Revelations from the Revolution at the Conference for Administrative Excellence

Just over a week ago, I had the honor of attending the Office Dynamics Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence. I was there both as a participant and a speaker, and the experience was, indeed, nothing short of revolutionary.

As a proud former administrative professional, I consider myself intimately familiar with the unique challenges—and unique rewards—of the field. Though my career has evolved into training and development, I always feel most at home when surrounded by growth-oriented assistants. That’s one of the reasons I always jump at the opportunity to attend Conference.

The theme for this year, in particular, really struck me: The Revolutionary Assistant. It’s no secret that the administrative field has dramatically changed over the years and will continue to do so. But what can we, collectively as a group, do to push our profession to the next level? How can we revolutionize our thinking and behaviors to not only meet the demands of the modern workplace, but to also lead the charge into the future?

These are the questions I had going into the Conference, and I’m pleased to say that I not only found the answers, but also uncovered a whole new depth of thought around these same topics.

Here are just a few of the key takeaways I received:

While our workplace has changed, our challenges remain the same. To really resolve them once and for all, we have to change.  

This was probably the biggest theme I saw repeated throughout each presentation. Daren Martin showed us how to think like an owner rather than an employee. Lisa Olsen encouraged us to embrace our inner Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the most groundbreaking artists and inventors the world has ever seen. I shared my perspectives on unleashing the power of proactivity to set yourself up for future success. And Joan inspired us to take bold action—because the “revolution” we’re leading is not merely theoretical; it’s practical. It’s about creating real solutions for our real world struggles.

In short, each powerful presenter offered a new way of thinking about old problems. It was refreshing and eye-opening.

Revolutionaries are seldom popular…and that’s okay.

If you want to challenge the status quo and really pave the way for greatness ahead, you have to be willing to speak your truth, as Collette Carlson taught us. People are always more comfortable with silence. But being an advocate for change and improvement means being vocal. Joan taught us to be assertive and persistent, even in the face of naysayers. After all, in the end, it’s the revolutionaries who make history.

The revolution we’re leading is not a solo activity; we’re always stronger together.

This year’s conference had a great emphasis on peer-to-peer mentorship and, as Peggy Vasquez spoke about, leveraging your “inner circle.” We learned that together we have a much louder voice. We have access to a wealth of wisdom, experience and perspectives if we’re willing to reach out and connect with one another. It was inspiring to see the powerful relationships that formed during the event. People who were strangers on day one left as friends, partners and allies in the revolution!

When it comes to conferences, I’ve attended many. There’s one thing I always say about the Office Dynamics Conference: It’s the little things that really make it special—the surprise attendee gifts, the interactive workshop-style activities, and the elaborate gala event to name just a few.

It stands out because of the incredible caliber of speakers and attendees. It’s small enough to feel intimate and comfortable, but large enough to really be exciting.

I’m so proud to have been a part of it. The revolution has certainly begun—but it’s not over. We have work to do. I, for one, am ready to charge ahead and put these exciting new ideas into action. Thank you to Joan, the Office Dynamics team, and everyone who attended!

In case you were unable to attend our 2016 conference, there is an On Demand option available for purchase. Watch sessions from this year’s conference wherever and whenever. Watch Now!

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