Live Event! Celebrating You Announcements, Executive Perspective & Team Building Highlights

Join our Reporter In The Field as she shares her experience of the Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence firsthand. This post originated at 

Following a delicious lunch with networking opportunity and the grand opening of the Office Dynamics International Boutique, we reassembled in the Summerlin ballroom for the Office Dynamics (ODI) team building event, an annual tradition at each year’s conference. This year, to mark the 20th Annual Conference, we had an ODI Trivia Game which was a lot of fun. We worked in groups at our tables, and got to enjoy a lot of problem solving time and networking, too.

“Celebrating You!” was the next segment. Throughout the year, admins had sent in their stories of successes at work and in life and the ODI team selected the winners from many great entries. They played, “You are a Firework” by Katy Perry as the first winner was announced, Kathy Loesberg. Great job, Kathy! She was presented with a framed plaque with a quote just for her, relating to her story as well as a one-year subscription to SUCCESS magazine (one of Joan’s favorite resources). Other winners were announced throughout the conference.

Next we had the Executive Perspective (one of my personal favorite segments!) Joining Joan Burge on stage were Lisa Olsen and Lucy Brazier, with Melba Duncan joining by video.

The women discussed what was necessary for administrative excellence, seen and judged from the manager’s perspective. It’s a great opportunity to hear what leaders and executives are thinking from their side of the desk. They discussed the crucial role of emotional intelligence and resilience for today’s assistant.

You can learn a software program – it’s much more critical that you already know how and consistently display, how to treat others very well. Some people get it and others do not. That will hold people back because it is so very important today and into the future!

Lucy shared that she polled 40 top bosses in the UK about the most important attributes for today’s assistants, and they were:

  • Authority
  • Respect
  • Results
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Influence
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Direction
  • Collaboration
  • Resilience

It was amazing to see that “software skills” and other task-based learning was not present on their list!

Melba discussed Poise, Predictability and Precision:

Poise: distraction control, and how admins manage their thinking, voice control and managing stress was critical.

Predictability: managing your own personality, can be relied upon and having stamina.

Precision: calm, composure, politeness, how you say it, lack of mistakes, reading communications as though you are the recipient.

Lisa Olsen talked about how credibility, diplomacy and discretion were at the top of her list for necessary skills and attributes.

When discussing how to build rapport with your executive, Lisa mentioned listening, stating that it’s much easier to respect someone once you know their story. (Well said, Lisa!). Melba mentioned “fit” and Lucy discussed it is not who you think you are. It’s who you think you’re not that matters. (Well said, Lucy!)

The conversation moved toward the following points:

  1. Entrepreneurial – ego
  2. Analyst – provide proof with everything
  3. Good talker – good communication
  4. Follows – concerned about executive’s opinions

Lucy said that today’s assistants are specialists taking on much more. They are strategic business partners, and that their skill sets are more important than their managers. She mentioned investigating Belbin and Belbin Team Roles can be helpful to discovering your strengths and in taking your important rightful place on the team (rather than waiting for an invitation or “permission”). 

The attendees enjoyed the Executive Perspective and it was food for thought. Many I interviewed said they were going to return to the office and talk to their leaders about opening the channels of communication in new ways and listening to their stories to develop better rapport. It was time very well spent. A special thank you to Melba, Lisa and Lucy!

The next “Celebrating You!” winner was announced, Pam Mitchell, and we got to hear about her success story. Pam was presented a framed plaque with a special quote selected just for her. Way to go, Pam! 

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