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The Future World

Helen Monument – Interim Chair WA-Alliance writes,

According to a study by McKinsey, in the pandemic, women are 1.8 times more likely than men to lose their jobs. As the majority of Administrative Professionals are women, this is having a huge impact on many of us. So what will the future world look like for our profession?

One prediction by the World Economic Forum in their Future of Jobs Report lists Administrative and Executive Secretaries at the number two spot of the top ten jobs that will be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines by 2025.

The media also is full of stories about how we have already adapted and changed our ways of working. All the experts agree that work will definitely never be the same again. Research by Slack’s Future Forum of over 4000 knowledge workers found that only 12% want to return to full time office work and 72% prefer a hybrid remote-office model. According to John Trougakos, Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour and HR Management at the University of Toronto “The key is to focus on keeping workers productive and healthy by giving them the freedom to work in ways that suit their needs while also meeting corporate objectives. Proactive and progressive companies will take this opportunity to embrace this new normal and turn it into a competitive advantage while simultaneously improving the lives of their workers.”

There is a huge role for the World Administrators Alliance to play in building a strong community to support our member Associations and Networks and help them to collaborate with other so that they can prepare their own members for the post-Covid future, whatever it may look like.

The First 90 Days

It seems like no time at all since our online Business Meeting on 30/31 August, when the WA-Summit delegates endorsed the formation of the World Administrators Alliance. The WA-Alliance Interim council is 90 days into its term of office, and how time flies! We have been working hard on setting up all the processes and procedures necessary to get the WAA off the ground.

Included in the input from the Business Meeting Delegates breakout groups was the question: ‘What do you want to see from the WA-Alliance before May 2021?’ There is a great deal of valuable data and of course, we cannot do everything within twelve months. The mandate of the WA-Alliance Interim Council is to set up the governance, which means organising the systems and procedures that are needed to get the WA-Alliance off the ground. The most important activities are described below.

Of course, there is a great deal to manage and to organize. After the twelve-month interim period, there will be elections for all seven positions on the Council. Members will be able to vote during the Business Meeting that will be held in Q3 2021. It will then be the responsibility of the elected Council to take the preliminary work of the Interim Council forward to the future.

Administration

We have purchased Microsoft licenses so that the WA-Alliance Interim Council now has its own Outlook inboxes and Microsoft Teams account. MS-Teams will be the collaboration tool for the WA-Alliance moving forward, so that the Council, the WA-Summit Task Forces and Communications Team have their own Channel, to communicate and to collaborate. All relevant documents are being stored within these channels, to ensure consistency, continuity and transparency. More channels can be added as required for working groups or task forces.

An online bank account has also been set up, under the management of Treasurer Ursula Wartha. Guidelines are being put in place to manage this correctly.

We are also in the process of setting up a membership database using Wild Apricot software, that will enable us to manage membership applications, contacts, WA-Summit registrations, invoices, newsletters, mailings and surveys.

The Way Forward

Delegates also asked for a ‘road map’ for the WA-Alliance. Using the aims of the WA-Alliance as the spearheads for our activities, we have made a start of the Way Forward, as shown below.

Each of the WA-Alliance aims will eventually be distilled into measurable goals that will be manged by the WA-Alliance Council, with the support of our members. This is still very much a ‘work in progress’ and by no means complete. It will be a living document as the future elected Council takes up the process. Each spearhead will have its own measurable goals, activities and timeline. Next month we will show the details for the first twelve months of the WA-Alliance.

Membership Categories

Members are at the core of the WA-Alliance and setting up the correct membership categories is a very important part of our formation, so we need to get it right. After consultation with the delegates, the WA-Summit Advisory Council – Future Task Force worked for 18 months to develop the requested structure ready for endorsement at the 30/31 August 2020 Business Meeting. Subsequently, the WA-Alliance was established as a non-profit trade association in the USA. Do not be put off by the word ‘trade’, it’s a rather old-fashioned term for ‘professional’. So, most of our members will be Administrative Associations and Networks from across the globe. There are some countries who have not established any such networks or Associations, so individuals from those countries will also be welcomed as members. We also cannot build a global community without the help and support of the many industry stakeholders who have made a great contribution to the WA-Summit in the past, who support our aims and whose voices we need to hear. These will include professional trainers, educational institutes, administrative magazine publishers and training companies. There is a seat and a voice at the WA-Alliance table for them all as we build this global community. The WA-Summit will continue as the working meeting held every two years, under the auspices of the WA-Alliance.

The Skills Set Matrix

First published in Executive Secretary Magazine, this article by WA-Alliance Interim Chair Helen Monument, introduces the Skills Set Matrix, a game changer for the Administrative Profession.

Helen Monument introduces the Skills Set Matrix from the World Administrators Alliance and explains the next steps

In a career spanning three decades, I have had many different position titles in many different companies: from Receptionist, Secretary, Management Assistant, Team Assistant, PA, EA, Business Support Manager, Admin Team leader to Office Manager.

All of these roles were different and as I progressed from role to role, the tasks and requirements changed as I learned new skills and took on more responsibility, but the red thread going through them all was that of administrative support, in one way or another.

One of the challenges I always had, however, is that the ‘outside world’, including colleagues, executives and HR managers, did not know or fully understand exactly what my roles entailed, what skills were required to do those roles, or the value that what I was doing was bringing to the organization, over and above the ‘admin’ side of my daily work.

Position Descriptions

Yes, I had a position description each time I started a new role, but most of them were just a list of the day-to-day tasks like diary management, travel booking, expense reports etc.  With some roles I had, I often discovered after a month or two that there were not enough hours in the day for me to achieve what was piled onto my desk or flooded into my inbox. Often a new responsibility was added, such as Website Manager, Office Emergency Team Leader, SharePoint manager, Information Compliance Manager and Data Privacy Focal Point. It wasn’t until halfway through my career that I felt confident enough to speak up and propose my own position description, based on the requirements of my role, competencies and the qualifications and level of expertise that were needed and that I had gained.

Misunderstood and Undervalued

When talking to other administrative professionals, I constantly hear their frustration of working in an industry that is seriously misunderstood. Often their role is perceived as ‘just an admin’. Colleagues with professionally recognized position titles are given growth and development opportunities that aren’t open to administrators because their company or executives don’t recognize their role as being a “Profession”.

This is partly due to there being no globally recognized qualifications for our role. Although some employers may require candidates to have minimum qualification at a specific level, and some may prefer degrees, there are no formal academic qualifications required as standard.

Many position descriptions or position advertisements for administrative professionals are written by HR specialists or recruiters who fail to fully grasp the complexities of the role and the numerous ways in which administrative professionals support their executives.

Because of this lack of understanding, the role of the administrative professional is grossly undervalued, adding to the inability of organizations to fully utilize the enormous potential that is available to them.

The value that administrative professionals bring to the workplace can be so much greater with the right approaches to the correct training and education, with the right frameworks and ways of working, and with a better understanding of how they can assist their manager and their organization.

A Unifying Framework

Position titles for administrative roles vary according to the employer. In some organizations, the titles ‘personal assistant’ and ‘executive assistant’ are interchangeable. In others, an executive assistant is more senior than a personal assistant and will take on more responsibility, such as some corporate governance or team organization work. In some organizations, a personal assistant role is an entry-level role; in others, it requires a great deal of experience and is paid accordingly. It’s no wonder the outside world is confused, when even within the profession there is no alignment of the position titles.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our profession to have a unifying framework that makes it possible to identify levels of work for a given position or role profile?

Well, you can stop wondering, because the Skills Set Matrix is coming.

The Skills Set Matrix is Coming

Created out of the 10th World Administrators Summit discussions, chaired by Eth Lloyd, the Skills Set Matrix is based on data collected from a 2017 global survey of over 3000 administrative professionals who answered detailed questions on position titles, tasks and perceptions of the role. This led to the International Position Titles Report, held on the WA-Summit website, and was accepted by the Delegates at the 10th WA-Summit.

The 10th WA-Summit delegates discussed a new topic on International Position Descriptions and agreed that the skills sets required go hand in hand with the very many position titles being used for administrative professionals world wide, and so the Skills Set Matrix was born.

It describes five levels of competency, from entry level to the top echelon of administrative support. It shows the common tasks and skills required and it compares the key differences between the five levels. It also has space to show the common professional and academic credentials required and where they fit into each level. It contains links to Role Profiles for each of the five levels.

Administrative professionals, HR departments, executives and training institutes will be able to use this framework to determine career pathways, performance expectations and salary expectations for a role that currently is defined by over 160 position titles – yes, you read that right, 160!

Whether you are just starting out in your career as an administrative professional or are looking to take the next step on your career ladder, this Matrix is for you.

The Skills Set Matrix Task Force is led by Vicki Faint (New Zealand) and is made up of a broad representation of WA-Summit delegates and industry representatives: Nita Rebello (India) Reporter; Cathy Harris (South Africa); Wendy Rapana (New Zealand); Florence Katono (Uganda); Andrew Jardine (United Kingdom) and Veronica Cochran (United States of America) Advisor.

One of the strengths of recent work undertaken by the World Administrators Summit is its ability to collect data from administrative professionals and industry experts through surveys from across the globe. One of the challenges for the task force was to determine which of the hundreds of different tasks and skills reported on in the survey fit into which level. This is always going to be disputable, as there is so much variety in the 160 position titles reported in the survey and this needed to be distilled into the most common position titles used globally.

The Skills Set Matrix is being finalized as we speak and will be shared with the WA-Summit delegates for consultation before being published in 2021.

A Living Document

Of course, it can never be a ‘one size fits all’, simply because of the huge differences between education, business practices, culture, and economics in all countries across the globe. It is also not set in stone, but is to be treated as a living document, that can be amended as societies and the business world change.

The Skills Set Matrix is a gamechanger for an industry that is currently seen by many as ‘just a job’ and not the valuable profession that it is.  It is the first global guideline that has been produced with direct and quantifiable input from the people who are at the sharp end of the profession, the administrative professionals themselves. Administrative professionals across the globe are crying out for recognition for their role as an integral part of the business. Not only recognition, but a clear career path and salary to match.


What is the World Administrators Summit?

The World Administrators Summit is the most prestigious international gathering of leaders for the administrative profession globally. It started in 1992 in the US and is now held every two years. Due to COVID 19, the 11th WA-Summit Discussion Groups will be held in 2021 and will be virtual. 2022 is scheduled to return to the USA in Nashville, Tennessee for the 30th anniversary.

The WA-Summit brings together the best and brightest minds in the administrative profession today. The delegates from each country discuss topics of importance to all administrative professionals and develop credible outcomes that are shared around the world. The outcomes from each summit also contribute to our World Action Plan entitled Administra.

What is the World Adminstrators Alliance?

The newly formed World Administrators Alliance is the governing body endorsed by the 2020 11th WA-Summit Business Meeting of Delegates from 27 Countries. As a non-profit trade association, it represents administrative associations, networks, and professionals from across the globe. Its purpose is to guide, influence, develop and elevate the administrative profession, to create a global community that works together for the benefit of all.


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2020 – What a Year!

..

Eth Lloyd – Former Chairman WA-Summit Advisory Council writes –

This year has been so challenging for everyone, in fact it still is challenging. The hard part is that it looks set to continue into 2021, possibly longer. Now that could be such a downer, but I have decided to look at what this year has achieved for our profession and especially for me personally as part of my commitment to supporting the administrative profession globally.

At the start of 2020, we were beginning to ramp up the preparations for the 11th WA-Summit Aug/Sept 2020 in my home city Wellington New Zealand. There was a team working to make this happen and after our successful 10th WA-Summit in 2018, we were all looking forward to it.

Then Covid-19 struck and it quickly became clear we would have to either postpone or, as we finally decided, split the 11th WA-Summit into two separate parts – the Business Session on-line August 2020 and the Discussions Session, which we at that time, still hoped would be face-to-face in May 2021.

We held the 11th WA-Summit Zoom Business Meeting 30/31 August 2020; it was a huge success. Delegates were well informed on the business decisions required and had consulted within their own countries.

The voting on-line was extremely efficient and quick. We learnt how effective holding business sessions on-line with 55 Delegates from 28 countries, across almost all time zones, could be and how it would work well.

Holding this Business Meeting led to the endorsement of; the WA-Alliance, the New Interim Chair (Helen Monument), and her new Interim Council. This endorsement allows Helen and her team to forge ahead developing how the WA-Alliance can best represent their member associations and therefore you, the administrative professional.

Holding the World Administrators Summit on-line has been discussed often over the last 10 years. It has always been something for the “future”. Roadblocks were usually seen as set-up costs, accessibility, and how will it work?

Covid-19 has moved those roadblocks aside and shown there is always more than one way to get things done, more than one way to connect, share and discuss, more than one way we can work to achieve the purpose of the WA-Summit to guide, influence and positively develop the profession. This WA-Summit achievement is the product of a very strange year.

While there are aspects of face-to-face meetings that we cannot replicate, our four discussion groups on two topics, in breakout rooms and each with no more than 15 participants, all provided excellent input to assist the new WA-Alliance Council with their work over the next few months.

This article will be my final one on our website as regards the WA-Summit. My tenure ended 31 August 2020, though I continue to support those who have taken on the roles for the future. I feel my involvement has provided a launching pad for the future recognition of administrative professionals globally as a profession, the same way nurses, builders, accountants, plumbers, teachers, electricians, etc all are seen. The work we all undertake is skilled, valuable, and essential. It is not “just work that women do”.

However, I and those I have worked with have achieved many things. As the former Chairman of the WA-Summit Advisory Council here is my list over the nearly 20 years of my involvement:

  • WA-Summits have been held, in my time, in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 with the usual level of country involvement.
  • The 9th WA-Summit 2015 Papua New Guinea was the start of change – Delegates asked for research to be undertaken, by the then Advisory Council, on three specific topics.
  • The 10th WA-Summit 2018 in Frankfurt with 22 countries and 41 Delegates doubled the number of countries involved and they provided deeper discussions and more valuable outcomes.
  • Research reports on the three 2015  topics International Credentialing, International Networking, International Position Titles were shared with Delegates prior to the 10th WA-Summit for consultation within their own countries and feedback brought to the discussions.
  • The 2018 10th WA-Summit Delegates asked for further research on the new topics they discussed.
  • The 2018 10th WA-Summit Delegates asked for a replacement structure for the informal Advisory Council: a more resilient formal structure to better research, support, and advocate for them in the future.
  • These processes led to credible and useful outcomes supporting administrative professionals as set out in the 2018 Outcomes document.
  • As Co-Leader, with Veronica Cochran, of the WA-Summit Advisory Council – Future Task Force, we saw the new non-profit trade association World Administrators Alliance (WA-Alliance) be incorporated in the United States, we finalised by-laws, looked at financial processes, membership criteria, and what membership fees might be.
    • The new WA-Alliance was endorsed by the 28 countries who had Delegates present at the 2020 11th WA-Summit Zoom Business Meeting.  
    • The new WA-Alliance governing body was endorsed with an inspirational Interim Chair and a deeply committed Interim Council to take forward the work of; managing the WA-Summits, conducting research when requested, and providing advocacy and support to their members and thereby administrative professionals.
    • All this is to guide, influence, positively develop, and elevate the profession
  • Six Task Forces have been working on the outcomes from the 2018 10th WA-Summit. All have provided reports.
  • These reports are now being shared with the 11th WA-Summit Delegates for consultation within their own countries and to provide feedback. They will be finalised for presentation at the 11th WA-Summit Discussions Session May 2021.
  • I chaired my first ever WA-Summit Business Meeting held on Zoom with 55 Delegates from 28 countries, something I had convinced myself I would never have to do. You can read the 11th WA-Summit Zoom Business Session Meeting Summary here.

The next steps are in the hands of your WA-Alliance Interim Chairman and Council but importantly in your own hands through supporting them. Your support can be by participating in surveys, asking your association what is happening, seeking updates on progress on research, providing feedback on and making use of the information and tools the WA-Alliance provides.

This WA-Alliance and its aim to guide, influence, positively develop, and elevate the profession has been formed to support you the administrative professional. This is your profession, so make sure your voice is heard.

One Profession, One Voice

by Helen Monument – Interim Chair WA-Alliance

Networks have become my lifeline for the past few months. Not being able to get out and meet up with my tribe was a challenge at the beginning of lock-down, but I quickly came to appreciate the value of connecting on line to like-minded people. It’s how I have been catching up with my professional contacts, getting training, meeting new people and keeping up to date with what’s going on in the Administrative profession. I have joined new networks and formed new connections and relationships with some amazing people I otherwise wouldn’t have come across in a face-to-face world.

One thing I noticed is that the same people often pop up in different networks, which I love, as it gives me the chance to get to know them better, and to have very diverse conversations with them.

Today’s Administrative Professionals realise the value of an open professional attitude. They appreciate that when we help someone else, we are helping ourselves.  Knowledge and information have become the currency of an effective network and are there to be freely shared.

The important aspect of all these networks and connections is that they are not in competition with each other.  In our virtual world, we are much more ready and able to blur the lines between our networks in order to expand them. Sadly, that’s not always the case in the face-to-face environment.

In my long career, I have come across high level administrative professionals who clung to the thought that ‘knowledge is power’ and if they kept their expertise and skills to themselves, they would somehow become the ‘Queen Bee’ of the office.  They were afraid that if they shared their knowledge with colleagues and peers, then someone else could threaten their position.

Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.

Dalai Lama

Sharing your knowledge and skills with others will benefit your organization or business. Increasing the competencies of your fellow administrative professionals shows that you are collaborative, unselfish and fully engaged to give your executives the support they badly need.

The Queen Bees out there can become role models for less experienced peers, leading the way and showing by example what excellence means. By teaching others and sharing knowledge, we also learn.

The same applies to our Administrative community across the globe. Some countries have several associations or networks and some have none at all. The important thing to remember is that we are all in this together. We find the tribe that suits us best, for whatever reason we decide. We’re attracted to the network or association that speaks to us personally and we make a commitment as a member, but that does not mean shutting ourselves off from other peer groups in our country. Associations should never be in competition with each other and the WA-Alliance is in the business of bringing people together. I am sure that most associations mission and vision statements include the words ‘professional’ ‘development’ and ‘learning’.  So let’s be part of that rising tide that lifts all our boats. Reach out to other associations and networks in your country and work together on the common themes that bind us together. The World Administrators Alliance aims to create a global community of administrative professionals, associations and networks to come together to guide, influence, positively develop and elevate the profession. Let’s do this together.

Meet the WA-Alliance Interim Council

Written by: Helen Monument – Interim Chair WA-Alliance

Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.”

As Interim Chair of the WA-Alliance, I am extremely proud to introduce the newly appointed Interim Council. Each of these people have stepped up to this role because they want to make a difference to the lives of admin professionals wherever they are, as you can read below. The binding factor throughout their motivation to serve is their passion and dedication to the objectives of the WA-Alliance, to:

  • guide, influence, positively develop and elevate the global administrative community;
  • provide continued advocacy;
  • provide greater global leadership.

Delegates will be asked to endorse their appointment at the WA-Summit on-line Business Meeting on 30th August.

Debra Chafe, from Canada. “I have come to the point where I am ready to help make all administrative professionals proud to say ‘what I do matters’, I welcome the opportunity to work with the WA-Alliance to help further advance the office administration profession globally.”

Jesse Egeonu, from Nigeria: “I want to live in a world where the administrative path is considered a viable career, with a structure that is globally recognized while building a strong alliance with industry leaders, interacting with professionals around the world, gathering valuable information on the various issues they are experiencing to include them in the WA-Alliance agenda.”

Vicki Faintfrom New Zealand:, “The administrative professional is at the core for driving and assisting change in respect to technology and the future direction of the workforce I am passionate about ensuring all admins have their voice heard and that the profession is viewed by all as a highly-skilled and respected career, not only now, but in the future.”

Barrett Shaw, from the United States: “I have grown so much as a result of the support and challenges from within this community, and I want to ensure that other administrative professionals have those same opportunities to exceed in their own lives and careers.”

Christine Stewart, from Australia, “My motivation for this role is to offer a flexible and highly professional approach, with a desire to represent and be an effective ambassador for the WA-Alliance with integrity and leadership.”

Ursula Warthafrom Germany: “I want to enhance the diversity of the Alliance. To live up to this objective, all continents have to be represented.”

I look forward to starting work with the team as we put the WA-Alliance on the map in the coming months. You will see regular updates on our LinkedIn page.

2020 six-month check-in

by: Eth Lloyd, Advisory Council Chairman

The first six months of 2020 have been hugely challenging for everyone. First, we have had Covid-19 to manage, a pandemic which has reached most countries in the world, affecting a huge number of people, potentially their life, their health, and/or their economic situation. None of those effects is positive and the loss of life is truly sobering; heart breaking for so many families.

Secondly, we have the “Black Lives Matter” movement from the tragic and unnecessary loss of so many black lives. This movement is particularly important, it is way past when this understanding should have already become a part of our everyday lives, and is steadily gathering momentum around the world.

One of the most enlightening articles I have read in the past few days, has clarified for me the meaning of “white privilege”, something I have been aware of for some time but, being white, have found so very hard to understand, define, or explain. This article is from “Yes” magazine, written by Lori Lakin Hutcherson and her words have much more impact than mine ever would.

I suspect the inability for many white people to honestly express our views in conversation or writing about colour (our own or others) may sometimes be partly due to the risk of offending others or of being offended. This inability for many white people to be honest, has been put into perspective by the honesty of the writer of this article.

I feel that this article is an important and valuable read for every person but particularly those who are struggling to understand, are potentially feeling challenged or even resentful of the term “white privilege”. I thank Peggy Vasquez, author of “Not Just an Admin” for sharing this on Facebook.

I also listened to an amazing and authentic posting by Ayanna Castro on Facebook. In this posting she described how she was feeling right now and that her “soul was tired”. She described her difficulties in explaining what was happening to her teenage daughters. This brought into clear perspective for me the ongoing and long-lived effects of racial prejudice, racial profiling, racial targeting, racial expectation that occurs for people of colour.

A further brief article from Nicky Christmas, Practically Perfect PA with a list of suggested reading will help each and every person to better understand what is happening. One of the suggestions in Nicky’s list, from “Fortune”, starts with a video discussion and listed a further enormous range of; articles, books to read and discuss, organisations to consider supporting, films and TV shows, resources for parents, podcasts, and more.

There is something in this list that will be of value to everyone. These articles will assist those who are unsure, a little confused, struggling to grasp how they can understand or contribute positively to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

I am not saying these resources will suit all of you, or that they will give you “the” answers. However, the wider read we are the better educated and informed we are, therefore the better decisions we make and actions we undertake.

It is sobering for me to understand that while I come from a large multicultural whanau (family), that does not mean that I learnt anything about “white privilege”. My immediate family was pakeha (white) and therefore I was brought up with white privilege, I quite simply had no awareness of what that was. I was not brought up in a wealthy or entitled family, but it was pakeha so had the privilege that comes with white skin colour.

I am so comfortable with my extended whanau who are all a cherished part of my life. I just quite simply had no understanding of how living was or could be for those who were Maori – my sisters-in-law, my nieces and nephews, and now great-nieces and nephews. I had no understanding of whether they were comfortable with me or whether I was comfortable quite simply because they made things comfortable for me. I am proud of all my whanau for their achievements, but I had no idea what gaining those achievements was like for some of them. Was their path more challenging than mine due to roadblocks I didn’t face, was day to day living with unthinking comments from others something they experienced or expected? I was comfortable within my life and I assumed everyone within my whanau was comfortable too – now that is white privilege.

I am humbled and somewhat shamed by what I am now learning, I am sorrowful for what I did not understand and took for granted. I am OK being white, and I will continue to work to enhance my understanding of others.

WA-Summit Communications Team

Written by: Helen Monument Interim Chair WA-Alliance

Leadership guru Tony Robbins said: To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. 

WA-Summit is about community, bringing Administrative Professionals together from all over the world. Each country has its own language and culture, so it’s vital that we communicate clearly and openly to all involved in our profession. 

Let me introduce the team that I’m honoured to Chair. Each of these people have a unique set of skills and talents that has come together to determine the Communications Strategy and to manage WA-Summit communications across all our media channels. 

A group of people posing for the camera

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Eth Lloyd, from New Zealand, is well known to all for her passion for the administrative profession and its value in the workplace.  She has spoken to Administrative Professionals globally on valuing themselves, taking responsibility for their own professional development, career pathways, the value of the profession and the outcomes of the 2018 10th World Administrators Summit. Eth is current Chairman of the WA-Summit Advisory Council. Eth currently manages the WA-Summit website. 

Julia Schmidt is based in Oslo, Norway and is known for being a passionate advocate of people development and in helping others succeed and embrace their leadership skills.  Julia writes about Organization Health and Wellbeing, Leadership and Career Development.  She is an avid influencer, speaker and mentor. Julia manages the Summit Newsletters and the LinkedIn channel. 

Diana Brandl is an International Speaker, Trainer and author, describing herself as a Digital Native. She has a strong background in communications and she is a dynamic networker. Diana is influencing the industry with her creative initiatives such as launching the hashtag #WeAreInThisTogether. From her home near Berlin, Germany, Diana takes care of WA-Summit communications on YouTube, also supporting Bex Adamson on the Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Bex Adamson is from New Zealand where she works as an Administration Officer and is a Fellow of the Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand (AAPNZ) where she was the recipient of the 2017 National President’s Award. A passionate advocate of the profession, Bex was also awarded the Administrative Professional Award in 2015, acknowledging her contribution to administration in New Zealand and giving her the opportunity to speak at a number of events around the country. Bex manages the Facebook and Twitter accounts together with Diana Brandl. 

Silvia Salomon is the latest addition to the team. She is the Task Force Leader for the Development of a Closed LinkedIn group from the 2018 WA-Summit, so it was logical that we join forces and invite her to become a member of the Communications team. She fosters a large international network of peers, constantly keeping up with the latest international trends.  Silvia is also Chairman of IMA (International Management Assistants) Italy. 

Communication is not a one-way street, so we need you to help us spread the word across our profession. Choose your channel and like us by all means, but it’s only by you commenting on and sharing our messages that we will reach the  global audience that will support the aims of the WA-Summit; to speak with one voice, to enhance the position of Administrative Professionals, and to build a solid community of passionate professionals supporting each other across the globe. 

Introducing WA-Alliance Interim Chair – Helen Monument

Written by: Helen Monument, Interim Chair WA-Alliance

I first met Eth Lloyd in 2003 at the World Administrators Summit in London so was already in awe of the work she has been doing tirelessly for many years.

We’ve met a few times since then, of course, and I didn’t hesitate when asked to be one of the Facilitators at the 10th WA-Summit in Frankfurt in 2018. I was very impressed on how much progress has been made in the intervening years and saw first hand how tirelessly Eth has been working, in front of and behind the scenes to bring the delegates, the Advisory Council and the working groups together to ‘speak as one voice’. The WA-Summit has never been better placed to achieve its goals ‘to guide, influence and positively develop the profession’.

So you can imagine how excited and honoured I was to be asked by Eth to take up the reigns, as she goes into long anticipated retirement in September 2020, in the role of Interim Chair to guide the next steps for WA-Summit, namely the formation of the World Administrators Alliance.

My career has spanned over 30 years, starting as an inexperienced Secretary, I was able to then grow and develop myself as I took on other roles in international companies as Management Assistant, Personal Assistant, Office Manager and Business Support team leader. I am a passionate advocate of our profession and have now transitioned to being my own boss of Monumental Assistance; sharing my experiences and expertise by training, coaching, writing and speaking at conferences for Assistants at all levels. I am also a former Executive Chairman of IMA (formally EUMA), so I understand what it takes to work across cultures with teams of volunteers for the benefit of our profession and for their personal development. What’s important for me in taking on this role is to give something back to our amazing profession that has given me so many wonderful opportunities.

Eth and I have already started working together. I’ve taken over the leadership of the WA-Summit Communications Team – more news about that to come. There is much to learn and I currently have more questions than answers. However, Eth has promised she will be just a Skype call away. Thanks to the support of the Advisory Council, the Future of the WA-Summit Task Force and all the delegates, I’m looking forward to working with you all and doing amazing things together.

The purpose of the WA-Summit of guiding, influencing and positively developing the profession is very close to my heart and I have great hopes for the future of our profession and I’m confident that the World Administrators Alliance is going to play a major part in shaping that future.

Administrative Professional Celebrations Like No Other

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Written by: Eth Lloyd, Advisory Council Chairman

Administrative Professionals celebrations in 2020 will go down as being one of the most unusual, but one of the most innovative. The Covid-19 world pandemic has changed so much for so many of us – in our own roles as administrative professionals, for our families, our friends, our colleagues, and for so many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people we do not even know.

Such a change could prove more than overwhelming, we could look like rabbits frozen in the headlights of a car. Some of us may have felt like that at times and some of us may still have moments like that to come. However, what we are seeing throughout the world is how, due to technology, those of us individually in the administrative profession and those of us who work with our profession to support growth and development, have almost universally found another gear. We have shifted what we do to another realm and kept things moving and happening.

It has become quite noisy and crowded on the internet with so many people offering webinars, support sessions, truly amusing and innovative glimpses into people’s lives, virtual conferences, virtual meetings, virtual social events, virtual exercise classes, virtual morning coffee sessions to name but a few. What the bulk of these activities provide is an enormous choice of ways to assist and support us through a challenging and extraordinary time.

The celebration of Administrative Professionals and the work they do is undertaken each year at this time. Throughout the world things happen sometimes significantly with a week of offerings, sometimes a day or an event and sometimes low key. There are usually professional development themes and recognition of our work within all the celebrations of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, speakers, discounted or free training opportunities, gifts, etc.

I was delighted last year to be asked to speak, through a recorded presentation, to the Administrative Professionals at SAP in the USA and their invited guests, as part of a day-long event. My presentation focussed on the “Past, Present and Future of our Profession”, but I did not mention anywhere how we could manage in a worldwide pandemic!

This year there are many opportunities for Administrative Professionals Day celebrations, all virtual. You could have celebrated starting at Monday of this week and been involved in something every day and at many different hours of those days. I wonder if this will be something that will carry over into 2021 and beyond – part of a new normal? I believe that some of the changes forced on us during this time will become part of our lives, just as detailed security checks became part of our travel world after 9/11.

The resilience and strength shown by every Administrative Professional during these current times is absolutely something to be celebrated, what I am seeing happening and being offered to celebrate and support you and your role is extraordinary.

Each one of you take your opportunity this week, at least once, to check in and participate in an event. Take this celebration of your role as something well earned, feel pride in what you are doing the support you are providing your employer and remember that you work in an awesome profession.

Happy Administrative Professional Celebrations to you all, whenever and however you choose to celebrate! I joined my own professional association AAPNZ for a virtual event with our National President and Lauren Parsons as our invited speaker, at New Zealand time 5.30pm Wednesday 22 April.