The Secret Success to Managing Up 

Written by: Julia Francis

Written by: Julia Francis

Okay, real talk. We all know that sometimes we need to “manage up” to our managers. Whether it’s because they are in back-to-back meetings with no time to catch a breath, they have their hands in on multiple ventures, or perhaps they’re just a space-cadet (sometimes the most brilliant Executives are just that), it’s up to us to make sure that our Executive is as productive, efficient and effective as possible. (No pressure, right?) 

Chances are, this is probably something that you’re already doing on a daily basis. However, the act of managing up is truly an art, and one that can always be perfected (I, myself, have made many a faux pas in this exact department). As an Executive Assistant, managing up is a huge part of the role and if you can manage up well, it’s only the better for your career.  

So, you’re wondering, “What’s the secret sauce?” 

1. Understand what “Managing Up” Means 

No big surprise here. Managing up quite literally means managing your manager: in your case, your Executive. As in any situation in life, at work and in your role, you have agency. Managing up means using that agency to lead your Executive, rather than follow.  

2. Build a Relationship on the Foundation of Trust  

This obviously takes time. I’ve met Executives who give their full trust at a drop of a hat, and alternatively, I’ve met Executives where it takes blood, sweat and tears to gain their trust. If you’ve been supporting your Executive for a while, you probably know where they fall on this spectrum and where you stand in terms of your relationship. If you are supporting a new Executive, leverage the team around you to gather intel.  

How do you gather said trust? Simply be being the exceptional EA that you are! (If you need a little refresher, go read our blog post on “The 10 Intangibles of an Exceptional Executive Assistant.”

3. Understand Your Boss(es)’s Business Priorities  

In order to manage up successfully, you need to have a pulse on your Executive’s business priorities so that you’re able to execute on them. I can only assume that your boss is pulled in a million different directions – and it’s up to you to help navigate where her/his time goes.  

For example, maybe your Executive loves getting that 1:1 time in with their direct reports, but they’re losing 5+ hours a week in meetings with them, which means they aren’t getting enough facetime with their portfolio companies. YOU are in charge of their schedule, so YOU are in charge of their time. Assist in developing an agenda for the 1:1 check-ins so that there is structure to the conversation, and maybe stagger the 1:1s so that your Executive is meeting with each direct report every other week, cutting down on time spent in 1:1s and opening up more time to spend with their portfolio companies.  

4. When You Identify a Problem, Come with a Solution 

This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned! Whenever you identify a problem, it is imperative that you approach your Executive with a solution.  

Let’s say you walk up to your Executive and say, “Hey Lisa, I noticed that you’re spending over five hours a week in 1:1s with your direct reports, but you aren’t hitting your onsite goals for your portfolio companies.” Um…awkward. That’s not going to help anyone out. 

Instead, try this: “Hi Lisa, earlier you mentioned you’d like to find more time to spend with your portfolio companies. I was looking at your calendar and noticed that you’re spending over five hours a week in 1:1s with your direct reports. I created a meeting agenda that you can try out to help streamline the conversation, and I think we should test-drive staggering the 1:1s so you only meet with each direct report every other week. This will open up a couple extra hours for you to focus on your portfolio companies.” Whew…much better! 

5. Bring Concrete Evidence and Information to the Table 

This one is short, sweet and straightforward. It’s important that you always bring concrete evidence and information to the conversation. Instead of telling your boss, “Lisa, you’re spending a lot of time in 1:1s each week,” say, “Lisa, I audited your calendar and found that you are spending over five hours each week in 1:1s with direct reports.” Chances are, Lisa probably didn’t even realize how much time she was spending with her direct reports! When you give hard evidence, it helps give perspective and ultimately gives you credibility. 

6. Honor Your Instincts While Honoring Their Time  

Part of managing up means making judgement calls. In an environment where you’re constantly on your toes and operating on all cylinders, I’m sure things are getting thrown at you and your Executive left and right. Honor your instincts: you know their business priorities, you know their schedule, you know their clients, you can make a judgement call. Honor their time – only escalate what needs to be escalated. This is a perfect recipe for success. Trust yourself! 

7. Push Back and Don’t Back Down 

Okay, I’m not saying that you should go all “Bruce Banner” or anything. I’m just saying that sometimes you will have to stand your ground. Sometimes (most of the time), you know what your Executive needs more than they know what they need. It’s okay to give pushback; it’s okay not to back down. In fact, most of the Executives we work with here at Maven look for an EA who has a strong backbone.  

8. The Secret Sauce 

Spoiler alert: it’s actually not a secret. In fact, it’s the first thing that I mentioned. A relationship built on trust is going to be your key to success, plain and simple. Now believe in yourself – you got this!  

The 10 Intangibles of an Exceptional Executive Assistant 

Do You Have Them? 

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

At Maven, we're all about the intangibles. In fact, we get the real skinny by working directly with the people making the hiring decisions. Connecting with senior management enables us to truly understand the company's philosophy and culture and the idiosyncrasies of the search—all the important but intangible elements that can't be found in a job description. 

One of the first questions we ask our clients is to identify the intangibles of an exceptional Executive Assistant. They quantify the qualities and characteristics of their ideal candidate, which can be dialed down to any number of things, like emotional intelligence, grit, a scrappy work ethic or a heart to help.  

As we partner with some of the Bay Area’s most well-established and up-and-coming Executives, we’ve got a pulse on what our clients believe to be exceptional. And as advocates for thousands of Executive Assistants in the Bay Area, we're able to spot an exceptional EA when we see one. Here’s what it takes to stand out in this saturated market. 

1. Assertiveness 

When supporting a high-caliber Executive, being assertive is one of those qualities that can really make or break it for you. You know how it goes – you’re supporting a Founder who’s ramping up a Series-C Startup and all you can think is, “When on earth does this wo/man sleep?” That’s where you come in: when it comes to taking initiative, providing insightful push-back or making key business decisions on your Executive’s behalf, asserting yourself is absolutely vital to your success. This might even mean telling them when they need to take a nap. Seriously.  

2. Confidence

Nine times out of ten, an Executive will say to us that they want a confident EA: someone who knows their job, does it well and feels confident taking on more. Confidence is “managing up” your Executive when necessary. It’s instilling confidence in your Executive by staying on-the-ball and never letting a detail slip through the cracks. Confidence is also an attitude; it means that some days you’re going to have to fake it until you make it, and that’s okay too. 

3. Intellectual Curiosity 

In this industry, Executives want to know that you’re hungry to learn, that you want to expand your horizons, grow your skillset and capitalize on your career. This is often how Executive Assistant roles turn into strategic partnerships – when you’re intellectually curious about the business or your specific industry, the opportunity to work on special projects will very likely fall into your lap before you know it. 

4. Adaptability 

Can you roll with the punches? Do you crack under pressure? Can you handle the complexity of a fast-paced industry with poise? Many of our Execs say they’re looking for someone who’s calm, cool and collected – someone who’s flexible and able to bounce back from hurdles. An exceptional Executive Assistant is multi-faceted, a jack of all trades when it comes to office management or personal assistant responsibilities. 

5. Problem Solver

When you break it down, any and every Executive will say they want results. They want someone who is solutions-oriented, success-driven and ready to solve problems like it’s a jigsaw puzzle. Because when it comes down to it, being an EA is putting out constant fires – whether it’s booking a last-minute flight to ensure your Executive makes a spur of the moment business meeting or making a day-of schedule change to accommodate your Executive’s shifting priorities. 

6. Personable 

At the end of the day, our clients want to work with a real. human. being. And before you utter the word "duh" under your breath, listen closely. To be an all-star, you have to understand people, you have to maintain relationships, and you have to make a personable impression on clients and the people you work with. You are an extension of your Executive, which means that when you remember to send a baby gift to a potential investor or ask a business partner how their vacation to Maui was, it reflects positively on your Executive, and might even lead to a big deal.  

7. Grit 

In every aspect of your role, your Executive wants to see that you are strong-willed. Grit shows that you have courage, strength, character and passion for what you do. Treating your work like you have skin in the game shows that you’re committed to persevering through any obstacle. 

8. High EQ 

Emotionally, you get it. Relationships are your thing. You pick up on social cues, you recognize different personalities and you can adjust your communication accordingly. When it comes to making a judgement call, your Executive is confident in your ability because you have a pulse on every factor. 

9. Supportive 

An exceptional Executive Assistant, no matter how experienced, successful, prestigious or award-winning, must be willing to roll up his/her sleeves and lend a helping hand when needed. Having a “no task is too small” attitude, a strong work ethic and a servant heart shows that you appreciate the very nature of your role. When you look at the foundation of the EA role, it was designed and intended to meet the needs of others, and your mentality should be the same. 

10. Trust

Above all else, trust is essential to any partnership – especially one of this stature. When asking our clients to provide us with their must-haves, most everyone finishes off their list by telling us they need someone dependable, reliable, committed, honest, confidential and trustworthy. Whether it’s having access to confidential documents or ghost-writing on your Executive’s behalf, this is a highly personal role which requires an incredible amount of trust. And with trust, you are no longer kept in the “Executive Assistant box,” but rather considered an invaluable asset, confidant and partner. 

If you feel that you resonate with the qualities above, we encourage you to leverage these intangibles to your benefit. These are the touch points you want to convey when interviewing, and these are the traits you want to highlight when giving specific examples of your work ethic and experience.  

Being exceptional isn’t something you’re born with or something you can gain overnight, but with mindfulness and a little practice, you’ll find yourself leaping milestones in your EA career.  

Five Reasons to Ask Your Executive for Constructive Feedback

Yup, Even the Superhero Ea’s— There’s Still More for You to Learn!

Written by: Julia Francis

Written by: Julia Francis

Feedback can sound scary, and you might even ask yourself why you would ever go out of your way to ask for it. Things are going just fine, so why disturb your boss’s busy schedule just so s/he can tell you about all the things you’re doing wrong? But before you make your way down the “negative nancy” path, ask yourself this: how many relationships do you know that have fallen apart due to a lack of feedback?

Feedback can mean a number of things. It’s all relative: anything from you telling your significant other, “It annoys me when you don’t put the toilet seat down,” to Steph Curry telling his teammate, “You need to change your attitude on the court!” When we don’t have open lines of communication, relationships suffer. While you might not consider your partnership with your boss a relationship, it is! And just like any relationship, communication and feedback are vital to success.

Need a little more convincing? Here are five (darn good!) reasons to ask your Executive for constructive feedback!

#1: Feedback is Always There (And Executives May Be as Nervous to Give It as You Are to Get It!)

Just because you aren’t given feedback doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You manage your Executive’s calendar – you know the deal. There isn’t a lot of time in the day, and sometimes day-to-day urgent tasks take priority over other important ones like giving feedback. Furthermore, your Executive relies on you to keep things running smoothly and might not want to rock the boat or cause friction in a relationship that isn’t broken. But just being “unbroken” isn’t what you’re aiming for, is it? If your goal is to excel in your role, then asking for feedback might be the single best way to figure out how to achieve that goal. And before you say, “But my I’m running on all cylinders and my Exec has back-to-back meetings all day,” I know you can find five minutes to schedule time for this conversation! It’s worth it. And may I remind you that you’re the one who controls the calendar! ;)

#2: Take Responsibility for Your Own Performance

Asking your Executive for constructive feedback shows that you’re invested and ambitious when it comes to your work. It’s safe to say that any boss appreciates an employee who takes initiative and ownership for their own growth and performance. By approaching your boss with this one question, not only will you discover career growth opportunities, but you will enhance their trust and confidence in you. Ding-ding-ding! You may be in line for a promotion before you know it.

#3: We All Have Blind Spots

Even if you are a Superhuman EA (which I know most of you are), there is always opportunity for improvement. Why do you think Batman has Alfred, his trusted butler? It’s because we all have blind spots, and we count on the people around us to help identify them so we can have better visibility. When thinking about your work life, who better to identify your blind spots than the person(s) you directly support?

#4: Motivation – It Keeps Our Engine Running

I don’t know about you, but when I feel like I have mastered my role and can do my job with my eyes closed, I get…bored. But here’s the thing: there is always room for improvement. Constructive feedback is just one tool to help keep our engine running. Even if you feel like you’ve outgrown your role, asking for constructive feedback is a great way to fully prepare yourself for the next step in your career!

#5: It Might Just Lead to Bigger and Better Things

Asking for constructive feedback can open doors! By proactively approaching your Executive, you’re letting him/her know that you are worth investing in. Whether you are looking to take on more responsibility, or you have your eye on a conference that will further your professional development, asking for constructive feedback is a great way to turn your goals into a reality!

Convinced? Good!

Now that you know why constructive feedback is so important, go plug some 1:1 time on your Executive’s calendar to have this fruitful conversation.

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Maven Recruiting Group Gave to Me: 12 Questions for My Job Search in 2019

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

‘Tis the season to be jolly... and reflective! We encourage you to spend the final moments of 2018 celebrating your achievements from this past year and, if contemplating a job change next year, taking some time to think about what your job “wish-list” looks like. So grab your slippers and a cup of peppermint cocoa, because it’s time to cozy up and have a “real-talk” with yourself.  

We’ve come up with 12 critical questions to ask yourself before kicking off your 2019 job search. We promise there will still be time to binge-watch your favorite Hallmark movies afterward! 

1. What’s so holly-jolly about your current role? 

Is it the fast-paced nature of your position or the ever-changing day-to-day that gets you up and motivated in the morning? Think about the specific projects and tasks you do on a regular basis that make you genuinely happy. We get it – work is work, but what’s the added value that you are gaining from your position, or hope to gain in your next role? 

2. Future Career Resolution? 

New Year's Resolutions are great and all, but have you ever sat down and taken the time to dream about your career resolutions? You might find it quite invigorating! We encourage you to think about your dream role and where you are on that path. Moreover, what are you hoping to contribute or learn in your next role to keep you squarely on that trajectory?   

3. What’s at the top (and bottom) of your Career Christmas list? 

Without being a Scrooge, what can you live without? Maybe you’re open in terms of base salary, but full medical coverage is a must. Maybe a generous 401K/retirement program is essential to you, or you’re more motivated by daily lunches and snacks. We all have our ideals, but also consider the rank order of your priorities and which areas you’re willing to compromise on. It’s helpful to be thinking about these things upfront so that you’re not caught off guard when it's time to make a decision.   

4. Unbox the Christmas lights and put up that 10-year-old Frosty: how can you recycle and leverage all your previously-learned skills? 

So maybe you’re ready to switch gears. Whether changing industries or roles, take the time to ponder your transferable skills. Potential future employers will expect you to be able to relate your experience to their needs, so start thinking about how best to do that.  

5. Who are the little elves in my life willing to help me with my job search? 

As the carol says, “say hello to friends you know and everyone you meet.” Whether it’s reaching out to your circle of friends or your professional network, be willing to ask for help and introductions from the elves in your life, who already know and vouch for you.  And don’t hesitate to call upon those professional elves either, like the recruiting team at Maven Recruiting Group, who are here year-round to help you find and land your ideal job!   

6. Sugar and spice and everything nice? 

Two of the elements employers appreciate most in a potential hire are resiliency and tenacity. Before you launch into a job search, ask yourself whether you’ve done all you can to make the most of your current position or work through challenges. A candidate who appears to be flippant or runs when the “going gets tough” is far less appealing to a potential employer than one who made an impact and improved things before departing.  

7. Not to sound like the Grinch, but when's the last time you've updated your resume and LinkedIn profile?  

If you’re sinking in your seat thinking “2015?” it’s time for a refresh. Think clean, simple, professional and YOU. The goal here is to stand out (positively) so make sure you are representing yourself in the best light. Remember your LinkedIn profile and your resume are likely to be the FIRST impression you make, so make them count! Building out your resume is itself a reflective exercise that will help you further clarify your accomplishments and what you hope to do in your next role.  

8. Sleigh ride or flying reindeer: what’s your preferred commute? 

We all wish we had some magical reindeer to get us around in a flash, but unfortunately real life isn’t all jingle-jangle. And especially in the Bay Area, this is an important question to consider. Think about your life outside of work. What makes sense in terms of a daily commute? Are you willing to drive? Is picking up your child from school or being biking-distance away from home important to you? If you haven’t given to much thought to this question in the past, it’s time to start because this is one of the first questions your Recruiter will ask you. 

9. Suit and Christmas tie or denim and ugly Christmas sweater? 

Before you think we’ve had too much eggnog, we believe these are real conversations to have. If you prefer more straight-and-narrow, chances are you’ll appreciate the structure of a polished professional services firm. If you’re more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, chances are you’ll enjoy the ever-changing nature of a scrappy tech startup. There’s no right or wrong, just know what you like to avoid wasting time (both yours and your future employer’s!). 

10. If you were given all the Christmas magic, who’d be your dream boss to work for? 

Are you the little kid on the nice list looking for daily kudos? Would you prefer to report to an Exec who’s as sweet as gingerbread? Or maybe you’re more like the kid who needs his parents threatening to take away Christmas gifts in order to be on your best behavior. Your relationship with your manager is a huge part of your work life – as the saying goes, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers – so take some time to ponder about what management style works best for you. 

11. "Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad!” When should you wave goodbye to your current employer? 

Goodbyes are never easy, so it’s natural to wonder when’s the right time to move on. Ask yourself why you want to leave your current role? Maybe the growth opportunity just isn’t there, or you feel you’ve already exhausted you’re learning trajectory, or maybe you’re planning to move cities and the commute just doesn’t make sense. Whatever the reason, be sure to give this question some serious thought so you know you’re leaving for the right reasons.  

12. How early should I start my holiday shopping for next year? 

Like yesterday. And the same goes for when you should kick off your job search. But not to fear, this is a candidate-driven market and many of our clients are looking to make hires faster than your cart zooming through the aisles of Target. PS: Maven Recruiting Group is kicking off 2019 with some new roles that are hotter than your cocoa. 

And a partridge in a pear tree! 

We hope you find this season of reflecting to be insightful and rewarding as you gear up for the new year and begin a new job search. In case you need some help along the way, one of Santa’s elves told us that Maven Recruiting Group is the agency to call to assist you with your job search. Our goal for 2019 is to help make your career goals come true. *Cue the fireworks and confetti* 

Cheers & Happy Holidays! 

-Maven Recruiting Group 

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Maven Recruiting Group Gave to Me: 12 Hiring Observations of 2018

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

During this reflective time of year, we encourage you to cozy up with some eggnog or maybe a peppermint mocha and join us as we recap 12 recruiting trends we saw in 2018. 

1. Don’t expect a plethora of candidates (or gifts): 

Rudolph isn’t the only one with the reins...and heads up, you’re not driving this sleigh either. This is a candidate-driven market, not an employer’s market. Sometimes we receive requests from clients who believe they need to talk to 10+ plus candidates before they make a hire. In a tight market like this, that’s just not a reasonable expectation (you’ll be lucky to see 5 candidates that fit the bill). So, if you’re fortunate enough to meet “Mr. /Ms. Right” right off the bat, don’t let an all-star candidate pass you by.  

2. You can have your milk & cookies too: 

It helps to be calibrated on what you need prior to meeting candidates. Be specific and think about the intangibles – what does this new hire need to have in order to be “the chosen one”? Set up your expectations ahead of time, that way you can recognize a good thing when you meet him/her. These high-caliber candidates in a tight market like this one move faster than your cart zooming through the aisles on Black Friday! 

3. Before the clock strikes midnight: 

As you reflect on 2018, ask yourself if each stage of the interview process is adding value. If it’s not additive, chop it down like your own Christmas tree. We recommend two on-sites with key decision makers and, if needed, squeeze in a tangible assessment.  

4. Referrals aka the Secret Santas! 

And we’ll let you take a guess at who has the best word-of-mouth, curated, defined networks? You’re right... recruiting agencies like Maven Recruiting Group who have spent years building lasting relationships with industry-specific professionals. Chances are, a referred candidate will shine brighter than an applicant who applies to several jobs via job boards. Think about it – most high-level candidates who are currently in a role don’t have the time to apply to jobs on their own, instead they work with recruiters they trust. Like us. :) 

5. The New Year’s ball isn’t the only thing that should be dropped...  

Unless this is a long-distance relationship, we recommend doing away with phone interviews, especially if they’ve already been vetted by a recruiting firm you trust.  Phone interviews are a low-yield activity and in this market, we want nothing but high-impact steps.  

6. Whether you realize it or not, you’re in the hospitality industry -- bring on the milk & cookies: 

Haven’t you heard? The new gift-giving trend has switched from stockings and Santa gifts to experiences... and the same goes for your hiring process.  If you're not thinking about your hiring process from the perspective of experience, you should be. Perceptions of your company and culture start from the minute a candidate steps out of the elevator, meets your receptionist and sits down to wait in the lobby.  

7. Naughty & Nice List? No more. 

In 2018, California and San Francisco enabled laws so that companies are no longer allowed to discriminate against candidates for previous convictions. No coal in the stockings this year.  

8. Your employees want to partake in the “Fa-la-la-la-la," too!  

Before you plan your New Year’s Resolutions, take a moment to reflect on the now. Do your employees feel like they have a voice within your organization? How about opportunity for growth and impact? If not, make 2019 a year of adding value. Look for new and improved ways to offer good tidings to your employees... because if you don’t, another company will.  

9. No one’s shaking this year’s card for cash. 

We bet you want to know the number one reason candidates are receptive to new roles... hint, hint: it’s not necessarily compensation. The majority of candidates we come into contact with who are receptive to new roles are looking more for intangibles than tangibles.  Things like a sense of empowerment and autonomy in their role, respect, appreciation, growth and learning, and overall recognition, which doesn’t have to be financial.  

10. Help your employees achieve their New Year’s Resolutions! 

Do you have a total rewards plan that supports what your employees' value? Have a health-conscience bunch that just made New Years’ fitness goals, think about whether it makes sense to add a gym stipend or reimbursement to your offerings? Or team fitness classes?  Take a minute to consider whether your benefits package mirrors the interests and priorities of your staff and, if not, think about tweaking them. This doesn’t always mean more $$, sometimes it’s just redistributing resources you’re already contributing. Can’t go up on base? We’ve seen candidates take less money with a “Work from Home” policy in place. 

11. Candidates want to give back too (and not just during this time of year): 

Believe us when we say, “mission-driven” is the new Google. Every day, candidates are telling us they want to get behind something bigger. They want to join companies who produce meaningful work and be a part of teams who support the marginalized and get their hands in on projects that provide solutions to the world’s biggest socio-economic problems. As you gear up for the new year, think about the various ways your company can give back... and then use that as a selling point when making your next hire. 

12. Christmas raise, anyone? 

In the Bay Area administrative space specifically, we’re seeing higher base salaries. C-level Executive Assistants are being compensated an average of $120-140K+ depending on experience and administrative professionals with around 2-3 years of experience are at the $85-95K mark.  

And a partridge in a pear tree!  

We hope our recap of hiring trends in 2018 was insightful, motivating and entertaining. Wishing you a final season of reflection, celebration and success as you gear up for 2019. And if you’re looking to build our your administrative or HR team in the new year, a little elf told us that Maven Recruiting Group is the agency to call to make your hiring wishes come true. 


– Maven Recruiting Group

Admins on the Rise Part III

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

TOPIC: Now You’re Working With Your EA…

When evaluating the pain points you’re running into as an Executive, what comes top of mind and how can your EA help to alleviate those pain points? 

“Time. The causal time. Conversation. If you free up time then you have face time to actually talk about the hard stuff (or not the hard stuff). When you’re changing context a lot or if I’m traveling a bunch, I need to be able to have a strategic conversation. It’s the softer stuff that adds context and helps me pick up on the other details. - Eric, Mapbox 

What does an EA need to do to gain your confidence to demonstrate they are capable of more? 

“At FRB, we have a lot of Executive Assistants who have evolved into Executive roles. We know somebody is ready because they’ve never checked out. If it’s not going well, tell your Executive what’s not going well. If there’s something you want to improve, talk about it. Have the courage to say, ‘this should change’ or ‘I’m not happy with this, here’s what we can do better.’ It’s okay to say that because it’s a partnership.” - Beth, First Republic Bank 

“Ask for specific things you want to do and have good reasons for them. Just saying, ‘hey I want more or hey I want to be more...’ it’s hard to know what to do with that sometimes. It’s a lot more compelling if there are specific tasks and evidence behind those and maybe some sort of framework for how they might work. Have a plan. Then we’ll know that you’re ready.” - Alex, Founders Fund

“One thing I’ve noticed with Admins and EAs in general is that they feel their value is tied to their proximity to the C-suite. They forget how powerful they can be depending on where they are in the hierarchy. Be ambitious. Be curious. Be courageous. No one is going to stop you if you’re effective. I know an EA is ready for something else when they’re super passionate and super thoughtful. … They are already fulfilled by what they are doing now, but they know they can evolve.” - Annie, Postmates 

“Working closely with other people and not just on the leadership team. When we started working on projects together and really quickly, I was able to actually start hopping out of projects and to be able to have that I’m actually able to delegate a bunch. The downside of that is you gotta make sure you create the right air cover.” - Eric, Mapbox

If an EA needs to challenge you or give you feedback on something, what is the best way for them to do that? 

“Directly.” - Alex, Founders Fund 

“Don’t throw tact out the window, but don’t throw personality out the window [either] because the relationship is built up on context. Actually, if you’re saying it with that kind of flavor, it will help me better understand what the problem is.” - Eric, Mapbox 

Eric, you recently made the comment that your EA (Paige) is “nothing short of transformative.” Can you qualify what behaviors, attributes and actions Paige exhibits that make her transformative? 

“Very quickly I felt how much more follow-through I had. It wasn’t just that I was able to do more, but more was getting done because of a higher degree of accountability. To be honest, this instantly brought a great sense of reward to my effectiveness. I’m just like, ‘awesome.’ Not only can I have a meeting, I can actually work with people who are accountable and get shit done. That starts having a flywheel effect. To be able to solve stuff that was gnarly for a while… I personally feel that I’m happy because I’m actually doing more. I’m doing more because we’re doing more together, and people like working on these projects better because we’re getting it done. Oh shit, we’ve just built momentum!” - Eric, Mapbox 

How do you know if you’ve outgrown your EA? On the flipside, what can your EA do to ensure he or she continues to grow and groom his/herself with you as you grow? 

“First part of the question: You know when you know. Second part of the question: By definition, of having to work together, you know where the person could go crush it.” - Eric, Mapbox 

“I know someone is going to grow with me when he/she continues to gain parallel context and continues to engage with his/her team. Having interface with your team is actually what’s going to keep you relevant. I know someone will grow with me when he/she is telling ME stuff that I didn’t even know about. I love that because it means someone else has their ear on the ground when I can’t. When you fill in my gaps, I’m going to keep you for as long as you continue to fill in the gaps.” – Annie, Postmates

Hope you enjoyed our recap – and we look forward to you enjoying our next event!

At Maven, we believe that meaningful, in-person connections are invaluable. If you haven’t yet had the chance to participate in one of our events, we encourage you to do so. By participating in this truly collaborative and candid forum, you’re able to quickly gain context and insight, build rapport, and access others you might not have the chance to do.

The proof of this was connecting one of our attendees that evening to her (now) new boss, Annie, at Postmates. When she arrived at our event, this attendee had a competing offer on the table, but after meeting Annie and hearing her perspectives on the EA role, she was able to confidently move forward with her choice to join Postmates. Talk about a meaningful connection!

See You Next Time!

Thank you again to all who participated and attended. We look forward to seeing you at our next Admins on the Rise 2019!

Admins on the Rise Part II

and here’s what we learned

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

TOPIC: You’re Interviewing Your Next Executive Assistant… 

More and more we hear our Clients talk about wanting a strategic EA. What does being a strategic partner mean to you? 

“Being a strategic partner means filling in the gaps your Executive didn’t even know existed. It means looking at the organization at large and having the courage to speak up in a profession where you’re supposed to be invisible... but that’s the old world! When you do something, how does it help change the bigger picture? Are you creating static solutions or are you operating for scale? That’s what a strategic partner is to me.” - Annie, Postmates 

Being strategic means exhibiting “proactive versus reactive behavior. Are you just doing what’s asked of you? Are you just thinking transactionally and checking boxes off your list, or are you thinking ahead and being proactive? For instance, what does my Executive’s whole week look like? What does their month look like? Who do they need to be checking in with? It’s about owning your role and having the managerial courage to make decisions on your own.” - Beth, First Republic Bank 

Taking a different spin on the question, Alex Silverman of Founders Fund made the important observation that “some [EA] roles are strategic, some are not. Not every administrative role we have at Founders Fund is necessarily strategic.” She went on to say that whether a role is strategic or not in no way negates the value that person brings to the table. Being “strategic” is not the only barometer for measuring value in a support relationship. 

You’re interviewing your next EA. What’s most important to you? 

“I want to see the raw, authentic and unrehearsed YOU.” - Alex, Founders Fund 

“Writing. Granted, hiring a former journalist [to be my EA] was the ultimate cheat.” - Eric, Mapbox 

TOPIC: You’ve Hired Your EA. Now What?

What’s impressive to you about how an EA onboards and gets up to speed in a relationship? 

Knowing how to “navigate or manage something yourself, and then when to ask for help (and who to ask for help from). This is a situational awareness type of skill... high EQ. Being able to decipher what you can execute right off the bat and what you need more information for.” - Alex, Founders Fund 

“I don’t analyze by 30-day, 60-day or 90-day... I actually don’t care about that at all. I care about how a new EA engages with their immediate team. It’s important that before you reach out to me, you have the courage and initiative to get some context outside of me. Ask a co-worker to grab a cup of coffee and get the download for how things run and how they can be better. This sideways context is HUGE. When I see someone take the initiative to learn from their team as opposed to sitting back and waiting for me to give them context... my heart sings!” - Annie, Postmates 

What are the daily practices that you and your EA have established that allow for a successful partnership? 

“If you get specific enough, it’s impossible to not be aligned. One of our tricks is Dropbox Paper. You look at it and it’s like, what do I owe you, what do I owe other people? If I’m going to push one thing at any point during the day, it’s this paper. The cool part is, you can edit it all. I can highlight it, ask questions, delete stuff throughout the day. It’s a constant context piece we can pull up which radically reduces my need to ping others throughout the day because I know what I need to do [….] it’s all right there. It allows me to change context so much faster and that allows me to stack a lot. It also allows me to contribute – it really is a two-way conversation. Dropbox Paper is magical for many reasons.” - Eric, Mapbox

“Never discount the power of a collaborative document. I created a dashboard that serves as a foundation for everyone coming in. It gives them context and resources immediately at a glance. I created this because at the time, I was solo, and I was afraid that if I got hit by a bus the entire leadership team would fail because they were leaning on me and I’m a single point of failure. [It] gives someone the ability to gain the context.” - Annie, Postmates 

More questions and answers to come tomorrow!

Admins on the Rise

Behind the Velvet Rope: Demystifying the Executives You Support

Written by: Jessica Vann & Haley Garrison

Ever wondered what the person sitting across from you in an interview was really thinking, or wished you could demystify your new boss? Or maybe you’ve wrestled with how you can best stand out during the onboarding and initial periods of your new job?  

It was in a quest to get these and other critical questions answered for our admin followership during Maven’s latest Admins on the Rise event, hosted at the iconic Hotel Zetta in downtown San Francisco! In case you missed it, here’s a virtual recap of what was a massively entertaining and informative evening. 

Those who bravely battled the apocalyptic fire skies and 221 air quality index on November 15th were generously rewarded by the witty and insightful commentary of our incredible panelists: 

  • Eric Gundersen: CEO of Mapbox 

  • Annie Wu: Executive Operations at Postmates 

  • Alex Silverman: Director of Operations at Founders Fund 

  • Beth Vasquez: Director of Talent Acquisition at First Republic Bank 

These esteemed business leaders and executives shared their perspectives on everything from how to stand out in an interview to what can distinguish you during the onboarding process, and as you solidify your new relationship, to how to stay relevant over the longer term.  

As always, our goal with this event was to create a candid, vibrant and rigorous dialogue that can both inspire and aid you as you navigate your own career trajectory.

Stay tuned over the next few days to see what we learned!

In the meantime, if you have a topic in mind you’d love to hear about at our next event, send your ideas to Our intention is to implement the topics YOU want to hear and learn about. After all, our Admins on the Rise events are for YOU, so tell us what you want to see, Admins. :)

We have an Exciting Announcement!

Written by: Haley Garrison

Maven Recruiting Group is Expanding!

We’ve launched a new location in SAN MATEO to better serve our Peninsula candidates and clients.

400 Concar Drive, Suite 4-112, San Mateo CA 94402

Know of anyone looking for an admin or HR job in the Peninsula? Or any companies looking to hire for admin or HR roles? Click below to send us your friends!

New to our referral program?

Here’s the deal:

We’ll pay you a $250 referral bonus for each person you refer who we place in a permanent role and a $500 referral bonus for each company you refer once a placement has been made (once the candidate reaches 90 days of employment).

Come by and say hi to us at our new San Mateo location starting December 2018!

Front Lobby Etiquette for Interviewers

Written by: Leslie Crain

Written by: Leslie Crain

Welcome to the Office!

You’re ready to go. You’ve researched the company, practiced interview questions in front of a mirror, picked out the perfect outfit – and now you open the door and walk in.

But wait! Your first step into the lobby is actually the first step into the in-person interview. What you do in the lobby counts.

Your initial impression on the office is made with the person sitting at the reception desk, and as the first point of contact in Maven’s reception area, I can give you some tips to help you navigate the Front Lobby.

1.       Walk in with confidence!

I can’t tell you how many people walk into our office frowning, expressionless, or looking confused. We’ve given you our address and explained how to get to our office; you’ve found us, now own it. Walk in with a smile and say hello – no need to ask if you’re in the right place when there’s a sign on the door!

2.       Show up on time.

Everyone knows not to be late to an interview, but no one talks about exactly how early to arrive. In general, shoot to be at the office no more than five minutes early. Ten if you have to, but anything more than that, go walk around the block again or find a coffee shop. Your interviewer has a set time allotted to speak with you, and not all front lobbies are conducive to long waits. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable having someone sitting right next to me for an extended period of time while I’m trying to get often-confidential work done.

3.       Polite conversation is good; lengthy conversation, not so much.

The person at the front desk is most likely busy. Yes, we’re greeting guests and of course we love to chat for a bit, but no, we probably don’t have time for a conversation longer than a few minutes. Gauge the level of busy-ness: if the receptionist is answering a constantly-ringing phone, or concentrating on typing, you don’t have to make small talk. If you’re chatting, but s/he keeps looking at the computer screen, cut the conversation short. It’s a fine line between being friendly and taking someone away from work, but it’s important.

4.       Act like you’re in the interview.

What I mean by that is to treat the front lobby as a precursor to the interview itself. Don’t smack your gum; spit out gum before coming into the office. Don’t chat on your cell phone; texting and emailing is fine while you’re waiting, but if you need to talk, please step out. Put your fancy shoes on before coming into the office; don’t change footwear in the lobby. We notice these things.

My colleagues often ask what I thought about certain candidates, and front lobby behavior is what I have to go by. If they’re on the fence about someone, and I remember he came in and was really inconsiderate, even if he was polite in the interview, that’s an insight my colleagues will keep in mind. Similarly, if I have a great interaction with him, that could help push a hiring decision in a positive direction.

That being said – welcome to the office! How can we help you?