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for administrative & office professionals

Volume 28 Issue 2

Own yourself with pride

corporate gifts made easy PLUS PA of the Year Annual PA Summit Review

Communication

tools for your boss

Handling Multiple Managers


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careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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Contents 04 News and Reviews Updating you

08 Key Feature Own yourself with pride

13 Interview

Spotlight on Bianca Filmater

15 Tips

Corporate Gift tips

16 Work Trends

Collaborative communication tools

18 Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body In pursuit of happiness

22 Career Feature Are you ready to survive?

25 Coaching Class 28 International Gurus

20 ways to tailor your support for multiple managers

30 Focus Feature

PA of the Year and Annual PA Summit

36 Meet a Member Welcoming Jacqui Thackwray

39 Technology

Controlling travel expenses

40 Last Page Test your wits

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

Contributors Michelle LONGMAN has worked as a PA for over 25 years and is an outspoken advocate about the importance of a natural balance between work and family life. S

on

j

a

Bohlander is the

Personal Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Sasol’s Sasolburg Operations, as well as to the Vice President Site Services. She has been with Sasol for 35 years and has more than 30 years of senior secretarial experience. Sonja was a finalist of the PA of the Year in 2012 and is the chairperson of PAFSA’s President’s Committee. Charlotte Massey-Hicks was a finalist in the 2011 PAOTY competition. She has 12 years’ experience as an Executive PA and obtained her Certified Administrative Professional Certificate (CAP) in 2006. Charlotte joined Digital Identity and Unique Impressions in 2012 where she runs the Admin for both companies. Digital Identity specialises in Corporate Gifting and Branding and Unique Impressions are Wallpaper Specialists.

Esmé van der Merwe is the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Exxaro Resources Limited and has been in the secretarial profession since 1981. Career highlights include working in the government office during the CODESA I and II negotiations towards a new constitutional dispensation in South Africa, being President of the Johannesburg Chapter at Large of the International Association of Administrative Professionals since its inception in February 2010 to June 2012, being a judge in the National PA of the Year competition from 2008 – 2011, and currently being a member of the Presidents Committee of the Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Professionals (PAFSA) in South Africa. She acts as mentor for various young office professionals and is involved in community upliftment projects. Esmé was a finalist in the South African National Office Professional of the Year in 2005 and has a passion to transfer knowledge. She has presented at several PA conferences and inhouse PA forums in South Africa. She published industry-related articles in various South African publications.


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Ed’s memo Gearing for year end We are just 3 months away from rounding up 2015! The Association PAFSA has just held another edition of Secretaries Day and the PA of the Year Award, and you can see how it went in this edition. This edition is full of really good stuff for the head, heart and soul meant to give you the fuel to keep you going for the next few weeks till our work year ends, hopefully on a high note. …And remember what Maya Angelou said:

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

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

Admin/Advertising Director Ornella Trinco ornella@dictum.co.za Advertising/Marketing 011 616 7401 careersuccess@dictum.co.za Head: Finance & HR Guida Morais finance@dictum.co.za

Enjoy a glorious Summer

Subscriptions & Client Liaison subs@dictum.co.za

Ana-Maria

Graphic Design design@dictum.co.za

This edition’s key feature

Own yourself with PRIDE

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 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

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news and reviews

Do you know the Latest Trends in Telecommuting! According to Steve Bruce in in hrblognotions.com telecommuting continues to grow year after year, despite some high-profile stories to the contrary, such as Yahoo!’s decision a couple of years ago to eliminate telecommuting options. In fact, some analysts predict that 30 percent of workers in industrialised countries will be telecommuting within just a few years. It’s already higher than that in some industries and regions. When allowing telecommuting, employers benefit by saving money and by increasing productivity: Money is saved via reductions in overhead, fewer employee absences, and reduced turnover. Productivity is increased by eliminating commuting and employees working more hours from home.

for young mothers, but this is certainly no longer the case.

According to Dan Erwin in http://danerwin.typepad.com/ my_weblog/.

Many employers are embracing telecommuting as a way to show their commitment to improving the environment. Telecommuting means fewer cars on the roads and, thus, less pollution.

Even the best listeners have to bite their tongues to stop from reacting, interrupting or verbally identifying with the person talking. But there are a few simple ways to make certain your listening is truly effective.

Employers that embrace telecommuting are focusing more and more on technology:

Here are some of the trends we’ve seen in telecommuting: •

Employees are increasingly willing to sacrifice other perks to be able to telecommute.

Telecommuting even one day per week is seen as a good benefit and can be a recruiting tool.

The old stereotype for telecommuting was that it was reserved primarily

No,You Can’t Become a Better Listener by Listening Harder

(Faster home Internet connections allow employees to stay connected. Teleconferencing/video/ Skype conferencing programs keep geographically separated teams in constant communication. Advancing mobile technology means that work can be done even from phones. However, unsecured devices and wireless networks must be effectively managed). When employees are enabled (and set up) to work from home, often some operations can continue even if external events (such as severe storms) keep employees from coming into the office.

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This how you listen: Linguistic, interpretive and relational! The linguistic level is simply that to which the message refers. “Jim can’t come to the team meeting.” The individual words of the sentence and the sentence as a whole have linguistic meaning. “Jim” refers to one specific person and “can’t come” refers… to a specific action that won’t take place. “Team meeting” is a well-defined event. That’s linear listening. The interpretive level of meaning in a message is created by the complex set of cues within the message itself. These cues tell the other person how to make sense of the message. Is it to be taken seriously or lightly. Does the message mean exactly what’s being stated, or even the opposite of its literal content? That’s

the really important stuff. The relational level of meaning is the complex set of cues within the message that indicate the relationship between the talker and the listener. Every message in an interpersonal transaction (that’s right, “every message”) either reinforces or modifies the existing relationship between the two persons involved. Four keys to truly listening. Avoid and ignore distractions. Simply focus on what’s being said at the differing levels. Focus!, Parrot and paraphrase. Parroting or paraphrasing shows the other person that you’re listening. Ask thoughtful questions. This enables the talker to go deeper into what he or she sees as significant. Explore other’s listening mistakes. Pay close attention to how a person draws conclusions.. If you’ve sat through a team meeting and afterwards someone tells you what they heard and the meaning they made from it, you ‘ll see how that person created meaning and how it (sometimes) differs from you.


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Handling Mental Illness In The Workplace there are gaps in their CV. It’s difficult, on your job application form, to admit that you have a psychological disorder. Companies should encourage transparency in this regard – from day one.

By Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions Many people live with mental health problems and dealing with these illnesses in the workplace comes with a number of challenges. The time has come for a shift in attitude towards employees with psychological disorders is required. It is estimated that one in five South Africans will, or do, experience a form of mental illness in their lifetime – approximately the same numbers as that of Canada and the UK. This is a large portion of the population, especially when considering that many people don’t see psychological disorders as a ‘real illness’ like diabetes or cancer. People who live with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and postnatal depression find it more difficult to secure employment compared to individuals who do not suffer from any of these conditions. A number of factors for employers to consider: •

For people who have not been working for some time, re-employment is often difficult as they have to explain why

Although adequate treatment alleviates symptoms and improves productivity, in the short term, employees may need to take time off to attend clinical appointments or reduce their hours in order to recover. The ‘healthier’ the work environment, the healthier the employees. Just like with physical illness, the symptoms and severity of an illness can worsen in tense and unhappy work environments. An employee wellness programme is beneficial for your entire workforce to better cope with stress.

The law in South Africa notes that an employee with a mental health condition has constitutional rights to equality, human dignity, fair labour practices and access to social security. Once in employment, an employer cannot demote or

transfer a person, or reduce their salary because of their condition - this would constitute an unfair labour practice in terms of the Labour Relations Act. The law is highly protective of people with psychological disorders, so it’s in an employee’s interest to disclose their condition. Once they do, the principle of ‘reasonable accommodation’ takes effect. This means, for example, that managers are sympathetic to requests for flexitime or for working in a quiet office.” Organisations need to send a clear signal to staff that their mental health matters - and being open about them - will lead to support, not discrimination. A simple

way to communicate this would be to explain that mental health issues will be treated in the same way as physical health issues. You may also want to book an expert speaker to openly discuss these issues with your workforce, encourage acceptance and eliminate negative stigmas that may exist. It is also vital to note that once diagnosed, the employee takes the appropriate steps to ensure their optimal productivity. If approached by an employee who has chosen to share their mental illness diagnosis with you, keep this information confidential and discuss related matters in a private space.

Off the Press!: Top 10 Management Templates and Checklists | Free Download You no longer have to create your own template or wonder if you’ve thought of everything you need to do to perform a task. http://bit.ly/ ManagementTemplates Checklists This download includes: • • •

Workload Negotiation Template Prioritizing Personal Goals template Written Communication

• • • • • • •

Checklist Prioritizing Tasks Template Successful Delegation Checklist Team Leadership Checklist Performance Improvement Checklist Questioning Technique Checklist Meeting Minutes Template Communication Style Checklist

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news and reviews

Celebrate Bosses Day on 16 October! Bosses Day, an annual day in corporate calendars since 1989, takes place for the 26th year on Friday 16 October, 2015,

Bosses Day can mean different things to different people. Some workplaces view it as day to organise a breakfast or a lunch to say thank you to the bosses for their contribution to a better place to work in; others view it as day to focus on leadership training – whatever the perspective, Bosses Day is an important date for all organisations as it marks a day for reflection.

For organisations who want to invest in leadership on that day, the possibilities are: •

In essence, national Bosses Day should be a tribute to good leadership, and sends out a message to workplaces nationwide, that developing, retaining and rewarding good leaders is the key factor to an organisation’s success and sustainability. For people at work who wish to mark the day with a celebration, there are various possibilities. •

Hold a breakfast or lunch: Take the boss or bosses out to breakfast or organise one inhouse (alternatively a lunch). The occasion can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like or a budget permits. You can organise for an entertainer, like a mentalist.

Send the boss a gift: This can range from a thank-you card, CD, book, a goodies-basket or tickets for a night out.

Hold an in-house breakfast event with a speaker: Invite a leadership guru to address all executives on latest trends in leadership and future trends as well. Have a “Be a leader for a day” event: Invite everyone to ‘ feel and dress like a leader and look at their job from a leader’s’ viewpoint’ for the day, and to place in a Suggestions Box what the experience was like. Consider having a prize for the best note left in the Suggestions Box. Have a “We celebrate leadership on Bosses Day” : Find leadership quotes and create posters in-house displaying these quotes on pre-chosen walls where all can see them, including your customers, for the whole week of October 12 to 16.

According to the founders of Bosses Day, Ana-Maria Valente and Ornella Trinco

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

of Dictum Publishers (Pty) ltd, the reason why every year there should be a focus on workplace leadership is because leaders need to be kept motivated and inspired. Just like their employees, they too need to be recognised for any initiatives of goodwill they have done so that they feel it has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. It is on bosses shoulders that lie the responsibility of aiming economic stability on one hand and Human resources stability on the other. This balance is not always easy as recent times have shown. But what distinguishes good leaders at times such as these are a sympathetic ear, a clear head and a firm purpose to ensure the greater good is served. Leaders today, worldwide, are being challenged form all fronts and the imperative is to keep them fit, mentally, emotionally and physically to set the right pace, endure the race, and survive it with outcomes that make

the organization, or the department, proud – and sustainable. Bosses Day was established in South Africa by the directors of Dictum Publishers Pty Ltd (then known as Penrose Publishers) in 1989. The idea came from reading about the one in the USA which had been launched in 1958. More information on 011 616 7401 or bossaward@dictum. co.za


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key feature

Own yourself with PRIDE

When you were a child, what was the predominant tone of the messages that you received about yourself from your parents and? Did they enhance your self-esteem, or were they put-downs? Did these messages enhance or influence the development of your adult self-esteem – positively or negatively? Advice from Prins, van Niekerk and Weyers careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


9 means), you may notice that you have begun to relax a bit and perhaps feel more comfortable with yourself, and more real. You may find yourself protesting, “But I don’t like certain things about my body, so how can I accept myself unreservedly and completely?” “Accepting” does not mean we cannot imagine or wish for changes or improvements. It means experiencing without denial or avoidance, accepting that a fact is a fact. In this case, it means accepting that the face and the body in the mirror are your face and body and that they are what they are.

T

he time is now to consider particular area(s) in your life you would like to improve. Find a comfortable chair, and sit in a position that supports your back. Close your eyes…once you experience a deeply relaxed state, consider a major goal(s) in life you would like to attain. In your relaxed state, you may want to break down your goal into a number of sub-goals.

An exercise in body-acceptance

by Nathaniel Brandon (1994:95-96), in his own words (Nathaniel Brandon is a trusted scholar and world authority on self-esteem. Below he talks us through an exercise that includes body acceptance. He writes that clients who commit to this exercise for two minutes every morning and again every night for two weeks soon begin to experience a relationship between self-acceptance and self-esteem. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and look at your face and your body. Notice your feelings as you do so. Do not focus on your make-up. Notice if this is difficult or makes you uncomfortable. It is good to do this exercise naked. You will probably like some parts of what you see more than others. If you are like most people, you will find some parts difficult to look at because they agitate or displease you. In your eyes, there may be a pain you do not want to confront. Perhaps you are too fat or too thin. Perhaps there are some aspects of your body that you can hardly bear to look at. Perhaps you see signs of age and cannot bear to stay connected with the thoughts and emotions these thoughts evoke. Therefore, the impulse is to escape, to flee from awareness, to reject, to deny, and to disown aspects of your self. Still, as an experiment, I ask you to stay focused on your image in the mirror for a few moments longer, and say to yourself, “Whatever my imperfections, I accept myself unreservedly and completely.” Stay focused, breathe deeply, and say this repeatedly for a minute or two without rushing the process. Allow yourself to experience fully the meaning of your words. If you persist, if you surrender to the reality of what is, if you surrender to awareness (which is what accepting ultimately

If you persist, if you surrender to the reality of what is, if you surrender to awareness (which is what accepting ultimately means), you may notice that you have begun to relax a bit and perhaps feel more comfortable with yourself, and more real. Even though you may not like or enjoy everything you see when you look in the mirror, you are still able to say, “Right now, that’s me. And I don’t deny that fact. I accept it.” This is respect for reality. Brandon says that when you commit to this exercise for two minutes every morning and again every night for two weeks, you soon begin to experience the relationship between selfacceptance and self-esteem: a mind that honours itself. But more than that: “How can self-esteem not suffer if we are in a rejecting relationship with our own physical being?” He says you will also make another important discovery. Not only do you enter a more harmonious relationship with yourself, not only do you begin to grow in self-respect, but if aspects of the self you do not like are within your power to change, you are more motivated to make changes once you have accepted the facts as they are now.

Whatever my imperfections, I accept myself unreservedly and completely Says Brando: “We are not moved to change those things whose reality we deny. In addition, for those things we cannot change, when we accept them, we grow stronger and more centred; when we curse and protest them, we disempower ourselves.”

The most important things you want out of life? What are you doing about what is important to you right now? To answer this question you need to define what your goals are. If this is presently unclear, thinking about what you want in each of the areas below may help you to be more specific: - Adapted from Bourne (2000)

continued on next page careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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key feature

continued from previous page

What are your goals regarding these areas? • • • • • • • • • • •

physical health psychological wellbeing finances and money intimate relationships family friends career education personal growth recreation and leisure spiritual life.

forgiveness

• • • • • • • • • •

trust knowledge honesty integrity a sense of duty respect for the self thriftiness consideration/thoughtfulness humility tolerance for diversity.

Characteristics reflecting healthy self-esteem

What are my most important personal goals?

Listed below are a number of characteristics typical of persons who harbour high self-esteem. Circle those items that may further enhance the level of your self-esteem.

for the next month

avoid belittling others

for the next six months

ability to grow in the face of setbacks

for the next year

for the next three years.

ability to learn from mistakes – experience a learning curve in every given situation

Identify your needs Identify three or four needs from the list below to which you would like to give special attention. Then take action to do something about meeting the needs you have singled out. What specifically will you look at? • • • • • • • • • •

financial security friendship intimacy sexual expression a sense of accomplishment a sense of progress towards a goal spiritual awareness creativity feeling complete and masterful in some areas fun and play.

Moral compass Our moral compass and personal character are supportive of our selfesteem. Below is a list of a number of qualities that could be considered moral strengths. Circle an item if developing it more fully could further your personal growth and self-esteem. Adapted from Schiraldi (2002) careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

confident without coming across as arrogant or conceited

ability to deal with criticism in a

mature way •

ability to communicate your needs to others

not obsessed with failure or looking foolish.

Maintenance of selfesteem Are you mindful of maintaining positive self-esteem? Circle an item that could further contribute to the maintenance of a healthy self-esteem. •

not allowing yourself to dwell on (real or imagined) personal weaknesses and past weaknesses

forgiving yourself for your weaknesses and past failures

treating yourself with loving kindness

judging yourself against realistic and reasonable standards

changing the way you talk to yourself.

This is an extract from Intelligence: Tipping Point in Excellence (Published by Publishing (011 706 6009). should be read by every professional.

Emotional Workplace KnowRes This book workplace


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Looking for ‘something different’ for your year-end event? Entertainer, speaker, master of ceremonies

Gilan Gork is the perfect choice in entertainment for any event. With over 18 years of experience as a Mentalist, Gilan unlocks the power of influence to wow his audiences with mind-blowing feats: from mind-reading to breathtaking stunts and uncanny predictions. The Mentalist Experience is Gilan’s show crafted specifically to cater for corporate audiences. Positioned as ‘intellectual entertainment’, the show will entertain, captivate and exhilarate all from the CEO to the new intern. As an MC, Gilan transforms the feats in his show into links that will not only keep your guests entertained, but keep them engaged right until the last item on your program is complete!

Enquire now for your year-end event and benefit from special rates and packages!

Find out more on www.gilangork.com or contact careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015 manager@gilangork.com


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interview

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ou left your job as a PA to launch a training company. Very brave indeed ...how did this come about?

There is a saying “you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with”. I can honestly say that I have had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. I was fortunate enough to work with extraordinary people with very high standards and a passion for excellence. I was also afforded many growth opportunities. This exposure ignited my own desire to make a difference in the lives of others and enhanced my drive when it came to service excellence. Raising the Standards was born out of this desire. My company assists clients through various mechanisms from project coordination to training solutions to improve their customers’ experience. How did you feel when you launched it? I was both excited and terrified. The first fear I had to conquer was not having the security of a guaranteed monthly salary. However, since then I have learnt that this is a false sense of security anyway. Things are continuously changing and there is no such thing as a life-long guaranteed position. What kind of message do you think this sends out to PAs as a whole?

Spotlight on the

remarkable In this issue we meet Bianca Filmater

The message that I often share with PAs in training sessions is that they are in the best career to prepare them for any future role. The opportunities for growth and learning in the PA profession are tremendous because the role is so diverse. What kind of message does this send out to executive leaders about PAs? Hopefully it sends the message that leaders should not underestimate the importance of the position or individuals that are in this profession. Their ability to shift seamlessly from expert event planner to office psychologist should be recognised. Now let’s focus on you: Tell us the most interesting thing about you. This is a tough question but I will give it a bash. I’m not great at anything sporty except for playing pool. I used to be so good that I played in a men’s A-league team. I guess I should add that was in my misspent youth. What do you want out of life? What everyone wants I guess. I want to know that my life made a difference in the lives of others and that I fulfilled my purpose of encouraging and empowering others to reach their full potential. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? It would definitely be the need to ‘overthink’ things when I have made a mistake. I really have to work hard on this. It wastes too much time and definitely drains creative energy. Every hard-working PA must have an outlet - What do you do for fun? The 3 Bs - a book, a bubble bath and a glass of bubbly is the ultimate outlet for me. I also love dressing up in costume so I arrange dress up parties for my 11 year old daughter which gives me an excuse to put on a wig, tiara and princess gown.

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tips

Corporate Gifts You want me to choose the corporate gifts on my own!!! Could I get off Earth now! No need to as Charlotte Massey-Hicks gives us invaluable pointers. Have you ever been paralysed by the request: “Please select corporate gifts for our clients for year-end”; or “We need promotional branded items for our Golf-Day – please arrange”.

out for in the company you choose as your supplier etc. Below are 10 points to guide you in making sure you select the perfect gift and WOW your boss.

Where do you start? How do you select? What should you look

Brief Get a proper brief I can’t stress this enough. Make sure you know who the gifts are for, how many gifts to arrange, what you have to spend and when it is for. The better the brief you give your supplier, the better the end result and your overall experience will be.

Client Info if you are selecting clothing for your client, make sure you know the clothes size of each client This will save a lot of time initially as your supplier will be able to check stock levels. It is very frustrating if you finally find an item of clothing you like just to find out there is no stock. Let your supplier know the quantity of items you are looking for, and the sizes ,and let them know to quote only you on what is available (unless you don’t have a tight deadline, in which case they might be able to bring the stock in for you).

Colours Find out upfront what the colour scheme for the event; this helps you narrow down the list. The variety of corporate gifts is immense and often the most difficult choice lies in narrowing it down to a feew favourites. Sometimes the colour scheme helps in the process of narrowing it down.

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Branding

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Do the gifts need to be branded and if so, with what? There are many types of branding which apply to different items and the type of branding you choose can affect the price of the item significantly. If you are doing clothes as a gift (for example caps/ jackets or T-Shirts) you are able to embroider or screen print. Embroidery works on stitch count, the more complicated the logo/ embroidery, the more expensive it will be. The supplier will also charge you a set-up fee per logo. On high volumes this does not really affect the overall price too much, but if you are only branding 2 shirts, the set-up fee will have a significant impact. If it’s gifts such as mugs, usb’s, pens etc, you will be able to do a pad print, decal or laser engraving (depending on the item). With pad printing, you will be charged per colour for the print and you will also pay a set-up fee per colour. So, you might pay R4.00 for a pen but if your logo has 4 colours in it, you will pay R4.00 per print per colour and a set-up fee of R280.00 per colour, the pen then works out very expensive. In this case you would rather opt to do a 1-colour print of your logo or if the kind of pen allows it, a laser engraved logo of which you will only pay one set-up fee. On large quantities though, the pad print will work out as the more viable option as the set-up fee is absorbed into a higher quantity.


Budget You need to let your supplier know what the budget is for the project as this will determine the quality of the gift you can get. There are two kinds of gifts: Promotional gifts ,which are of average quality and the primary objective of this is to get your brand noticed. These are usually ordered on high volume and are cheaper. An example of this will be branded pens that you hand out at an event. Corporate gifts. These are branded gifts that are for specific people and you usually want a better quality item in this case. These are usually low volume items. Make sure you know upfront which ones you should consider. Ask your supplier for guidance if you need.

Deadline This is crucial. If you are just choosing a stock item that your supplier has available, then this should not be too much of a problem; however, if you need your items branded, you need to plan ahead. Depending on how busy the supplier is, you usually need between 5-10 working days in order to brand items. If you are having personalised notebooks or lanyards done, the lead-time is about 7-10 working days. Make sure your supplier knows upfront when you need them by and try to get it about 2 days before your event to make sure that are no issues. (As far as possible, try to allow your supplier the time to do the branding properly as gremlins tend to creep into the process when they rush a job).

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Choosing your supplier

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You need to find a reputable supplier. The best is usually word-ofmouth but if this is not an option then the internet is your friend. Try to find a supplier that is close to you so that delivery of items and samples are not a problem. Ask your suppliers to send you images of previous work they have done so that you can check that the quality is in line with what you are looking for. Unless you have an account with supplier, most of them will require a deposit upfront with the balance on or before delivery. Make sure that you have the necessary sign-off from management so that this does not cause any delays on your side.

Choosing your gifts

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If you already have an idea of what you are looking for, you can ask your supplier to send you images or samples of items they have in that range (most suppliers will charge you for the samples but will credit you if you return them in the same packaging and condition that you received them in). If you have no idea, then ask your supplier to send you a catalogue of their items or a link to the website so that you can browse at your leisure. If you are choosing clothing, ask your suppliers to send you a few sizes in that range to fit on to ensure you choose the right size, as once the item has been branded you will not be able to change it.

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Packaging

Artwork make sure that you have print ready artwork available for your supplier if you are doing branding You will get this from your Marketing & Advertising Department. If you do not have this, most suppliers are able to design at an additional fee. Make sure that you ALWAYS insist on an artwork proof to sign off before branding commences - and check colours and spelling before you signoff as the onus will be on you if any errors are made. This also ensures that you don’t get any surprises on the branding once it is done.

Let your supplier know if you need your items packaged in a certain way. Most suppliers will supply the items bulk-packed in plastic unless otherwise specified. If you are ordering a high volume of gifts that need to be distributed to various branches, the supplier could pack this accordingly.

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work trends

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collaborative communication tools

that will change your Executive’s life! Intelligent use of time is every executive’s goal – PAs can do much to eliminate time wasters, so says Sonja Bohlander.

L

et’s recall Peter Drucker’s famous saying: “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed”. Once having lost time, you can never regain it. Our managers and executives need to utilize every single moment of their working day wisely – and a big time-waster is travelling to and from meetings. Our company has operations in both Sasolburg and Secunda and abroad, with our senior executives based in Johannesburg. A senior executives’ time is an extremely expensive commodity. Meetings are scheduled in various locations and if several of these executives have to travel to these venues, several [expensive], hours per day are allocated to travel. We have started using two software programmes that assist with negating travel and physical meeting attendance. Time spent on the road is ‘dead time’ and can be utilized much more productively. The only way time is ‘saved’ is to apply it wisely.

LYNC, as well as Telepresence, allows face-to-face, screenvisual meetings with individuals that are remotely situated. This keeps executives off the roads and safely in the office; allowing them the time gained by no longer having to travel, to spend on strategic and operational matters. The LYNC tool is integrated with all other Microsoft programmes and can be used for different purposes. •

It can be used as an instant messaging system – almost the same as sending messages on your cell phone;

Documents can be shared during discussions without having to send lengthy emails with large attachments;

Collaborative communication:

√√

While using LYNC discussions can take place with an individual (or more than one individual if linked in a meeting room with a video conferencing system) and documents can be worked on simultaneously. As each person makes changes to the document, it is seen by the others in the same discussion.

√√

A ‘whiteboard discussion’ can be held for brain-storming. Text, drawings and graphical annotations are shared and can be added.

COLLABORATIVE COMMUNICATION TOOLS: MICROSOFT LYNC AND TELEPRESENCE The two programs TELEPRESENCE.

are:

MICROSOFT

1. Microsoft LYNC

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

LYNC

AND


17 The benefits of this method of meeting attendance is reduction in travel costs, improving the individual’s work life balance as they do not need to be away from home travelling to meetings very early in the mornings and often returning late at night.

√√

Polling can be done: If a quick survey is required in your business, this can be set up and results are almost instantly available.

√√

It can be used for training purposes: Often we need to show someone how to perform certain actions within programs, etc then your desktop can be shared and in real time ‘on line’ teaching is possible.

√√

Different programmes and applications can be shared. If a video clip is to be shared with someone, it can be done with LYNC, and again no large attachments to emails are necessary.

Employees’ productivity is improved, as well as a reduction in a company’s carbon footprint – less vehicles travelling – and thus also the impact on the environment. Employee safety is always a concern when travelling to and from other areas, and by doing meetings via telepresence and also LYNC as already indicated, the possibility of traffic incidents involving employees is greatly reduced, if not eliminated. Participants all need to have this tool installed on their PCs. One can also link as a guest. Meetings can be held with people in different cities and countries. It imparts the experience of being present whilst being worlds apart. Our colleagues based in the USA, would have to endure travel of two to four days to attend a two hour meeting in SA; now eliminated with the use of Telepresence. Documents are shared on screen and the costs are also less than phone conferencing.

2. Teleprecence David Allen and Herold Williams in 1993 founded the company Teleport (later renamed TeleSuite) which was the first commercially successful telepresence company. Before 1993 they ran a resort and found that business people visiting tended to cut their stay short when other urgent business meetings arose. They thought the solution would be to develop technology that would allow business people to participate in these meetings without having to cut short their holiday, which in turn resulted in no loss of revenue for the resort. Since then companies all over the world are using this type of technology with huge benefits.attend meetings via ‘video conferencing’.

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careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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healthy mind in a healthy body

W

hen I first started working on this article, my research was largely around stress and the impact this has on the body. But then I came across an interesting book “Worried Sick: Our Troubled Quest for Wellness” and it clearly explained how some emotions can deeply harm us and I decided to pursue this angle instead. What follows is an outpouring of my learnings from Dr Arthur Barsky, the author of the aforementioned book, as well as my own experiences. [Please see the notes, at the end of this article, which details some of the stresses I have faced in the last ten years. It’s not unrealistic to believe that by changing our minds, we really can change our lives. As Dr Barsky so aptly writes, “We ‘burn’ with anger, we ‘tremble’ with fear, we feel ‘choked up’ with sadness, our ‘stomachs turn’ with revulsion”. You see, it’s not uncommon to experience disagreeable emotions as unfriendly physical symptoms i.e. we feel physically distressed when emotionally distressed. Fortunately, we are empowered with the ability to change negative thoughts and feelings into positive, rational and motivating thoughts; thereby helping to create a healthy mind in a healthy body. The connection between a healthy mind and a healthy body is not new to science. History shows that, as far back as 4,000 years ago, Chinese physicians became aware that patients, after a period of illness, often became frustrated. Nowadays, this is a given and much has been written on the strong influence our emotions, life events and coping skills have on our physical well-being. We know these factors as stress.

Essence of stress and its impact •

Stress is a normal part of life as our bodies have been designed to experience stress and react to it

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

In pursuit of

Happiness Michelle longman has worked as a PA for over 25 years and is an outspoken advocate about the importance of a natural balance between work and family life. whether it be physical, mental and/ or emotional reaction. •

Stress can be positive ensuring we are kept alert and ready to face what might come our way.

Stress can also be negative - and can become very negative when we face continuous challenges without relief or relaxation. In this case, we then become overworked and experience stress-related tension viz. distress.

Stress can lead to physical symptoms of which the severity can differ; these can range from headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure, chest pains, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression. Stress can be dangerous especially when alcohol, tobacco or drugs are used to alleviate some of the stress. Understandably, these substances do not actually return the body to a relaxed state [which is what is required], rather the body tends to stay in a stressed state and will cause further physical and emotional problems for the person So, it goes without saying that the long-term consequence of a life filled with anxiety is very concerning and the physical symptoms referred to above may develop further into one or more of the following:

Weight gain or loss

Destruction of the body’s resistance to cancer, infections and other illnesses

Infertility and sexual dysfunction

Exacerbate diabetes [whether type 1 or type 2]

Make us more prone to suffering a heart attack or stroke.

I am sure we all agree that these are conditions we would all prefer to avoid, where possible.

Stress is everywhere Life in the 21st century is complicated and difficult and presents modern-dayhumans with a large variety of stress triggers. Some of these might be: •

Medical conditions

Financial troubles

Difficult family life

Emotional relationships and/or

Work-related situations

While doing research for this article, I naturally gravitated to Google and was saddened when the following statement popped up: “Stress is die grootste moordenaar”. Loosely translated “stress is the biggest killer”: This statement saddened me to the core and is an acknowledgement of the seriousness of stress and the impact it has on people’s lives.


19 As a result of our lives being so incredibly busy and stressful, it’s important, very important, to choose which stresses we are willing to allow into our lives ( both at home and at work), and then find a way to manage these constructively. For example, a child’s chronic medical condition is not necessarily something that can be changed, but how we choose to manage it will strongly influence the level of stress we experience. Ditto with financial problems. Taking action is vital to survival – and the pun here is intended!

Stress in the workplace Whether one is working for a conglomerate or a small business you face situations which are stressful such as unrealistic working hours, transport challenges, difficult colleagues, a manager who is more stressed-out than you, deadlines that forever keep changing and a belief system that expects us to work like robots, never stopping for a breath of fresh air or for some nourishment. And where does this leave us? We start to become less effective due to headaches, backaches, lack of sleep and anxiety. We become emotional in the office, we respond to other people’s drama and start to accept stress as the norm…and sooner or later, we develop serious stress-related diseases. This is not an acceptable state! We have to identify the items that are causing us stress and work towards improving these situations. These can range from something as practical as an uncomfortable chair that needs to be changed; avoiding a difficult colleague; asking help regarding a project you do not understand, and even potentially having to accept that you are not cut-out for the role you’re in. Obviously some of the bigger challenges cannot be corrected overnight and often require planning and tools to help us

some type of relaxation techniques are an excellent source of stress management.

solve them, but these require that clear goals be set to improve the situation! In my case; when I found that my mornings were just too busy and thus very unpleasant, I made a number of changes to improve this viz. from waking up a little earlier to persuading my manager into accepting that manager I would start work a little later. These seemingly minor changes resulted in my having an extra hour in the morning and thus a major change to my well-being and ability to concentrate.

Stress Hardiness: Stress hardiness, also referred to as a healthy personality, is the term given to an overall approach to life that helps individuals buffer the impact of stress. This approach can be summarised as four personality traits continued on next page

Pursue happiness Dr. Coral Arvon, Director of Behavioural Health and Wellness at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, suggests some of the following techniques to help cope with the various aspects of stress: •

Calming the mind and the body: By calming the mind and body, people with severe stress are likely to find themselves in a better place and in a better position to cope. The combination of healthy eating, taking part in regular exercise and

• As a PA, the most critical thing you will learn, is the need to create space in your mind for a better quality of life.

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healthy mind in a healthy body and these individuals were found to have less physical manifestations of their stress.

continued from previous page √√

Commitment - an attitude of curiosity and commitment to yourself, your loved ones, your work, and the world.

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Control – the belief that you can respond effectively to situations that arise in your life, rather than feeling hopeless and incompetent.

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Challenge - the ability to see change as exciting and an opportunity for growth rather than viewing it as frightening and fearing failure.

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Connection - the enduring assurance that you are understood and validated by those you are closest to.

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Emotional disclosure: Individuals who have successfully navigated their way through a variety of stresses, found that keeping a journal and/or speaking to others, helped them disclose their emotional status

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Happiness: Wikipedia defines happiness as “a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. The United Nations declared 20 March the International Day of Happiness to recognise the relevance of happiness and wellbeing as universal goals”.

And then there’s a sense of humour A sense of humour has been demonstrated, time and time again, to have “stress-busting” qualities which reduces the body’s physiological response to stress. Although I am definitely not suggesting that making light of every situation is a good idea, humour is good strategy for survival!

Professor David Myers then and now During a recent clean-out of some very old files, I came across some notes that I typed up from an article printed in the December 1998 issue of the Readers Digest. The article was written by Jeremy Daniel and in it he quotes David Myers. [David Myers is now a well-known professor of psychology at Hope College in Michigan, United States and is the author of over 15 books.] At the time of the publication, he was studying happiness and suggested some simple steps to happiness. These principles resonated with me then, and still resonate with me today. Here they are: 1. Savour the moment: Live in the present: treasure the smile of your child in the morning, the satisfaction of helping a friend, the pleasure of curling up with a good book. 2. Take control of your time: Happy people set big goals, then break them into daily bits. This principle can be applied to any task. 3. Accentuate the positive: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that negative emotions lash back at us, while positive ones can boost the body’s healing process. Happy people take steps to keep their negative emotions in check. 4. Give priority to close relationships: People with close friends, spouses and partners cope better with stresses such as bereavement, job loss, illness or even rape. 5. Act happy: Experiments show that people who put on a happy face really do feel better. It seems that the facial muscles used to smile widely actually trigger happy feelings in the brain. 6. Don’t vegetate: Don’t engage in self-absorbed idleness or plonk yourself in front of the television. Get involved in something that utilises your skills. 7. Get moving: Aerobic exercise is an antidote to depression and anxiety. 8. Get rest: Happy people exude vigour, but they also reserve time for sleep and solitude. 9. Take care of the soul: Research on faith and wellbeing shows that people who are actively religious are happier than those who aren’t.

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


21 BACKGROUND Of course, none of the principles outlined here will ensure that we are immune to sadness, but applied together, they can certainly nudge you along to the road to happiness. By way of explanation, here’s a brief description of the stresses that I have experienced in the last ten years that will provide some background to my experiences. Ten years ago, our third daughter was born; at the time, her sisters who were eight and eleven respectively. Within a year of her birth, our middle daughter was diagnosed with a Generalised Anxiety Disorder. We spent the next five to six years learning to understand the anxiety disorder which included a variety of medications, an additional diagnosis of ADHD, taking her out of main-stream schooling followed by home-schooling and then un-schooling.

During this time, I had a two year stint working for an incredibly intelligent but completely unrealistic and overdemanding boss, with tactics bordering on bullying and emotional abuse with which he used to “motivate his people”. This environment proved way too stressful for me and I developed a heart condition, which now requires daily chronic medication. When our anxiety-sufferer was 16, she became very ill with a deep and dark depression and in January 2013, when our youngest daughter was seven, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We had two daughters in hospital, within weeks of each other. When our youngest was eight, it was found she suffers from a Generalised Anxiety Disorder as well. During the height of the two girls’ illnesses, I resigned from my comfortable job as a Career PA with a fantastic

salary, and stayed at home for two years, managing the health of our children. Although I did work from home, as a Virtual Assistant, there was not enough funds to go around and so we hit some large financial challenges including the risk of losing our house when the bank attached it and set an auction date. Through sheer determination and tenacity, we saved the house and the auction was cancelled. Today, our children are safe and their medical conditions are stable and well maintained. Our house is ours and I’m back at work, working in my favourite role as a Personal Assistant, with my favourite “boss”. Michelle has worked as a PA for over 25 years and is an outspoken advocate about the importance of a natural balance between work and family life.

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career feature

Our society is not what it used to be

Are you ready to survive?

Maintaining Balance When Shift Happens by Keith Coats and Graeme Codrington

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Different people experience shifts differently. For some the shift that you are experiencing represents their stability. Be aware of this and don’t assume ‘your normal’ is ‘everyone’s normal

I

n April 2012, captivating picture of Licia Ronzulli and her seven-weekold daughter, Victoria, went viral on social media.

Why? It was taken in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg where Licia was an MEP from Italy and every so often she would lean forward to kiss her child. The voting session was on proposals that were before the parliament to improve women’s employment rights. It was not one of those ‘bring your child to work’ days, and although Licia admitted to being partially motivated by the attention it would draw to her cause, it is a practice she has maintained. The mother-daughter images sparked a lot of debate about the role of women at work, parenting, gender equality and other such topics. Licia was as praised as she was criticised. There was little ‘middle ground’ surrounding the issues framed by the photos. What we would like to focus on is not so much the ‘right/wrong’ of Licia’s decision but rather on how this single image powerfully captures a societal shift. Dealing productively with shifting values is not easy. It is not easy for individuals nor is it easy for society at large. When values shift, it always leaves hordes of people behind and they are easily recognisable if you listen to the language they use. It is punctuated by the past tense and it seems that they are walking forwards yet with their heads turned backwards. Their view is locked more into rear-view mirror than it is looking down the road.

Our message is that if you want to survive the future – better yet, if you want to thrive in the future – adaptability is essential, and adaptability is something you can learn. When comfortable values begin to shift from our under our feet, smart people pay attention to what is going on. When this happens we suggest two things that you should be doing:

Look to see and understand what is causing the shift. The forces causing the shift are not always readily identifiable and they may be embedded deep underground – or away from the obvious. Too many people with whom we engage are not paying enough attention to shifting forces that are causing familiar and comfortable values to disintegrate.

Act to regain balance. You will need to shift your stance, change your position.

Work-life balance, what we want out of life/work/relationships, how we communicate and access information, views on equality, gender, sexuality, what we will fight for – and what we live for, how we see diversity, teamwork, loyalty, relaxation and commitment. All of these represent shifts that are happening beneath us and whilst we may have strong opinions as to the right and wrong of such things – we suspect that such discussions are seldom helpful in regaining our balance. This is an extract from Leading in a Changing World; Lessons for future focused leaders by Keith Coats & Graeme Codrington. The book is a must read for all executives. Get a copy for your boss from: Jude Foulston Email:jude@tomorrowtodayglobal.com Web: www.tomorrowtodayglobal.com Call:+27 72 859 0412

If you don’t, you will fall. When things are moving, as they are, smart leaders pay attention to maintaining their balance. Hold onto others. The best way to keep your balance is to support others and to be supported by them. Different people experience shifts differently. For some the shift that you are experiencing represents their stability. Be aware of this and don’t assume ‘your normal’ is ‘everyone’s normal’. Challenge assumptions and look for the opportunity of new support rather than bemoan the loss of old supports. Standing steady on shifty ground is the thing that smart leaders perfect. Societal values are shifting ground:

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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Q&A

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Coaching by Esmé van der Merwe

Q

class

In a recent mentoring discussion, a young protégé asked the question: “My manager is suffering from depression because of painful domestic circumstances. There are days that I can cope with it, and days that I struggle. Please advise how I can help myself stay emotionally balanced and more importantly, how can I best offer support to him”.

Answer I tried to assist her as best as I could and then thought to share it with others who might face the same challenges. Manage yourself before you can manage someone else

6. Get enough sleep and if you struggle to sleep, do breathing exercises to calm you down. 7. Make time to enjoy life and laugh as much as you can. Watch a comedy or spend time with those friends that make you laugh. Having a “date night” with your loved-one once a week where you go to see a good movie and have a candle light dinner will also enhance the relationship with your other half and that will boost your self-esteem automatically. 8. Find a hobby to take your mind away from work after hours or during weekends. 9. Find professional help if you feel that you are still overwhelmed after following these tips for at least a month. Support the manager as best as you can:

It is true that we can some days cope more easily with difficult situations than other days. To make sure that those days are more frequent than the difficult days, consider the following tips:

1. Be aware that a person suffering from depression can find it difficult to make decisions and therefore allow longer turnaround time for the manager to decide on documents in the inbox.

1. You need to realise that you cannot control or “fix” the other person’s depression but you can guide them to get assistance and be there for him/her when moral support is needed.

2. “Open up” the manager’s diary to allow time to spend at home or to see a medical practitioner if needed.

2. To keep yourself balanced, the best advice is to exercise as much as you can. Get into an exercise routine, even if you just walk the dog or your husband or kid around the block in the morning. According to wikihow.com, studies have shown that you can reduce stress if you connect with nature and by walking in green areas, it helps you to meditate which also contributes to make you more relaxed. 3. Get enough sunshine – it increases the levels of vitamin D in your body and that also improves your mood. (Consider having your lunch break in the office garden instead of behind the desk.) 4. A support group to just listen when you are feeling low, is also good. A cup of coffee with a friend that just listen, works wonders. 5. Make sure that you also stick to a healthy diet to get enough energy to keep up with the stress at work.

3. Encourage him/her to exercise. 4. The most important point is to be compassionate and listen when needed. 5. Encourage and assist the manager to have healthy food. 6. As “gate keeper” remember to shield the manager’s condition as much as you can from other people to promote his image. These basic guidelines will take you far in managing situations like these. Sources: www.wikihow.com/help-someone-with-depression; www.nhs.uk/conditions/depression/pages/ introduction.aspx; www.nhs.uk/conditions/ depression/pages/symptoms.aspx; http://. mentalhealth.moonfruit.com;

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international gurus

Meet Julie Perrine The best Admin Assistants never stop learning growing and expanding their knowledge base

J

ulie Perrine, CAP-OM, is an administrative expert, trainer, author and all around procedures pro. She is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, a company dedicated to developing and providing breakthrough products, training, mentoring, and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie has more than 20 years of experience in the administrative profession spanning several industries and serving in corporate and startup settings. Julie’s main mission is to guide, encourage, and connect administrative professionals to the innovative technologies, ideas, resources, and people they need as they work toward achieving their career goals. Her upbeat, straightforward, step-by-step approach to handling the opportunities and challenges facing administrative professionals gives them proactive strategies for developing a plan, creating forward motion, and achieving great results. Julie is the author of The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation In Your Administrative Career. Julie has also created several innovative tools and programs for administrative professionals, including the Administrative Procedures Toolkit, Kick-Start Creating Your Administrative Procedures Binder Course,Professional Portfolio Builder, and ePortfolio Builder. She has also published several ebooks. Julie writes regularly for the Executive Secretary Magazine, the IAAP blog, and her All Things Admin blog. Her articles have been published in professional association newsletters worldwide. She has been active in local and international organizations, including the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

We asked Julie three questions:

1. Why did you choose to be a PA? I refer to myself as an “accidental admin” because this was not the profession I originally chose. But over time, I realised I had the right skills to be successful, and it became a profession I love. I advanced up the ladder and attained every job title an admin can have before landing in the executive suite supporting a company president. In January 2005, I left the corporate world and launched my virtual assistant business. As I helped my clients grow their businesses, I discovered that I loved to train admins – which was the launch of All Things Admin in the summer of 2009.

2. Why you are so passionate about sharing your knowledge? I believe the admin role is one of the most important roles in the office. It’s also one of the best training grounds for developing your skills and abilities – whether you decide to make a lifelong career out of it or you use it as stepping stone into another area entirely. So I love helping admins be the best they can be and try to do everything I can to encourage, motivate, and inspire them to see the career potential that exists. The more you share what you know with others, the more you expand your capacity for learning and growing professionally. It’s a win-win.

3. Could you please share with South African PAs some of your key pointers. See her article on next page.


20

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Ways to Tailor Your Support for multiple managers

W

hen you support multiple executives, you’re likely going to deal with several different personality types and varied styles. Each person is going to have their own unique way of working, tackling projects, and approaching problems. Each will have a different set of influences, challenges, and personal situations. What works as motivation for one person might be considered nagging by another. Some people are better delegators, others need to be asked what they need help with. As an admin supporting multiple executives, you need to recognize this and be ready to tailor and adjust the way you work in order to keep your executives and yourself on track. While each executive you support is going to have their own distinctive style, there are several things to pay attention to that will positively impact your working relationships, no matter who you’re dealing with. The key is to be polite, respectful, and approach each area from a place of becoming a better support person for your executive.

1 2 3 4 5

Realize you may need to politely remind or nudge your executive to follow up on things – sometimes seemingly obvious things. It’s just the nature of the job. Tell your executive when you see her doing something that you could be doing instead. In these moments, you train her to delegate. Send your executive information (trends, research, articles, etc.) you come across related to the initiatives he’s working on. This can help him make betterinformed decisions. Identify new technologies or systems that can make both of your projects and jobs smoother. Fast track your executive’s learning curve by sharing what you’ve learned about various software, social media, or technology tools.

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Point out when your executive is doing something inefficiently. Show her the quicker method on the spot, if you can. She may just be stuck in a this-is-how-I’vealways-done-it mindset. Be willing to learn new things. As an admin assistant, you should never ever stop learning. Dig in and figure things out on your own when there isn’t an established project plan or precedent to follow. Show initiative and create one. Question your executive if there’s something you don’t understand. It may be an opportunity to make things work better. Share your ideas and brainstorms with your executive even if you can’t implement every idea you present. This openly collaborative environment creates sparks that ignite our projects. Share who you are with your executive and learn who she is – her personality type, interests, strengths – so you can fully appreciate who she is and how best to work with her. Learn your executive’s communication style and teach him yours so you can communicate as effectively as possible. Be sure to ask about his preferred methods of communication – especially in this digital age we live in. Take the initiative to fix things that aren’t working. You need to be comfortable knowing when to ask and when to just take care of it. Hold your executive accountable for doing what he says he’s going to do. You’re supporting him in achieving his goals and objectives. continued on next page careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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international gurus

continued from previous page

15 16 17 18 19 20

Share your professional goals with your executive so she can support you on your career journey just as you support her. Capture “to do list” items as you talk through things and then track them to make sure they get done. It’s one less set of things your executive has to keep on their plate. Initiate the follow-up calls and emails on the “to dos” you’re working on so your executive doesn’t have to remember another series of details. Keep them apprised of your progress.

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Understand how businesses run so you can fully understand and participate in what you and your executive are working on each day. Professionally represent your executive and company in everything you do – behavior, appearance, communication, workspace. Be patient. Because just like everyone else, your executive is still a work in progress. And she needs you on the bad days sometimes even more than she does on the good ones!

Some of these things may seem obvious or insignificant, but they can go a long way in helping you understand and work with the multiple executives you support. And even if you’ve worked with your executives for several years, you can always look for additional ways to improve those working relationships. Running a department, managing a team, and leading a company is a lot of work. There are a lot of details, moving parts, and responsibility. That’s why successful executives need outstanding admins supporting them. Developing a good working relationship with each of your executives will take time. The results, though, are worth it when you become the admin your executive can’t imagine his or her corporate life without. © 2015 Julie Perrine International, LLC

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Connect with Julie! http://www.linkedin.com/in/julieperrine Follow Julie! http://www.twitter.com/julieperrine “Like” All Things Admin! http://www.facebook.com/ AllThingsAdmin Visit our website: http://www.allthingsadmin.com

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pa of the year award

Meet Chelene Venter PA OF THE YEAR ® 2015 CS: Congrats – what does it feel like to have been nominated and then elected South Africa’s PA of the Year? CV: When I received the e-mail from PAFSA informing me that I had been nominated I was so excited. Everybody working with me had to hear about it and, of course, I bragged to my boss as well. When I saw my boss’s elated expression and how proud he was of me, I could really not contain my excitement. I also had no words to describe how grateful I was to Ms Pontsho Baloyi who nominated me, thus affording me the opportunity to bloom and ‘let my light shine’. Being elected as South Africa’s PA of the Year is the most fantastic feeling ever! . When my name was called out I was absolutely shocked, excited, overwhelmed and so proud of myself because the other 5 finalists were very strong competitors and would have made deserving winners. They certainly gave me a run for my money! That evening of the announcement I could hardly contain my excitement and I actually did not want to go to bed because I wanted the feeling to last forever ! PAFSA is such an amazing organisation who gives recognition to our profession and to be part of them really is a dream come

careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015

true. The topic on which I presented at PAFSA’s Secretaries Day Summit and Gala Lunch was “Bloom and let your light shine!” and that is exactly what I am going to do this year because I have the support of my fantastic “tribe members”. With such amazing people, we can reach even loftier heights. CS: Who was the first person you told or called to say that you had received the Title? CV: My darling husband was the first person I called after the title had been bestowed on me. He was my biggest supporter throughout the entire process and he unwaveringly believed from the start that I would be walking away with the title. What more can a PA ask for – If you have a great support system at home, you really can conquer the world! CS: What did your boss say? CV: In addition to him being overjoyed on hearing the news of me winning, he said that I am one in a million and that the news was, in fact, no surprise to him. He said that I am a huge asset to him and he can’t imagine functioning a day without me in his office. He is very proud to be the boss of South Africa’s PA of


31 the Year and he knows that I will be an ambassador to many other PAs and colleagues.

CS: If you could have any five people in the world to have dinner with you, who would they be?

CS: Do you have a typical day? If so, what is a typical work day for you?

CV: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres and Couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo

CV: There is no such thing as a typical day in my office and that is what makes my job so interesting. All our PAs have standard tasks, for example diary bookings, travel arrangements, document management, minute-taking, events planning, the dreaded and infamous filing of documents, and many more. However, it is the solving of problems that makes my day so exciting. Working in the Business Systems and Technology Department you can only imagine the challenges that untimely technology glitches can present. It is being on top of your game at all times, and the short notice deadlines that make me love my job and enjoy every exciting, fast-paced minute of it. CS: How do you de-stress? CV: Over weekends I enjoy having dinner with friends and family, going for spa sessions and doing pewter crafting. CS: Why do you think that in the last 10 years, this title has been awarded to PAs who work in Pretoria? CV: It must be something in the water! Just kidding – I think it is simply a coincidence but Pretoria has certainly had a good run. PAFSA is a reputable organization and the selection of the title bearer is not on demographics but on experience, expertise and fairness. CS: What is your favourite inspirational quote? CV: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

CS: If you could have any five people in the world to have dinner with you, who would they be? CV: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres and Couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo CS: What message do you have for PAs about on how you feel about your profession? CV: As a PA I am my Boss’s right-hand “man” in organising his work-life. However, it is a reciprocal relationship and he has always supported me and given me the freedom and encouragement to work towards my own personal goals and ambitions. I therefore believe I contribute to the overall success of the Chief Information Officer of a reputable institution, as well as the overall success of the business environment we are working in. Being a PA for 24 years has had its challenges but that is what I thrive on. A positive attitude and the 5 Ps (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) are the key to my success. I have a passion for what I do and would like to share my wisdom and experience with my peers. We, as PAs have to light each other’s candles by sharing information, helping each other and encouraging one another: by doing that, we can all ‘bloom and let our lights shine’!

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pa summit

On 2 September 2015, Secretaries Day, PAFSA held its annual PA Summit, at Emperors Convention Centre in Gauteng and the theme was “It’s your time to shine”

PA SUMMIT PICTORIAL REVIEW Keynote speakers were Juliette Fourie, Angelique Ross and Gilank Gork. The six finalists of the PA of the Year® also made brief presentations. Platinum sponsors were Avis, Bantex, Emperors and Brother distributed by Kemtek.

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Platinum sponsors were Avis, Bantex, Emperors and Brother distributed by Kemtek.

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secretaries day

Secretaries Day Lunch at Emperors organised by pafsa

Pictorial Review

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meet a pafsa member

1

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

I was born in Pietermaritzburg but have spent most of my life, from the age of 13, living in Pretoria. I was raised in a Christian home with my Dad, Mom, and 2 brothers who are both younger than me. I am married to an amazing man, Michael, for 11 years this year and have been blessed with two gorgeous boys, Gareth (8) and Dylan (5).

2

How and why did you become Administrative professional?

a

PA/EA/

I have always had a passion for office and secretarial administration. I applied for a Personal Assistant position in 2004 as at the time I was in a financial administration role in a trading environment, and knew it was not my passion. I love interacting with people and customers. This is my 11th year as a PA and I love it! I am a very neat and organised person and strive to be a superb right-hand for my boss, someone he can always rely on “to hold down the fort” as he would say!

We welcome Jacqui Thackwray To PAFSA and we get to know her better

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3

Briefly, describe a typical day at your office?

My role is 3-fold – Personal Assistant to the MD, Office Manager, as well as Facilities Manager – so you can imagine that one day is never the same as the next! •

Preparing my bosses office for the day

Checking his emails and managing his electronic diary

Attending to my emails and voicemails

Attending to any personal matters and bookings for my boss for the days/weeks ahead

Filing and correspondence

All Travel arrangements for the Sales Executives, Managers and Directors

Minute taking and typing minutes of Exco meetings

Boardroom and Meeting Room bookings

Handling escalated customer queries

Managing the cleaning staff and soft services

Ordering of monthly staff refreshments

Managing my Receptionist and overseeing her duties (Stationery, Couriers, Admin)

Events planning and management

Overseeing maintenance and facilities of the company, with the assistance of our Maintenance Manager


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7

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

4

What inspires and motivates you?

Going in to the office every day inspires and motivates me! I love my job and I love what I do! Not one day is ever the same, and there is always a mix between my roles as PA, Office Manager and Facilities Manager. I love the challenges and opportunities that present themselves when you least expect them… and the next minute you know it is the end of the work day… and time to go home to my family… who also motivate me and inspire me!

5

What have been the highlights of your career so far and why?

I have just completed a 1 year course through CBM Training and look forward to receiving my National Certificate in Business Administration in a couple of months’ time. I am so grateful for the opportunity I was afforded as well as all the support and input I received from the management and staff at Jacklin. I have gained so much knowledge and insight into the roles that I fulfil and the ways that I can improve in each role.

6

What industry are you in?

The person who has the most influence in my life is my husband. He also works in facilities management for Discovery, so it is always inspiring when I can chat to him about the issues/ problems/challenges I am experiencing and he can advise and guide me. I have learnt so much from him over the years, which has enabled me to grow in that role. He was also a great support to me during the past year while I was completing my course along with fulfilling my roles as a wife and mother.

8 9

How do you relax and de-tress? How I truly like to relax is a day at the Spa! Or a morning at the hairdresser for a new hairdo! What gives ‘light ‘to your life? To your being?

My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – I have this verse framed up on my office wall: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:13 On really hectic days when I think I will never get through all the work, and I do, I thank the Lord for strengthening me during those times and helping me to get through it all. My kids, my husband and our families – I always look forward to spending time with them!

10 1

Jacklin Enterprises is a mail order fulfilment and distribution company for partwork subscriptions. It is also a publishing house for educational books and the Disney Book Club for children; and the Mills & Boon Book Club for adults. We also have a Trade Sales department whose focus is on sales of educational books to Universities, Schools, Bookstores and Libraries nationally.

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

I had the opportunity to travel overseas and spent a year in London after matriculating. Just my best-friend and I, on our own, in London at the age of 18. It was an amazing experience!! It allowed me to develop my independence, meet some great people and tour a wonderful country!

For more info visit www.pafsa.co.za

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technology

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Control and monitor corporate

travel expense-abuse

B

electronically!

usiness travel is essential for companies to build existing supplier and client relationships, expand into new markets and increase sales. If not tightly managed and controlled, travel expenses can add up quickly. Managing travel costs can be challenging, especially if employees are taking advantage of their travel budget. To control and manage travel expenses, the following challenges must be addressed. Archaic paper-based logbooks create gaps in the business process due to human errors, incorrect details and omissions. Double entries or inflated kilometre readings concealing personal use are difficult and time-consuming to detect. Even if trips are accurately recorded, the information in a paper-based logbook must still be captured and processed manually, a tedious and time-consuming task. The tedious task of collating and managing receipts following trips wastes time for both travelling employees and admin staff. If SARS deems a logbook inaccurate in any way, the travel allowance tax claim can be rejected, leaving the tax payer with a potential tax liability. Simple, stylish and highly affordable, the electronic GPS Log Book is a userfriendly device which makes controlling business travel easier. Using high sensitivity GPS and intelligent logging software, the GPS Log Book accurately records the date, time, opening and closing odometer readings of each trip without any user intervention. The unit

added and “zones” can be created for frequent trips, which will then be categorised automatically. With the PRO Account, users enjoy additional features including automatic address look up, detailed categorisation of trips and a Group Reporting Module, ideal for corporates, as it allows data to be shared automatically between accounts.

can record vehicle services, car washes, and oil and fuel expenses for reporting and tax purposes. Unlike tracking units in most company vehicles, the GPS Log Book also provides GPS coordinates, the maximum and average speed, duration and distance travelled and the position and speed of a vehicle at any point in a journey, which is useful for insurance and claims purposes. Companies that have invested in a GPS Log Book to monitor and track their employees’ travel expenses have reported savings of up to R50,000 a month on fuel expenses alone. These companies have seen a reduction in travel expense fraud as employees realise their travel expenses are being monitored and tracked. Further savings were identified once the companies were able to track the whereabouts of their employees using the GPS Log Book LiVE version. The data from the unit is simply uploaded via USB onto a computer (PC or Mac) to the GPS Log Book website www.gpslogbook.co.za, where it can be viewed from anywhere in the world. Trips can be categorised using Google Maps, comments and notes can be

At the click of a mouse, users can accurately calculate monthly business travel expenses, provide solid proof of billable hours and travel costs to clients, utilise an accurate platform for corporate reimbursement to staff, optimise executives’ sales visits through better planning and produce a number of useful business reports based on which accurate corporate income tax returns can be logged. Reports are produced in PDF format, which do not allow for tampering or forging, and thus eliminate potential fraud and dishonesty. All records are kept safe and secure on the GPS Log Book ‘cloud’ server for the mandatory five-year period as stipulated by SARS. GPS Log Book takes the hassle out of managing travel expense reports, tracking employee business and sales visits, recording billable hours, reducing travel expense abuse, generating accurate SARS-compliant logbooks and verifying travelling costs and e-Toll fees. To effectively control and monitor travel expenses electronically, reduce administration, eliminate travel expense abuse and cut travel expenses, GPS Log Book is the simple solution. For more information on the GPS Log Book device, visit www.gpslogbook. co.za or contact 0861 GPS LOG / 0861 477 564 or follow us on www.facebook. com/GPSLogBookSA careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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last page

Test your

Wits and have Fun I have a drawer full of socks. There are 10 socks of each colour, red, green, brown and grey, evenly mixed. In the morning, when it is very dark, I need to pull out a pair of socks of the same colour. How many must I pull out of the drawer to ensure that I have at least one pair of matching socks?

1

2

As my birthday approaches I start to collect leaves - a little bizarre perhaps, but I enjoy it!

On the first day of the month I collect 1 leaf, on the second day I collect 2 leaves, the third day I collect 3 leaves, and so on. By my birthday I will have collected 276 leaves altogether. On which day of the month is my birthday? As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, Each sack had seven cats, Each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives, How many were going to St. Ives?

3

If you were to spell out the numbers in full, (One, Two, Three, etc), how far would you have to go until you found the letter ‘A’?

4

Puzzle 1: 5 socks: the first four may be one of each colour, the fifth one must then match one of the others. Puzzle 2: On the 23rd. (276 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 + 21 + 22 + 23). Puzzle 3: One. Only I was going to St. Ives. Puzzle 4: 101 One hundred And one Source: www.brainbashers.com Answers

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Gateway

WELCOME TO THE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

An ancient civilization reborn, forgotten fantasies filled with classical sculptures and architectural masterpieces. Behold the wonder that is Emperors Palace. Welcome to the gateway of southern Africa. Conveniently located alongside O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Convention and Entertainment Resort combines timeless classical elegance with sheer excitement. With luxurious and comfortable accommodation in four award-winning hotels, a glorious health and beauty spa, a magnificent casino with unparalleled gaming enjoyment, the finest in dining options, spectacular entertainment choices including a state-of-the-art cinema complex, world class conference facilities, and impeccable service, Emperors Palace has it all, in a safe and secure resort environment. Emperors Palace is the perfect first or last night stopover, no matter where you travel to or from in southern Africa. INTERNATIONAL SALES: Tel: +27 (0)11 928 1445 | Fax: +27 (0)11 463 5751 | E -m ai l : i nt sal es@ peer mo nt.co m CENTRAL RESERVATIONS: Tel: +27 (0)11 928 1928 | Fax: +27 (0)11 557 0888 | Book online at www.emperorspalace.com or Facebook careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015


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UNLOCK THE WORLD

At Avis, we’re not just about renting cars; we’re about giving customers the freedom to unlock unforgettable experiences. That’s because to us, renting a vehicle means more than simply reaching a destination - it’s about the journey itself and the car you choose to enjoy it in. Whether you want to visit main attractions or discover hidden gems only accessible by car, the memories you make along the way with Avis mean you truly can unlock the world.

Visit avis.co.za or contact careersuccess magazine issue 2 2015 your nearest travel agent.

Careersuccess issue 2 2015  

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

Careersuccess issue 2 2015  

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

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