Maven’s CEO and Founder Jessica Vann said it best: “Executive Assistants have the best seat in the house,” and at Maven Recruiting Group’s Admins on the Rise event last Thursday night, we all had a front row seat to four incredible, distinguished Executive Assistants who shared their career journeys, best advice, and thoughts on the vital (although sometimes misunderstood) role.
Maven hosted more than thirty up-and-coming Admin and Executive Assistants who enjoyed the company of other EAs, sharing stories and getting to know one another, before sitting down for a discussion with our four panelists, led by Jessica:
- Angela Wiley, EA to CEO at Equinix
- Grant Boles, EA to private investor
- Sharon Heiny, EA to CEO, Metromile
- Crystal Le, EA to Co-Founder/CTO, stealth-mode startup
This event was all about community: not only building up the admin community, but also giving back through Maven-matched donations to Students Rising Above. (Thanks, everyone!)
Here’s what we learned:
Look for authenticity
Sharon: “Be authentic, and ask yourself: are they bringing their authentic selves to the interview, also?” Make sure that your prospective new employers give you more than just the elevator pitch; look for that enthusiasm from them.
Play to your strengths
Crystal repeated, “Lean in to your strengths.” It’s important to think of your strengths as a multiplier and use them to catapult you into the role of your dreams.
Build meaningful and lasting relationships
Grant noted that relationships have been key to forwarding his career: if you “follow good people, that will usually lead to good things.” It is crucial to always be building relationships with your executives, your internal team, and outside resources like recruiters. “It can pay dividends over the course of your career” and open doors you didn’t know existed.
Ask for what you need
Angela noted that communication is key. She recommended immediately taking a leap of faith by asking the hard questions early – “this sets the bar for the future relationship.” Ask for what you want, even if you don’t know how to get there; “if you don’t ask, you’ll never get it!”
Practice your poker face
Early in her career, Angela learned: “Never let ‘em see you sweat.” No matter what happens, you must have that poker face and the courage to always say “okay, I’ll take care of that for you.”
Listen and know when to escalate
Sharon brought up that, as Executive Assistant, she’s the “less intimidating one here, the one they can tell their gripes to. I’m that voice for my peers.” Similarly, if someone is three times removed from the CEO, but has great advice or feedback, she can take that up for them.
Thank you again to all of those who participated and attended! Admins on the Rise was a reminder of how crucial and influential the roles of Executive Assistant and Admin Assistant are in a company, and how important it is to build our community and encourage each other. Admins always provide great support to their executives, and we’re happy to provide a space where admins can support each other as well.
With the success of Admins on the Rise, we’re excited to announce that our next event for the Maven community will take place in February 2017. Keep an eye out for the date and details!