The rise of the EA
The networking seminar and workshop designed by Career Moves Support’s Division Heads, Kelly Howe and Sarah Savage in conjunction with Lucy Brazier (Executive Secretary Magazine Editor, International Speaker and Global Brand Ambassador for IYOTSA – The International Year of the Secretary and Executive Assistant) and Susie Barron-Stubley (Castalia Coaching MD, International Executive Coach to FTSE 100 EAs) was a storming success as both Lucy and Susie enthusiastically explored and discussed how PAs and EAs can change their own worlds enabling them to feel more acknowledged within their roles and be better understood by others in their companies.
Lucy who globally campaigns for the recognition of the PA role as a profession (she has already spoken on the topic in 22 countries), addressed the energised audience about why it is important to become a centre of excellence within your company, in order to gain acknowledgment. If EAs and PAs make sure that there is clarity surrounding their positions, i.e. a mapped out job description, a clear progression path, access to training plus an accessible network to help them feel supported, then it is much more likely that EAs and PAs will feel fulfilled. Having such a strategy will empower assistants and make them feel in control of their careers, which will boost their potential to evolve within their field.
Before handing over to Susie, the attentive audience showered the erudite Lucy with questions, ranging from advice on speaking at an event to asking what the difference is between the terms PA and EA? Lucy explained that there are over 160 job titles globally for administrative employees (and a fifth of the world’s population works in administration), so in some cases a PA can look after a CEO and in others he or she may have responsibility for reception. There is a need to get job titles and job specifications unified internationally.
Susie delivered an inspiring talk around leadership. Susie herself was an EA to Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director General of the National Trust but set up her own coaching company in 2004 to train EAs and PAs to become fully integrated members of the management team.
In order to gain recognition as a leader Susie explored the EA’s/PA’s ability to project their presence in a positive and professional way. Leaders encompass presence, power and warmth the first two qualities often need to be acquired by EAs and PAs, but as she pointed out our behaviours are driven by our beliefs, and our beliefs are our choices. With a resilient mind set strategic assistants can make it to the top of their occupation.
Susie indicated that EAs and PAs need to be able to teach their executives how to get the best out of their relationship, since bosses often don’t know how to use their assistants. This skill requires both leadership and emotional intelligence.
Susie outlined when the assistant can understand his/her self and their own powe,r then they can make a difference. The perception of the EA will not change, unless EAs change themselves.
Both speakers were inundated by many attendees after the seminar, all who had individual questions for Lucy and Susie.
Career Moves Support was elated with the response to the networking evening. Both Kelly Howe and Sarah Savage agreed that, “being able to give something back to our clients and candidates in terms of expert advice on how to develop their careers means a lot to us. Both Lucy and Susie were genuine sources of enlightenment and encouragement, we couldn’t have asked for better experts,”