Professional Speaker and Founder, Exceptional EA

You can count on Shelagh Donnelly. She walked your walk for almost three decades and brings insights and strategies based on experience as well as education and current best practices.  Authentic, engaging and positive in her approach to assistants’ professional development, Shelagh (think “Sheila”) speaks pragmatically about career challenges and opportunities – and does so with a sense of humour.

The founder of Exceptional EA, Shelagh delivers training on minutes, communication skills, cybersecurity, and governance. She also presents on business writing, honing influence, interview skills, career growth and more. She knows what she’s talking about. She’s been a direct report to four CEOs and accountable to four board Chairs. Long active in Canadian and US professional associations, Shelagh’s been a mentor, launched internal networks, and served as the Chair of a national board of directors.

Now, she coaches and presents at conferences, in person and virtually, and has her own webinar series. Shelagh also delivers training for government, higher education, governance and business audiences, including corporations such as the NBA.

AN INTRODUCTION TO RISK MANAGEMENT WHAT ABOUT THE BOARD? AN INTRODUCTION TO GOVERNANCE LEVERAGING INFLUENCE: MAKING A PORTAL PIPE DREAM A REALITY NEGOTIATION SKILLS FOR ASSISTANTS ONBOARDING NEW COLLEAGUES: ADD VALUE WHILST SAVING YOUR SANITY NETWORKING: GROW PROFESSIONALLY WHILE BEING A BRAND AMBASSADOR PUBLIC SPEAKING AND YOUR CAREER: PRESENTATIONS AND MORE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE WARY: IT CAN BE RELEVANT FOR YOUR CAREER BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T ASK: PREPARE TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF WRITING FOR CAREER SUCCESS: BUSINESS WRITING SKILLS BUILDING RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF CHANGE CYBERSECURITY: UNDERSTANDING RISKS AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM IR 4.0: WHAT THIS INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION MEANS FOR ASSISTANTS TAKING CHARGE: STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS LESS IS MORE: ELEVATING YOUR MINUTES LET’S GET ORGANIZED! MOVING FROM A REACTIVE TO PROACTIVE MODE GOVERNANCE: A CAREER PATH TO CONSIDER GREAT EXPECTATIONS: BOARD MANAGEMENT AND RELATIONS IN SEARCH OF LIFE-WORK BALANCE: FOMO AND PERFECTIONISM REAL CAREERS: LESSONS FROM THE FRONT LINES NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU: OWN YOUR BRAND AS AI MOVES IN
Shelagh Donnelly
  • I found Shelagh to be a quintessential professional whose knowledge of our profession is boundless. Shelagh is a fantastic speaker and commands the attention of the room when she speaks. I am so grateful to have met her and look forward to learning more from her in the future.

    - Priscilia Gough, Senior Executive Assistant, Office of the CEO and Board of Directors -

  • Shelagh is very knowledgeable about the administrative assistant profession and an excellent educator. I cannot say enough wonderful things about her!

    … Thank you Shelagh for your sharing your knowledge and insight on our wonderfully challenging profession!

    - Stephanie Bergsieker, Executive Assistant, Melbourne, Florida -

  • Shelagh is engaging, funny, and oh so knowledgeable about most everything having to do with the administrative professionals of the world. We are all very fortunate to have her as an important and caring resource.

    - Bonnie Low-Kramen, international trainer and speaker; author, Be the Ultimate Assistant -

  • It was a pleasure to finally meet Shelagh and see her present at the EPAA Fellows Day in Manchester.

    Shelagh’s presentation was well structured and delivered, a good balance between theory and practical application exploring the competencies, capabilities and activities that strategic EAs undertake.

    I have attended many training courses and heard many speakers over my career and I was more than delighted to have invested my time listening to Shelagh – totally on point and I would definitely recommend her content and presentation style.

    - Kelly McAulay, Executive Assistant, William Grant & Sons -

  • Shelagh and I have been colleagues in the Canadian post-secondary sector for many years. She is a champion for professional development and for the advancement of both administrative and governance professionals in the sector. Throughout her career, she has presented on topics ranging from preparing minutes to professional development planning, working with the executive team and using web portals, to best practices in board recruitment, assessment, orientation and education. I have personally attended and benefited from many of Shelagh’s presentations at national and international peer conferences. In all cases, she provides wise counsel and practical strategies that each of us can use in our institutions and organizations.

    … She has earned the respect of colleagues at home, across the country, south of the border, and around the world.

    - Margo Baptista, University Secretary (retired), MacEwan University -

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