Conference for Administrative Assistants and Executive Assistants – Opening Session

October 24, 2018

We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast buffet (so much food!) at TBones upscale restaurant. Large tables made for great breakfast conversation with admins from throughout the country and around the globe.

I met Charlotte and Chris from Amarillo. Charlotte described getting approval to attend the conference and her manager’s enthusiastic approval. Angenette from Ohio won employee of the year for the entire school district (41 years of experience!), attending the ODI for the first time as an amazing opportunity in part from her award.  Donna from Maryland joined our table, another first-time attendee. We discussed the changing needs and requirements in the administrative profession.

Being an admin means constantly growing and learning new technologies, new tools, new methodologies, and changing environments and demands. All while balancing ongoing work, building strategic partnerships, building relationships, and creating a personal brand.

How can you continually ‘sharpen your saw’ to anticipate these shifting demands? We agreed it was quality training and continual development!

The session opened with a visit and song by “Liza Minnelli” from Bette and Her Divine Divas on the Strip. “Liza” had a dream many years ago to impersonate the real LM, but there was a problem: she couldn’t carry a tune! She gave us four tips:

  1. Overcome odds.
  2. Never give up.
  3. Believe in yourself.
  4. Be yourself.

After that energizing song, New York, New York (and she sounded just like the real Liza!) Joan Burge, CEO and founder of Office Dynamics International, took the stage.

Joan chose the theme, The Stellar Assistant, because the assistants are the stars of the conference. Joan began 25 years ago with 16 people in a conference room in Lansing, Michigan. Today’s conference has 327 people from around the world!

Joan went on to say that beginning in 1990, she asked her self why do some assistants standout and others do not? She discussed the four areas that Star performers execute and excel in: Attitude, Skill, Teamwork, and Strategy.

Stellar assistants stand out because they maintain a positive attitude no matter what. They develop new skills and enhance current intangible skills. They build teamwork internally and externally, and set goals they work to achieve. They present a professional image and hone their personal brand continually.

Why should you take your career to the next level? Are you bored in your job? No one will hand you a career on a silver platter. You build it yourself every day. You continue to polish yourself and your brand, taking it to the next level. Make your career what you want it to be.


We need to be in a permanent Beta mode so we can continue to grow beyond our current selves.

Joan advised us that interpersonal skills will trump tech skills every time. She added that we should study collaboration, which is different than teamwork.

Today’s assistants need to do more than get the job done. They need to approach their brand will diligence and strategy, so they can build on the foundations of their profession and reach Stellar Assistant status.

Your Reporter in the Field

Previous 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence Articles:

Conference for Administrative Professionals – Welcome Reception

Conference for Administrative Assistants and Executive Assistants – Opening Session

Office Dynamics Administrative Conference – Wednesday Sessions

Office Dynamics Administrative Conference – Thursday Sessions

Conference For Administrative Excellence – Gala Event

Training for Executive and Administrative Assistants


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