Why do I never have enough time to get things done?
Why is everything the top priority?
Why can’t I get home earlier and spend more time with my family?
The answers to these questions always seemed out of reach. In 2016, I was encouraged to hire an Executive Assistant (EA). Thankfully, I took the advice and added an EA to my team.
The only problem was that I had no idea what I was doing.
Over the first 15 years of my professional career, I’ve learned a lot about leadership and business. I earned a degree from Iowa State University (go Cyclones!) in Business, an MBA from the University of Iowa, and took executive leadership courses at the Kellogg School of Business and Harvard.
I’ve been the President of a nonprofit board, led the brand management of a three-hundred million-dollar window brand, ran a manufacturing plant, led a sales branch, started a social company in Africa, was the CEO of a small software company that was purchased and am now the COO of the purchasing software company.
Yet through all that experience, no one taught me how to effectively work with an Executive Assistant! I’d worked with department assistants and office managers, but never a dedicated EA.
So there I was – an experienced business professional with a brand new Executive Assistant ready to help me out – without a clue where I should start.
Do you have a sense that you are not utilizing your EA well or that you need an EA?
This is the blog I wish I had read when I first hired (or maybe even before I hired) my first EA.
I also hope it’s the blog my EA wishes she had read before she started her role with me.
This blog will cover the lessons we learned from our own experiences, hours of research, and the countless tests and experiments (both successful and unsuccessful) we’ve tried over the years.
We’ll be writing about time protection, communication, task management, calendar management, travel, tools, meetings, hours, remote vs non-remote work, confidentiality, and much more.
Also, as much as possible, you’ll be hearing the perspective of my EA on those same situations and topics. I hope to stay as far away from theory as possible and give you concrete examples and action items that you can put directly to use.
My friends will tell you that I am a private person, so writing a blog is not something that naturally rises to the top of my list of things I want to do.
So, why write this blog?
I have been truly blessed over the last several years to have an EA (two, actually – more on that later). I wouldn’t be overstating to say that it has changed my life for the better. And while I have learned a lot and have found great benefit from having an EA, I’ve talked to too many overworked leaders and heard too many stories of burn-out or frustration from those that do not have an EA or are not effectively using their EA.
I finally realized I had to share what I’ve learned.
I hope to add value for you, whether you are a leader with an EA, a leader preparing to hire an EA, a leader considering hiring an EA or you are an EA. I hope you join us on our journey. From hiring to creating our own Executive-EA software tool, you can learn from what we’ve gotten right and things we’ve done wrong.