An Interview with the Office Dynamics Team

It’s been almost a full year since I attended the Conference for Administrative excellence. The conference was a game changer for me. I have over 20 years of administrative professional experience and proud of my personal and professional accomplishments, yet the conference provided new perspectives, opportunities to talk with others in my chosen field and a reminder to embrace my unique talents and skills. I have never attended such a relevant and inspiring conference!

I have shared my unforgettable conference experience & excitement about the material presented and the speakers with coworkers and via blog posts. I’m just as excited and grateful about attending again this year since it is the 25th Annual Conference – The Stellar Assistant! There are so many new learning opportunities and amazing speakers to look forward to! If you are attending this year, please connect with me!

If you are looking for justification to attend the 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence October 23 – 26, 2018, please click here and here.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Joan some questions, if you have not had an opportunity to read those please do! There is an entire team that works hard to coordinate this conference and they have shared their answers to a few candid questions and provided a glimpse behind the scenes!

Meet the entire Office Dynamics International Team

  • Joan Burge – Founder and CEO of Office Dynamics International since 1990
  • Melia Amira – Administrative Assistant
  • Brian Burge – Creative Director
  • Ernan Paredes – Marketing Specialist
  • Jill Wilhelm – Director of Operations

Since all of you are part of the conference planning process, what is your favorite theme and/or part of the conference each year; Melia, Brian, Ernan, and Jill?

Brian: My favorite part is the Gala Event. Hands down. It’s a ton of fun and everyone gets to let loose.

Ernan: Since this is my first Conference I can’t say which part is my favorite yet. However, I can say I’m the most excited to see what JJ Villar, our Entertainment Director, has in store for our attendees. I’ve been clued in on what is going on and from the sounds of things, it sounds awesome!

Jill: My first ODI conference was last year but the part that surprised me (other than the fact that everyone hugs each other!) were the friendships made.  I saw it during the welcome reception, all day during the trainings, and as we finished, the admins were sharing emails, phone numbers, and business/personal cards to keep in touch.  And they do!   Having friends who understand you and your work and the shared experience of training here in Vegas is a wonderful thing.

Melia: I am on the phone and helping people and groups all year by answering questions, helping with registration, assisting with hotel information, etc. There have been some really unique situations and times where I have worked with a person or persons over several weeks to get their registration(s) taken care of. It is so rewarding to meet these people in person and see their smiling faces and their excitement! All throughout the conference, people are coming up to me and introducing themselves to me, I love it! 

Q: Melia – As the assistant to Joan and contact for the conference and other trainings, what do you find the most exciting aspect of the conference and why? Can you share any tips to help attendees through the registration process?

A: Besides getting to meet everyone as I stated in my first answer, I guess the most exciting aspect would be to witness the interaction of our attendees. People who never knew each other before networking together, sharing thoughts, working together at their tables during the sessions, and exchanging information to stay in touch. Because our conference is smaller and more intimate than most, it gives the attendees the opportunity to let their guard down and open up to other attendees. I have even met some people who have stayed in touch with other people they have met at our conference and make it their “thing” to meet up again at our other conferences.

Registration is easy, all you need to do is visit our conference website: scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on the purchase button of the product you wish to buy. If you have any problems at all with purchasing, you are welcome to call me at (800) 782-7139 for assistance. 

If you are joining us for the Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening, we will have clear signage for you to follow to where the reception is. Outside the reception, find the table with the letter that your last name begins with, that is where you can register and receive your name badge. There is a separate table for all the VIP attendees no matter what your last name begins with, if you are a VIP, please find that table for your badge.

If you are not joining us for the reception, please do not worry. We will have tables set up just outside the main conference room for you to register and obtain your badge before the first session begins.

Q: Brian – As the creative director, can you explain the process of developing themed material for the conference? Also, can you explain what items we can expect to find in the success store?

A: First, Joan decides on a theme and explains her vision and reasons for choosing that theme.

I visualize what I think that might look like and start with a blank canvas. I work with different fonts, colors, and styles and then move things around until I find a layout that looks and feels right. This process can be very time consuming and take days, even weeks to complete. Creativity is a process that can’t be forced.

I then put a rough design together and run it by the team to get their thoughts and feedback. Once the look and logo have been nailed down, I construct a list of everything that needs to be created from the website banners to the workbook cover.

The process is both fun and stressful at the same time but seeing it all come to life on the website, in emails, and on printed materials is the best part.

The Success Store is definitely a place you will want to visit while at the conference. The store is open during the breaks and is just down the hall from the main conference room. So, you can shop and get some of your steps in for the day!

You will enjoy special event pricing on most of our items, including the 2019 Conference. You will find books, journals, thank you and gratitude card sets, Star Wear™ Jewelry, star scarves, and much more. It’s a great place to find gifts for your co-workers or perhaps the person or people who are covering for you while you are away.

There is always something going on in the store such as speaker book signings, meet and greets, and vendor tables. It’s a great place for networking opportunities or to speak with our staff about products and training options.

I am usually in the store helping out and taking pictures, please make sure to stop by and say, “hi”!

Q: Ernan – as the Marketing Specialist, what are some of the best ways for attendees to share their experience while attending the conference?

A: Wonderful question! There are a few different ways the Conference attendees can share their experiences but the best way is through the use of social media.

If you are on any of these platforms I suggest including the hashtags #StellarAdmin #Odi and #AdminConf and be sure to tag Office Dynamics in your photos and videos. When you properly hashtag a photo, video, or post, it allows other users to click on that hashtag and view all posts that have used that hashtag. Every day we will be selecting the best photos and videos from Conference, the winners will get a special prize, so be sure you are posting and sharing!

 Another fun thing to do is using the “Live” feature on Instagram and Facebook. This allows you to stream live video that your friends and family can watch.

Office Dynamics will be posting and sharing on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Our username is @OfficeDynamics for all social media platforms.

Q: Jill – as the Director of Operations, how do you decide what training opportunities to focus on for administrative professionals?

A: Two main sources. The admins that we talk to every day and Joan’s inspirations from her love of education for admins. Also, having recently come from a decade in the C-Suite, I know the life administrative and executive assistants lead. This helps us select relevant topics and teachings that are current and needed to help our admins be ahead of the curve.

Thank you all for your great answers and insight! I can’t wait to see you all this year and the other administrative professionals.

Training for Executive and Administrative Assistants

Not that you need even more reasons to attend, but did you know that there are so many new opportunities this year –

Best Practices Sharing:

Peer-to-peer sharing is essential to being a star in the administrative profession. This session will leave you armed with great ideas shared by conference attendees and give you an opportunity to share your “rock star” tips.

4 Hands-On Learning Labs:

Roll up your sleeves and engage yourself in 1 of 4 topics ranging from creating a career portfolio to goal setting and professional branding. Your facilitator will walk you through step-by-step as you work on your project.

8 Concurrent Sessions:

Based around Office Dynamics flagship program, the Star Achievement Series®, concurrent sessions will revolve around 4 main components: Skill, Attitude, Teamwork, and Strategy.

Star-Studded Panel:

Learn about administrative excellence, the payoffs and why you should care. This star-studded panel of high-achieving assistants has been hand-selected by Joan Burge!

Star Assistant™ Award:

Could you be the star we are looking for? This Award is comprised of 4 categories to align with the Star Achievement components: Skill, Attitude, Teamwork, and Strategy. Apply here.

Free Conference on Demand:

You’ll receive unlimited online access to the videos, participant guide, and any bonus materials with your conference registration. ($499.00 Value)

Wall of Empowerment:

Write encouraging words to your fellow admins and be mutually inspired.

Please let us all know if you plan on attending this amazing experience this year and what you are looking forward to the most!


Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager


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