The second session began with Debbie Gross, Executive Assistant to the CEO of Cisco, asking, “What does it take for today’s assistant to exhibit leadership?” Why indeed, because, “The future is here now.”
Debbie began her presentation with a humorous video about a modern day assistant being sent back into the past of the 1950’s secretary. It was very creative!
“When you believe in something, believe it in all the way,” said Debbie.
Debbie urged attendees to be curious about others: children are innately curious. We are all curious. The key is to keep it alive. The moment we stop being curious we do not really live. The essence of “Avatar”, one of Debbie’s favorite films, was human curiosity. Be curious about others. Curiosity helps you be successful. It helps you figure your manager out and how to help them on a higher level. It helps you understand what makes them “tick.”
Next, Debbie said we should be curious about ourselves. Ask the right questions about ourselves.
Then she discussed Creativity. Debbie said opportunities exist every day for administrative professionals to demonstrate Creativity. Break from the routine of doing what you’ve done all the time. Do something different! Don’t just hand over a Word doc. Use U Tube! Give a “wow factor” in everything you do.
In order to be a next generation administrator, we must be courageous. We have to take risks in our personal and professional lives. Ask for what you want. If you don’t ask you don’t get. And you’ll never know what you might have received! Take risks.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Elliot.
Confidence. The Next Generation will need to build their confidence, in order to be able to live and work in that fashion. Can you get up on stage? Most administrators struggle in this area, apologizing speaking on a platform shyly as “not doing this very often.” Have the confidence to stand up and talk to our principals, our colleagues.
One of Debbie’s most dramatic points was her instruction to attendees: “Disregard fear!”
When someone asks, “How are you today?” Instead of saying, “great” say “I’m on fire, baby!” and your confidence will rise.
Constant – being there for others. Unwavering dedication, loyalty, rooted down. The only thing constant is change. The only thing they can count on is you. Be on your team for your team members. Show up!
Debbie showed us a graphic of the Northern Star, which kept explorers navigating and on track in ancient times. We need to be constant like the North Star, and be constant in our careers and lives.
Leadership is when we act as a person capable of inspiring others. It is highly visible. It shifts and changes things around us.
We need to teach administrators to do our jobs, to release ourselves to do other projects. As we give them lots of stuff, we have time to do other things we haven’t had time to do.
Can you BE?
In the 1950’s we typed and filed. We were secretaries.
In the 1980’s we did more. We became assistants.
Now, we are administrative professionals.
Debbie’s session challenged us to reach for leadership and to exhibit the characteristics of leadership every day.