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  • feedwordpress 20:30:15 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , Motivators,   

    My First Experience at The Conference for Administrative Excellence 

     

    As Told By Your Office Dynamics Marketing Specialist

     

    Hello from your Office Dynamics Marketing Specialist! Recently we held our 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence and WOW, it did not disappoint! So much so that I asked Brian and Joan if I could write a blog post about my experience and share some photos from the event.

     

    Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I am the guy you get all the emails from 😉

     

    So many of you came up and introduced yourselves and said, “Hey you’re the guy I get all the emails from” I had to slip it into this blog. It was so fun and so awesome to finally get to meet all of you.

     

    Before I go on, I do need to mention that this was my first conference with Joan and the Office Dynamics team as well as my first time working a conference so I didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you, “Wow” just doesn’t describe the event with justice.

     

     

    Tuesday, October 23 – Welcome Reception

     

    The Conference began with Joan’s traditional Welcome Reception. People from all over the country and all over the world gathered for cocktails, food, networking, and the enjoyment of a Frank Sinatra actor singing to go along with our Star theme.

     

    I didn’t know what to expect or how many people would show up but when I rounded the corner with my phone on Facebook Live, I was impressed with the HUGE turnout. It seemed everybody had shown up and no one was without conversation. It really was awesome to see.

     

    I watched friends reunite, assistants from different companies getting to know each other, and a line of people waiting to meet Joan Burge. Well the line for Joan wasn’t that much of a surprise but the atmosphere was electric, and I loved it!

     

    A great way to start the week and kick off the 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence.

     

     

    Wednesday, October 24 – Speakers, Classes, and Panels

     

    Wednesday began with Joan’s opening remarks that would eventually lead into the recognition of two Platinum VIPs, Joni Hogue for her 10th conference attendance and Sue Velarde for her 12th.

     

    After the awards were given out, the attendees were then told about their special “space” theme cards that they received in their welcome packet. Lisa Olsen explained that there were others in the room with the same card and that when she said “go”, everyone would have to get up out of their chair and find their other team members. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next when 327 people got up at once to find their teams. You can find the video of this on our Facebook and YouTube pages. Please enjoy watching it!

     

    There were several breaks throughout the day that allowed me to meet a lot of you and hear your stories about why you came to the conference. Whether it was your second or third time, or even first.

     

    It was awesome to hear the reasons why you all chose to come.

    • Googled “Administrative Conferences”
    • Co-workers or colleagues recommend the conference
    • Some attendees told their stories to their managers and were able to get several more team members approval for the conference (so cool)
    • You previously attended
    • Our agenda looked the best when compared to other administrative conferences

     

    I could go on but there were too many to list them all.

     

    Later in the day Shasta Nelson would take the stage and cover the topic of, “How to Connect in Meaningful Ways.” Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the entire session as duties called. However, the attendees raved about her.

     

    When Shasta concluded, we broke for lunch and enjoyed prepped meals provided by Office Dynamics and most took the time to stop into the Success Store to purchase some items. After lunch, the attendees then broke out to different hands-on labs that were taught by Joan Burge, Julie Reed, Brandi Britton, and Johna Little.

     

    Wednesday ended with Jennifer Lier, accomplished singer, Las Vegas performer, former Miss Nevada winner, and former Miss America contestant. Jennifer told the story of her journey and with each instance, she would sing a song that related to that particular moment in her life. Let me just say this…JENNIFER CAN SING! I was able to attend her entire session and I’m so glad I did, it was very moving and motivating.

     

     

    Thursday, October 25 – Speakers, Classes, Panels, and Awards

     

    Thursday was awesome! By this time, the Office Dynamics team had individually put in 13 – 16 miles of walking each day, making sure that the conference was running smoothly.

     

    Lisa Olsen, the conference MC, had opened and introduced the panel that would discuss the State of the Profession. Joan Burge, joined by Lisa Olsen, Julie Reed, and Debbie Gross provided amazing insight into the profession, where it is going, and where you, as an assistant, need to be. Amazing questions were asked by a few attendees that were answered by the panel including one heated, yet passionate answer given by Joan.

     

    Click Here, to watch the State of the Profession.

     

    This session was followed by the Best Practices Sharing session conducted by Julie Reed, an Office Dynamics Elite Trainer.

     

    After a break, the attendees once again broke out into concurrent sessions and lunch soon followed.

     

    The day would end with a wonderful session by Judi Moreo that caused laughter, tears, and a sense of togetherness. You truly had to be there to experience it. Beautifully done.

     

     

    Glitz and Glam Gala

     

    WHERE DO I BEGIN?

     

    I’ve spent 8 years in the Marine Corps and have been to 7 Marine Corps Balls (the celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday) and I must say I have never been to anything like this!

     

    Every year Joan makes it a point to put on the best show, experience, and evening she can to allow her attendees to “let their hair down.” This being her 25th, she went all out. Her goal was to make each person feel as if they were the star of the show.

     

    In the hall outside the Gala was a step and repeat where paparazzi was taking pictures and interviewing attendees. You would also find a famous Mouse walking around greeting people.

     

     

    Above the entrance to the Gala, there was a beautiful arch that mimicked the entrance to the Oscars. Tall pillars and a light up sign that said, “25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence.” A beautiful red carpet led you under the arch and into the Gala.

     

     

    “Be Our Guest” was playing as I entered the ballroom where I literally stopped in my tracks. Just inside of the main entrance stood Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and that famous Mouse.

     

    I walked to my left and was greeted by Princess Leia, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. To the right of the room was Pocahontas, Han Solo, and Peter Pan. In the corner was a real movie set make up studio where attendees could get the star treatment of getting glitzed and glammed! Next to that was a photo booth area with our paparazzi photographer.

     

     

    Each table was beautifully covered with black and gold with a gorgeous centerpiece. The main stage was occupied by DJ Rodney and his amazing crew. The stage was decorated with two large pillars and the Oscar standing nearly 10ft tall.

     

    This night was truly for the Stars!

     

    During the 3 course dinner, the actors would put on different performances that tied to their characters but what was truly magnificent was when the characters would involve the attendees in the dance skits…and yes, I participated in two. Thanks Melia and Brian! Haha!

     

    The final skit before the dance floor was open was something out of a James Bond or Mission Impossible scene that involved espionage, dancing, acrobatics, and a performance to remember.

     

    After dinner, there was dancing, music, and so many memories made.

     

     

    I, along with many others, will not forget the night we were all Stars!

     

     

    Friday, October 26 – Final Day

     

    The day began with more prizes given out and a general session by Joan Burge. Followed by the, “What’s Next” session, the final set of concurrent classes, and Joan’s “Closing Thoughts.”

     

    A somewhat emotional yet invigorating moment for those who attended. Life-altering lessons, stories, and events took place during this amazing week followed by an inspirational message from Joan.

     

    The perfect way to end a fulfilling week.

     

    As Brian and I stood outside the doors along with Beth and Melia, I realized in our goodbyes just how amazing this week was for our attendees and for me too.

     

    In Conclusion

     

    How do I end a re-cap of one of the coolest events that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of? How about with a quick story that should explain the passion, care, and love the Office Dynamics team has.

     

    When I met many of you, you asked me how long I’ve been with the company, if I like it, and what brought me to Office Dynamics.

     

    I’d like to share with those that haven’t heard why I decided Office Dynamics was the perfect home for an aspiring marketer and at the end, I hope it will make sense to you.

     

    When I had interviewed with Brian and Joan in January, I had two other companies that had made offers to me, but before I would make my decision I wanted to do my due diligence by researching each company.

     

    The first company, a company that makes computer chips and motherboards, would’ve wanted me to blog about such things and Tweet about them. I’ll be very honest…there is no way I, as a marketer could do that; just not something I could be passionate about.

     

    The second company, in the service industry, was ok but didn’t excite me either.

     

    The last company, Office Dynamics International, specializes in the training and education of Administrative and Executive Assistants. Led by Joan Burge, a pioneer and trail-blazing woman that has a commanding presence and passion like no other.

     

    After I found Joan on YouTube, I started to watch a video from a previous conference and about 45 seconds into the video Joan got fired up and had this amazing intensity you only see in a few speakers. Joan was speaking so direct, so powerful, that I watched in awe and had goosebumps. After watching for about two minutes I sat back in my chair, smiled, and said, “I’m going to work for her.”

     

    It was approximately three weeks later when I started on February 12.

     

    Why did I choose Office Dynamics and Joan? Because someone with so much passion for the industry, so much care about the lessons, so much love for the administrative profession along with the people involved in it, is someone I can truly get behind and work with.

     

    After seeing the dedication from the Office Dynamics team, I can say that everyone has that same passion, care, and love for their work and those involved. Joan, Brian, Melia, and the speakers believe in what they are doing and only want to provide the best for all fans, followers, clients, and companies.

     

    So, I’m concluding with this…The Conference for Administrative Excellence is the culmination of the efforts of this team and I’m so very proud to be a part of it. The amount of work that this team has put into it has shown me how important that your experience is to them and at our final lunch together as a team on Friday, it showed.

     

    Sometimes in silence, sometimes in conversation, but always happy with the efforts put into it. Happy with the responses given by the attendees. Happy for our 25th conference.

     

    I hope those who attended this year’s conference enjoyed it as much as I did, and I truly cannot wait to see you all again next year.

     

     

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Marketing Guy (that sends you all those emails),

     

     

     

    Ernan A. Paredes

     

     

    The post My First Experience at The Conference for Administrative Excellence appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:30:15 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , Motivators,   

    My First Experience at The Conference for Administrative Excellence 

     

    As Told By Your Office Dynamics Marketing Specialist

     

    Hello from your Office Dynamics Marketing Specialist! Recently we held our 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence and WOW, it did not disappoint! So much so that I asked Brian and Joan if I could write a blog post about my experience and share some photos from the event.

     

    Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I am the guy you get all the emails from 😉

     

    So many of you came up and introduced yourselves and said, “Hey you’re the guy I get all the emails from” I had to slip it into this blog. It was so fun and so awesome to finally get to meet all of you.

     

    Before I go on, I do need to mention that this was my first conference with Joan and the Office Dynamics team as well as my first time working a conference so I didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you, “Wow” just doesn’t describe the event with justice.

     

     

    Tuesday, October 23 – Welcome Reception

     

    The Conference began with Joan’s traditional Welcome Reception. People from all over the country and all over the world gathered for cocktails, food, networking, and the enjoyment of a Frank Sinatra actor singing to go along with our Star theme.

     

    I didn’t know what to expect or how many people would show up but when I rounded the corner with my phone on Facebook Live, I was impressed with the HUGE turnout. It seemed everybody had shown up and no one was without conversation. It really was awesome to see.

     

    I watched friends reunite, assistants from different companies getting to know each other, and a line of people waiting to meet Joan Burge. Well the line for Joan wasn’t that much of a surprise but the atmosphere was electric, and I loved it!

     

    A great way to start the week and kick off the 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence.

     

     

    Wednesday, October 24 – Speakers, Classes, and Panels

     

    Wednesday began with Joan’s opening remarks that would eventually lead into the recognition of two Platinum VIPs, Joni Hogue for her 10th conference attendance and Sue Velarde for her 12th.

     

    After the awards were given out, the attendees were then told about their special “space” theme cards that they received in their welcome packet. Lisa Olsen explained that there were others in the room with the same card and that when she said “go”, everyone would have to get up out of their chair and find their other team members. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next when 327 people got up at once to find their teams. You can find the video of this on our Facebook and YouTube pages. Please enjoy watching it!

     

    There were several breaks throughout the day that allowed me to meet a lot of you and hear your stories about why you came to the conference. Whether it was your second or third time, or even first.

     

    It was awesome to hear the reasons why you all chose to come.

    • Googled “Administrative Conferences”
    • Co-workers or colleagues recommend the conference
    • Some attendees told their stories to their managers and were able to get several more team members approval for the conference (so cool)
    • You previously attended
    • Our agenda looked the best when compared to other administrative conferences

     

    I could go on but there were too many to list them all.

     

    Later in the day Shasta Nelson would take the stage and cover the topic of, “How to Connect in Meaningful Ways.” Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the entire session as duties called. However, the attendees raved about her.

     

    When Shasta concluded, we broke for lunch and enjoyed prepped meals provided by Office Dynamics and most took the time to stop into the Success Store to purchase some items. After lunch, the attendees then broke out to different hands-on labs that were taught by Joan Burge, Julie Reed, Brandi Britton, and Johna Little.

     

    Wednesday ended with Jennifer Lier, accomplished singer, Las Vegas performer, former Miss Nevada winner, and former Miss America contestant. Jennifer told the story of her journey and with each instance, she would sing a song that related to that particular moment in her life. Let me just say this…JENNIFER CAN SING! I was able to attend her entire session and I’m so glad I did, it was very moving and motivating.

     

     

    Thursday, October 25 – Speakers, Classes, Panels, and Awards

     

    Thursday was awesome! By this time, the Office Dynamics team had individually put in 13 – 16 miles of walking each day, making sure that the conference was running smoothly.

     

    Lisa Olsen, the conference MC, had opened and introduced the panel that would discuss the State of the Profession. Joan Burge, joined by Lisa Olsen, Julie Reed, and Debbie Gross provided amazing insight into the profession, where it is going, and where you, as an assistant, need to be. Amazing questions were asked by a few attendees that were answered by the panel including one heated, yet passionate answer given by Joan.

     

    Click Here, to watch the State of the Profession.

     

    This session was followed by the Best Practices Sharing session conducted by Julie Reed, an Office Dynamics Elite Trainer.

     

    After a break, the attendees once again broke out into concurrent sessions and lunch soon followed.

     

    The day would end with a wonderful session by Judi Moreo that caused laughter, tears, and a sense of togetherness. You truly had to be there to experience it. Beautifully done.

     

     

    Glitz and Glam Gala

     

    WHERE DO I BEGIN?

     

    I’ve spent 8 years in the Marine Corps and have been to 7 Marine Corps Balls (the celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday) and I must say I have never been to anything like this!

     

    Every year Joan makes it a point to put on the best show, experience, and evening she can to allow her attendees to “let their hair down.” This being her 25th, she went all out. Her goal was to make each person feel as if they were the star of the show.

     

    In the hall outside the Gala was a step and repeat where paparazzi was taking pictures and interviewing attendees. You would also find a famous Mouse walking around greeting people.

     

     

    Above the entrance to the Gala, there was a beautiful arch that mimicked the entrance to the Oscars. Tall pillars and a light up sign that said, “25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence.” A beautiful red carpet led you under the arch and into the Gala.

     

     

    “Be Our Guest” was playing as I entered the ballroom where I literally stopped in my tracks. Just inside of the main entrance stood Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and that famous Mouse.

     

    I walked to my left and was greeted by Princess Leia, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. To the right of the room was Pocahontas, Han Solo, and Peter Pan. In the corner was a real movie set make up studio where attendees could get the star treatment of getting glitzed and glammed! Next to that was a photo booth area with our paparazzi photographer.

     

     

    Each table was beautifully covered with black and gold with a gorgeous centerpiece. The main stage was occupied by DJ Rodney and his amazing crew. The stage was decorated with two large pillars and the Oscar standing nearly 10ft tall.

     

    This night was truly for the Stars!

     

    During the 3 course dinner, the actors would put on different performances that tied to their characters but what was truly magnificent was when the characters would involve the attendees in the dance skits…and yes, I participated in two. Thanks Melia and Brian! Haha!

     

    The final skit before the dance floor was open was something out of a James Bond or Mission Impossible scene that involved espionage, dancing, acrobatics, and a performance to remember.

     

    After dinner, there was dancing, music, and so many memories made.

     

     

    I, along with many others, will not forget the night we were all Stars!

     

     

    Friday, October 26 – Final Day

     

    The day began with more prizes given out and a general session by Joan Burge. Followed by the, “What’s Next” session, the final set of concurrent classes, and Joan’s “Closing Thoughts.”

     

    A somewhat emotional yet invigorating moment for those who attended. Life-altering lessons, stories, and events took place during this amazing week followed by an inspirational message from Joan.

     

    The perfect way to end a fulfilling week.

     

    As Brian and I stood outside the doors along with Beth and Melia, I realized in our goodbyes just how amazing this week was for our attendees and for me too.

     

    In Conclusion

     

    How do I end a re-cap of one of the coolest events that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of? How about with a quick story that should explain the passion, care, and love the Office Dynamics team has.

     

    When I met many of you, you asked me how long I’ve been with the company, if I like it, and what brought me to Office Dynamics.

     

    I’d like to share with those that haven’t heard why I decided Office Dynamics was the perfect home for an aspiring marketer and at the end, I hope it will make sense to you.

     

    When I had interviewed with Brian and Joan in January, I had two other companies that had made offers to me, but before I would make my decision I wanted to do my due diligence by researching each company.

     

    The first company, a company that makes computer chips and motherboards, would’ve wanted me to blog about such things and Tweet about them. I’ll be very honest…there is no way I, as a marketer could do that; just not something I could be passionate about.

     

    The second company, in the service industry, was ok but didn’t excite me either.

     

    The last company, Office Dynamics International, specializes in the training and education of Administrative and Executive Assistants. Led by Joan Burge, a pioneer and trail-blazing woman that has a commanding presence and passion like no other.

     

    After I found Joan on YouTube, I started to watch a video from a previous conference and about 45 seconds into the video Joan got fired up and had this amazing intensity you only see in a few speakers. Joan was speaking so direct, so powerful, that I watched in awe and had goosebumps. After watching for about two minutes I sat back in my chair, smiled, and said, “I’m going to work for her.”

     

    It was approximately three weeks later when I started on February 12.

     

    Why did I choose Office Dynamics and Joan? Because someone with so much passion for the industry, so much care about the lessons, so much love for the administrative profession along with the people involved in it, is someone I can truly get behind and work with.

     

    After seeing the dedication from the Office Dynamics team, I can say that everyone has that same passion, care, and love for their work and those involved. Joan, Brian, Melia, and the speakers believe in what they are doing and only want to provide the best for all fans, followers, clients, and companies.

     

    So, I’m concluding with this…The Conference for Administrative Excellence is the culmination of the efforts of this team and I’m so very proud to be a part of it. The amount of work that this team has put into it has shown me how important that your experience is to them and at our final lunch together as a team on Friday, it showed.

     

    Sometimes in silence, sometimes in conversation, but always happy with the efforts put into it. Happy with the responses given by the attendees. Happy for our 25th conference.

     

    I hope those who attended this year’s conference enjoyed it as much as I did, and I truly cannot wait to see you all again next year.

     

     

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Marketing Guy (that sends you all those emails),

     

     

     

    Ernan A. Paredes

     

     

    The post My First Experience at The Conference for Administrative Excellence appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:49:24 on 2018/10/29 Permalink
    Tags: , Motivators,   

    Monday Motivator – Fear Can Become a Monster If We Let It 

    Welcome to Halloween week. Halloween is such an interesting holiday and is becoming almost as popular as the other major holidays. The stores, boutique shops, and online businesses sell everything to decorate your home, prepare for parties, and offer all kinds of paraphernalia.

    For decades October has been the month of scary movies and costumes. People love to decorate their yard like graveyards and display spooky creatures and goblins. Do you remember when you were a kid how these things scared you at Halloween? Well, maybe not you—but they certainly scared me.

    Then when we get older, we look back and laugh at the things that scared us. If Halloween didn’t scare you, maybe other things did like going to the dentist or doctor. Or fear of interviewing for a new job or starting a new job.

    Fear can prevent you from progressing in your career and in your personal life. It prevents you from opening up to experiences which could be rewarding. It hampers your receptivity as an individual. It has a way of becoming a “monster” if you let it fester because the more you think about the thing you fear doing, the worse it seems. When fear stands in the way of you becoming all you can be, learn to make it work for you, not against you.

    There are times when F-E-A-R is nothing more than – False Evidence Appearing Real! We all have experienced it. Fear comes in different sizes and shapes, and has different faces. Recognize too that the things one person fears, you may not fear and vice versa. Be tolerant of others’ fears, because to them, the fear might be overwhelming.

    The big difference between people is that for some, fear paralyzes and for others fear becomes a personal challenge. It gets their adrenaline pumping. Every time you confront your fears, you become a stronger person. You prepare yourself for bigger and greater things to come. This isn’t to say that once you conquer a fear you will never again be afraid. It’s just that when you learn to deal with a fear and experience some success in taking it on, you will be more inclined to take on the next worrisome challenge and come out on top!

    7 Steps to Conquering Fear

    1. Identify your fears.
    2. Identify the real reasons behind #1. For example, most people have a fear of public speaking. But that really isn’t the fear. The real fear is people are afraid they will forget their material or be asked questions they can’t answer or equipment failure. List as many of the real fears as you can.
    3. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I try what I fear?” Things usually seem worse than they are. You grow through learning and doing what you fear. Identify the worst possible outcome and think of a fallback plan should that occur.
    4. List steps you can take to overcome the fear. Be specific. Many times the only way to deal with fear is to do what you fear, provided it is not physically dangerous.
    5. Put opportunity first. What is the best thing that could happen if you conquered this fear?
    6. Be confident in your ability to handle new situations. Think about past events or situations that you handled successfully.
    7. Consider fear a challenge. By the way, you can feel fear and have courage at the same time.

     

    Wishing you a Happy Halloween!

     

    joan_burge_signature

    The post Monday Motivator – Fear Can Become a Monster If We Let It appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:15:22 on 2018/09/11 Permalink
    Tags: , Motivators, , ,   

    Getting Monday Motivated 

    We all know that Monday can be the most challenging day of the week. We also know that our mentality has a lot to do with this. But why?

    According to studies and surveys conducted over the years, there are several reasons why most of us dislike Mondays.

    We are leaving a life of being in charge. Over the weekend we have had the opportunity to be in charge of our own life. Make our own decisions and do what we want. When we come to work on Monday, some of us lose that sense of “being in charge.”

    We are leaving our family and friends. You may have spent the entire weekend with your family and friends. Laughing and having a good time but now you have to let it go and focus on work.

    We do not like our jobs. Spending time at a place you do not like being at, doing what you do not like doing, can be daunting.

    We do not like the “Office Dragons.” Office Dragons can bring us down and make the workday feel like a work week if we do not know how to “deal” with them.

    Whatever the case may be, we actually do have a choice in how we feel when it comes to a “case of the Mondays.”

    Office Dynamics offers a solution that thousands of people, just like yourself, refer to every Monday.

    MONDAY MOTIVATORS

    I greatly appreciate the Monday Motivators! How on earth does she know exactly how we are feeling sometimes???? ~ Deb C.

    Every Monday, Joan Burge, Founder and CEO of Office Dynamics International writes an inspiring, motivational, and down to earth email that allows you to jump-start your week with a sense of empowerment and electricity that will carry you through the week.

    Let Office Dynamics help jump-start your week with words of inspiration and motivation with our Monday Motivators.

     

     

    The post Getting Monday Motivated appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:20:49 on 2018/08/16 Permalink
    Tags: Motivators, , ,   

    A Conversation with Joan 

    Over the past 20 years, I have attended several conferences ranging in topics from fiction writing to motivational to professional training and even a full weekend trying to become a more educated outdoor woman. Each conference offered a unique learning opportunity, but none of them provided the ideal balance of professional and personal development that last year’s conference did.

    The Conference for Administrative Excellence not only provided many educational moments with a variety of speakers, I was introduced to some amazing people in my field as well. The conference exceeded all of my expectations.

    How better to share the conference experience than a conversation with the creator herself – The professional, personable, and mentor to many, Joan Burge! I’m honored to have had the opportunity to ask Joan a few questions. Her answers are enlightening and encompass the experience that helps create one of the most respected conferences ever offered. I highly recommend reading them more than once (with a notepad!).

    There is a team behind the amazing conference event. From the first phone call to register for the conference to picking up my name tag, the entire team carried out the professionalism of Joan. I never imagined my experience and learning would stretch so far beyond those few amazing days in October last year. We have so many ways to learn from Joan; webinars, books, blog posts, etc., yet here I am with another amazing opportunity to know and learn even more!

    A Conversation with Joan

    Q: You’ve been a unique blend of experience as an assistant and now executive and business owner (with so much in between!). Can you share a mentorship opportunity you had as an assistant from another assistant and one or two takeaways from that opportunity?

    A: Believe it or not, most of my mentoring came from executives; not peers. I was fortunate to work with some amazing managers and executives who were happy to mentor me about business and how to be a business partner. I do remember one time when an executive assistant mentored me. I was hired by a large corporation in Cleveland, OH as a secretary. I got to work directly with the EA to the CEO of the company. She took me under her wing and taught me a great deal. She and I had a lot of opportunities to interact because of the work we did and my executives reporting up and we physically sat near each other.

    Q: As an assistant, what types of professional development opportunities did you learn from the most?

    A: Live classes were always the best vehicle for me to learn. I love what occurs when I am face-to-face with other attendees and my instructor. I also learn by doing not just reading or watching. My next favorite was attending administrative conferences although there were not many offered in my day, mostly IAAP (then PSI) conferences. My third was reading. I was an avid reader and still am to this day.

    Q: As a business owner and busy executive what top skills can an assistant bring that support you the most?

    A: You are going to be very surprised by my answers because they are not going to be the typical administrative skills most people would mention. So here is my list:

    * Resilience is critical in today’s busy office environment and constant change. An assistant must also be tough skinned when it comes to working with an executive and you have to be able to “take the heat” and not take things personally. You have to be tough enough to take on all the job responsibilities and support today’s executives who operate in a whirlwind on most days.

    * Thinking holistically. Often assistants are in the woods most of their day. They need to step back and look from the top of the forest. See how things connect and work together; see the big picture of what is really happening. This is not an easy skill as some people’s brains prefer to think details. so you may have to work at this one. The idea is to picture yourself in an airplane in the sky. The view is very different at 35,000 feet than when the plane is sitting on the ground.

    * Initiative is very important. Just jump in. Don’t wait to be asked or told what to do. But you have to listen and pay attention to your executive. Executives drop clues all the time about what they are thinking and what they might need.

    * Detailed thinking is really important for my assistant because my brain likes to think big picture and vision. It’s not that I don’t get to the details. Of course, I must do that for the work I do. Most high-level executives are focused on the big picture or they are thinking of the 50 things they must get done, but they aren’t necessarily thinking of every little detail related to the 50 things.

    * Be inquisitive. Ask questions? If your executive is meeting with a new client, ask questions about the expectation of that meeting? If your executive mentions a new project or talk force they will be working with, ask them to tell you more about the mission and the people. When your executive delegates projects or even talks about an upcoming trip, ask questions. Be curious. The idea is to get inside your executive’s head so you can be proactive and assist at a higher level. I have always said, the more you get inside your executive’s head, the better you can do your job.

    * Ability to change gears in a heartbeat. This is a must! We do not have the luxury of dragging our feet. The organizations I work with and the executives I interact with at large organizations are dealing with change minute by minute and their support staff needs to move fast. You can become change proficient. It is a skill you can learn just like any other skill. I have been teaching assistants to thrive on change for 28 years.

    Q: In Give Yourself Permission to Live the Big Life, you talk about the five pillars in great detail. You highlight taking care of yourself. What personal development and self-care tips do you recommend to assistants?

    A: #1. Make time for yourself. Notice I said, “make.” If you wait for someone to give you permission, it will never happen. Do something fun or relaxing during that time. Maybe go to the salon or spa. Or maybe go to lunch with a good friend. During the summer, I love to go to the Lifetime Athletic pool in Las Vegas, they have a gorgeous pool area. It is like a resort. I go on the weekend early morning, around 8:30 and hang out until right after lunch. I just chill. I put my air pods in, listen to music, go in the water, and people watch. Or just look at the beautiful blue sky and palm trees. It’s heaven.

    #2. Your Wellness Pillar is critical. Make time to work out whether at home or at a gym. Or take walks throughout the week. You must take care of your body so it will take care of you. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t get sick or have surgeries. In 2014 I had brain surgery (successful) and in 2015, I had open heart surgery (successful). My doctors told me I survived these two huge, life-threatening surgeries because I was in good shape and took care of myself. Please…. get your annual exams, make good choices with food, and keep your body moving. This does not mean I never eat ice cream or cookies! I do and I love red wine (which is very good for the body as long as it is limited). Also, your mental health is very important. You must also feed your mind with good thoughts.

    #3. Make sure you build a good network of friends and a support group. We cannot do life alone. I have all kinds of friends (professional and personal) who I can call on at any time. That is because, for years, I have reached out to others. I have been open to meeting people and getting to know them. In turn, they want to know me.

    #4.  Have fun!!! I know so many people who, as they chronologically age, they age in how they think and act. That is not me! I feel and think about 20 years younger than my age. I make an effort to stay “hip” by surrounding myself with younger people and talking to my children and grandchildren to learn about the latest music and trends. I go to live concerts with my girlfriends. Don’t get into a rut—that is for sure a death sentence.

    Q: What professional questions would you recommend an assistant ask an executive when starting a new position or working with a new executive?

    A: I would start out by asking about the big picture of the relationship. Ask questions such as, “How do you envision us working together? In a partnership?” “How can I best support you?”

    It is also good to ask, “What are the top 5 skills most important to you that an assistant should possess?”

    Next ask, “What are the top 3 things that drive you crazy?” Every executive knows the answer to this one and you want to know this up front, whether they are related to you or just in general.

    Then I would focus on the daily processes and get in agreement as to how you both will handle them such as daily huddles, travel, meetings, follow-up, and email. A great resource for this conversation is my Executives and Assistants Working in Partnership Guide as I mapped out the most common processes and best practices. It’s a great tool to create the conversation you need to have with a new executive. (You can purchase this Guide at www.OfficeDynamics.com).

    Q: Can you share one or two tips every executive and assistant could incorporate into their routines for better productivity and to build their professional relationship?

    A: The best advice I have practiced for 4 decades and have given executives and assistants it to have daily huddles. Daily huddles are to be done in person or via the phone (not text or email). This is where you actually talk to each other, confirm the day’s priorities and get clarification on what’s happening relative to your executive or yourself. Next is to really pay attention to each other throughout the day by getting a temperature check.

    Q: As an assistant how did you organize a typical day?

    A: My typical day was to first understand the top priorities for that day. Then I would do my best to stay on the top priorities during the day. As new requests came in, I would determine if they were more important than what I was currently working on and if not, they got put aside depending on if they were a B or C priority. I physically keep things organized. I didn’t have papers and such strewn all over my desk. I had need stacks or piles according to priority. If something did not need to be worked on in the next 72 hours, it went in my follow-up system. I didn’t give it a second thought until I pulled it up days’ later.

    I also kept very organized by taking copious notes. I jotted everything down whether on a post-it note or napkin. I knew I would not possibly remember everything that was thrown at me. I would go back through my notes and little papers throughout the day to ensure I didn’t miss anything that was a priority.

    Q: Please share a few of your favorite books with us.

    A: * The Compound Effect by Daren Hardy

    * How to be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life (I just read this book this spring as I was starting to work with Walt Disney World). This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. It is a story filled with inspiration, hardship and hundreds of great lessons ranging from leadership to being an animated communicator, selling your ideas, never giving up on your ideas, and much more. Every person in the business world needs to read this book.

    Q: What are a few ‘new’ technologies you use often?

    A: I actually do not use a lot of different technologies or apps. Sometimes there are just too many options and it can be overwhelming. And I find some of them do not make me more productive. Of course, I love my iPad (newer, bigger, lightweight screen with the keyboard by Apple); loving my AirPods (no wires!); iPhone. I use a few good apps special to my needs. I have an Alexa I use frequently.

    Q: What are a few processes or parts of your routine that have not changed throughout your career?

    A: I have tried and true processes that I have not changed because they really work! They are my:

    * Follow-up system. I still love the 43 hanging file system. It never fails me.

    * To Do tray on my desk which only holds items I must get done within 72 hours.

    * Prioritization method. I identify tasks and projects as A, B, and C. Within the A category, I have A1, A2, A3 and maybe A4.

    * Staying focused. I try my very best to stay focused on my task or conversation at hand.

    * Before I close up at the end of the day, I go back through my to-do items for the next day. I make sure I have them in the right priority order so I am ready to jump in the next morning.

    * I run through emails one more time at the end of the day to make sure I did not miss anything important and flag items I need to get back to early the next day.

    * Every day, I am a student. I pay attention to whatever crosses my path to see what I might pick up or add to my knowledge base or skill set.

    Q: Finally, during the annual conference there is an evening celebration. You have said how important that evening is to celebrate the uniqueness and how special the assistants are and I’m so looking forward to this year’s Glitz and Glam Gala! (I have my dress already)….For fun….Which themed celebration evening during the conference did you enjoy the most? Why?

    A: That is a tough question because the past several years we have had fabulous themes such as Havana nights and a Ghostly Gala. But if I have to choose, my favorite was about 8 or 9 years ago when we first starting holding Gala night. It was very much glamorous like this year’s theme. We had a red carpet for attendees and everyone dressed up. Our attendees loved getting glammed up because they rarely do that. We had Cirque performers that night, entertainment from the Strip (which we have every year), and an awards event. This year will certainly be as fabulous! We have some very special things planned for Gala since it is our 25th year anniversary.

     

    I hope you enjoyed this opportunity to get to know Joan better. I know I sure did!

    What question would you ask Joan?

     

     

    dana_buchananDana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The post A Conversation with Joan appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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