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Joan Burge Innovation Award for Executive and Administrative Assistants


I know assistants are always coming up with great ideas, creating new systems or templates, or taking the lead. Oftentimes assistants do not have the opportunity to showcase their talents or what they have created, nor do they always get recognized for their work. As trailblazers in the administrative training industry, Office Dynamics wanted to celebrate outstanding ideas birthed by administrative and executive assistants.

Therefore, I created the Joan Burge Innovation Award in 2019. This Award was presented to the winner at the Office Dynamics 26th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence. It was very exciting for me to present the first award to Kristie Webber for software designed exclusively for executives and their executive assistants. It is called Emmre. Here is Kristie’s story.


“My executive, Don Harms, tried multiple different task management tools but found that none were designed for the unique relationship between an executive and executive assistant. So he decided to create his own tool. Together, we’ve been refining the software and using it in our daily work as CEO and EA.

I’ve provided significant input that has greatly shaped the product—many of the changes we’ve implemented have been based on my feedback. It’s the most valuable tool in our working relationship and has enabled us to be significantly more effective and productive.”

You might want to participate in their Beta version at

Other ideas presented included:


An executive’s travel binder. Sandra Fette showed us the value of assembling a very detailed travel binder that included all types of important information such as when deposits were given for hotels, a place to hold business cards that the traveler receives, a pocket holder for expenses receipts, important information about meetings and much more.    

Completely transforming a cumbersome administrative procedures binder that was hundreds of pages. Paula Thibodeau did a fabulous job with streamlining this information, adding visuals to go with the procedure, and screen shots. This increased the speed and efficiency of transferring knowledge and ensures a successful transition as well as getting new assistants up to speed quickly.


Creation of an assistant outlook account. Tina Bradley decided to have assistant accounts set up for 15 administrative assistants on her team, who support 40 administrators. Assistants have full access to each other’s assistant account. Because of this, any assistant

Heather Dovholuk had been put in charge of their organization’s Innovation Fair. Heather came up with an idea on how attendees could enter a raffle electronically and also vote on booths at the fair to award trophy prizes. Heather’s idea eliminated the use of paper tickets and manual counting. With the reporting function of the survey platform, Heather could easily determine the booth winners.


I am always impressed with the creativity of assistants. I’d like to challenge you to bring your ideas forward to your organization! And if you attend our 2020 Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, please submit your innovative idea. You just might be the recipient of the 2020 Joan Burge Innovation Award!

Learn more about the Joan Burge Innovation Award here.

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1 thought on “Joan Burge Innovation Award for Executive and Administrative Assistants”

  1. I appreciated the opportunity to present and to share Emmre ( with other EAs. To be selected as the winner was an incredible honor!

    Emmre been a game-changer in my working relationship with my Executive. It’s our one tool for all shared task-management and communication between the two of us.

    It’s enabled trust because we’re both aware of what the other is working on, and there’s accountability in knowing that the other person saw the task because they gave a thumbs up when accepting it. This allows my Executive to get things out of his head without worrying that it will get lost or be forgotten.
    When supporting an Executive, the priorities of yesterday may not be today’s priorities – things are continually shifting, and flexibility is imperative to keep things moving forward. Emmre enables us to focus on the most important things and to reflect changing priorities in real-time by making a task a Priority, creating a new Project, or adding Tags.

    Emmre allows me to prioritize distraction. As EAs, there are constant interruptions and things/people vying for our attention (Slack, texts, emails, people stopping by your desk, etc.) If I’m trying to get into a focused state of work, I can ignore those other things because I know that the only way my Exec is going to contact me is through Emmre. So I can choose to prioritize that communication and then get back to my focused work.

    Also, Emmre is a tool for confidential communication between an Executive and EA. We’re privy to a lot of sensitive information, and it’s important that we don’t accidentally send that communication to the wrong person because we were in a different Slack channel than we thought, or our emails auto-populated with someone else and we didn’t notice. In Emmre, I know that the only person receiving my communication or seeing a task is my partner.

    Many EAs support more than one Executive. Emmre allows for that with the ability to have multiple workspaces. So if I supported three people, my workspaces might be Don/Kristie, Dillon/Kristie, Megan/Kristie.

    The work of an Executive and EA is rarely just 9-5 or within the confines of being solely at your desk. Instead, Executives are often on the go, running from meeting to meeting or traveling. Because Emmre is always up to date and syncs in real-time between web and mobile, my Exec and I can stay in communication with each other (even when we aren’t able to meet face to face).

    Emmre has been the most helpful tool to further my working relationship with my Executive and we hope that it can be beneficial to others. Please feel free to connect with me to learn more!

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