was interested in improving communications and work relationships — even if it made both parties uncomfortable
  • Did not mince words about their concerns
  • Kept in touch with colleagues that they no longer worked alongside
  • Actively participated in social and business groups for personal and professional development
  • Acknowledged their own career challenges

Now, I’m not in touch with the entire list on a regular basis, but I can tell you that I still have a connection at almost every single company where I have been employed.  I have been diligent about keeping a contact at each employer, even if it is purely a courtesy.  And my single most important work lesson from each of these persons has been key to shaping my career perspective – best phrased by The Rolling Stones.

See below:


 And it’s true…  I didn’t always get what I wanted, but I always got what I needed, whether it was a tough lesson, a superb review, thoughtful suggestions for improvement or a department transfer.  Do you have a tribe of career teachers?  Some of mine will be at #ExecSecLive in London. Can’t wait to give them a hug and tell them ‘Thank you’.

Stating the Obvious: It’s Not Always Fun to Look in the Mirror.

What prompted this blog today? I am so disheartened by the number of posts I read on LinkedIn, on the IAAP web-community and on many other social media sites by administrative professionals that have been laid-off or have been job-hunting for months, sometimes years. The field is competitive for so many reasons during this economic downturn.

Can I tell you my (career-related) fantasy?

I wish I could be in an auditorium of 10,000 HR professionals to present the case that job seekers with knowledge of Microsoft Office are not automatically qualified to be admins! The skillset and expertise of competent and dedicated administrative professionals is vast and compelling. Sometimes I even have to have this very debate with IAAP staff.

Appointment scheduling in one facet is NOT the same as the protocol of scheduling meetings on Capitol Hill. Making travel reservations for a marketing rep is NOT the same as booking international travel for a team of six -traveling to 6 countries in 12 days. Dealing with a Fortune 500 company board member – unhappy about not reaching a staff member is not the same as directing an abitrary call to a company general information line. Being aware of the news feeds regarding your employer’s industry– can lead to savvy information sharing with supervisors who might just have missed the latest RSS feed.

Yes. These are all equally important customers. Reality is.. these groups do receive differing levels of administrative support and service. Our career field ranges from the new receptionist or file clerk- all the way to the personal executive assistant for CEOs and celebrities. It covers supporting teams of five, ten or even twenty members- all getting by with one administrative support team member. And, being that one support staffer can be incredibly frustrating – managing competing egos and priorities!

For my unemployed and underemployed peers– I feel you on the employment challenges.. as I was there myself a bit more than two years ago. Unfortunate circumstances meant that my last two administrative positions were each less than two years tenure. I held my certifications and love being an admin. Why couldn’t I get my foot in the door? I was forced to look at my own shortcomings even though I have been in the field for more than twenty years. I had become complacent with my skills, but not in my networking… and that’s what I believe helped me the most in my employment search. ( I had written about this previously during my frustrating search for employment.)

So I guess this is a very wordy way to suggest that you make a list of your own strengths and weaknesses. NOW. Not later. Evaluate brutally. Could you score above 85 percentile on the computerized tests that firms commonly request? Would you have a weakness that you would be willing to discuss in an interview? And, do you have a plan to address it? Is your resume truly current? (Disclosure: mine is not.) Are you teaching yourself Office2010? Database queries? Adobe? Project management software? A new language? Know anything about Social Media? Web research? A new skill of any kind? Know admins outside your own city? Your country?  Hey.. how about outside your own company?

What about what you love doing? What kind of task assignment gets your adrenaline going? And , why? Can you pinpoint the tasks and methods that allow you to successfully complete your work? Can you identify a time when you saved your company or boss funds? Can you discuss a time when your administrative resource connections helped bring a new efficiency to a protocol?

When’s the last time you realized you were behind on skills and you were willing to admit it? Better yet, willing to do something about it? Take action. Hard to do when looking for work.. I know. I have a long list. But I know my strengths and weaknesses.  I can articulate them clearly.
Hey.. I know not everyone lives/breathes and gets jazzed about being an admin. My point is, if you are going to make this a career field- we have to keep our skills current, our networking contacts current and our outlook – facing forward.  We have to stay in shape so that when we do look in the mirror, it’s not quite as startling a view.