WA Summit: Business Meeting 30 August 2020

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This business meeting is an opportunity to gather the collective thinking of the global delegates explains Eth Lloyd

At the time of writing this article there are only nine weeks until the online Business Meeting on 30 August 2020. By the time you are reading this, we will be even closer to the meeting date. We decided to hold the business session of the World Administrators Summit (WA-Summit) online on 30 August through Zoom. We thank Rhonda Scharf, of On the Right Track, for allowing us to use her license for this meeting.

As I discussed in my previous article, the decision to split the event in two was vital to ensure we continue progressing. We are unable to finalise the date for the face-to-face 11th WA-Summit as no-one is quite sure yet what the future might look like.

Taking account of time zones and to ensure the largest number of countries possible could attend, some countries will be meeting us on Sunday morning through to Sunday evening and others in the early hours of Monday morning, including New Zealand at 7am Monday 31 August.

The online Business Meeting, while our first fully online, may become a more regular event.

The WA-Alliance

The new WA-Alliance (replacing the Advisory Council) is a membership body, governed by the Council with an elected Chairman, and an Annual General Meeting must be held.

Undertaking this online in 2020 will be an excellent test of how this might work for the future. We will not be able to meet face-to-face annually but could do so every two years before the WA-Summit, with the in-between meeting being online.

At the 30 August meeting, the lead delegate for each country will be casting their country’s vote to endorse the following:

  1. The incorporation of the WA-Alliance to replace the WA-Summit Advisory Council.
  2. Helen Monument in the position of Interim Chairman of the WA-Alliance Council.

There will also be discussion, with guidance sought from the delegates, on the membership subscription fee for members of the WA-Alliance – associations/networks globally.

You can read more about the above items in the WA-Summit Advisory Council – Future report, which has been shared with all delegates and is held on the WA-Summit website on the Advisory Council/World Administrators Alliance page.

WA-Summit Delegates and You

Delegates are asked to consult widely within their own country on all matters being discussed, to bring a whole country view rather than solely their own.

You can assist and support by making it your responsibility as an individual to:

  • read the information
  • ask your professional association/network what steps they have taken to consult
  • ask how you can contribute to the discussion.

The new WA-Alliance is your body. It is representing you, your association/network and your country in a global environment with the aim to “… guide, influence, positively develop and elevate the administrative professional role.”

The intention is to raise the level of awareness, at a global level, of the administrative profession and the vital, often crucial work we do. It is to gain recognition that we work in a profession (as do lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc) and are of huge value to every business.

The WA-Summit Task Forces

The steps the WA-Summit Task Forces have taken over the past five years to:

  • research matters of value to administrative professionals
  • develop reports on that research (available on our website under Resources)
  • develop tools and strategies to assist every administrative professional
  • maintain and update Administra, the world action plan (aimed at both professional associations and individual administrative professionals)
  • use technology to assist in reaching out to associations and individuals to ensure they have awareness of the support available
  • broaden the range of the topics we discuss

These actions have all been taken to enhance our own view of our role, and to lift the view of others.

All material: historical, WA-Alliance set-up documents, Administra, reports, etc, is available on our website. It is there for you as individuals to look through and use in whatever way will assist you in your role.

However, as individuals you need to have your voice heard. You can do this through ensuring your association/network becomes a member of the WA-Alliance and a delegate is representing your country at every WA-Summit.

Facilitated Discussions

The 30 August Business Meeting also includes two facilitated discussion sessions (check the Agenda). These will be held after the business session and will be run concurrently.

The two topics came from the survey conducted globally at the end of 2019. They relate to steps the new WA-Alliance Council will need to take. The topics being discussed are:

  1. Branding of our Profession – Strategies to market the value of our roles
  2. Measuring effectiveness of WA-Summit outcomes – Strategies/tools/methods

This business meeting is an opportunity to gather the collective thinking of the global delegates:

  • to assist the Council with ideas on branding the profession and therefore the WA-Alliance
  • on developing methods/strategies the WA-Alliance can use to measure the effectiveness of the WA-Summit outcomes.

Again, delegates will be asked to consult widely within their own countries to gather the wisdom, ideas, and knowledge of our individual administrative professionals.

WA-Alliance Council and You

We can all join an association/network, we can all apply to be “Administrator of the Year” within our own countries. Each of us can take leadership roles within our own region and our own national association. We gain hugely from every one of those steps, they are amazing learning opportunities we can grasp through participating in the support of our profession.

Members of the WA-Alliance Council will be sought globally. We need hard working, committed, strategic thinkers, internationally aware administrative professionals, who see this as the pinnacle of volunteer roles within the administrative profession.

The WA-Alliance provides an opportunity bringing together all our skills. We could participate:

  • on the WA-Summit Communications Team
  • on the WA-Alliance Council
  • in the Council research teams working on the outcomes from each WA-Summit
  • as the Council Chairman.

Finding people across the world to take on these roles can be challenging. However, if you are willing to volunteer, to contribute and commit to participating fully, I can assure you that the feelings of satisfaction at achievement and the personal growth are enormous and gratifying.

A Closing for Me

I am standing down as Chairman of the Advisory Council on 30 August 2020.  I have had an amazing 20 year involvement (since 2000) at this global level, with the past 17 of those involved as: a Delegate, a member of the Advisory Council, a Co-convenor of the WA-Summit (twice), Chairman of the Advisory Council for the last 5 years.

My passion has been to develop a pathway towards recognition of the work we do as a profession. I have loved every minute of my involvement.

At the 2003 WA-Summit in London (then called International Secretarial Summit) I delivered my paper “Value Ourselves So Others Value Us”. This was my first step into this international field, it led to:

  • undertaking my Master’s degree and my research “Administrative Professionals of New Zealand: their professional development opportunities and career pathways”
  • my drive to continue the international summits
  • my understanding, through listening to others, that in order to survive the informal body called the Advisory Council must become formalised and more resilient
  • my wish to leave a legacy enabling the administrative professional role to continue providing support to and the stable framework of business at every level.

I have been honoured to have other amazing people working with me the past two years. They have hugely contributed to bringing my wish to ensure the WA-Summits continue, to fruition. Without their input, hard work, ideas, and support, the new WA-Alliance would not have happened.

I still believe administrators need to be recognised professionally for the work we do.

Believing in our Ourselves

However, I believe even more strongly that first and foremost we must believe in ourselves. We must take pride in what we do, value our work regardless of how others might incorrectly perceive it and recognise with pride that we already work in a profession.

Until every individual administrative professional values themselves, why should anyone else value them? Therefore, we must value ourselves, so others value us!

We must stop waiting for others to raise us up.

We must raise ourselves – just that little bit taller, our heads that little bit straighter, with that little bit more pride in ourselves and our work.

Only when we recognise ourselves as the professional administrators we are will others begin to truly recognise us as: Administrative Professionals!

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About Author

Eth Lloyd

Eth Lloyd, MNZM, worked for 30 years as a Personal Assistant. Her passion for administrative professionals and their value in the workplace is shown by her commitment to encouraging them to value themselves and their roles. In 2018 Eth was awarded the New Zealand Queen’s Birthday honour MNZM for her services to administrative professional development. Eth is the Chairman of the World Administrators Summit Advisory Council and author of The Executive Secretary Guide to Conference and Event Management, available now on Amazon. If you are interested in Eth training your assistants or speaking at your event, either virtually or in person, please email [email protected]

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