2020 – What a Year!

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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.

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