Page 1

for administrative & office professionals

Volume 29 Issue 1

Executive Assistant a strategic partner

What should you never sacrifice for your job?

organise events that sparkle Excellence in the Workplace


Contents 04 News and Reviews Updating you

06 Key Feature

Excellence in the workplace

09 Interview

Spotlight on Debbie De Jager

10 Tips

Organise events that sparkle

12 Work Trends

Executive assistant - a strategic partner

16 Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body The wizard of oz

20 Career Feature

There are things you should never sacrifice for your job

23 Coaching Class 24 International Gurus Meet Lucy Brazier

26 Focus Feature

Beyond IYOTSA - Global understanding

30 Grooming Feature

Dress for success - no matter your shape

32 Meet a Member Welcoming Sharon Künneman

34 Technology Going virtual - why?

36 Last Page Test your wits

Contributors le

Michele Thwaits

has 23 year experience in providing executive support and obtained an IAAP CAP qualification in 2008. She holds the position of PA to MD.

has many years of experience as a PA and has been actively involved in training and speaking engagements since 2007. Michele is very active on many forums within the PA profession, and regularly contributes articles to various magazines and online publications.

Renzke Roux

Joanie Nel is the PA to the CEO of Samancor Chrome. Her career started in 1996 and in 2015 she won the OPSA / Rexel National Office Professional of the Year Award. Joanie strongly advocates professionalism at all times, and regardless of position, race or gender she believes everyone be treated with respect and integrity, valuing individual uniqueness. For Joanie her brand is what defines her as an individual, and she aligns herself with likeminded professionals to take the profession forward. Corrie Fourie is one of a select few Male Executive PA’s have years of experience in various Corporate Sectors;a Motivational Speaker with International exposure and always open to new opportunities.


is a successful fashion designer whose whose sole focus is on creating odd size and plus-size clothing for South African woman. Hayley has over 20+ years of experience behind her, and dresses women of all shapes and sizes to be stylish for work. Shirwyn Weber i the Executive Assistant to the Senior Partner at PWC. He has been an Assistant for 10+ years and was a PA of the Year Finalist in 2015 and finalist in Pitman’s SuperAchievers PA of the Year in 2016. Shiwyn loves sharing knowledge and helping others achieve their goals!

Annie Coetzee is a renowned author on creativity and emotional intellignece. Annie is also a speaker, trainer and facilitator

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Ed’s memo This is our Autumn issue of Career Success and we hope you like it. With it we are launching PAFSA’s worldwide campaign for secretaries, PAS and Admins worldwide! If you have been a Career Success reader or PAFSA member for a couple of years, you will have known we launched a hugely successful global campaign back in 2014: The International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant. It was our campaign – Proudly South African. Last year, PAFSA supported the International Year of Light – but this year, PAFSA is back in full force, and propagating a campaign based on the International Year of Global Understanding. Read all about it in this issue. The campaign is being led by Chelene Venter (PA of the Year 2015) and supported by her PAOTY 2015 tribe. Please like the page known as IYOTSA and Beyond on Facebook.

Editorial Editor-in-chief Ana-Maria Valente anamaria@dictum.co.za Assistant Editor Susan Engelbrecht Michelle Thwaits

Admin/Advertising Director Ornella Trinco ornella@dictum.co.za Advertising/Marketing 011 616 7401 careersuccess@dictum.co.za

We hope you enjoy this issue packed with really good tips and advice from various contributors.

Head: Finance & HR Guida Morais finance@dictum.co.za

A big warm hug Ana-maria

Subscriptions & Client Liaison subs@dictum.co.za

This edition’s FOCUS feature

Graphic Design design@dictum.co.za

The Company

Beyond IYOTSA Global Understanding

CareerSuccess is published by Dictum Publishers (Pty) Ltd Gauteng, South Africa Tel: (011) 616 7401 Fax: (011) 616 3244 E-mail: careersuccess@dictum.co.za www.dictum.co.za Opinions expressed in any article do not necessarily reflect on the publishers. All submissions to CareerSuccess are subject to editorial change to suit the style of the magazine. The right of reproduction of any article or other matter published in CareerSuccess is expressly reserved.©

CareerSuccess is the official publication of PAFSA. www.pafsa.co.za

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


news and reviews

3 Habits of Remarkably Focused People BY DANNY INY Founder and CEO, Mirasee@dannyiny The ability to focus is a game-changer. The more laser-focused you are, the more you can get done, and the better the quality of your work will be. We all have the same 24 hours every day, but those who are focused squeeze more meaningful work out of their day than the rest of us. 1. Reflect Make time and space early in your day to reflect on your priorities and set your intentions for the day… this gives you the chance to begin the day with purpose. 2. Remember Your attention jumps from one thing to another, until --just like a muscle -- it gets fatigued and grows weaker

and weaker as the day goes on. Recharge it with simple triggers or stimuli that remind you of your intentions. 3. Regroup Productivity suffers when you keep a frantic pace all day, every day. Stop and regroup for 30 seconds before diving into new meeting or activity. Take three deep breaths and ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?” “What is the win scenario?” That’s all it takes to bring your focus back to the significance of the task at hand. The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com. http://www.inc. com/danny-iny/3-habits-ofremarkably-focused-people. html

What Amazing Bosses Do Differently Sydney Finkelstein’s research into the world’s most successful bosses has unearthed some common practices that make work much more meaningful and enjoyable. If you supervise others, make sure you do the following: Manage individuals, not teams. Ensure you understand what makes your people them tick..

leaders spend a great deal of time listening. They pose problems and challenges, then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions. Be consistent. Who could be happy with a boss who does one thing one day and another thing the next? It’s hard to feel motivated when the bar is always shifting in unpredictable ways.

Go big on meaning. Most employees value jobs that let them contribute and make a difference, and many organizations now emphasize meaning and purpose in the hopes of fostering engagement.

https://hbr.org/2015/11/ what-amazing-bossesdo-differently?utm_ campaign=harvardbiz&utm_ source=twitter&utm_ medium=social

Focus on feedback. A 2013 Society for Human Resource Management survey of managers in the U.S. found that “only 2% provide ongoing feedback to their employees.” Just 2%!

Sydney Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management in Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent (Portfolio/Penguin, February 2016) from which this article was adapted.

Don’t just talk… listen. Employees tend to be happiest when they feel free to contribute new ideas and take initiative.?”.The best

Harvard Business Review

I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future! Ralph Abernathy

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Millennials and Rules Digital Natives don’t live life by the rules – they live life by the logic behind the rules. Which are some of the rules from your organisation that can be adapted to meet the needs of this younger generation? Perhaps it’s allowing mobile phones to be on during meetings. Perhaps it’s relooking at start / finish times for work so that they don’t spend hours in traffic…

Whatever it is - we do encourage you to consider the point that Ray makes in the video below. You can also Download the free Digital Native eBook here for a practical resource on how to attract, retain and engage your millennial superstars https://tomorrowtodayglobal. leadpages.co/digital-nativeebook-/

o Five readers stand t win Powerhouse Knock out Empowerment book Renowned author on creativity and emotional intelligence, Annie Coetzee, brings you her insights on empowerment and living with excellence. She explores the power of thoughts, vision, words and feelings to unblock you and drive you to become a powerhouse yourself.

The first five readers to email us at: anamaria@dictum. co.za, with the message “l want to be a Powerhouse” will receive the book Powerhouse: Knock-out Empowerment from Annie.

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When it comes to living with inner power and purpose, Annie doesn’t just walk the talk, she runs it. Her motto: I think, I feel, I am I think, I feel I can!


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key feature

Excellence in the WORKPLACE Here is an imperative question for all of us as we go into mid-year in 2016: ‘Who and WHAT controls us?’ This is the time for you to take a deep breath, and embrace your inner power. Annie Coetzee advises.


s the season of Autumn draws our attention to our surrounds shedding leaves, so must we follow the example and shed what is holding us back. It’s time to examine our personal beliefs about who we are and what we are achieving in the working world. Never before has it been so vital to move forward, feeling confident, courageous, creative and consistently inspired.

What’s holding you back? Why don’t we hear and see more about magnificent breakthroughs in the field of work and live abundant, successful lives, even during economic downtimes? Are we ruled by all the bad news about the Rand, Retrenchments, ReStructuring and Negative Predictions about the Future? We see what is going on all around us (and believe me, I see them too!) but

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

do we see what is going on inside us and are we aware of our precise locus of control, of working, living and being? Locus of control refers to a ‘site, place or location’ from where we see ourselves functioning.

Who and WHAT controls Us? An internal locus of control refers to us being in control of our own responses to life, taking responsibility for how we react and direct what is happening around us, with creative curiosity and a positive outlook – being aware of the fact that there is something within us that is stronger than what is happening around us. An external locus of control means we have given others the responsibility to think, feel and act for us. It means we are dependent on how others see the world, and we even allow them, as well as the circumstances to dictate to us, and how we should respond! And as you all know,

7 times are tough and most reports about the working world’s future are not that encouraging…! Should we allow ourselves to be controlled by this? As I made my way in the corporate world, facilitating Change Management, I discovered that the biggest obstacle in the minds and hearts of leaders and managers (your bosses!) is what they think they already know! But is this a misconception among bosses only? No. Many Staff Development Courses on a variety of subjects are being presented and employees have to attend these – and many have the unfortunate perception that ‘This is just another course!’ So people become immune to any suggestion or call to attend a Course on Empowerment. My most recent experience was with a group of Financial Planners who had to move premises and retrench half of their admin staff. So negativity ‘boiled over’ and I was challenged to present to them something different! I chose to talk to them about Belief Systems. This was a huge challenge, but also a delightful experience for me, as I had to ‘take their hands’ and walk them through all the basics of what a belief system really is! Of course I added the necessary humour to break the ice and grab their attention, because as it is: Most people in the Corporate Arena think they have heard it all!

Your conscious mind is the reasoning mind. It is that part of your mind from where you make choices;.Eg: You choose the books you read, the movies you want to see, the one you would like to marry. Once we take this understanding and apply it in our working world, it is amazing how we can start deciding to change our thoughts about what is happening around us! We learn to stop destructive thoughts about all the changes in the arena of work, that we do not like, as these thoughts continue to work negatively in our sub-conscious mind, and in due time are likely to play themselves out negatively for us. To have faith in the future, to have faith in ourselves as makers of our destiny, to believe refers to a process in our mind where we repeat certain thoughts as the truth, and then we determine how to act upon that which we believe. It can also be interpreted as an intellectual and emotional acceptance of ideas and thoughts that we have embraced and valued. Obviously, you ask – But how can I believe if there is no substance or evidence to back my belief? That is precisely what I am suggesting! Just believe with all your heart and soul. Create your belief system in order to create your future reality. The times we live in, leave you no option but to do just that.

And so I went back to the early nineteen hundreds when Authors such as Dr Joseph Murphy, Ben Sweetland, Florance Scovel Shinn, Vernon Howard, Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale and Harold Fink wrote about the Conscious and Sub-Conscious Mind. It was enlightening, to say the least!

Fill your mind with hope, and faith and positive goals. You don’t have to understand HOW it will come to pass. Sometimes it’s just better to let go of the ‘how’, and simply have precise affirmations, colourful dreams, and a strong vision!

I noticed ‘light bulbs’ going on as I spoke about what they believe on a sub-conscious level, affects their very existence, from work and play, to health and happiness.

Excellence in the workplace is possible - It just takes employees, managers and leaders to grasp and embrace a personal, new belief system that says:

Here is what my research shows about the effect on ‘what we believe’ and how it creates in our life.

Your conscious and the sub-conscious mind Your mind has two levels - the conscious (or rational) and the sub-conscious (or irrational). You think with your conscious mind and whatever you habitually think, sinks down into your sub-conscious mind..

“I can create my own reality …I can be a co-creator in our Company and not go with the flow of negativity, but believe trustingly, that when I work with goals, positive affirmations and visualisation, our dreams for the Company can come to pass – against all the odds!” And so… I call upon you to pay attention to what you put into your subconscious mind.

Your sub-conscious mind is the seat of your emotions and is also your creative mind. If you think good, positive and healthy thoughts, these will follow. Likewise, if you have negative and destructive thoughts. The law of the sub-conscious mind works for bad and for good alike.

You can change your current reality by changing your thoughts and always remember that the dominant area of your life and work, is what you have and keep in your sub-conscious mind. You and you alone can manage what you put into your subconscious mind. Lastly, keep the company of positive people.

Your sub-conscious mind accepts what is impressed upon it and what you consciously believe. It does not reason things out like your conscious mind, and it does not argue with you. Think about your sub-conscious mind as soil which accepts any kind of seed, good or bad.

Annie Coetzee – www.anniecoetzee.co.za Creative Brain Management South Africa More information in the News & Reviews page.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016



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rom award-winning PA to a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Teacher & Speaker. Tell us more... how did this come about?

I was a little girl when I realised that I had the desire to be on stage and teach. In 2011, John Maxwell announced that he was starting a new company, The John Maxwell Team. I met him for the first time when I was about 20 years old and he played a huge part as a mentor through his books ever since. I had no choice but to follow my passion and join his team! How did you feel when you launched it? Presenting my first seminar, submitting my chapter for the book I co-authored in the USA and being certified by John Maxwell, changed my life completely! How did it feel? Like passion and purpose. All people should experience this in their careers! I believe that if you are looking forward to Mondays as much as other people are looking forward to Fridays, you are most probably living your dream! What kind of message do you think this sends out to PAs as a whole?

Spotlight on the


The message I would like to send out to PAs, whether they read these words or look at my life is this: GROW INTO THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BECOME. It doesn’t matter what your dream is, it will die if you don’t nurture it and if you stagnate and stop growing yourself! Unless you have vision for your life, you will never move from where you are to where you are supposed to be. What kind of message does this send out to executive leaders about PAs? I hope that everyone, not just executives, will realise that no one has to stay where they are, unless they are living their dreams. And if they are living their dreams, they should still improve themselves continuously. This applies equally to executives and PAs. A great question to ask ourselves is this: “Is this as good as I am going to get, or am I going to get better?” Then the only thing left is to define what “better” looks like in your world. Now let’s focus on you: Tell us the most interesting thing about you.

In this issue we meet Debbie de Jager

I have an interesting bucket list. Yes, I have a lot of things that I want to do and places I would like to visit, but there are more names on my list than places or things. I love meeting inspiring people and learning from them. And I love aiming high when I write down names... What do you want out of life? SIGNIFICANCE. I want to live a life of significance for my family and for others. I’ve said this many times because it’s true: success is something selfish. It’s just yours. You can’t give it away. Significance is a life lived for others. It’s bigger than what success could ever be. Once you taste significance, success will never taste the same again! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Definitely some of my personality traits. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I’m working on it daily... Every hard-working PA must have an outlet. What do you do for fun? Other than just having fun with my husband and kids or relaxing at home, I love arts and crafts - sewing, beading & upholstery. In fact, you name a craft and I have probably tried it. I even recently made a proper cooler bag and three handbags. careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016



Organise Events THAT SPARKLE Organising an event or conference can be amazing, colourful, entertaining and educational if you are a guest. However as the Event Organizer (especially if you are new to the game!) can be stressful, overwhelming, and scary and can sometimes make you rather anxious. Corrie Fourie provides invaluable advice. Plan Successful events need a lot of planning; well in advance if possible. There are a myriad of things to consider, to research, to source, to budget for, to accommodate and to implement. The absence of a rough plan and timeline can cause any event to fail. An Excel spreadsheet where you can add detail as you proceed helps tremendously.

Location It is important to look for a venue that will be suitable for your audience but also for your budget. Traditional and typical venues such as conference centres, restaurants and tourism destinations often work well and are the easy way out. Sometimes you need to also think outside the box and consider using different spaces such as art galleries, outdoor gardens/spaces, working spaces, warehouses or even a private house with reception rooms and patio.

Branding If branding is required for your event, you need to consider what applications you will utilise to have your brand seen and remembered. There are standard, familiar applications such as logos on tables, AV screens and in printed format contained in the program; but also think of other fresh ideas such as lit-up letters, flowers, branded serviettes or even – unusual branded gifts.

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1 2 3 4 5

Know Your Audience Organising an event for your employer (or a family function) requires that you have a firm understanding of who your audience is. Knowing who the delegates (guests) are, will assist you in making key event decisions such as food & beverage requirements, entertainment solutions, key messages for the event, etc. You don’t want to be serving beef and pork at an event where delegates are mostly vegetarian

Social Media Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the three most common – but all have different requirements. A live Twitter feed at the event allows for live interaction throughout the event. Photo booths are a popular addition to an event and this with your Instagram account can help you increase followers and also gives guests a platform within which to relive the action. Facebook is a great tool to have in use before and after an event – it is a great platform for providing information in the lead up to your event and also a great place for a photo gallery post event – so guests can be tagged and remember the event well after the event has ended.


Teamwork Never underestimate the value of team work. If planning a big event you will need to work in a team, as some events are just too big to organise and implement on your own.

7 89

Delegate tasks to specific skills and strengths of individuals. It’s easier if you do have team members with previous experience in events organising. If however you are working with volunteers or other general staff members – strong direction, constructive feedback and appreciation is of utmost importance to ensure a successful event.

Breathe Event Managers are at number 8 – behind fire-fighters, police, military personnel and pilots - when it comes to the most stressful jobs! As an event organiser you often need to juggle multiple tasks and people, so learn to tune-out here and there and breathe. On many occasions CEOs and clients come to me minutes before the event starts in a mad panic about something or other - in most instances I can smile and ask them to relax. It certainly takes a particular personality to manage events and therefore it is no surprise that many previous Administrative Professionals move into event organising as a second career. My best advice would be to work alongside a Professional Events Organiser for some time to learn as much as possible from them whilst they are on the job.

Post Events

Always Have a Plan B Contingency plans are a must within the events industry. If you are planning an outdoor event and it rains – what do you do? If your venue calls you three days prior to your event and has double-booked – what do you do? If your photographer doesn’t turn up, or your caterer is late or even if the entertainer is down with flu – all of these can occur!. Always have a plan B ready.

Have Fun Most importantly, make time to have fun. Events can be stressful, lots of work and many underestimate exactly what goes into creating a well-executed event, so enjoy the process, appreciate the event and take time to reflect on the amazing work you have achieved.

10 11

Once all guests have gone home there is still a lot of work that needs to occur. Clean up and collect signage from the venue, do thank you letters, budget recons, social media follow ups, new business leads, debrief meetings and much more.


Keep all these items in your plan and ensure that you follow through on all the housekeeping once the event is over.

Remember Events are much more than booking a venue and organising food. They are in essence an extension of your marketing strategy. Events assist with communicating your message and can position your business to be front of mind with your key stakeholders and target audience. Events have the ability to ensure your customers remember you for more than just your product or service – they remember their experience and how you made them feel and these memories can last a lifetime. Your event needs to be special, integrated into your marketing messaging and deliver the right feelings and evoke the right emotions. For more information on Corrie Fourie see contributors page.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


work trends

Executive Assistant A STRATEGIC PARTNER The workplace as we knew a mere two decades ago has changed and I believe it will continue to do so at an even faster rate, so says Renzke le Roux.


orkplace trends will change and impact on your working environment, the business world and that of your Manager or Management Team.

Management will explore markets globally and develop new partnerships with other companies. Financial and economic realities will add pressure to investigate new business opportunities in existing markets. Cost models will be adapted continuously to ensure a company’s advantage over competitors. Managers will make strategic decisions to position a company correctly for future success. And all of this activity will be coordinated through the administrative staff. “Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.” – Oprah Winfrey

FORMING A PARTNERSHIP In all good partnerships both parties have a mutual appreciation for differences as well as for similarities and this creates a breeding ground for trust. Constant communication is another important ingredient in this relationship. Knowledge is indeed power - and when both parties are informed of the objectives and urgencies they can work together seamlessly. Executives who have a strong partnership with their assistant have already realised the value of this. Effective executives

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use EAs wisely in order for them to devote precious time to leadership, team-building and making important decisions that no one else can make. Delegating responsibilities is much more than “getting things done” – it is about partnering and building trust with an EA to elevate both the power of the Executive and his assistant. Cultivating mutual respect and a shared understanding of roles in this partnership is a top priority for senior executives. For executives to strengthen their effectiveness with their EA, it is essential to acknowledge the uniqueness of this relationship and how building a healthy bond of trust and loyalty will determine the results. It is now common for executives to ask their EAs to sit in on high level meetings and confidential negotiations. This not only provides insight and develops high level thinking, but also provides them with a better understanding of the company’s objectives and knowledge of the executive’s world. THINGS THAT PERSONAL ASSISTANTS DO BETTER THAN ANYONE! (The following is adapted from an article by Bonnie Low-Kramen, author of “Be the Ultimate Assistant”) 1. Professional PAs are flexible and often shift gears at a moment’s notice. 2. Professional PAs are adaptable and interact with all types of people and cultures - in person or over the phone.


WAYS TO BE IRREPLACEABLE AT WORK 1. Be willing to go above and beyond and get it right the first time round. 2. Be counted on to deliver. Take ownership for things that go wrong as well as right. 3. Develop an entrepreneurial spirit, but focus on projects that are in line with your company strategy and will make a difference to your company. 4. Be prepared to do more than expected. This is a commodity that will be appreciated. 5. Be available to assist co-workers when they run into a difficult situation, it will make you a dependable colleague and mentor.

3. Professional PAs have good Communication Skills as they are often the voice and ear of their executive. 4. Professional PAs understand priorities as they manage daily scheduling to provide the manager with more time for long-term planning and setting. 5. Professional PAs are master jugglers as they juggle dozens of visible and invisible “balls” so that no-one falls off schedule. 6. Professional PAs have Project Management Skills as they often help manage the moving parts that make up the big picture of a project. 7. Professional PAs are connected and use their networks to access info and services.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi

John William Gardners “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

6. Cultivate great relationships with your team. Celebrate their success, build morale and foster individual growth. 7. Be a thought leader by applying yourself in a way that provides new and valuable thinking. “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream reality.” – Walt Disney Sources: The content in this article has been used with permission of Bonnie Low-Kramen - an International Keynote Speaker, Instructor and Trainer. She is also a cofounder of New York Celebrity Assistants, wrote the bestselling Be the Ultimate Assistant, and wrote articles that have been published around the world. More information on Renzke le Roux on contributors page.

8. Professional PAs bring common sense to the table as they quickly stabilise a crisis by providing the necessary emotional support or the contacts required.

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healthy mind in a healthy body


nce Upon a Time there was a little girl with sparkly eyes and great expectations. Her name was Dorothy and the world was her oyster. Unknown to her were fear, pain, resentment, pressure, anxiety and the like. She lived in a house where love, possibility and happiness reigned. Her dreams endless, her hopes fearless and her future filled with mystery and excitement.

The Yellow Brick Road After matriculating, the tornado of life took her on the YELLOW BRICK ROAD. She received her ‘SILVER SHOES’ – her matric certificate and career guidance – from the GOOD WITCH OF THE NORTH. The Witch representing society, her family and those around her. She had a choice (There is always a choice!) - become an ordinary person or aim for the extraordinary: become a professional office assistant. With every consequences.




The scarecrows

written start with ‘Once Upon a

On her road to success she met SCARECROWS. The manager that arrives at work shrieking instructions and behaving in an unprofessional manner. Deadlines that forever change. Traffic to and from work that requires more time away from family resulting in less sleep and time to relax. Office gossip that impacted on how she felt and reacted. She gave them power. Similar to scarecrows that in reality cannot hurt she gave them the ‘power’ to influence her health and wellness. She was constantly faced with choices. Choices with the necessary consequences…

Time’. This story is no different

The Tin Men

My version of

The Wizard

of OZ “Most

of the great stories

with the focus on a healthy mind in a healthy body. As with all great stories, this story has more than one focal point. I would love to share with you both points at the same time but I am of the opinion that

Consider this for a moment. Those that truly care and give us advice, however perfect their intentions may be, can impact our ‘being’ in a drastically negative manner. Imagine if you were told to fear the dangers of heights: Could you ever represent your country in sports such as rock climbing or paragliding? So think: Which passion or truth have you sacrificed along the way because someone trampled on a goal of yours?

each point is vital and will lose

Dorothy chose to become an Office Professional that exudes excellence, to make a difference and leave a legacy. She worked hard, learned what deadlines meant; stress became part of her life and she strived continually to be better. She had to be the best.

the equally important point of

She was successful in the eyes of society. She excelled in her work, received accolades and praise from her peers and colleagues. She moved along the corporate ladder. Everything society expected. On the surface she was successful.

to arrive home, healthy and

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

quality and importance if this is done. Therefore, in this article I focus on the ‘mental/emotional’ side of Dorothy. In the winter edition of Career Success I will share with you the physical side. Both points will be necessary, will interlink and








importantly she will be able able to continue her passion to succeed without making unnecessary sacrifices.

Joanie Nel shares her story.

As the road continued her path crossed with TIN MEN. Society and the environment displaying ‘no heart’. The demand to be perfect and the constant pressure of perfection. There is no room allowed for being human. There is no room for error or emotion. Weakness or rather being human is not an option. Yet her road to success was never ending. A constant chase - after all this was the rat race of corporate life. This is normal. This is the box you have to tick. This is the pace you have to maintain. You want to climb the ladder. You want to be successful. You need to earn an income to provide for your needs and wants. You want to be recognised. You want…

The Cowardly Lion She continued on her yellow brick road and met the COWARDLY LION. The person inside that encourages insecurities, doubt, and fear and enforces the belief of not being good enough. All these replace reality. But the demand is forever there. Societal success must be achieved. Choices… with consequences. Soon the consequences of her choices was evident. Dorothy’s life was riddled with headaches, back-aches, stress, a weak immune system and a low self-esteem to

17 name but a few. The pace was fast and she ran the race. Society said this life is not for sissies and surely she was no sissy. Her passion to be successful far more important than the consequences of sacrificing her health and wellness. She became the expert on the surface while sacrificing her core. Society was proud of her. Society being the TIN MAN without a heart focused on the success and not the human. Who was she to question? She just had to perform, to succeed, no matter what the cost to herself.

But how does return HOME?


Home, the place where she can surround herself with possibility, happiness and still be successful! How can she reach the balance between success and still have a healthy mind and body? After all, do all fairytales not end with a “And they lived happily ever after”? For someone that believes in fairytales, they do. It is however the choices we make that influences our outcome. I return now to the year 2016 and it is time to take Dorothy home, at least from an emotional perspective. Do you have the courage to take “your Dorothy“ home? Do you believe it is possible to change your direction? Do you have what it takes to succeed at the end of the day and at what cost to yourself? If you answer yes to the above, take a mirror in your hand, look inside and ask, what I believe to be the most important questions. •



• •


I believe it was Mark Twain who said that the two most important days in your life

are the day you are born and the day you find out why! Each person is born with amazing power, untapped power that most people never get to discover. Simply because they may never have the courage or need to challenge the current reality. One of my mentors said once “Live your life in such a way that when you are born you cry and others laugh. But when you die let others cry and you laugh”. He explained that your life is a miracle and you are given an opportunity to make a difference, live a life of significance and make a difference to leave a legacy behind. Most people when they face this question will have to admit that between the periods that they were born to this moment, they sacrificed themselves, their health and also their wellness in a desperate chase. A chase to something called Success defined by the Tin Men of life. In the words of Bessie Anderson Stanley, author of the poem Success: “He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much. Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children. Who

has filled his niche and accomplished his task. Who never lacked appreciation for earth’s beauty or failed to express it. Who has left the world better than he found it. Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul. Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had. Whose life was an inspiration. Whose memory a benediction”. In asking this question as to who we were born to be, and where we are today ,we discover the reality and define the HOW and WHAT to move forward to align our destiny. IF I AM NOT TODAY WHAT I WAS BORN TO BE WHAT CAN I CHANGE? The importance of action after your new found discovery is as important as the discovery in itself. continued on next page

• the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why! mark twain

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


healthy mind in a healthy body

continued from previous page

There are steps one can take •

Establish your YELLOW BRICK ROAD: Get a book and pen down what is important to you. Remember this is a ‘LIVE’ document and should be used on a daily basis in order for it to be successful. It should be your map to ensure your road is aligned with your destination.

Discover your TOTO: Write down your values - your core values. They should constantly guide you, align you to your goal. It assists in prioritising and determining your life.

Give your SCARECROW A BRAIN: Define your true self. That what is real to you and in the Universe. Discover and determine who you are responsible to and who you are responsible for. Much of our stress in life is caused by us trying to control and take responsibility for everything that happens in our life. Can you control time, traffic or the weather? No! Accept that you are not the GM of the Universe.

Give your TIN MAN A HEART: Write down each day the things that you are grateful for. In addition, write down what you have done or said to make a difference in someone else’s life. Become the change you wish to see.

Give your COWARDLY LION COURAGE: Write down SMART Goals and HOW you will achieve them. Record your progress in your YELLOW BRICK ROAD. Avoid the negative self-talk. Be courageous and identify the areas in your life that requires improvement. Remember to keep it real.

Include more GOOD Witches OF THE EAST in your life: Surround yourself with positive individuals. Obtain a mentor that is honest, direct and yet human. Share your thoughts and experiences with your network of friends and family with good vibes but also share your feelings and be honest. Remember that mistakes are not your enemy but rather your text book.

Do not stop until you find your WIZARD: Evaluate your health and wellness constantly. Never stop growing, changing and developing yourself to become the person that you were born to be. Focus on your individuality.

HOW DOES THIS INFLUENCE MY HEALTH & WELLNESS? It is futile to try and eliminate the ‘characters’ that negatively influence your life, your wellness and your health. Identify the real powers of the Scarecrows, Lions and Tin Men in your life. Work at finding ways on how to turn the fears, the stress, the anxiety to your advantage? Work on your self-worth! It is your most precious asset But as mentioned right in the beginning taking Dorothy home will also require physical attention. I will be writing on this soon… More information on Joanie Nel on the contributors page.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


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careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


career feature



The are things you should never sacrifice for your job 3. SANITY




careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

A job that is taking only a portion of our sanity is taking more than its entitled to.



study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sick. Even worse, 44% of us check work email while on vacation. Travis Bradberry of Inc. in an article titled :The 6 Things You Should Never Sacrifice for Your Job - No Matter What says that a study has shown that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours produces a prolonged stress response, which the researchers named “telepressure”. This prolonged state of stress is terrible for your health. She says that we need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to our employer and what belongs to us, and us only. Travis Bradberry elaborates on this by listing six things we should never sacrifice for the sake of our Job. In this article we summarise her advice.

Don’t sacrifice your HEALTH If we allow stress to build up, lose sleep, and sit all day without exercising, this all adds up - Before we know it, we’re rubbing our aching back with one hand and our zombielike eyes with the other, and we’re looking down at your newly acquired belly.


We need to really think about taking walks during lunch, not working weekends, taking holidays and breaks as scheduled. We also need to make a work plan, and stick to it no matter what.


Don’t sacrifice your FAMILY

How many of us are guilty of letting our family suffer for our work. For many of us it’s because we see our jobs as a means of maintaining our family. We need to pay for school fees or extramurals or a year-end holiday. These are well-intentioned goals but they can cost and cause the biggest debt of all—a lack of quality time with our loved ones. As the wise say: “When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t remember how much money you made for your spouse and kids. You’ll remember the memories you created with them”.


Don’t sacrifice your SANITY

For some of us, it’s life outside work that keeps us sane. This is a danger sign. A job that takes even a small portion of our sanity is taking more than it’s entitled to. Working hours are “working” hours. There are reasonable exceptions, but that’s it. If asked to work beyond normal working hours regularly, you need to say “no”. Your boss is not responsible for your sanity. You are.

Don’t 1 sacrifice your IDENTITY We are the our

our identity, it’s dangerous to allow our work to become our whole identity. Describing ourselves needs to take our whole being: Mother/ Father, sister/brother, wife/husband, daughter/son, amateur florist/singer, jogger, friend, PA.

Don’t 1 sacrifice your CONTACT Some of our ‘contacts’ are ours and ours only. We may feel that we can share some with our employer but not at the risk of losing friends. Our private database is as sacred as our employer’s one.


Don’t sacrifice your INTEGRITY

Sacrificing our integrity causes massive amounts of stress. When what is truly important for our emotional and mental health is no longer in alignment with what we need to do at work, it’s time to make a move or to part ways. (Examples of people not wanting to sell their souls have appeared in SA media recently.) In conclusion: Says Travis: “Success and fulfillment often depend upon your ability to set good boundaries. Once you can do this, everything else just falls into place.” Source: www.themuse.com

‘are’ not the work we ‘do’. We human beings with a life beyond walls of our workplace. While work is an important part of

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

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Coaching by Michele Thwaits



I will be starting a new job as a PA. I have never worked in a formal corporate environment before and I’m feeling very nervous right now. What sort of questions should I be asking on my first day of work? In other words, what information should I know, or have ready with me when I start work?


Going to work for the first time can be daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Well, be prepared as much as you can be the night before so that you can get a good night’s sleep and ready to strut your stuff the next morning. ►► Pick out your favourite outfit Most women (including myself) would want to go out and get a really nice outfit to start off in. Remember, it is your first day. A new pair of shoes, could have you end up with blisters which is painful and uncomfortable and if you have a new outfit, the label could be scratchy or a jersey could be itchy. To avoid all this possible distraction, choose an outfit which is simple, professional and one that you feel comfortable and confident in. Put it out the night before so that you don’t need to think about it when rushing around the next morning. ►► Be prepared for the first day Go through the job description and work breakdown to get an idea of what is expected of you. Being familiar with what needs to be done will also help. If you haven’t done this before, go online and read about the company. ►► Don’t get to work on time That’s right. Get there extra early. Better too early than late and having to sound out of breath and flustered when you arrive. ►► Be confident They liked you the first time they met you and offered you the job. Confidence is a key quality for career success. Once you feel comfortable in your role, you will eventually find a way to improve processes or do your job better, smarter and more efficiently. And tell your manager what you think will enhance your work

too – they will see someone who is dedicated to their job and keen to make a difference to the company. ►► Importance of admin On your first day you are going to be given many forms to complete for HR to have an updated record on their files. So make sure you take along your bank details, copy of your ID, proof of residence or address details, etc. ►► Listen as well as talk Einstein said that you don’t learn anything whilst talking. Listening allows you to learn as much as possible in the first few weeks. After that you will be able to get on with the tasks at hand in the right way. ►► Be organised Managing your time is important. If you have managed to stick to deadlines before in a less formal office environment, then you have a fair idea of how important it is to plan your time. Finish one task at a time in order of priority. ►► When the going gets tough, the tough get going Tackle the tough and difficult jobs first. Prioritise your regular/everyday tasks – this is important to being effective. ►► Look after your health Keep fit and exercise regularly if you can. Work life can be challenging, so start our day out right. Eat a good healthy breakfast, something that will keep you going till lunch time. Go for a walk at lunchtime, get some fresh air, step away from your desk and stop thinking about work for that hour. ►► Find a mentor Keep your eyes out for that person (colleague or manager) who will be a good mentor. A good mentor will encourage you, be the person you discuss your ideas with and who will probably be instrumental in guiding you and helping you advance in your career. When you want someone to be your mentor, explain to them why you want them to mentor you and how you would like them to help you. ►► Enjoy your job! And show it. careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


international gurus

Meet Lucy Brazier Lucy Brazier was in Johannesburg earlier this year heading her Executive Secretary Live conference. Michele Thwaits speaks to Lucy.


ucy Brazier is the CEO of Marcham Publishing which publishes Executive Secretary Magazine. She works with the best trainers of Executive Assistants from around the world to deliver the most up to date and

current training in the market. Her passion is for the Assistant role to be truly recognised as the Business Partnership that champions the individual and the company/people they work with. Her formidable training expertise and speaking style have given her opportunities to train, present and Chair in over 40 countries at over 400 events including Chairing the 2015 World Administrator Summit in Papua New Guinea. This has created much needed discussions to encourage Executive Assistants in Blue Chip companies to work towards becoming a centre of excellence within their company, and college students to see the Assistant role as proper profession with a career path. Lucy runs a LinkedIn group for assistants which currently has over 42,000 international members who share information, network and learn.

1. Why did you choose to go into publishing for the Secretarial/ Administrators market? In 2003, I was doing PR for about 6 months on a freelance basis. To cut a long story short, this led to a lunch meeting with the then owner of a subscription newsletter that circulated widely in the UK to senior Assistants. She had been running it since 1993 and was ready to retire. After several conversations, she asked me if I would like to take it over. I agreed and ran it for several years as just a newsletter, but always in the back of my head, had the idea that I would like to re-launch it as a global training publication, complete with a website and events. Over the next seven years, I got to know the market properly. The more I researched it, the more it became obvious that there was a real gap in the market. Assistants all over the world were crying out for solid, inspirational training. The opportunity came in 2011, when I was made redundant and was finally able to afford to launch Executive Secretary properly.

2. Why you are so passionate about this particular profession? Shortly after I launched the magazine, I was invited to speak at my first event for Assistants. I suddenly realised that this was

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

25 25% felt they were trusted most of the time and only 6% felt they influenced business decisions all the time.



out their Assistant


trust their Assistant’s judgement in making business decisions on their behalf


of employers surveyed believed they


of employers surveyed believed they could of the bosses saw their Assistant’s contribution as equivalent to their management team

a group of predominantly women (98%) that were undervalued and underpaid. Since the recession the role has changed completely. Assistants picked up so much of what the middle management were doing but for a lot less money and usually with no training. This realisation set me on a path of campaigning that has taken me to over 40 countries in the last five years to get Assistants to understand how the role has changed and to value their contribution to their businesses. Last year we did two pieces of really important research. It has been ten years since there was an in-depth piece of research on the Assistant role. Of course part of the reason for this was the recession – who wants to invest to get doom and gloom results? But the drought is over and we were lucky enough to work with both Avery and Hays Secretarial and PA Recruitment on two really useful pieces of research in the last few months.

Not only that but a massive 70% of Assistants do not have any form of Career Development Plan – a fact that I found horrifying. It would seem to me that as long as employers overlooked the importance of career planning for their Assistants, they risked increasing levels of underperformance and ultimately lost some of their most talented, valued and capable employees. And if you look at Avery’s results, you can see very clearly how valuable Assistants are. In contrast to Hays’ focus on hard skills, the Avery research looked at numerous factors of working life including Assistants’ personality traits, stress levels, responsibilities as well as their IQ, qualifications and emotional intelligence levels, comparing each aspect to the rest of the working population. The results were striking. All of the study’s findings pointed towards a very special set of skills that are evident in Assistants, that help them succeed in the role. The survey showed that Assistants have a far stronger ability to handle stress and remain positive about work than their colleagues. With as high an IQ as their fellow office workers, an off-the-charts EQ and an achievement-striving nature, theirs is a powerful combination for the corporate world. In many ways it is the ideal skillset for business.

The results have just been released and the questions that they raised have far-reaching implications right across the profession.

This survey proves that Assistants are dedicated, loyal, diligent and savvy – in many cases, much more so than other members of staff who receive significantly more recognition, training and remuneration. It raises questions that must be addressed by the businesses that are happy to utilise the Assistants’ unique traits evident in the results of this survey, but don’t choose to invest in personal development or provide appropriate career progression with the associated pay increases for their administrative staff.

The full reports are both available, and I am fascinated by what the results taken in tandem show.

Both surveys stand alone with fascinating results that used properly will have a genuine impact on the profession.

Hays’ research looked at career development and key skills, management and leadership. As well as asking Assistants their opinions, they also surveyed their Executives and the results were startling. 87% of employers surveyed believed they could not do their job as effectively without their Assistant and 62% of the bosses saw their Assistant’s contribution as equivalent to their management team or higher (in fact 1 in 10 bosses rated them as equivalent to a Director in the business). And whilst over 70% trust their Assistant’s judgement in making business decisions on their behalf – 45% most of the time, and 18% all of the time, there was a huge perception gap as these figures were much lower from the Assistant’s point of view – just

3. Please share how Executive Secretary Live South Africa went and what you experienced having it here. We already run LIVE in London and Dubai, but this inaugural event in Johannesburg was incredibly special. Even before we arrived in South Africa, the excitement was palpable. Most of our speakers had never been to Africa before and were hugely excited to do so. Likewise, the delegates had never experienced this level of speakers - they are quite simply the rock stars of the PA profession and the creme de la creme of the world’s trainers for Assistants.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


global campaign



Let us create better workplaces for ourselves, and a better world for us all


Global Understanding

PAFSA Launches a global campaign this autumn titles “Global Understanding� for PAs, EAs and Admins worldwide

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

27 Secondly, because we are the “face” and “voice” for many organisations (corporates; factories, small businesses, government) and so we can truly make a mark by being the first to live the “attitude” and “mindset” of global understanding. Q: So what do you mean by propagating this message of Global Understanding? CV. Global Understanding is the most beautiful and profound goal to adopt. They say “Charity begins at home”. Likewise global understanding. But where we can make it have a big and immediate impact is at our places of work – because amongst our colleagues, our bosses, our stakeholders, our clients, our suppliers, our communities, are people of different cultures and belief systems; of different races and different lifestyles. Accepting the right of others to have their culture and religion and lifestyle is the most significant achievement of adulthood, and of goodwill for all mankind Q: But how does all this translate into everyday living at work? CV. By arriving at work every day with an open mind and an open heart. Speaking to people in a way that values them – whether they are next to you or in another country. Showing that you are a Human Being Without Borders.

This campaign is led by Chelene Venter South Africa’s PA of the Year®. Follow this campaign on facebook page: IYOTSA and Beyond

Global Understanding means looking at people who speak differently, dress differently, follow different customs, pray to different entities, listen to different music, eat different food, with eyes that say: “You are a child of the Universe no less than the trees and the stars

Q: How did the idea for Global Understanding come about? CV. There were two catalysts: Firstly, PAFSA wanted again to unite the world of PAs, EAs, Secretaries and Admins around a campaign of relevance, after it had done so in ‘International Year of the Secretary and Assistant (IYOTSA) in 2014 and in 2015 the international Year of Light. The second catalyst was this year’s International Year of Global Understanding. We felt that the concept of Global Understanding was powerful – and should be adapted and adopted by the secretarial and Admin profession. Q: Why the Secretarial and Admin profession as a community to live this campaign and be the ambassadors for it? CV. For two obvious reasons: Firstly, there are more secretaries and admins in the world than in any other profession, and they are found in just about every workplace! Therefore, we are the most powerful constituency to spread a message of goodwill.

You have a right to be here” If your eyes do that two magical things will happen: What comes out your mouth, will be humane; and your ears will be open to listening without judgement. And even when they are not present so that you can “look” at them, your mind’s eyes can do that. Think of this: How do you feel when people of different cultures embrace you as an equal? How do you feel when you can be yourself and free of any fear of discrimination? How do you feel when people show they value your opinion or insight? You feel like a million dollars! You look at those who embrace you with a glowing heart. Well, that is how ‘others’ will feel when you do the same to them.

continued on next page careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


global campaign

continued from previous page

Q: What do you expect from secretarial associations worldwide?

Q: Can you unpack your thoughts a little more…

CV. What we would like is for secretarial associations worldwide to spread this message of global goodwill to their members and to have it imbue their events etc.

CV. Yes. Consider this: How many nationalities or language groups do you come into contact with daily? Do you use the same tone and warmth to every single one? Or do you show less patience and less friendliness to those who sound (or look) different?

In other words to mark 2016 as the year that secretaries and admins did their bit to construct better workplaces for all mankind.

Tough one isn’t it! Sometimes we are not even aware of it – but we show more warmth to those who are like us!

CV. Yes we have two: Desiderata, and the song Reach Out and Touch by Diana Ross

Today, we live in a world where many of the people we come into contact with in the street where we live, the shops we buy from, the sports club we belong to, are of a different nationality to ours! This is replicated at our organisations – we are the generation of a true global village. Whether you are based in Paris or New York; Amsterdam or Auckland; London or Dubai; Beijing or Delhi, you are in a multi-national space. Your clients could be based anywhere! Live lifestyles that are completely foreign to you. Reach out and make them feel valued – with every contact you have with them. And the nicest bit is this: Learn to greet them in their language! When you send them a mail, also greet them in their language when relevant; End off in their language when relevant; wish them happy birthday in their language etc. This shows you care but above all shows your respect. Also find out when it’s their national days or religious days and send a special message. Just like Christians appreciate being wished a Merry Christmas so will other religions appreciate similar good wishes.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

Q: How are you going to keep the communication flow going? CV. We will be using our Facebook page IYOTSA and Beyond as well as our newsletters and magazine Career Success. Q: Do you have any symbols or resources we can use for our events?

Diana Ross – Reach Out & Touch Lyrics Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand Make this world a better place If you can Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand Make this world a better place If you can (Just try) Take a little time out of your busy day To give encouragement To someone who’s lost the way (Just try) Or would I be talking to a stone If I asked you To share a problem that’s not your own We can change things if we start giving Why don’t you Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand Make this world a better place If you can Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand Make this world a better place If you can (Just try) If you see an old friend on the street And he’s down Remember his shoes could fit your feet

(Just try) Try a little kindness you’ll see It’s something that comes very naturally We can change things if we start giving Why don’t you Reach out and touch Why don’t you (Why don’t you) Reach out and touch somebody’s hand Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand Make this world a better place If you can Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand Make this world a better place If you can


Desiderata Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. You can listen to the Desiderata on youtube.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


grooming feature

Dress for success no matter your shape

Not all of us are Barbiedoll look-a-likes, nor do we aspire to so be. However, for those of us who are fuller, it can present some grooming challenges if we don’t know how best to buy and co-ordinate a professional and stylish look. Hayley Joy Weinberg shares some tips.


eing a Plus-size woman presents many challenges, and none more challenging than dressing for the office. At my first job, there was a dress code and I remember being mortified. How was I going to fit my Plus-size body into a pencil skirt and short jacket? Three decades ago, I had no choice; there was nothing available in Plussizes, let alone anything stylish and comfortable for the office. These days, it’s different. There are local designers who focus solely on plus-size fashion and work-wear, which is great news! Having said that, here are a few handy tips to bear in mind when dressing for the office, no matter your shape.

STYLE Try and find plus-size styles that fit in with your company’s corporate identity. If your company has employed a stylist, you should have a one-on-one chat with this person and make sure you communicate your requirements, otherwise horror of horrors, that corporate suit will arrive too small, and if not too small, probably illfitting. If a tailored jacket is required, it must be specified that it needs to be lengthened, preferably to well below the hip. It must also fasten comfortably across the bust, without straining, and that goes for all blouses as well. There’s nothing worse, careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

as a plus-size woman, in spending the day being self-conscious about popping buttons. If you are able to wear your own clothes, then it’s just about co-ordinating the colours so that they are compatible. Start off by buying key pieces that you can mix and match. For jackets, pants and skirts, choose basic colours like black, navy, chocolate brown and dark grey. You can then add pops of colour in the form of camisoles, blouses, sleeveless gilets, and accessories like scarves. Pitfalls of choosing bad styles: •

Buttons popping

Having to pull a top (that’s too short) down the whole day

Styles that creep up all day, so that you spend the day pulling a top, that’s too short, down.

Sore, swollen feet uncomfortable shoes



Advantages of buying well-fitting styles: •

Look professional

Feel confident

Look and feel like you fit into the company by wearing clothing that compliments you and garners compliments from your fellow workers


FABRIC In today’s ever evolving world of fabric, there are some incredibly innovative fabrics on the market, so the number one priority for fabric choice should be for fabric with a generous amount of stretch in them. Stretch fabrics are comfortable to wear, extremely forgiving and are better suited to plus-sizes due to their fluidity. Stay away from rigid fabrics that have no give. Preferably, try stretch linens, stretch cottons and if allowed, wonderful, comfortable, forgiving, ITY spandex - otherwise known as Bon-Bon, this is the fabric that I have found to be the greatest success for all plus-size styles. One of its main advantages is that it doesn’t crease. It also comes in a variety of beautiful colours. If you are allowed to wear prints, this weight is perfect for camisoles and jackets, so a subtle black and white print, in a twinset, is the perfect work wear two piece. You are also able to split the two up, and wear the printed cami under a plain black jacket, and the printed jacket over a plain black cami. Add to that well-fitting black straight leg pants or a black skirt, and that’s already three days out of the five day work week taken care out of. A very important tip is to wash all your dark colours only in cold water, and to never hang them in the direct sun to dry. This will avoid the colours fading and will prolong their shape for longer.

FIT Finding well-fitting plus-size work wear is a constant challenge. My advice to women who aren’t able to choose their own work wardrobe is to ensure the provider/stylist understands the issues around your body. Explain yourself clearly, and explain why you want a longer length, or a looser fit. That way you have a better chance of receiving pieces that you can actually wear. By choosing a looser fit, you make sure that you can be seated comfortably in the style. Once fitted, sit down in the outfit and test it out, because we all need to take into account that we expand sideways when we sit, so select styles that are able to expand with your shape. Remember… When selecting your work wear, the number one factor to bear in mind is that you are going to be spending a minimum of eight hours in these pieces. Choose them for comfort first and foremost. The difference to your working day, if you do it comfortably, will enable you to perform at a much more productive level.

There are local designers who focus solely on plus-size fashion and work-wear, which is great news!

For more information on Hayley Joy Weinberg see contributors page.

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


meet a pafsa member

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Can we start with a little background information? Where are you from?

I was born and schooled in Johannesburg South where I “cut my teeth” in our profession before moving to the Western Cape in 1998 at the age of 33. How and why did you become Administrative professional?

We welcome Sharon Künnemann To PAFSA and we get to know her better



I literally fell into this amazing profession. My second appointment was as a Junior Administration Assistant at an insurance company reporting to a female Administration Manager who in turn reported to the MD who did not have a secretary. Upon proving my work ethic and under her guidance I was appointed Secretary to the MD at the tender age of 21


Briefly, describe a typical day at your office?

My day starts with a cup of good old java! E-mail is next, prioritising from the most important to the least. Looking at task lists to ascertain whether feedback has been received and follow-ups required. My COO’s diary is important and I check it three weeks in advance to plan his trips and ensure that all the relevant documentation required for each trip is on hand. Travel plans for the feed mills sometimes change on a daily basis, so this is always on my to-do list.


What inspires and motivates you?

People – from the great athletes at the Special Olympics who show what can be achieved with perseverance and belief in yourself, to those who need motivation and inspiration. I draw extreme courage from those who do not let an unfortunate past influence their future. To motivate and inspire can be done in so many ways. It is not always possible to provide advice but sometimes just listening, makes people realise they are not alone. Zig Ziglar – “You don’t build a business – you build people – and then people build the business.”


What have been the highlights of your career so far and why? My first highlight was being appointed Secretary to the

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016



How do you relax and de-tress?

MD of a big insurance company at the tender age of 21. At 25 I was responsible for imports and warehousing at a smaller company in addition to looking after the Executive team of five from the Chairman to the Sales Director. I am currently involved with Corporate Social Investment supporting very deserving, lesser known charities. These highlights are only a drop in my very full bucket and have taught me that hard work, perseverance and integrity always pays off.


What industry are you in?

I am in the animal feed manufacturing industry and what an exciting industry this is. It is quite amazing how much planning, effort, loyalty and dedication goes into feeding cows, sheep, pigs and chickens! The loyalty and dedication at the feed mill in Paarl speaks for itself with staff long services ranging from 20 to 45 years.


Who has had the most influence in your life? Mentor?

This accolade definitely goes to my late Mother, better known to me as Moeksie. She was widowed at the age of 29 and raised three daughters (12, 10 and 1) on her own. She taught me to be confident yet humble and always to care for my fellow human being. This is where my passion for people comes from which I feel is a must in our profession, as the Office Professional in most instances is basically the “mother” who keeps the “family” together.

I love reading! There is nothing better than curling up with a good book to relax and leave the hectic world outside for a while. To de-stress I visit Tom Ro Haven for abused horses. A bag or two of carrots to feed straight from the palm of my hand and the love I feel from these amazing animals feeds my soul.


What gives ‘light ‘to your life? To your being?

Maya Angelou – “People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. However, they will never forget HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL!” This is what gives light to my being, inherited from my Moeksie! She was the most caring person and always willing to share. To quote Moeksie when I was feeling down – “Chin up my girl – no matter how hard you feel your life is, you are so fortunate because I am your mother and I love you unconditionally.” It is so humbling to make a difference in someone’s life – no matter how small.

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What is the most challenging or daring thing you have ever done? Why?

The most challenging thing I have ever done is having done a bicycle tour in my late twenties which took me and three friends from Tsitsikamma to Cape Town. It was a spur of the moment decision with no training and I have always had a “healthy” pair of hips! We cycled approximately 70kms every day no matter what type of weather conditions we woke up to. The beautiful little “off the beaten track” towns, the interesting people we met along the way and the incredible experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.

For more info visit www.pafsa.co.za

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016



Going Virtual The ’not so new’ age of Virtual Assistance, by Shirwyn Weber



have always been fascinated with the idea of being able to work from home but still do the work I enjoy doing, so late last year before a professional move I contemplated working as a Virtual Assistant. In South Africa, this job is not as popular as elsewhere in the world. In this article I will go into some detail regarding this role and what it’s all about.

What is a Virtual Assistant? Well, it’s like having your very own secretary or assistant that won’t necessarily have to work from your office or workplace; and you can just hire one on an hourly rate, as and when you need their services. The idea of having secretarial or admin support offsite, known as Virtual Assistance was first introduced in America in the late 1990’s. Soon it took off in Canada and then the rest of the world followed. It initially involved an admin type worker, working remotely and completing admin type tasks for an employer. This has moved dramatically as the type of jobs available on the internet for a Virtual Assistant has exploded and expanded. You can now hire almost any type of worker needed for any type of job. The typical Virtual Assistant can have a variety of backgrounds. Skills that are sought after by employers are Administrative and Executive Assistant, Web Design, Data Entry, Office Manager and transaction coordinators just to name a few.

Are VAs professionals for hire or small business owners? Virtual Assistants can be either self-employed and careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016

work on their own, or they can work for a Virtual Assistant placement agency. These agencies have become popular with employers as the overheads of having someone in your building using facilities are cut drastically, despite the increasing costs of hiring a VA.

Qualities of a VA? There are a variety of reasons why the VA can outshine a regular employee but below are those most commonly reported from employers. •

High level of skill and or education

Cheaper than hiring a regular employee

No need to provide office space

Communication and accountability are instant.

By doing some digging into why one would hire a VA, I made the following conclusions as to why some types of business owners or offices of professionals (like architects, accountants, tour operators etc) would hire a VA. If you ever consider becoming a VA, look at the situation through the eyes of your future “employer”. ►► VAs allow them to make more time to concentrate on the business A VA allows the business person more time to fосuѕ оn еѕtаblіѕhіng the buѕіnеѕѕ and gеnеrаtіng revenue. The VA takes care of office tasks and admin etc thus freeing up the executive to concentrate on clients and so forth. ►► VAs cut costs Savings are in the form of paying for the time the VA works, and there are no benefits, lunch breaks, leave to have to consider.

35 ►► Saving on space Business owners can reduce the size of office space needed to accommodate all staff by outsourcing the everyday tasks, and even those that need specialised skills. This once again cuts down the overheads of the business and allows for growth.

New Release for PAs!

►► Sourcing the right person for the task / work The hiring of the VA is much easier than a full-time PA, and allows freedom of choice and change. ►► Increased productivity The VA gets the job done within the timelines provided. Multiple tasks requiring simultaneous delivery is a challenge that can be overcome by hiring more than one VA. (Using a Virtual Assistant can shave hours from an executive’s workweek, although in the beginning it may take a while to get a grip on which tasks to delegate to the VA.)

Economy and carbon footprint

Get your

The economic climate worldwide, in recent years, has caused a number of highly skilled individuals to lose their jobs. This caused a shift in the Virtual work paradigm as a significant number of laid-off workers have turned into freelancers and Virtual Assistants.

copy now

More and more experienced professionals are cutting down on travel and offer their abilities while working from home. Some companies are even offering this to their employees as a lifestyle option which also reduces the carbon footprint as there are less cars on the road.

for only R125.00

on CD! (inclusive of vat and postage)

The Best Practice

If you think that you would like to look into this for the immediate or long-term future, then you need to take time to research the opportunities matched to your skills. In 2012, the Intelligent Virtual Assistant Market was valued at 352 million US dollars. By 2019, it is expected to reach 2,126.4 million US dollars in value, growing at an average growth rate of 30.6%.

Manual for PAs and

Showing us that the use of the Virtual Assistant is the way of the future, it’s something you can try out if you are unemployed and have the necessary skills, computer and an internet connection.

gives you

Below is a list of the most active sites for VA’s, go check them out and see if this is for you. www.virtualassistants.com www.flexjobs.com www.virtualassistantjobs.com www.vanetworking.com www.elance.com For more information on Shirwyn Weber see contributors page.

Admin Assistants

everything - and more on how to best perform as a PA vist www.pafsa.co.za to get full information on contents. Order your copy be emailing us on admin@pafsa.co.za

careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016


last page

Test your

Wits and have Fun If you are in a dark room with a candle, a wood stove and a gas lamp. You only have one match, so what do you light first?


My timpani play a rhythmic song, With hammer on anvil I play along. Down my canal no ship sets course, And I have a stirrup that fits no horse. What am I?



What kind of room has no windows or doors?


What letter of the alphabet has got lots of water?


Which letter of the alphabet is always trying to find reasons?


What letter of the alphabet is always waiting in order?

Answers Puzzle 1: The match. Puzzle 2: An ear. Puzzle 3: A mushroom. Puzzle 4: The “C” (sea). Puzzle 5: “y” (why?”). Puzzle 6: The “Q” (queue). Source: www.brainbashers.com careersuccess magazine issue 1 2016




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Profile for Lazuli Communications

Careersuccess 1 2016  

CareerSuccess Magazine - a magazine for PA, Secretaries, admin assistants and office managers

Careersuccess 1 2016  

CareerSuccess Magazine - a magazine for PA, Secretaries, admin assistants and office managers