Page 1

for administrative & office professionals

Volume 26 Issue 1

Meet PAs who make a difference! Your important dates for 2013

PLUS Toolkit for Green Office Week 2013

Rediscover fun at work

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Contributors to this Edition

Editorial Director Ana-Maria Valente anamaria@dictum.co.za Publication Co-ordinator Queenie Masiza-Sangweni queenie@dictum.co.za Admin/Advertising Director Ornella Trinco ornella@dictum.co.za Advertising/Marketing Marlene Bilewitz & Associates careersuccess@dictum.co.za Head: Finance & HR Guida Morais finance@dictum.co.za Subscriptions & Client Liaison Thandi Mtshali subs@dictum.co.za Graphic Design Iviwe Masiza Dictum Design and Digital design@dictum.co.za Printing United Litho, Bert Groenewald, Tel: (011) 402 0571

The Company 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

Ruth tearle is an international strategy and change management consultant and author. Visit the Change Designs website on http://www.changedesigns.net for more articles, practical tools and motivation.

Teri wells has worked as an Executive PA for the Chairman and CEO of the JD Group for the past 20 years. As the PA of the Year 2012/13, Teri is the Head of the Academy of Excellence Committee of PAFSA

Carmen cara is an Executive PA to Finance Director for Old Mutual Service Techonology Administration as well as the Executive PA to CIO for Old Mutual Emerging Markets – Africa. In 2011 she was a finalist of NOPOTY. From 2008-2012 she was the Chairperson to the PA association of Old Mutual. Currently she is actively involved in an initiative started up by herself namely Growing Green. She also an EXCO member of PAFSA. Susan engelbrecht is the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Discovery Health. She joined Discovery in 2001. During her 32 years of working experience she broadened her knowledge and skill. Susan has written three articles for CareerSuccess Magazine and completed her FET certification in Business Administration through Siyanqoba Seminars. Susan was a finalist in the NOPOTY in 2005 and runner-up in 2009. She chairs the PAFSA Presidents Committee and form part of the Academy of Excellence. Felicity burnett was Secretary of the Year for 1989/1990 and is a tender and contracts practitioner with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from UNISA. She is also certified as a Competent Toastmaster (CTM) and enjoys facilitating, working with and speaking to groups and individuals about personal growth and leadership.

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.


ColleEn Mansoor is the President of the FriendsCup. She holds the position of Marketing Assistant/PA/ Office Manager for PSG Asset Management Life, Illovo. Contact her on colleen.mansoor@psgam.co.za


ED's MEMO Time to shine! I cannot put into words the true excitement we feel at our offices! If you saw the 6 March edition of The Star Workplace you will have read that we have just launched 2014 as the International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant. PAFSA (our Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants) observed that in 1984 such an international celebration was organised by a US based secretarial body known as PSI (now IAAP) and that 2014 would mark the 30th anniversary of this celebration. PAFSA decided that this anniversary should be celebrated! So we started by contacting close to 100 secretarial associations worldwide to inform them that PAFSA, from South Africa, would like and intends to organise an international celebration of the profession in 2014. Our second step was to set up a task team to head this initiative and appointed Anel Martin, Charlotte MasseyHicks and Audetta Skosana to the job – all three are Academy of Excellence members. The Academy is a faculty of PAFSA . But this is not all… Another of PAFSA’s committees, the President’s Committee, whose members are all heads in-house PA Forums, has just launched a fully comprehensive toolkit on “How to set up and sustain an in-house PA Forum! The chair of this committee, Susan Engelbrecht says:” Experience has shown that in-house forum heads often feel like lone islands. Sharing problem-solving of running a successful forum will go a long way to increase productivity and efficiency. Our vision is that this Manual will encourage professional administrators to passionately grow the profession by sharing knowledge through resourceful networks. We are passionate about our profession and want to continue promoting it!” This toolkit is now available online at PAFSA’s website: www.pafsa.co.za


The above initiatives clearly show that South African PAs are ahead of their game, and through PAFSA are showing the marketplace their ability to govern their profession, and that their ‘time has come’. Have YOU become a PAFSA member yet! If not, you stand to be left out of the most relevant developments to your profession and to your career life!

CONTENTS Features 8

Key Feature: Fun at work

28 Career Matters: The guts and the glory of my journey!

Special events 12 Green Office Week: Lead the Team. Keep it Green

10 Eyes on The World: Let’s play at work

20 Green Heart Award: Calling for nominations!

26 Q&A: Mumbling!

Interview 19 Growing Green Project: Carmen Cara 24 Academy of Excellence: Susan Engelbrecht


Ed's Memo: Time to shine


News,Views and Reviews: In the driving seat by Brand Pretorius/ Important dates for you

28 FriendsCup: President’s message 32 Brain Fun: Test your wits




News, Views And Reviews

publication                              Brand Pretorius, leading figure in leadership benchmarking in south africa launches book. In the recently launched book, In the driving seat, Brand Pretoruis shares the lessons he has learnt as a business leader. It is an inspirational and enriching book. Many books have been written about leadership, but only a few have been written by business leaders who have personally experienced the highs and lows of the art and the science of leadership. One such book is the recently released “In the Driving Seat – my leadership journey” written by the respected business leader and motor industry veteran, Brand Pretorius. He played a pivotal role in establishing Toyota as the market leader in the eighties and was also instrumental during the second part of his career in turning around an insolvent McCarthy Group. Although the book is not an autobiography, it does contain an overview of his childhood years as well as an account of his career, spanning 38 years. Both business and personal lessons learnt are shared in such a frank and honest manner that the content engages the mind and touches the heart. In essence though, the book is about leadership. Pretorius amplifies the importance thereof and defines the essence of it. He outlines the attributes and skills required for effective leadership and paints a clear picture of inspirational leadership in action. Based on his own experience, his key conclusion is that servant leadership provides the strongest foundation possible for sustained influence and high level of commitment. Practical examples and inspirational case studies are used to give meaning and impact

to his advice and recommendations. The book also contains chapters on leadership in service excellence and successful marketing of products and services. The guidelines given are relevant and useful. A separate chapter is devoted to the role that business leaders can and should play to bring about a better South Africa. A holistic approach is advocated and it concludes with a call to action. The last part of the book covers the likely challenges leaders are going to face in future and how they need to adapt and deal with it. Thought provoking perspectives and possible solutions are offered. All aspiring and existing leaders regardless of environment or level of seniority will

benefit from the reading of this book. It covers the philosophical side of leadership as well as the keys to successful execution. No leader, whether of a family, community, public sector or business will leave empty handed. The anecdotes and case studies have a distinct local flavour but the principles and practices shared have a universal application. The core message is that leadership is all about character, influence and contribution, for the good of all. More information from direct.sales@ onthedot.co.za or 021 918 8811. By ordering directly you get a special discount: 1 – 50 copies at 25% discount, more than 50 copies at 30% discount.

"We should continue to dream about a better future. I have hope and I believe we are slowly but surely on our way to a better future." Brand Pretorius careersuccess




IMPORTANT DATES Green Office Week®

From Monday 21 April to Friday 26 April 2013

Annual PA Summit

Celebrated nationwide on Wednesday 4 September 2013. All details regarding a gala lunch in Gauteng where the annual PA of the Year will be announced will be given in our next issue of CareerSuccess as well as PAFSA’s newsletter: InTouch.

Attention all PAs who would like to start an in-house PA forum and PAs who already have one. We are proud to inform you that PAFSA has launched a toolkit on how to set up and run a Forum in-house. Please visit www.pafsa.co.za to access your copy.

This toolkit was compiled by the commitee consisting of presidents of in-house forum of various South African companies.

The Summit, organised by PAFSA will take place the morning of Secretaries' Day on 4 September at a Gauteng venue.

National Bosses Day:

Celebrated nationwide on Wednesday 16 October 2013. The banquet lunch where the annual Boss of the Year is announced will take place at a Gauteng venue.

International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant 2014: (IYOTSA 2014) We are delighted to inform you that PAFSA has contacted close to 100 secretarial organisations worldwide regarding celebrating 2014 as the International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant.

The first time it was celebrated was in 1984 (29 years ago) and was initiated and organised by PSA in the US. PSI is now known as IAAP. In 2014, it will mark the 30th anniversary of that celebration and will be co-ordinated from South Africa by PAFSA.

The members of PAFSA's Presidents commitee are: Susan Engelbrecht, Lorna Roets, Esmé van der Merwe, Sonja Bohländer, Daisy Padayachee, Carmen Cara, Lee Chapman and Colleen Mansoor.

Are YOU a member of PAFSA yet?

The Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants: Invites you to become a member and keep abreast of all exciting development in your profession. Get your memebership application form right away on our website: www.pafsa.co.za or write to us and ask us for a form – email thandi@pafsa.co.za.

International Year of the Secret ar y and Ad m i n A s s i st a n t 2 014 Ta s k Te a m a re Anel Martin, Charlotte Massey-Hicks, and Audetta Skosana.







Key Feature

Have you and your co-workers forgotten how to have fun at work? It’s time to find the joy again in 2013 says Ruth Tearle!



Fun At Work Five ways to motivate yourself:

Where did the fun go?

• When last did you have fun at work?

There are some common reasons why you may have lost your sense of fun at work:

• Do you dread going to work?

Office politics

• Do you hate Monday mornings?

You may be in a toxic enviroment where you are a victim of a political game. If so, get your power back by learning to play the political game – your own way.

• Are you bored at work? • Does the thought of work make you feel stressed, or ill? If the answer to any of the above is "yes", you need to get the fun back in your working life. Hating your job adversely affects your health, productivity, creativity, stress levels and your ability to achieve. Since work consumes up to half of your waking hours, it makes sense to develop a plan that will enable you to enjoy your time at work. You might remember a time when you did have fun at work. A time when things felt easier. When you were able to motivate yourself. When you worked with a wonderful team. When you felt truly alive and powerful. So what happened to change that? careersuccess

http://www.changedesigns.net/public/me/ simplify/Political-games-play-it-your-way.html Organizational restructure You may be the survivor of a organizational restructure. Many of your colleagues may have been retrenched. Not only do you have to take on their work as well as your own, but you also feel resentful of the way the company treated those who were retrenched. You are worried that you could be next. Prepare yourself for your worst fear then turn your focus to enjoying what you have right now. http://www.changedesigns.net/public/me/ apply/I-have-been-retrenched.html

Being busy doesn't mean you are achieving any more than someone who is relaxed and focused.

9 How to get the fun back at work: Here are five practical ways to motivate yourself and start enjoying your work again: Stop focusing on what is wrong "You can focus on what's wrong with your life, or you can focus on what's right." Marianne Williamson. You may be experiencing a lot wrong with your work. You may be working harder, with less support from the company. You may be angry with your organization for the way in which they treated you and those close to you. You may feel betrayed and want to lash out at the organization that caused you so much pain. Constantly focusing on how you have been hurt in the past prevents you from enjoying the good you have now. While you have a right to feel the way you do, you need to ensure you don't get into a habit of only looking at what is wrong with your organization. Think about what is right with your job. There must be some good reasons why you have chosen not to resign. Perhaps you receive a monthly salary that allows you to maintain a lifestyle? Or your work provides you with a sense of structure. Maybe you enjoy the camaraderie of the people in your team. Write a list of the positive things that your work gives you. Change your habit to focus on the good side of your job. Stop doing too much "Often he who does too much does too little." Italian proverb. Do you feel you're doing too much? Do you rush from one activity to another? Do you skip breakfast or eat lunch at your desk to fit in everything you need to do? Does your 'to do list' grow longer each day? Are you exhausted by the time you stop work? Being busy doesn't mean you are achieving any more than someone who is relaxed and focused. Sometimes doing too much simply causes you and those around you unnecessary stress. If your diary controls you, rather than the other way round, you need to get back in control of your life. You can do this by: • Doing a value for time analysis - to determine what time management habits you need to change; • Setting some personal boundaries; • Getting the focus back. Create a vision for your job and identify core focus areas. Then create a time budget to manage your diary better. One that puts you back in control of your job and your life.

will find that you achieve more than you did by simply being busy. You will also create more time for yourself and reduce both your stress and the stress of others. Use the time you have saved by being focused on exercise, laughter, having fun or learning, and you will find yourself becoming more creative, more productive. You will have found a way to motivate yourself. Ask for, and offer help Work smarter, not harder by helping each other. The wonderful thing about working with a team of people is that everyone is different. What you may find difficult to do - may be as natural as breathing to someone else. What you hate doing, may be someone else's passion. Someone else may have already been through the learning curve of something you are struggling to master. Trade tasks with one another, so you all do more of what you enjoy. Try this in your team. Have a meeting where everyone makes a list of the tasks they like and hate doing in their jobs. Try to trade a task you hate, with someone who likes doing that type of work. In turn, take over a task that makes someone else feel sick to their stomach, but is something you don't mind doing. Take time out Are you struggling to complete a task? Maybe you are wrestling with compiling a report, writing a proposal or preparing a presentation. When you are motivated and in the zone, difficult tasks become easier. When you have to force yourself to achieve something, it often has the opposite result. Your creative muse flies out the window. You will struggle to achieve anything at all. Writers call this 'writers block'. The best cure for unblocking your brain is to take a short break. Do something totally different. Play with some fun stuff. Move away from your desk. Walk. Talk to someone who will make you laugh. Listen to some music. Dance. Do something out of the ordinary. Tell people around you what you appreciate about them. Thank them for something they did for you in the past, and what their kind action may have meant to you. This ten minute investment in time will allow your creative muse to return, and when you go back to work, you will complete your task much faster. Inspire yourself Many employee satisfaction surveys show that people enjoy their jobs more when they feel they are doing something meaningful, or they are learning new skills that relates to a passion or personal vision they have. So the starting point is to get back in touch with your passion. Create new horizons for yourself. Look at what inspires you. Once you know what makes you feel happy, excited or inspired, you can think creatively about how to incorporate these elements into your job.

Positive energy can be infectious. Which do you prefer to spread - a virus of stress or positive energy? Get the fun back into your working world. You could make a big difference to those around you, if you and your team start having fun at work.

By focusing on the 20% of tasks that really matter, you issue



Eyes on the World


Play At work Teri Wells, PA of the Year 2012, to assist employees in reducing their stress levels, as the major health benefits result in improved productivity. trend-spots for us.


ntonyms for the word “work” include idle, laze and stagnate but not “play”, therefore, there is no reason why we can’t play at work.

Research is conducted into employees’ functional needs such as space, surface, light and ventilation as well as emotional needs including tracking various metrics of emotional well-being such as heart-rate variability and levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

A trend gaining momentum throughout corporations internationally and disproving the old adage of “there’s a time for work and a time for play” is: “let’s play at work, let’s make work fun”.

A lot has been written about stress in the workplace (see CareerSuccess Volume 25 Issue 4). Whilst companies have a responsibility (in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, No. 85 of 1993) to provide a healthy work environment, you are primarily responsibile for your own personal health.

Who is playing? Candy Black Studio, BrandBase, Google, Pixar, Vodafone Head Office – Portugal, Red Bull HQ – London, Facebook, Moving Pictures Co., Twitter and Ogilvy & Mather Guangzhou Office are some of the recognizable names, using colour and form to create creative working environments, providing chill areas, playrooms, exercise stations etc. for their employees. In South Africa, Alexander Forbes has built a new head office following the principles

What can you do?


Many Sudoku practitioners will probably say “it’s relaxing” when asked what they enjoy about the puzzles. Focusing

There is growing awareness of the necessity careersuccess

This is ultimately hugely beneficial to the organization as a whole.

With the price of real estate and the state of the global economy it is understandable that companies do not have surplus space and finances to be used purely for fun. On the bright side, it takes little to improve a work situation entirely lacking in play. There are a number of basic activities requiring only 15 minute breaks, little or no additional space, and very little capital outlay (spending money you don’t have only adds to stress).

Mental Exercise


on the puzzle for periods of time produces a meditative-like state. It transports you away from your stresses into a tranquil state. According to the Social Psychiatry Blog, working on puzzles and solving them provides many benefits. It makes us alert, increases our concentration and expands our creativity. It also affects our physical health by lowering our breathing rate and reducing heart rate and blood pressure. Dopamine, a chemical responsible for learning and memory, increases when you are engaged in solving Sudoku, crossword and jigsaw puzzles. This results in clarity of mind and thought. In a study conducted from 1998 to 2004, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, memory training was given to participants. Results highlighted that those who received training showed significantly higher performance, and reported less difficulty in performing daily tasks. The bottom line is that even with “basic exercise” your mind will remain willing long after your body has given up.

Physical Exercise Hula hooping may seem rather childish, but there are a surprising number of benefits. These include: • Helping to burn fat. • Toning your body - Working out several of your body’s core muscles. • Increasing your fitness level - It is such a low impact exercise that just about anyone can use it to increase their endurance and general fitness level. Just ten minutes can provide enough benefit to your body to increase aerobic activity.

• Improvement of your mood – it’s fun, and makes exercising less of a chore. • Improvement of your coordination - It requires timing and rhythm. By practicing, your coordination will improve as your body starts to learn the timing. • Improvement of spine flexibility - The motions of hula hooping require a significant range of motion for your spine. This can help in the prevention of back injuries. Plastic models available for children will not offer much for adults but you can purchase weighted hula hoops beneficial to both play and exercise. Find a spot where you can do this with a colleague (for a good laugh). Think about doing puzzles e.g. crosswords in newspapers, and for physical exercise consider walking to a lunch spot - avoid lifts, escalators and driving at all costs. Meet up with people at work and enjoy conversation as opposed to cellphone keyboarding! A shift in mind-set regarding play in the workplace is taking place globally with the realisation that having some fun at work isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. The associated benefits have value to individual employees and the company as a whole and are achievable with minimal time and resource outlay. Many of us stop playing somewhere between childhood and adulthood. We are working longer hours with the belief that this will solve the problem of our ever-increasing workload but the reality is it is not the quantity of work but rather the quality of our output that is indicative of success. Let’s have more fun at work! Did you read this issue's key feature? Let’s be happier!

A shift in mind-set regarding play in the workplace is taking place globally with the realisation that having some fun at work isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. issue


Lead the change it’s important to focus on what we CAN do for our planet, because if many of us do our BIT, the bit becomes BIG, and before we know it, what we thought was overwhelming becomes manageable; we witness the difference and we feel significant. It takes one small and significant step: The decision to care! This in turn, can result in another small and significant step: The decision to get others around us to care too! Green Office Week® gives us an opportunity to make our workplaces better places of work by making them eco-friendlier and healthier.


A national campaign in April annually motivating and inspiring you, and your colleagues, at work to adopt behaviours which RESPECT the environment by living the values of RECYCLING, REDUCING and RE-USING as much as possible.

Green Office Week®


Lead the Team. Keep it Green Green Office Week® is both a campaign and a cause. As a campaign it aims to sensitise as many people as possible about the need to become more eco-friendly and sustain the changed behaviours; as a cause it plays a national role in alerting all people at work to the need of showing more respect to our planet’s survival.

100 Green acts for the office Monday 22 April Lead the team in saving WATER Tuesday 23 April Lead the team in reducing CARBON emissions Wednesday 24 April Lead the team in saving ELECTRICITY Thursday 25 April Lead the team in reducing WASTE Friday 26 April Lead the team in greening your EVENTS

The 2013 theme

Lead the Team. Keep it Green

Green Office Week® recognizes the fact that it is easier to achieve people‘s participation and buyin if its call to action provides the necessary guidelines - hence a Toolkit is made available every year.

has been created with you in mind! It invites you to take on the challenge of leading yourself and those around you to make a difference at your workplace!


100 How to KICKOFF

Step one

How to get buy-in easier and faster Needless to say, your challenge is to have your colleagues join you and make the GOW campaign a success!

CREATE a GOW Green Behaviours campaign for your office/s



• • •

Ask your colleagues to do it with you Talk to your boss about it at the next staff meeting Consider getting your HR and training department heads to be part of it .

Step two

IMPLEMENT the GOW Campaign

• • •

Decide how it should be approached on a daily basis Are there going to be specified drivers beside yourself? Does your boss want to be the team leader? Are there going to be daily emails reminding everyone of the day’s call to action?

Step three

MEASURE Campaign implementation

Show a video if possible or invite a speaker if budget available, so that people can get a better handle on what eco-friendly behaviours mean in terms of saving for the organisation’s benefit and for the planet’s benefit.

Visual tools like charts and graphs highlighting importance of saving, recycling and avoiding waste really help in driving the message home.

Use communication tools like emails, newsletters and to send staff reminders and encouraging words.

Keep informing of ideas submitted, and of special achievements. Give recognition to those who have really made a difference to the way things are done!

Have hotline numbers of maintenance personnel or suppliers in public areas e.g.: bathrooms, kitchens, cafeterias, noticeboards, intranet, Forums, so that people can easily report faults, leaks and hazards.

If you are the boss, how about making green behaviours part of performance reviews!

Ideas: • • • •

Review progress as you go along Assess strengths and weaknesses at the end Where can you all improve in terms of group and individual behaviours? Can you now set achievable savings target for those behaviours?


It may be wise to hold a meeting and show the

importance of green behaviours and having new values in life.

Ideas: •

Green Acts for the Office



Monday 22 April

What are GOW's benefits? • Reduced operating costs. Your business can make savings through reductions in water consumption and energy consumption as well as costs associated with wastewater disposal.

Lead the team in saving WATER


Determine water requirements for your floor, department, building or unit of production


Someone should be appointed to track water usage and identify strengths and weaknesses


Know where your wasted water is going and try to get it recycled for other areas of your business


Consider implementing rainwater harvesting in tanks and grey water usage (i.e. Reuse rain and storm water)


Speak to maintenance people about installing water efficient taps or fixtures


Introduce the idea of water efficient appliances in canteens or office kitchens. Fill kettles only with as much water as you need


If your offices have indoor plants and outdoor gardens check that there are water efficient systems - irrigation systems use less water than sprinklers. Replace leaking hose nozzles


Avoid having ornamental water features and fountains that lose water to evaporation


See that people know where and how to report significant water losses from broken pipes and hoses


Communicate with the garden service to choose droughttolerant/indigenous plants and grass


Keep paths to the building clean. Do not allow a hose to be used as a sweeper to remove leaves etc. from them


Encourage people to wash company vehicles at commercial car washers that recycle water


Where relevant reduce the amount of water used in space cooling equipment to the minimum recommended amount


We start the week with a focus on water because the UN’s sustainability theme for 2013 is water conservation. Water is our most precious asset and so many of us take it for granted that it will always be there!

Encourage people to be alert to leaking taps - one leaking tap can waste more than 2,000 litres a month


Suggestions: Reduce leaks by turning taps off lightly and getting washers replaced as soon as they begin to leak


Maintenance must ensure that plugs are available in all washhand basins and sinks


Encourage upgrading of older toilets/urinals with water efficient ones


Introduce hiring of a ‘green’ plumber who will be updated on practices that use less energy and water

The reality is that we can no longer take this life-sustaining resource for granted.


Where possible get management to upgrade production equipment to use recycled water or less water


Know where your master water shut-off valve is located.

• Conserving water resources. Businesses that reduce their water consumption, ensure that they conserve water resources so you know you are doing your bit for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. • Establish ‘green’ credentials. By acting in an environmentally responsible manner and reducing the consumption of water, your business will be able to promote itself as an environmentally aware good corporate citizen.

Become a living green hero/heroine! Accept the challenge to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE Start today and be an insparation!

Your 100 Green Acts toolkit From Monday 22 to Friday 26 April

Toolkit for Tuesday 23 April Lead the team in reducing CARBON emissions


How does your workplace view carbon emissions and carbon footprint? Try to get some info on this if possible and available


It’s a good suggestion to make people aware of how much they contribute to the carbon footprint through their own travel to-and-from work


Awareness leads to action: Get everyone involved in reducing their own and the company’s carbon footprint


Encourage car sharing schemes. Individuals who live close to one another can start traveling together in the same car whenever possible


Encourage use of public transport, park and ride and cycling to work if your workplace is in a region where such is safe and applicable


Allocate the best parking places to owners of hybrid vehicles


Get fleet managers to progressively replace fleet cars with hybrid cars or cars with low C02 emissions



Get procurement to buy local, seasonal and buy bulk

The person in charge of drivers (deliveries and collections) should introduce weekly schedules where such are bundled to avoid driving duplication to the same area. Use routing software

13. 14.

Give preference to ‘green’ freight carriers


Ditto for sales people and people who attend a lot of meetings

10. Stagger working hours so that not everyone travels at peak- hour in heavy and slow traffic

11. Look at the possibility of some

staff telecommuting and working mostly from home


Give preference to ‘green’ suppliers – i.e. Vendors who buy local, respect recycling etc. and understand a product’s lifecycle. Green suppliers care about reducing carbon emissions and extending a product’s life


Look at the packaging your office uses – is it recycled? Reusable? Recyclable?


Have policies about stopping motors and equipment being left running when not being used


Inform people to rethink their search engine usage; every time one run’s a search, it increases your carbon footprint. Bookmark often needed pages


Ditto for email. Receiving unnecessary email, time spent sorting it etc.


Avoid connecting flights by taking direct flights wherever possible. Encourage low emissions alternatives when airline travel is required


And to offset your carbon when you can’t avoid adding to C02 emissions do plant trees around your office premises to absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.



Toolkit for Wednesday 24 April Lead the team in saving ELECTRICITY



Learn the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency. The former is about reducing energy usage; the latter is about using it wisely


Reduce heating & cooling in areas that are not often used.


Ditto for after office hours and during weekends – energy can be saved this way

The most important thing today, is to have offices in buildings offering natural light or at least with natural light available for a number of workstations


Check that vents are routinely cleaned and repaired


Convince maintenance to insulate ceilings, walls and when next refurbishing your offices, consider installing skylights; glazing on windows or reflective glass to reduce glare and heat


Task light or desktop light is an option for workstations without good natural light


The next best thing is to have sensor-activated lights throughout your office so lights will only turn on when certain rooms or areas are occupied


Persuade the person responsible for buying computers to look at the most energy-efficient ones, and the same goes for all other electronic equipment

When next refurbishing your offices, consider installing skylights; glazing on windows or reflective glass to reduce glare and heat


Consider solar power for outdoor fixtures or install photo sensors


Start replacing bright bulbs with lower power ones in over lit areas. Opt for energy-efficient lighting only.


Get co-operation from people to unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use (i.e. cell phone chargers, fans, coffeemakers, desktop printers, radios, etc.). Place “switch-off when not in use” stickers.


Try to get the executive suite to relook at your production processes and try to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services


If you have refrigeration equipment, please ensure that it is a high efficiency one - such as zero energy doors and anti-sweat heater controls


Have a power outage plan in place for everyone


Before you consider taking on a project, check if it’s going to be an energy guzzler!


There is no silver bullet for ensuring a more energy efficient future for your organization, so get your executives to plan now for a mix of approaches.



Ensure it becomes standard practice for everyone to turn off electronics at the end of each workday


Inform people that during the working day, screen savers on computers and idle modes on equipment will still consume energy when not in use


Toolkit for Thursday 25 April Lead the team in reducing Waste


Agree, as a starting point, that creating waste is not just a behavioural problem but an attitude one

2. 3.

Get to understand difference between waste reduction and waste elimination

4. 5.

Then get people to develop a re-use and/or recycle mentality to avoid just throwing things away Have more recycle bins than litter bins A key development is to get people to calculate needs correctly (avoid guesstimates) and buy what will be used. No excess, no waste


Where possible, buy refills and concentrates these usually involve less packaging

7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Refill laser and ink cartridges Buy mechanical pencils and refillable pens Buy reusable filters for coffee machines Buy refillable tape dispensers Avoid buying disposable items such as paper plates and foam cups


Ask if it’s possible to install a water cooler to replace individual bottled water


Choose sturdy desk supplies, such as bookends, file holders, and staplers


Don’t waste paper - Reuse it, recycle it! Use all on two sides, whether writing, printing or photocopying


Use durable boxes for shipping between your company’s various branches, warehouses, or stores; or recycle cardboard boxes and packaging

16. 17. 18. 19. 20.



Use centralized files for hard copies Buy or lease durable and repairable equipment, such as photocopiers, fax machines, computers, typewriters, and coffeemakers Upgrade electronic equipment rather than replacing it Electronic waste (e-waste) such as computers, printers and cell phones can also be recycled. Visit the Electronic e-Waste Association of SA (eWASA) for more information Set up a give-and-take area and swap-board in your office for employees to use; share magazines, newspapers and books.



Toolkit for Friday 26 April Lead the team in greening your EVENTS

Many of the green actions you have come across in the previous focus area of this week apply here too.


Encourage presenters to send information so that can be put on the flash drive or to have a one-page handout with phone numbers and /or web addresses of materials


Conserve energy by looking for an event venue which has natural light; weather permitting, you can even host an event outside



Create a ride-and-share page to encourage attendees to carpool. Organise for a coach to transport all if applicable

Have event programme up on the screen before and after each presentation (instead of paper)


Choose eco-banners, gift bags, promotional materials


Choose a venue and hotel close to the airport, so that attendees and speakers do not have to travel far to reach their destination in the case where they have had to fly in


Choose items that can also be used more than once: name tags, signs with non-event-specific wording; carry bags; boxes; dĂŠcor items etc

10. 11.

Give green gifts



Try to book as many out-of-towners on same flights or arriving close to one another so that a shuttle service can be used instead of taxis or multiple pick-ups Avoid paper wastage by having most of your event documents available electronically, including booking forms online


Rent and borrow infrequently






Go local and seasonal with table centrepieces and use them as giveaways/prizedraws at the end(no waste)


Where possible entertainers


Ask venue manager for pitchers with iced tap water (flavoured with lemons, limes, or other inseason fruits, or fresh herbs) instead of bottled water


Before your event check that there is a recycling bin paired with every litter bin, and that the recycling bin is clearly labeled


Instead of flip charts choose to use dry-erase boards or other reusable visual aids

17. 18.

Opt for digital photography





Use CDs for proceedings or flash drives to store event proceedings and distribute them to attendees or delegates


Ask that leftover foods be donated to a local charity, or soup kitchen, or to be composted


When suitable teleconferencing




19 The story of Carmen Cara, a PA at Old Mutual in Cape Town who is leading a Growing Green project among PAs and showing how anyone can take action to make a difference! This is how a PA takes the lead and changes lives!

CareerSuccess interviews

Carmen Cara

CS: We heard about your Growing Green Project at Old Mutual: Please share with us how this came about? CC: It all started when one of the PAs came to me and asked if we could not start a vegetable garden at work. Knowingly that Old Mutual (in Pinelands, Cape Town) has such a lot of ground my immediate response was “it’s possible, let me see what i can do!!” The very next day we had our annual Secretaries Day luncheon and I was seated next to our Corporate Properties Manager. What came to mind at that stage was “this is a divine appointment”. The answer from him was to refer me to some of the grounds-men who were all too willing to help. CS: But what led you to do this?

for 14 days by the PA. The seed then goes to our tunnel for a futher 6 weeks. The seed is transfered to the various disadvantage communities identified by the volunteers CS: What results are you hoping for? CC: That I can role this out as a CSI project to all Personal Associations at various companies country-wide and to touch as many lives as possible. CS: How did you get buy-in from others? CC: The best buy-in you can get from people is to ask them to step on board as volunteer after I explain what Growing Green (GG) is all about. They can feel my passion and see what a project like this can do for others!

CC: When I started as Chairperson of OMAPA (Old Mutual Association for Professional Assistants) in 2009 the association was 17 years old. The following things where in place already : The Quarterly Networking luncheons’; the Monthly Newsletter; the Annual PA Conference; the Annual Secretaries Day Luncheon for all PAs and Managers; the Office and Travel Expo. So in 2009 we launched our internal website and in 2010 we introduced Information Sessions between all our preferred suppliers and the PAs. And when the idea (seed) was planted in my head in September 2010 that the PAs could start a vegetable garden it grew in 2011 to Growing Green as the CSI project of OMAPA.

CS: How has this changed your life and the life of others?

CS: Take us through the key steps of how you go about it?

CC: Never in my wildest dreams did I think this project would go so big. I have many sleepless nights when I think how the Power of 1 seed can change a life. Every time I had to do something to get the project off the ground I looked at it as challenge and took it as a learning experience. I am a PA – I have never had to write a motivation to the board of directors, nor had to face heads of departments to request for funding, nor had to beg for space so we can plant vegetables. I had never put together a presentation and present at World Ozone day to an audience of Department of Health, Environmentalist, Dept of Socio Economics ect, etc. This has been a huge learning curve for me.

CC: Firstly I had to find a vacant piece of land for us to grow our vegetables. Then I had to get someone out to check the soil for me. Things then took a huge turn as the vacant land had pine trees all round. Next option was to grow the vegetables in a hydroponic tunnel. OMAPA did not have the funding available to purchase a tunnel. My next port of call was the Old Mutual Foundation. After writing a motivation to the Board of Directors in January 2011 which was a challenge as I had not done anything like this before! This wasn’t tabled at their meeting. I then decided to go and meet with the Head of OM Foundation. After 2 meetings they agreed and became as excited as I was. In May 2011, OM Foundation Board approved the funding for the tunnel. Then I got volunteers on board who were all PAs. What we do is as follows: Each PA will plant one seed every 14 days the seed will be nututed

CC: Something unexplainable happens when you start working in community based projects. It is extremely heart warming when you see that you and your company are feeding hungry children and people. It’s gratifying to know that because of GG you could provide someone with a job. It makes all my hard work and effort worthwhile to know that through this project we are not just giving some food but we are teaching them how to grow sustainable vegetables. CS: Did it take a lot of courage to take such a step?

CS: Do you think it is actually quite easy to “Take the lead” which is this year’s Green Office Week’s theme? CC: Without a doubt YES, YES...!!! PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PERSERVERANCE is all you need to take the lead. issue


green heart AWARD Calling for nominations! Recognizing and Rewarding workplace eco-champions

We believe that every organisation has one individual who stands out when it comes to green behaviours at the office. YOU can help us find

who in your department (or organisation as a whole) is the eco-hero/heroine that has inspired and motivated people to become more eco-friendly.

you can help us recognise how they have made a difference by having you tell us what they have done as far as initiating or supporting green behaviours and activities.

you can play an important role in showing that South African workplaces have eco-rolemodels.

Deadline for nominations: Friday 26 April 2013

U YO o e h t t i w v us ear ! n e i e ell en h lac t W t e k p hear r r t o s a g w o greenway! r h a o u your ight a y te te r a t n a omi dida N can

Where are South Africa’s working eco-champions? Drivers of green behaviours are not necessarily found in the executive suite – and it is those people whose designations could be bookeepeer, store manager, PA, admin officer, buyer, floor supervisor, who could be the true motivators of behavioural change.






en ev ld ou he ive? t t it c be xecu te



he et it b er? uld anag co Or PS M O

he et it b ery uld on Co tati er? s uy b

Participate in the national search for Green Hearts and both you and your nominee stand to win prizes! Please fill in the Nomination Form on www.greenofficeweek.co.za More information on: (011) 616 7401

Two notes on criteria • Your nominee must be employed by the organisation on a full-time or part-time basis; and have worked diligently and long in informing, or creating or providing tools and resources to assist colleagues in his/ her department or organisation • Your nominee cannot be someone who works in a sustainability department, or be the allocated green officer i.e. the green heart applies to someone whose job description does not entail implementing green behaviours in the organization but who does it out of their own free will.

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AMeet a member of the academy of excellence In every edition of CareerSuccess a member of the Academy will answer questions about herself and her work.

PAs need to be confident, personable, dedicated, focused, able to multi-task and prioritise AoE: In which of the national competitions did you reach the finals or win - and in what year? SUSAN: OPSA Office Professional of the Year 2009 – runner up.

SUSAN: Edith Venter – a hard working no nonsense taking woman. She continues to embrace new challenges and looks to the future with excitement, enthusiasm and passion. She also started her career as a PA.

AoE: What is your current position?

AoE: What do you do for fun?

SUSAN: Executive Assistant to the CEO of Discovery Health.

SUSAN: Love to read! Amongst others the Stieg Larsson’s millennium trilogy, as well as Edith Venter’s “The Art of Good Living” which she personally signed for me! Also a sucker for books by Danielle Steel.

AoE: How many years of experience do you have in the PA profession? SUSAN: 31 years.

AoE: Tell us something interesting about yourself?

AoE: What in your opinion is your personal area of excellence or specialization?

SUSAN: You know, I truly love being an EA. My manager is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick.

SUSAN: I would say a strong sense of anticipation of what my executive’s needs are and to meet these needs even before he knows he need them – sort of mind reading. At times it is also important to be an observer and let situations play themselves out, while at the same time taking mental snapshots and notes.

I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me in order to get to him. For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive. I have a good job that I enjoy, and I have made many contacts working for my manager that have, and will be valuable, in my professional arsenal.

AoE: Who is your role model and why?

I know of people who have higher ranks and are decision-


makers who absolutely hate their jobs; so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?" I find this comment very condescending. AoE: What does it mean to you to be a member of the Academy of Excellence? SUSAN: It is an honour to form part of an association that affords its members an unequalled level of interaction, strengthens peer-to-peer relationships and keeps Office Professionals committed to life-long learning for themselves and others! AoE: What do you think is the biggest benefit of the national competitions for PAs and Office Professionals? SUSAN: Challenging yourself; meeting new, exciting people and networking with Office Professionals from all walks of life. And I can add this to my CV! But honestly, it helps motivate you to be the best that you can be. AoE: What career advice would you give your younger self? SUSAN: Today, there is much more to being a Secretary or Personal Assistant (PA) than just doing clerical work. Traditionally, Secretaries and PAs typed up the correspondence, answered the phone, and made the coffee, but today’s PAs are highly motivated, skilled assistants who support their managers in a myriad of ways. A PA will essentially be the 'right-hand' of their manager, and will normally have a considerable workload. This is even more likely if the PA supports a 'management team' or a number of senior Executives where good time

management becomes one of the key essential skills. PAs thus needed to be sharp, confident, personable, dedicated, focused and able to multi-task, prioritise and complete tasks within a required time frame. This means that you need to be able to work well without supervision and have a number of strengths.

The Academy of Excellence is the home of award winning PAs and Office Professionals. Membership is exclusive to PAs who reached the upper echelons of the national awards for the profession in South Africa. Being invited to join the Academy is a sign that you have achieved a level of excellence in your profession and it is a great honour to form part of this elite group. The ethos of this group is one of humility, professionalism and a sincere dedication to skills development in the profession and within the companies. For more information on the Academy visit www.pafsa.co.za and click on the Academy button.ď‚°

issue 1


Question & Answer By The Academy of Excellence

Our question for this edition comes from Caren Peres.


Dear Academy: My manager is a bit of a mumbler. He often comes out of his office mumbles something to me and then walks off. It seems awkward to run after him to ask – sorry what did you say? What should I do? (If you are going to tell me that I should mail him – this is my second question – he is so overwhelmed with all his emails that are business related, that he leaves my emails for last. It seems unfair and wrong to add to his stress by adding to his inbox)."


Dear Caren, with some managers we have to utilise our telepathic powers and become mind readers. On a serious note, the best way though is to sit down with your manager and let him know first of all, what your concerns are from a PA point of view. Let him know what you are struggling with and why, and then discuss with him how you can both work together on the communication side. Once you both come to an agreement on what will work best, then start putting it into practice. Give it some time. If it does work out, keep on doing the same thing. If not, you would need to eventually sit down and discuss again. Remember there will be times that you will have to run after him to clarify what was actually said – no need to feel awkward at all. For your peace of mind, try and get to know his habits, how he does things, what triggers his moods, how often he “mumbles” instructions, etc. In this way you can start anticipating and be ready and you will eventually get to know what he is going to “mumble” about. Always remember that it is up to you to understand the instruction correctly and if it means getting clarity and asking him to repeat an instruction or even repeating what you understood he said, then do so – because if you don’t, he will assume you have understood and know what to do. Don’t feel bad about emailing him and adding to his load. In some cases you can do so. What you need to agree on is when would be the best time for him to look at your emails and respond to them. At the same time, ascertain from him when there is an urgent matter, how and when would he like you to discuss it with him or bring it to his attention. By Michele Thwaits on behalf of the Academy of Excellence If you want your question posted please contact us on the Academy of Excellence facebook page.http://www.facebook.com/ExcellencePA or via twitter @excellencepa


Always remember that it is up to you to understand the instruction correctly


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The guts and the glory

of my journey!

Felicity Burnett takes us on her journey from top PA to Manager


y year as SA’s Secretary of the Year in 1990 was one of my most exciting years ever. I thrived on all the speaking engagements where I addressed groups of secretaries and management throughout the country and in neighbouring states. North West Province was still Bophuthatswana at that stage. Of course, representing South Africa at the Association of Certified Admin Professionals (ACAP) in the US was the most unbelievable privilege. What struck me from that International forum was that South African secretaries can hold their heads high anywhere in the world. We are that good! What we are required to do for our PA of the Year competition is more than the US Certified Admin Professionals have to do to get their qualification. Oh, and they all introduce themselves as “Somebody Someone, CAP”. When I moved into management at the end of my year, I entered a whole new world. A world in which I thrived! I have always taken responsibility for my actions and my promotion took me to a whole new level. I loved the excitement of initiating something all on my own, of having people working with me who were as excited as I was and the reward of my careersuccess

team achieving the (seemingly) impossible task of reducing a claims outstanding book from R3 million (huge money in 1990) to less than R200,000 in six months. The way I felt about our team’s achievement that very first time has stayed with me ever since and no matter what I do. I love leading a team to achieve more than is expected.

How easy did I find my move into management? Despite all the excitement and (yes) pride, I didn’t find the transition from PA to Management an easy one. The first obstacle I had to overcome was my own insecurity in taking that leap of faith to go from taking to giving instructions. This coupled with my colleagues’ perception that I was still ‘only a secretary’ was a bit of a double whammy. Isn’t it strange how people perceive secretaries? It’s as if there simply isn’t another career available to people who start out as secretaries, as opposed to, say, a clerk who becomes an attorney or a bookkeeper who is fully expected to ‘graduate’ to being an accountant. To be very honest, it was for that reason that for a long time after I left Datakor I didn’t highlight the fact that I had ever been a PA. I now stress the fact with pride but it was not easy in the beginning.

Something else which has been a bit of challenge over the years is that I have never been much of a manager although, if necessary, I will manage with total resolve. That sounds strange but, in my view, ‘management’ means telling people what to do and, I can honestly now thankfully say, I have always been big on taking people with me and working with them rather than telling them what to do in a top-down approach. For me, personally, of all the growing I’ve done, my evolution from the 80s culture of management to the 20s culture of leadership has been the easiest. There’s a good reason for this. I read vociferously and learn constantly to update my knowledge and improve my skills. This culture of learning is what keeps me ahead of the trend game and has stood me in good stead over the years. All in all, the excitement and satisfaction of the management roles I’ve been privileged to have during my career have made them supremely fulfilling. I would be lying though, if I said that everything was wonderful and that each step upwards was easier than the former. There were times when I longed to step back into my PA role, when times were extremely difficult and when I suffered from many crises of confidence. Although I wanted to lapse back into a PA role, I found the resolve to continue because I knew that if I ever did go back, the comfort of the rut would have kept me trapped. Was it worth it, this path I’ve walked from PA to Management? Absolutely!



Colleen Mansoor, president of FriendsCup, PAFSA's social club for secretaries and PAs in Gauteng, gives an update.

President's Message


ear friends, we have reached a New Year so here’s wishing you a fabulous 2013 full of great achievements and experiences. New Year does not signify a simple change in the calendar but is also signifies opportunities for bringing about positive changes to make your life and workplace much better, be the change that you wish to see and be the first to take initiative. • Change your Direction and not your Dates • Change your Commitments and not the Calendar • Change your Attitude and not the Actions • May you live up to the promises you have made for yourself, your loved ones and colleagues. Save the following dates for our upcoming events. Do join us for fun–filled events and experiences: • 2 March 2013 – Kieviets Kroon (invitations been sent out to the contacts I already had for our first 2013 get together. If you hadn't received an invite and would like to join us for our next event, please email me on colleen.mansoor@psgam.co.za.) • 6 July 2013 – venue to be confirmed • 5 September 2013 – Secretaries' Day – venue and details to be confirmed • 23 November 2013 – Year End Get Together – venue to be confirmed The FriendsCup Club Committee is working towards making each event bigger and better and at the same time grow our members. Hope to hear from you!


Lunch Hour

Test your

Wits and have Fun

Try these brain teasers… brainfun Puzzle 1 What is black and white and read (red) all over? Puzzle 2 What flower has two lips? Puzzle 3 Which animal eats with its ears?


"I'm not one to talk too about people so I've written it all down for you!"

How can you throw a ball so that it goes a short distance, comes to a total stop, reverses its motion, and then goes the opposite way. You are not allowed to bounce it against anything, hit it with anything, or tie it to anything.

gotcha puzzle Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

brainteaser What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

"Our new police artist isn't vey good!" Source: www.brainbashers.com


Puzzle A Newspaper• Puzzle 2 Tulip • Puzzle 3 All of them, since no animal takes its ears off to eat!• Brainbasher Throw it in the air • Gotcha Puzzle Boxing • Brainteaser Strawberry


Profile for Lazuli Communications

CareerSuccess Magazine  

A magazine for PAs and Office Managers

CareerSuccess Magazine  

A magazine for PAs and Office Managers