PROFILE – Bonnie & Vickie: How Two Successful Women Choose to Collaborate, Not Compete

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Photo credit: Vernon Jacobs

Bonnie Low-Kramen and Vickie Sokol Evans: Authors, International Trainers & Inspiration to Assistants worldwide.

Where are you both from and what are your current roles?

Bonnie

I was born and raised in New Jersey in the shadow of New York City. I grew up in Belleville, the home of the Jersey Boys and the Sopranos. In other words, you could find the best Italian food this side of Rome. I’ve lived in other places over the years – Las Vegas, Atlanta, Chicago and Houston – but I eventually came back to my roots which makes me really happy. And the food is still amazing. My degree is in Theatre and English from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

I worked at a dream job for 25 years. I was the Personal & Executive Assistant to actors Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich. Olympia was not only my manager. She was my mentor and dear friend and still is. Our journey together included Olympia’s Oscar win for the film Moonstruck and first cousin Michael Dukakis’ Presidential campaign of 1988. We traveled together to Alaska, Prague and London, numerous red-carpet events and all parts in between. Some of my favorite memories of my time with Olympia are of deep conversations that happened on airplanes and in hotel rooms when we travelled.

In 2011, I resigned from that dream job to take on another. Frustrated with the lack of training for Assistants who need to work at the highest levels, I am now travelling the world speaking and teaching about how to be an ultimate Assistant and, most recently, how to be an ultimate manager. The work is immensely gratifying and I am clearer than ever about the tremendous need for this training.

My new dream was to create a 2-day workshop that would be the one that I wished had existed when I first started out. I called it “Be the Ultimate Assistant” or BTUA. In designing it, I quickly came to the idea that it had to have a significant technology component and that meant contacting one person – Vickie Sokol Evans. That was one of the smartest moves I’ve ever made.

I adore the two men in my life – my high school sweetheart Robert Sanders (reconnected after 26 years thanks to Classmates.com) and my 26-year-old son Adam.

Vickie

I’m what they call an Air Force Brat. My family moved around the world when my father served in the Air Force. I was born in Maryland, lived in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, spent kindergarten in Virginia, first and second grades in Spain, and third grade in the UK before my dad retired and moved to Austin when I was ten, where I spent the rest of my childhood. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Speech minor and Government major. And in 2001, I moved to New York City (which was a dream of mine) and then to Dallas, Texas to start a family, before making my way back home to Austin in 2009. I have two sons: Sokol (11) and Will (8).

I am currently the Founder & President of The RedCape Company headquartered in Austin, Texas and travel the globe as a productivity speaker and trainer, and as Bonnie’s co-instructor for the two-day “Be the Ultimate Assistant” workshop. Many know me as the technology comedian.

What are your work backgrounds?

Bonnie

When I graduated college, I thought I wanted to be an actress. That lasted for three months when I realized that I did not want it the way that actors need to want it in order to succeed. What I did know was that I had to work in show business. I really began my career selling tickets in a dinner theatre Box Office in suburban Chicago making $4.25/hour. I was thrilled to be working in the nerve center of the theatre. All the actors and crew and production teams came through the Box Office and I got to know how everyone fit together to make the show. I loved it and it was great training for everything that followed.

I worked in theatre Box Offices in Atlanta and Houston before returning to New Jersey where I landed a job as Public Relations Director at the Whole Theatre in Montclair. Olympia Dukakis was the Producing Artistic Director. This was in January, 1986 – one year before Olympia became famous for Moonstruck.

Vickie

My success today can be attributed to three things: technology expertise & training experience (that counts as one), comedy background (that’s two) and, more importantly, my experience as an admin (three).

I started teaching Microsoft productivity classes nearly 20 years ago, and obtained over 15 Microsoft certifications including Microsoft’s highest training certification: Microsoft Certified Trainer. Despite the certifications, it was never enough for me to know how to use the technology but I always needed to understand the significance of a specific feature and how it could improve the way we work, especially as an admin.

As for my comedy background, when I lived in New York in 2002, working as a personal Assistant, I stumbled upon Amy Poehler’s theater Upright Citizen’s Brigade a few years before she became a household name. After watching her perform, that’s when and where I fell in love with comedy. It looked extremely scary to do, but so much fun! So of course, I had to learn how to do it. And I did! I both studied and performed improv comedy there at Amy’s theater in New York, and eventually wherever I lived… which was Dallas (for seven years) and Austin, where I currently reside.

It was never my intention to incorporate comedy into my classes. Performing comedy was just a hobby for me. But the principles of comedy organically merged into my presentations as I began developing simple characters right there on stage, using call backs from other speakers, and just being quick on my feet. It helps when you know your content really well and the audience really well.

And I did know my audience really well because I used to be an admin! From my first role as a receptionist in 1989, to my role as a personal Assistant in NY in 2002, I have seven years’ combined experience as an administrative Assistant, legal Assistant, executive Assistant and personal Assistant. In 2004, I was one of two candidates for an Executive/Personal Assistant role for a technology CEO in Dallas. I scanned the desk and the office where I would have worked and I distinctly remember thinking that, although very qualified, I didn’t want to sit in that chair. Instead, I desperately wanted to help automate the work of the person who was going to sit in that chair, and of those who sat in that same chair at other companies. That’s when I envisioned my dream job to support and train superhero Assistants on how to use technology to get more done in one day and reduce late hours at the office. That became my mission. It is my calling. And when Bonnie asked me about helping her teach the tech component of her workshop, it was a no-brainer.

Our partnership

You are best known as a dynamic international training duo, with Vickie covering the technical piece and Bonnie, the personal development aspects. How did this come about?

Bonnie

I first met Vickie about 10 years ago through a colleague at NYCA – New York Celebrity Assistants. I had seen Vickie teach one time at an NYCA meeting and I knew within minutes that this woman is a total rock star and it was simply a matter of time until the rest of the world got to know her brilliance. Truly, Vickie’s style is very special and she teaches what every Assistant and every person who uses a computer needs to know. The fact that she makes the material fun and accessible is her secret sauce. No one does it like her. I love watching our students sitting on the edge of their seats holding onto Vickie’s every mouse click.

Vickie

I remember how remarkably approachable Bonnie was when we first met. I believe I actually called her on the phone to introduce myself fully expecting her to not take my call. But it was the complete opposite. Not only did she take my call but to my delight she said yes to a lunch meeting with me. I remember that meeting like it was yesterday. We hit it off instantly and talked non-stop. In fact, I don’t think I ate a bite of food.

We already had several things in common: we were both personal Assistants (I was finishing up my Personal Assistant role in New York), we both had a passion for teaching, and we each had a strong interest in recognizing the value of Assistants and the importance of education and development. We envisioned working together. Somehow. Some day. We just didn’t know what that looked like.

Bonnie taking my call that day wasn’t really about me. After working with her for almost 10 years now I can assure you that Bonnie is one of those authentic and caring people who is open to new ideas and collaboration. At the very core she enjoys hearing from her readers, students, Assistants and from other educators and people in the industry from around the world. I’m sure anyone who has ever written to Bonnie can attest to this… she really cares. I mean, really, really cares about what you have to say.

Bonnie

We stayed in touch over the years. When Vickie was in New York City, she spoke several times for NYCA and each time was better than the previous one. In 2011, I called her at her home in Texas and told her about the workshop that I was cooking up. My intent was to ask Vickie to help me teach the material. (What was I thinking?!) Her response was instant. She said, “Why don’t I just teach it?” After discussing it, we decided to give it a try. The first workshop was in November 2011 and we haven’t looked back. In November 2014, we will be in London teaching workshop #18. We’ve been together for every single one and I could not imagine doing it any other way.

One of the things that Bonnie talks about often as an ‘Elephant in the Room’ is how difficult women find it to work together. How difficult do the two of you find it?

Bonnie

We do not find it difficult at all and we will never take that for granted. It is rare that you find someone who you not only deeply respect and admire, but also someone with whom you share such similar values. The icing on the cake is that we have become best friends, mentors and sometime roommates. How lucky are we to have found all that in one another? We are each other’s biggest fans. Our work together feels so right, so organic. I am yin and she is yang. Our joke is that she makes them laugh and I make them cry.

Vickie

With Bonnie as my partner, how could I find it difficult to work together?! Here is someone who values collaboration more than anyone I know and who is an advocate for women helping other women. I’m so fortunate. I have the best mentor and teacher in the world. Because of Bonnie, I’ve learned how to communicate more effectively and speak up when I need to.

Bonnie

We decide that it does not matter how many students are in the room, we are going to give it the very best that we each have and trust that it will be enough. We have students flying to us from all over the world and we take that responsibility very seriously. Moments before every BTUA workshop, we say to one another, “I’ve got your back.” That’s what women have to do for one another and we love being role models for that idea. Vickie and I are both intensely passionate about empowering Assistants and managers with the big goal being to improve the global workplace. Because we both worked as Assistants, we know what we are doing is capable of changing lives and that’s how we want to spend our time.

Vickie

The “I’ve got your back” practice comes from improv. Right before taking the stage, each performer taps the back of the other performers one by one and tells them that they’ve got their back. Then, if a mistake is ever made on stage, one or more of the other performers will turn that mistake into part of the show and the mistake then becomes a gift. This ensures that no one will fail. Ever. And it’s true for our workshops.

There must be the occasional raised voice, disagreement or jealousy – especially when one of you gets invited to speak somewhere fabulous without the other. How do you manage this?

Bonnie

Those feelings are rare, but when they happen, we own them. It’s not that we haven’t had differences of opinion because of course we have. From the beginning – especially because we live 1,700 miles apart – we promised each other to talk about anything that is bothering us right away, to never allow any negative feelings to build up. We both want our relationship to be honest and strong so we are prepared to work hard and fight for it if necessary. Fortunately, it is a joy and an honor to work and play together.

We give each other permission to say the hard things and are both open to constructive criticism. After every BTUA workshop, we do a “post-mortem” or a debrief. We talk about what we each could improve and what we want to change for next time. Neither of us are complacent and our agenda is to keep looking for ways to make BTUA better and better.

Vickie

We’re both open to hearing what the other person has to say and feel about a particular situation. It may not feel good at the time, but that is the key. If you’re not open to constructive feedback and/or not open to wanting to know how the other person is doing, then it will be more difficult to work together.

Bonnie

We are on this amazing journey and sometimes we get to work together, as at the Executive Secretary LIVE Conferences and sometimes apart. Earlier this year, Vickie spoke in Sydney and Melbourne and later this year, she will be at the OfficeShow in London as well as corporate events worldwide. Alternatively, I’ve been invited to speak on my own at major corporations in the US and I am headed to speak at the EUMA Conference in Paris. We truly feel that our individual achievements are a “win” for both of us. That makes coming back together again even more special.

Vickie

I have no issue at all about Bonnie getting invited to speak or teach without me. I’ve never had an issue with it. Ever. We are each other’s brand ambassadors. My audiences know about Bonnie because I use our collaboration as the perfect example of how admins can use technology to collaborate with their own colleagues. Not only that, I truly believe that every admin should read Bonnie’s book. I see how her book affects admins all over the world because I’m there at Bonnie’s side when they come up to her and tell her how the book has inspired them and their career. It’s amazing to witness that!

And given that we have families back home, we’re limited in how much time we can be on the road. If she can be in Paris, while I’m home with my two young children, this is great! If I can be in London while she is home with her family, even better. We’re always excited for each other’s individual success.

Would I love to go to Paris? Absolutely! But I also have to balance the travel with the demands of my family. I’m a mom first and foremost and I treasure my time with the kids who are growing up way too fast.

Why do you think women tend to betray other women in the workplace instead of supporting each other?

Bonnie

The main reason this happens is because of our deeply ingrained socialization that is hard to shake. In general, women are not trained when they are young girls to support one another and be collaborative. Rather, we are taught to not confront, to be ‘good little girls,’ and to seek the approval of men. These behaviors do not serve women or men in the current landscape. Women are now seeing the upside, the advantages of helping one another. More women are in positions of leadership and authority and that is making a positive difference. Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In is a game-changer for women around the world. As Sheryl says, it simply isn’t smart business for women to betray one another. The new way, the better way is about partnership, mentorship and collaboration. Give it a try because it makes sense and it works.

In the United States, there are 4.1 million Assistants and 95% are female. In the United Kingdom, there are 700,000 Assistants and 98% are female. I have this image of this enormous group of women across the world as a sleeping giant that when awakened to the beauty of speaking up and collaborating with one another, that the world will change in glorious ways. Let’s wake one another up and do this, shall we?

Vickie, Microsoft Office is such a dry subject, although your background as a comedienne is very evident in your delivery when we see you speak live. What is your favourite subject to train? Why?

As a whole, I teach any and all things productivity from the Admin and Executive’s perspective. And in today’s workplace, that means: Microsoft, Google, Apple and the Cloud. It isn’t enough for an admin to know just one platform or suite of products. To remain competitive, deliver professional results and be productive, admins must keep up with the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Choosing my most favorite subject to teach is difficult because I enjoy teaching anything that helps you reduce late hours at the office: using Word Styles to format documents in minutes, not hours; or using Excel Tables so that you can manage and analyze your data effectively and with minimal effort; and of course PowerPoint Slide Masters, the best way to prevent panic attacks in PowerPoint when you have to manage your slide deck or combine decks together into one. Ooh, and I like teaching Outlook tips & tricks, too! See? I can’t decide what’s my favorite.

Bonnie, you speak very passionately about bullying in the workplace. It is a very emotive subject. How has the reaction been to you lifting the lid on this other “taboo”?

I speak personally about bullying because it happened to me in both my professional life and personal life. I understand the pain and trauma of it and most women relate to it on a visceral level. The reaction to me openly discussing workplace bullying has mainly been one of relief. Very few people are surprised that I am “going there”. Assistants from all over the world write to tell me how bullying has affected them. Some of the stories are horrifying – public humiliation, abusive disrespect, and hospitalization caused by nervous breakdowns. The trauma of it does not just last a day or week, but years.

Workplace bullying is unacceptable and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. Yes, I said it. Our leaders need to be taking a strong stand against it, not only to protect the staff but to protect their companies. Businesses are paying dearly for the revolving door of staff caused by bullying. Assistants are hungry for real-life actionable solutions and I want to provide them. Here’s one great resource: Taming the Abrasive Manager by Laura Crawshaw.

I am passionate about the subject because this epidemic is wreaking havoc with our workplace around the world. The reason we don’t hear too much about it is because our workforce is afraid of speaking up in fear of losing their job for doing so. I’m not afraid of losing my job and in fact, I have more invitations than ever. My newest mantra is “Speak Truth to Power” and guess what? Leaders are wanting to hear it and are responding positively. Our leaders need help and support to understand the ways to handle the bullies who are poisoning their companies. If a leader hasn’t been trained how to do that, how could they possibly know?

The bad news is that there are currently zero laws against workplace bullying in the United States. The good news is that Assistants are choosing to speak up against bullying and it’s working and… they are not losing their jobs. To reduce and end workplace bullying, awareness is critical. Assistants can play a very big part in making this happen. They already are. Contact me directly if you need more information about this: [email protected].

Your books,  Be the Ultimate Assistant and 100 Tips in 100 Minutes, are both on the bestseller list for Assistants. How did you come to write your books?

Bonnie

I literally went to the bookstore in search of a book to help me to do my work better. I found next to nothing so I stood among the stacks and said out loud, “I guess I have to write it myself.” I went home and it took two years to write the book that I wanted to buy. I sought the help and quotes from my celebrity Assistant colleagues such as the Assistants to Oprah, Richard Gere, Edie Falco and many more in order to pull back the curtain on this work we all do. I self-published in 2004 and Be the Ultimate Assistant has now been revised five times. I love when an Assistant asks me to sign their book and it is covered in sticky notes with lots of highlights and dog-eared pages. Assistants need resource books to keep on their desk that provide real-life answers in the middle of chaos. That’s what I set out to create. I am delighted that the book matters to Assistants all over the English-speaking world. I am trying to get it translated into other languages. If there is anyone interested in helping me, please let me know.

Vickie

My very first technology tips & tricks presentation was “45 Tips in 45 Minutes” in Dallas, Texas for a small business conference focused on Shortcuts to Profitability in 2007. As I started presenting to larger groups around the world I kept adding more tips until I got to 100! This resulted in me publishing my first book 100 Tips in 100 Minutes using Windows 7 & Microsoft Office 2010, which has been converted into six bestselling Kindle books. My second paperback book, 100 Tips for Windows 8.1 & Office 2013 was published in July 2014, and the 100 Tips for Mac OS X & Office 2011 book end of 2014.

What are the main changes you have seen in the time you have been in business?

Bonnie

The demands on Assistants have expanded. From the beginning of my career, my work has always been on call 24/7 and I was expected to work some nights and on weekends as needed. Those things made me an alien among most Assistants. Since 2008, when our workplace was thrown into upheaval, those expectations are now the norm and that has been a big shift. Of course, technology is an enormous change and Assistants must now figure out ways to stay current and relevant. Winging it as an Assistant is no longer a strategy for success. Those days are long over.

Vickie

From a technology perspective, without a doubt, the Cloud and social media are the biggest game-changers in the business!

The Cloud addresses the need and gives us the ability to work anywhere, anytime. We’re no longer tethered to our desks or limited by where our files are stored, previously on hard drives or corporate shared drives. In the past, if you needed a file you would have to go to the office or plan ahead and save the file to a disk or flash drive. Today, files are now stored online on an internal network (Intranet) or in a cloud server (ie Microsoft’s OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive) and accessible on any device: laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Storing documents in the cloud not only allows us to access our files, it gives us the ability to send links to our files so that the team is always working in the latest and greatest version of the document, which saves time and reduces anxiety about whether we’re working in the right version. And in most cases, we can work together in the same document when it’s saved to the cloud!

Another technology innovation I’ve seen that is significant to admins is social media. If you’re an admin seeking a job at an advertising and/or branding company, having a social media presence will most likely be a requirement to land and keep the job. But for most companies, it is not. What is important for admins to master is social media privacy. Did you know that there are tools now that allow the people you email, (including hiring managers, your manager, clients, colleagues and strangers), to see your Facebook posts even if you aren’t connected to them? Read my article from the Nov 2013 issue of Executive Secretary Magazine about how this happens. And then make it a point to keep up with social media privacy so that you can not only protect yourself, but protect those you support: your executive and his/her family. This is a great way to provide even more value to your employer.

I also might add the ability to attend training is more challenging now. With the reduction in workforce and increase in workload, it’s nearly impossible to get away for a day of training like we could just 10-20 years ago. As a result, training today has to be more relevant, shorter and, in many cases, on our own time.

What inspires and motivates you?

Bonnie

I am inspired and motivated by our BTUA students who come to us hopeful and open and hungry for answers. Vickie and I get to see their growth and transformation over just two days. They look and even walk differently – more confident, energized and happy. That’s what education does. It is so empowering to watch the light bulbs popping off all around the room and we know that change is underway. After the workshop is over, they don’t want to leave so that’s when we head to the bar to decompress from this shared experience.

I work as a recruiter of C-level Personal & Executive Assistants and I have known Bonnie professionally for many years. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I attended BTUA. Not only is the content what every Assistant needs to know, but what is even more impressive is how Bonnie and Vickie work together. They are masters separately and together they make magic. Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it. I want to talk with any candidate who has gone through this workshop.”Christopher Baker, Christopher Baker Staffing, Los Angeles

 

I love receiving emails months after a workshop or a speech when the note shares a story about how their life is better now. They stood up to a bully and something great happened as a result or they landed an awesome new job and believe it is because of something they learned in our workshop. Or, someone they met at BTUA is now one of their best friends and mentors. Students are returning to BTUA as “alumni” multiple times and are flying around the country to be with us because of their hunger for connection. These things are my “why”. My mother Ruth Low told me that I should work to leave the world better than the way I found it. These words inspire me to keep going and growing.

Vickie

I know at this very moment, the very moment I’m writing this and the very moment you are reading this, that there is someone, somewhere, right now working late on a proposal or spreadsheet or presentation and quite possibly in tears. This hurts me to the core. I don’t want anyone to feel powerless nor struggle with their documents, especially when they have the tools they need to deliver results in less time. I want admins to master these tools so that they can focus on what matters most, supporting their team and delivering results fast, not fighting with technology.

When used correctly, technology can change the way you work and ultimately your life. And when I hear this firsthand from my students, I’m even more inspired and motivated to continue my mission.

What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?

Bonnie

There are three.

1      Experiencing the Academy Awards and the Presidential race and the birth of my son all is the same year – 1988. Incredible memories.

2      My book re-launch in 2008 in New York City at the National Arts Club with 250 people and standing room only. My worlds came together that night as never before. Robert, my son, all my family, friends, colleagues, Olympia, Louis, their kids, and other celebrities were all in the same room. My 88-year-old mother was in the audience that night which was very special, especially since she passed away the next year. The look on her face carries me forward.

3      In 2012, through the efforts of Lucy Brazier and Victoria Darragh, I became the first American to speak at a Conference for Assistants in the United Kingdom. That was the Hays Conference, which was a powerful experience for me. I remember taking a few extra seconds before I began speaking to take it all in. I knew that this was a special moment and my life was about to change as a result. It has. Connecting and sharing ideas with Assistants from all over the world has changed me and opened my mind even further. That event has sparked a series of incredible opportunities, including speaking in Dubai at Executive Secretary LIVE in November 2014. I am grateful every day for these opportunities and for the women and men driving these efforts. I know that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do.

Vickie

One of the many highlights of my career was the first time I was invited to speak internationally. It was March 2013, at Executive Secretary LIVE. Not only was I introduced to a new market of superhero Assistants, the delegates were amazing! It was the biggest stage I had been on and the production value was off-the-charts incredible. But what was significant for me was that I felt like I was in a room surrounded by friends and we were simply sharing stories together (even though I was the only one sharing the stories from the stage). My mission to get these technology tips out of my head and into theirs was unfolding right before my eyes. And as a result of that event, I’ve made a great many friends not only in London, but around the globe. Luckily it was captured on video and I’m able to share some of the highlights from that event with the rest of the world, see http://youtu.be/hEwxTI0dANc.

Another significant moment in my career was when I taught a full day of training at Starbucks in Seattle, Washington during Administrative Professional’s Week this year. There were over 100 Assistants in the room the entire day. Each attendee received a copy of my book and we covered Office tips & tricks, Outlook tips, SharePoint, plus Office Themes & Templates. What made that day so special for me was because of what happened after the event.

After learning from me that we retain 90% of what we learn when we teach others, each person volunteered to master 1-3 tips from my book and lead a lunch and learn for their group. Every admin at Starbucks in Seattle has committed to learning all 100 tips in a year. Can you imagine what that is going to do for the organization’s productivity, not to mention for each individual’s productivity? How inspiring! I can’t wait to check in with them next April to find out the results. Way to go, Starbucks!

What are the main challenges facing the industry at the moment?

Bonnie

There are many reasons to be optimistic about our workplace but I see three main challenges at this moment:

1 Workplace bullying. We need to build company cultures of respect which is a climate where workplace bullies cannot breathe. The time has come to eliminate this epidemic and breaking the silence is the first and most important step.

2 Lack of training for both Assistants and managers. Both groups are suffering from a severe lack of training. The irony is that the companies that are investing in training are also the most profitable and have the highest employee retention rates. Assistants can be instrumental in helping this change come about.

3 The disconnect that still exists between four groups of people: Assistants, Managers, Recruiters and Human Resource professionals. Mainly, they need to talk to each other and share information. Job descriptions are simply not accurate and we need to do a much better job at this in order to eliminate confusion in the workplace.

Vickie

The pace at which technology changes. What I’m finding is that most companies (worldwide) don’t readily provide targeted technology training specifically for admins, if at all. So it really is up to the employee to seek out the training they need.

As a technology trainer, no one trains me. It’s my responsibility to keep up with the latest tools, filter out what is important for admins and then create classes to help admins keep their skills up to date. When I have a hard time keeping up with the latest trends, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an admin trying to keep up. There is so much to navigate on top of the workload you already have.

What advice would you give someone just starting out as an Assistant?

Bonnie

Commit to life-long learning and join at least one professional organization for networking. Show up in person and meet people. Technology will never replace the power of looking in someone’s eyes and shaking their hand. Know that it is going to take work to stay relevant and up to the minute. And of course, read both Vickie’s and my books!

Vickie

You’re not just an admin. Learn, get involved and be the respected voice of this profession.

  • Build your resources: Books (Bonnie has a list of recommended reading on her website as does www.executivesecretary.com), Magazines (such as Executive Secretary, Office Pro), blogs and your network of other admins.
  • Join LinkedIn groups and professional organizations.
  • Network, attend conferences, study your industry, become a brand ambassador for your company, and become an ambassador for the profession.

So what’s next for you both? Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time?

Bonnie

I want Vickie and I to be traveling to wonderful places to train the world’s Assistants and managers and explore those places with our families while we are there. Within five years, I would like to have given at least one TED talk, probably about workplace bullying. I hope to connect with leaders in education to help adjust the curriculum in business schools to include classes in how to manage people. I want to connect with business leaders and CEOs about how to transform their company by ending workplace bullying. That should be enough for five years!

Vickie

Beyond working together and teaching BTUA five times a year, I am currently developing productivity events for Executives, as well as one-on-one programs for the Exec/Admin partnership. It is one thing for the Admin to be productive, but imagine a world where both the Executive and Admin are productive together.

Additionally, my company RedCape is experiencing an increase in demand for onsite training worldwide. In less than five years, RedCape will have a team of trainers in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, London and Australia (yes, I’m hiring!) who can teach and support admins wanting to boost their productivity and keep up with the latest technology. If you or someone you know is passionate about technology and helping others master the tools, please contact me at [email protected].

Vickie will be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE in Atlanta 15-16 November 2019, Johannesburg, 28-29 February 2020 and London, 27-28 March 2020.

Bonnie will be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE in London, 27-28 March 2020.

For further information and to book, visit www.executivesecretarylive.com

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About Author

Lucy Brazier

Lucy Brazier is one of the world’s leading authorities on the administrative profession. As CEO of Marcham Publishing, specialist publishers of Executive Secretary Magazine, Lucy’s passion is for the Assistant role to be truly recognised as a career and not just a job. With access to the most forward-thinking, passionate and knowledgeable trainers and administrative business leaders in the world, as well as personally meeting and speaking to literally thousands of Assistants over the last nine years, Lucy’s knowledge of the market and what Assistants all over the world are facing on a day to day basis are second to none. For full list of speaking topics or for further enquiries please contact Matthew Want at [email protected] or visit http://executivesecretary.com/lucy-brazier/

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