Joe Curry, director of administration and development of Schwan’s University, was convinced that world-class administrative support was essential to executive success. In conjunction with a focus on executive development, the Schwan Food Company wanted to make an investment in its administrative assistants.
Curry began by working with Schwan’s Administrative Assistant Learning Council to determine the most important competencies for successful senior-level assistants. The council, made up of seven executive administrative assistants, created the Administrative Assistant Development Program and, after studying models for executive assistants, selected 29 key competencies. A competency assessment survey was developed and sent to each high-level executive and executive administrative assistant for completion. Curry then embarked on a search for a program that could provide quality training in a cost-effective manner consistent with an aggressive rollout schedule. After narrowing down to three potential vendors, conducting thorough discussions with clients, and personally getting acquainted with the suppliers, Curry chose Office Dynamics Ltd.—in particular, its Star Achievement Series, authored and taught by Joan Burge, founder and CEO of Office Dynamics Ltd., who worked in the administrative field for 20 years before founding her company in 1990.
The Star Achievement Series addressed 23 of the 29 competencies identified as necessary to excel in this profession; technical skills was covered by an in-house trainer. “It provided the best matching terms of addressing the competencies with high-quality facilitators, excellent
materials, and extraordinary customer service,” says Curry. The series—a 12-part, tri-level, philosophy- based curriculum—states, “You have the potential to be a star performer in your job. It takes a combination of the following:
- skill—enhancing current skills and building new ones
- attitude—achieving and maintaining a positive attitude about yourself, coworkers, managers, and customers
- team—building a variety of team relationships inside and outside the organization
- strategy—having an overall strategy for achieving professional excellence.”