Shelagh Donnelly

Passionate about inspiring individuals and teams to perform at high levels in careers they enjoy, Shelagh speaks pragmatically about elevating the admin. career. She draws on her extensive C-Suite experience in both the private and public sectors, and brings insight, empathy and humour to her presentations. A compelling international speaker and trainer, she also walks the walk.

In addition to working with a board of directors and its five committees, Shelagh is a committed leader. She serves as Past Chair of the Board of Directors of CICan:GPOP (Governance and President’s Office Professionals), and as Chair of its Strategic Planning and Partnerships Committee. The 2017 recipient of GPOP’s Award for Distinguished Service, Shelagh developed the association’s by-laws and has been a key contributor to its focus on professional development. Also a member of the US-based Association of Governing Boards (AGB) and its Board Professionals Network (BPN), she has served as a mentor in the BPN’s Professional Development Mentoring Program.

With extensive experience as a direct report to C-Suite executives, Shelagh has led teams and numerous process improvements. She has initiated and developed the frameworks for internal networks at two major organisations, to the benefit of members and their employers.

Shelagh is also the founder and publisher of Exceptional EA. Through her website, which is read in more than a hundred countries, she engages with a high performing audience of administrative professionals. Her Real Careers interviews with EAs and PAs around the globe are hugely popular, as are her Weekend Polls.

In addition to her own website, Shelagh writes for Executive Secretary Magazine and for IAAP Edge.

Shelagh’s Session:

Finding Your Voice: Public Speaking and More

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t … and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. So said Robert Frost, but who would want to be in either camp?

Just as you hone your administrative skills to the extent that results often appear effortless, the same is true in other spheres. Athletes, both amateur and professional, invest time and energy in training. They establish and strive for new Personal Bests (PBs) by virtue of old fashioned hard work. Similarly, even the most gifted speakers continually refine their skills.

You can do the same with your public speaking skills. Whatever your current level of comfort (or discomfort) with standing in front of a group, you can incrementally increase your ease and the caliber of your presentations. How? Shelagh will discuss habits that can enhance your sense of composure, and the nature of the nonverbal cues you send. We’ll look at speaking with sangfroid – talking with composure and coolness of mind. Who wouldn’t want that in front of an audience, or during crucial conversations? The more you find your voice, the better equipped you are to effectively speak truth to power – and that’s what the best executives and leaders need and want of their assistants.

Book Shelagh’s session (as well as over 50 others) for just $49 at and help us to support Vickie Sokol Evans.