Administrative Professionals Day is annually celebrated as the last Wednesday in April to honor the often under-appreciated individuals who hold that title in the workplace. First celebrated as National Secretaries Day in 1952 – much more than the name of the day has undergone some serious reinvention
By Barbara Cohen Farber, Executive Director, Business Support and People Operations
In my 35 years of placing administrative support professionals, titles and duties have certainly changed. Whatever the title and duties, there are almost always the behind the scenes individuals who support those that seek out the limelight. Yet, almost everyone knows or remembers a “secretary” who really ran the show – the one who was the go-to for everything in the office. Typically, that individual is also “the gatekeeper” to a C-Suite executive, but too often, what people think that individual does, is not the true value of what a good EA provides to the person at the top of the corporate food chain.
The Executive Assistant function has evolved from a supporting role to that of a more strategic position. She or he is a strategic partner, a trusted confidant – a true problem solver. With remote and hybrid schedules, communication platforms and calendaring apps, you would think that executives would be more self-sufficient and need less support not more. But EA professionals still exist under titles such as Chief of Staff, Project Associate, Administrative Coordinator, and Operations Specialist. Many have proven their skills are more valuable now than ever since what they do goes far beyond office housekeeping. Typing and answering phones, two core skills of yesteryear, are no longer an EA’s main responsibilities. Mobile phones, laptop keyboarding have removed such functions to executives themselves. Instead, EAs provide technical assistance, analytics, complex project management, problem solving, and event planning. In many cases, the EA acts as the executives’ memory and voice of reason and more importantly, maintains an awareness of overall corporate culture and “reads the temperature” of the workforce and their level of satisfaction. The EA liaises with Finance, HR, Operations and Tech teams.
These professionals are out there. Offices need them and I have a robust talent pipeline of these candidates. If you are looking for a job or looking to hire, don’t hesitate to reach out, email@example.com I’m happy to discuss trends in hybrid workforces, hot skills/apps and salary considerations. Do not make the mistake of under-estimating or overlooking the value and scope of the EA’s role in business, regardless of size or industry.
For a light-hearted look at the EA role, enjoy this clip from the TV show, Suits, where character Donna Paulsen shows off some of her EA knowhow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Cohen Farber is the Executive Director of LLoyd Business Support and People Operations
Learn more about Barbara’s role in the employment and recruitment industry.