for administrative & office professionals
Volume 26 Issue 4
Special Message for your boss on your role Could you be a Public Speaker?
PLUS The Key Traits of Executive Assistants
Meet SA’s PA of the Year® Improve your Personal Brand
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Contributors to this Edition
Editorial Director Ana-Maria Valente firstname.lastname@example.org Admin/Advertising Director Ornella Trinco email@example.com Advertising/Marketing 011 616 7401 firstname.lastname@example.org Head: Finance & HR Guida Morais email@example.com Subscriptions & Client Liaison Thandi Mtshali firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Design email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Lynn Baker is a Certified World Class Speaking Coach, a thought leader in Executive Presence & Impression Management, Professional Speaker and successful Businesswoman. Lynn spends much of her time delivering keynote speeches at conferences, sales meetings and corporate events on The Power of Personal Presence, Executive Presence and Impression Management. Lynn also Coaches many of South Africa’s top CEO’s on Executive Presence, as well as creating and delivering dynamic business presentations and speeches. Darren Maule is equally comfortable in front of a microphone, a camera or a live audience. He is one of South Africa’s most versatile entertainers. His winning combination of intelligent repartee, engaging manner and ability to win over an audience make him a popular choice and appropriate host for any occasion. You name it he can do it – from stand-up comedy to MC work and acting. Alex Lightheart started his passion for music from an early age. He studied under Doug Rogers (from Newtown), and joined/started a few bands. At the age of 16 he began teaching beginner drums at Key Players Music School in Douglasdale where he began to pick up guitar and keyboards and vocal training. He has composed over 50 musical pieces ranging from Classical/ Contemporary, his own version of rap, Electro-Rock and more. Melba Duncan is the Founder and President of The Duncan Group Inc., a retained search and consulting firm. Since 1985, the firm has been advising CEOs and other corporate leaders regarding specialised senior management support resources. The firm operates on a national basis, and offers expertise in four practice areas: recruitment, organisational consulting, coaching and "executive-level" training for professional assistants. The Duncan Leadership Institute, with academic professionals, makes available educational programs in highly specialised skills to maximize the capabilities of current and next generation SeniorLevel and C-Suite Assistants. Douglas kruger is a professional speaker, and author of the brand new book ‘Own Your Industry – How to Position Yourself as an Expert’ .Douglas’s book is available in bookstores throughout South Africa, and online as an ebook from Kalahari. net and Amazon.com.
PAs of the Year reminisce. Bianca Filmalter Nicolette Jasper Lynn Kruger Debbie de Jager Anel Martin Teri Wells Zimkitha Mbane Lizzie Mudzingwa
ED's MEMO Celebrating your profession! This edition of CareerSuccess magazine is rich in in features about your peers, your career, and from experts who care about your work personal development. The annual PA Summit and PA of the Year® Award, organised by PAFSA (www.pafsa.co.za) has jujst been held and it was more than a glittering occasion as all delegates and participants formed a human logo in honour of IYOTSA 2014. IYOTSA is the acronym for International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant. Ana-Maria
Nothing can describe the elation that all felt as 220 people gathered at Emperors convention centre Parking lot to form the logo, and it was done, unrehearsed by the delegates, in under 7 minutes! Seeing the aerial photography take place to capture the full 20 metres wide was also an emotional moment. Congratulations to all who were there! See the pictorial review in this edition and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ ExcellencePA CareerSuccess magazine, PAFSA’s official mouthpiece, will continue to bring you all the coverage of all that is most important to you, your career – and your profession.
Key Feature: What impression do you create
36 Career Matters: You can be a Public Speaker
22 Inter view: Lizzie Mudzingwa 26 Inter view: Darren Maule
32 Message to all Executives: Here is why you need to read this article
28 Inter view: Alex Lightheart
12 Tribute Feature: Going down memory lane
Ed's Memo: Celebrating your profession
30 PA Summit: A pictorial review
25 Secretaries Day Lunch: A pictorial review
News,Views and Reviews: Key traits for Executive Assistants
38 Brain Fun: Test your wits
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News, Views And Reviews
Winning Traits What are the key traits of successful executive assistants? According to research done by EAsearch, the traits of senior level Executive Assistants and Executive Support Professionals include: 1. Proactive focus on support
13. Self-assurance and confidence
2. Exceptional task and time management
14. Skilled manager of priorities, information, and projects
3. Commitment to lifelong learning
15. Emotional intelligence
4. Keen intuition
16. Self-management capability
5. Strong listening skills
17. Resourceful and well-connected
6. Exceptional organisational skills
18. Efficient multi-tasking skills
7. Natural “reader” and “assessor” of people
19. Thriving on change
8. Strong interpersonal skills and relationship management
20. Managing up and managing down
9. Maximum utilization of current technology
21. Adept communicator.
10. Well-developed sense of humour 11. High energy 12. Global awareness and knowledge of cultural differences
Source: EASearch.com We particularly like points 14 to 21. What do you think? Let us know on our facebook. Find us as Academy of Excellence.
According to Kelldick Bakorkor in Orgaroo.com the 5 Habits of Highly Effective Executive Assistants are: To become a successful Executive Assistant, you need some very special technical and soft skills, because being in charge of so many things pertaining to the executives and their jobs carries with it a hefty responsibility. Here are the 5 Habits of Highly Effective Executive Assistants 1. Communication skills –This means that you will have the skill to get your point across and still manage to maintain friendly relations with everyone else you work with and not just your executive. 2. Time management – You need to have killer time management skills.
3. Written expression – You need to become a writer in the sense that you will need to have the skills not just in standard written English but in business English as well. 4. Problem solving skills – You need to make sure your problem solving skills are up to par at all times. 5. Patience – There are times when your executive gets cranky; times when he or she will be extremely uncooperative and it is during these times that you will need to draw from your reserve of patience. It is not easy but it is necessary.
According to Stephen Chapek in the Briliant Blog, what makes for a Rockstar PA are 10 characteristics PAs are often the unsung heroes of a business organisation taking care of the day to day details that keep a business running. And especially for assistants who shadow a senior manager, they end up being a nerve center for the organisation as well. The 10 Characteristics of a Great Admin Assistant 1. Competence Your core competence in an admin role means you should be able to demonstrate mastery of spelling and grammar skills, computer literacy including a solid careersuccess
working knowledge of MS Word, Outlook, Excel and database management. Additional basic office skills you need to know well are practices of scheduling, payroll, collections, budgets, reports and basic accounting procedures. Not all admin jobs require the above mentioned financial reporting, but it can be a great asset. The more you know, the more valuable you are to an organisation.
5 2. An Excellent Communicator Admins act as a communications hub for their offices. A terrific assistant will always answer the phones or greet people with a smile on their face, because they know they have to represent their company in the best light. Also, the ability to handle angry or upset people is critical. The assistants will have to think on their feet, learn how to diffuse difficult situations and make customers or clients feel valued. They do this by having great listening skills and practicing empathy. 3. Organised and Detail Oriented In a busy office, attention to details is a must, as is multitasking – having to wear many different hats to succeed in this role. In order to track and organize events, you have to keep up with the minute details of whatever project or agenda is on the front burner for the day. It is essential to be able to focus and know how to prioritize your workflow. 4. Master of Time Management You won’t survive the deluge if you can’t manage your time on a daily basis in an effective manner. As an assistant, different people will always be asking for your time or to help them with some project or other. You may not always be able to say no, so make sure to complete tasks efficiently, and don’t get pulled into too many random tasks at once. Take care of your boss and your department first before dealing with others. 5. Industry Savvy Having an understanding or experience in the industry you are working in, or apply to work in; will always give you a leg up on the competition. The more industry specific knowledge you can offer an employer, the more valuable you become. 6. Masters of the Tools of the Trade Every trade has its tool set. Admin Assistants work with office technology, so a solid working knowledge of these tools is essential. The Microsoft Office Suite has been the standard for office technology for decades, and while you need to know
this, being familiar with additional computing platforms like Mac and Linux will be of great help. Your tools are varied and ever changing as every year brings new models of equipment. Assistants must also be comfortable adapting to new technology as well as troubleshooting equipment. 7. Professional Attitude and Appearance The better dressed you are, or the more professional you look, the more respect you role commands. So look good, because in many cases you may be representing your company to the public at large. Equally important to dress is body language and behaviour - your bosses will take note of your personal demeanor. Pay attention and don’t slouch, be polite and look busy, even if you aren’t at the moment. These little details can help make your career! 8. Deals With Office Politics and Confidentiality Assistants often have to deal with complaints from customer or employee problems, sometimes professional, but also sometimes personal issues as well. The best advice I can give is to stay neutral and be diplomatic. Your job isn’t necessarily to resolve these issues, that is often handled at the manager level, but you will have to act as a messenger or liaison. Regarding confidentiality, your job is protect it. At no time should you leak sensitive information or be a gossip. That could sink your career. 9. Possesses Good Judgment This is one of those job qualities that isn’t often listed in the job description, but falls more under common sense. Assistants often work without a lot of direction, so being able to make sound decisions without supervision is necessary - Be able to determine the pros and cons of solutions to problems you are facing. 10. A Team Player This is the type of advice that they often immortalise on inspiration posters, but as clichéd as it may sound, it’s really true. You’re job as an Executive Assistant can be a kind of catch all assignment.
Who's the Most Important in a Company?
You –The Assistant! So says O'Brien Browne in HuffigntonPost.com Executive Assistants, as any savvy organisational insider or outsider knows, are the greatest of all gatekeepers guarding the sacred chambers where the boss holds court. If the assistant likes and respects you, you're in. If not, you'll linger in an eternal wasteland of cancelled meetings, rescheduled appointments and unanswered phone calls. The best Executive Assistants are highly organised multi-taskers, effectively juggling the boss' professional and to some degree personal lives while operationally running the office. A sophisticated Executive Assistant is often the boss' finest and most loyal confidant, providing him or her with astute insights into the personalities, politics and motivations of rival managers. Yet Executive Assistants are frequently as under-appreciated as they are under-paid – so they have to learn how to speak up, brand themselves and ask for a pay raise, perks or a promotion befitting their experience and worth to the corporation. If they don't demand acknowledgement of their work, they rarely receive it. Vo l 2 7
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Have you ever considered the impressions you create and the perceptions you leave behind? Lynn Baker shares some important points.
do you create?
n a single moment and with just a single glance, people judge us based on how we look, how we walk, how we talk and how we behave.
Companies spend millions on creating high profile brands, but often the lack of understanding by employees that they also carry a responsibility when representing these brands, can undermine their credibility. Impression Management is the process of attempting to influence the observations and opinions of others. The concept encompasses looking at one’s image, grooming, body language, communication skills and social behaviour in order to create favourable impressions. careersuccess
Learn from those in high office! Highly successful politicians and business leaders effectively utilise impression management strategies to influence their social identity and increase their professional standing. They consciously and carefully construct an identity of credibility, confidence and composure to ensure that their followers and constituents are left with a favourable impression of them at all times. They are keenly aware of the impressions they make and fully understand the implications of leaving either a positive or negative perception behind when they leave.
“You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression”
This focus on impression management by
Will Rogers Jr.
9 successful leaders; is an important lesson for all of us, because in business, the impressions we create can often mean the difference between landing a job, getting a promotion or closing an important deal.
ground, are universally accepted gestures of confidence. Keep in mind that nonverbal cues generate a far greater impact in a first encounter than verbal cues do. In fact, studies reflect that nonverbal cues are at least four times more potent than anything we say.
Dress for the job you want
In addition to the perceptions that your posture can create, studies conducted by Associate Professor of Business at Harvard Business School, Amy Cuddy, show that physical gestures have a profound effect on your mood. She found that people are more inclined to feel demotivated when their head and shoulders are slouched, because a hunched posture causes a decrease in testosterone (dominance hormone) and an increase in cortisol (stress hormone). However the opposite is also true.
Business culture has changed dramatically in recent years and the rules about appearance have become lax. The lines between professional and casual dress have been blurred, causing confusion about what is acceptable and appropriate work attire. Although a suit and tie are not always mandatory in modern business environments today, it is still a reality that people are judged on how they present themselves in business. It is therefore advisable to make an effort to look elegant and professional every day.
Tip: A powerful posture increases positive feelings of motivation and determination, so be aware of your posture and hold yourself with pride at all times.
The general rule is to ‘dress one notch up’ from those around you or those you are meeting, as this gives the impression that you are the authority in the room. Another helpful tip is to ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’.
Poise is defined as a ‘calm, self-assured dignity’. In social situations and in terms of Impression Management, poise refers to being composed and presenting yourself with a calm demeanour of control, balance and stability. Think about Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela, these men always appeared composed and in control.
The psychology of colour in dress is also an important aspect of impression management. The darker the colour you wear, the more that you are perceived to be an authority, this is why politicians and high profile leaders are always seen in black or dark grey suits. Psychologically black gives the impression of being dignified, strong, sophisticated and in control, but be careful where you use it, as it can also come across as intimidating, unfriendly and unapproachable. Red gives the impression of power, action, energy and determination and should generally only be used in business as an accessory; otherwise it can be too overwhelming. When you are not sure what to wear in business, stick to navy or different hues of blue, as this signifies honesty, dependability, reliability and trust.
Here’s a helpful tip to increase the perception that you are in control. Before entering a boardroom or stepping up to make a presentation, take a moment to pause; breathe deeply and compose yourself; as this calms the nerves and increases your ability to portray poise. Meaningful eye contact portrays openness and is the single most effective way of gaining trust.
As a general rule, keep the main items of your clothing, i.e. your suit, skirt or trousers in the darker colours and use shirts, ties and scarves in lighter colours to create contrast. Tip: To be on the safe side, dress conservatively and elegantly for all business occasions, consider who you will be engaging with during the course of the day and consider the impression you wish to leave. Remember that dressing well is not just about impressing others, more importantly; it will make you feel more confident about yourself, which is the foundation of increasing personal presence.
Body Language Status and power are non-verbally conveyed through various factors, mainly by height and space. Standing tall with shoulders straight and chin level to the
Tip: Remember to smile, as this indicates to others that you are welcoming, friendly and approachable.
Exude Confidence Although physical attributes such as eye contact and body language are all imperative in making a memorable impression, it is your self-esteem, selfimage and self-worth that are at the foundation of exuding confidence and increasing your personal presence. If you do not feel genuinely confident, then it is time to invest in yourself and your image. Go to gym, try a new hairstyle, renew your wardrobe, remembering that in essence looking good makes you feel good, which naturally assist in exuding confidence. To increase the perception that you are confident, slow down your walking pace and take slightly bolder strides, as this gives the impression that you are self-assured and in control. Tip: Walk boldly, chin level to the ground and keep your stride in mind because, the way you walk is just as important as the way you talk.
Active Listening Active listening is the most subtle and under rated communication technique of all, take time to listen to the opinions of others before delivering your own. I call it ‘give others more airtime’. In addition to this, remember that speaking over others or interrupting them during conversation, is seen as arrogant and disrespectful. Masters of impression management listen attentively, nod in acknowledgment of the conversation and show interest in the person they are talking to, this action builds rapport and goes a long way in developing relationships of trust. Tip: Give others more ‘airtime’! Vo l 2 7
Take time to observe
Think quickly but speak slowly! People will instinctively pay more attention to what you say if you slow your vocal pace, as it signifies authority and control. Never be in a rush to answer a question, take time to construct your thoughts and formulate an intelligent response before answering with clear articulation.
To increase your personal presence and ensure that you leave favourable impressions on everyone you meet, get conscious of how you look, how you walk, how you talk and how you behave. Do you believe that what you are doing currently, in terms of your image, communications skills and social behaviour is enough to get you the job or the next promotion or not. Take time to observe the successful people around you and ask them for advice on how to improve.
Monitor your vocal range at all times, as speaking in a high pitch can often make you lose credibility. Get conscious of who you are speaking to, gauge the intellectual level of your audience and speak to them appropriately. When addressing management or those senior to you; adopt a respectful and slightly submissive tone. When addressing direct reports; adopt an authoritative and commanding tone to increase respect. Tip: It is never appropriate to speak to anyone in a condescending manner, even in a situation of conflict, remain respectful and take the higher ground.
The great thing about Impression Management is that it is all under your control, you make the decisions about the impressions you create and the perceptions you leave behind you, so take the time to ensure that you only leave the best impression of you at all times.ď‚° For more info Email: lynn@executivepresence. co.za; Tel: 27 11 513 3431 Cell: 082 457 5752
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Tr ibute Feature
PAOTY... The memory lane
The PA of the Year速 Award was launched in 2006 and we have found some truly impressive PAs. We have asked some of our Titleholders to share with us the impact the Award has had on their life and on their careers. The next few pages are dedicated to their stories, in their own words. Bellow we recall the moment when they received the Award.
PA of the Year 2006
Life after The Award by Bianca Filmalter Who could have known? When I was asked to write about my journey since receiving the Personal Assistant of the Year Award in 2006, I was forced to think about my own development over the past eight years instead of thinking about the development of others. The former can be described with one word: Unexpected. However, it also gave impetus to the latter – the development of others. In a sense there is a strong connection between the two, something I had not really thought of before and I wondered if that would have been the case had it not been for this accolade, and should this not be the norm that one person’s recognition, impacts positively on others? But I digress – rule number two for an excellent office professional: Focus. Rule number one follows later. Back to that evening in 2006: I remember the contradiction between the glamour of the event and me feeling utterly stumped – silently praying that I would not have to say anything! Let it be known that I am never, ever at a loss for words. The candidates were all of an excellent quality; it was an honour to be part of such company.
promoted from Personal Assistant to the CEO of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to Office Manager in the CEO’s office, which afforded further opportunities for streamlining office functions. I was privileged to be part of the journey of those junior professionals who cut their teeth at the CSIR in the skills development programme and was reminded more than once of rule number one – never get too comfortable, there is always something new to learn. I dare say I learnt as much from these young people as they did from me. Apart from the support from senior leadership and a keener interest in the role of the office professional at a high level, it was also heart-warming to see my colleagues in similar positions across the organisation take their roles more seriously. Taking pride in their work and continually looking for opportunities to add value resulted in recognition from their respective managers – an Award that keeps on rewarding. I received additional requests for mentoring personal assistants as well as to facilitate skills development training and engage in motivational speaking opportunities and so this fuelled the fire that would give rise to starting my own business later on.
I had informally mentored young office professionals prior to the Award, but afterwards was able to introduce an official skills development programme from the CEO’s office. It seemed as if all the behind-the-scenes artistry to ensure that managers can focus on their work, was suddenly in the limelight, receiving welcome attention as a profession intent on adding value to organisational objectives.
Latent interests come to life
It opened many doors to highlight the importance not only of the profession, but also of the necessity of continuous development of those belonging to it. During this time I was
Seeing a different side of the corporate environment – on the other side of the office professional’s desk, as it were – really just highlighted the impact such a person can make in the
A further promotion followed at the CSIR and found me managing the wellness programme. Here I could combine all my skills and the people knowledge I obtained during the years as Office Professional, and especially since winning the Award broadened my horizons to include best practice across a range of wellness-related activities.
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PA O T Y g o i n g d o w n t h e m e m o r y l a n e
smooth sailing of his or her whole team’s work, not just that of the manager. I also saw that many office professionals underestimate their role or their potential impact. Sometimes this is due to a lack of confidence – often exacerbated by a lack of understanding of the qualities of excellence in the office management environment.
As I continue to learn and grow, I aim to pass on the lessons I’ve learnt. In my little neck of the woods where office professionals will always have an honorary position, I am doing what I love – making a difference by helping others make a difference where they are.
This, coupled with a passion for seeing things done well and for serving others so that they can shine, opened the door to starting my own company, Raising the Standards. Walking through the many doors of opportunity that opened since 2006 and connecting with people whom I might never have met, made me realise that there is a whole world out there looking for those who are passionate about excellence.
The PA of the Year® Award should never be about self-promotion – our industry cannot afford that. It should be about taking others on a journey where the value of the profession is realised and where personal and professional development is at the order of the day.
PA of the Year 2007
A career highlight by Nicolette Jasper “Really it comes down to your philosophy. Do you want to play it safe and be good or do you want to take a chance and be great?” - Jimmy J Being awarded the title PA of the Year® (PAOTY) in 2007 will always stand out as a career highlight and an opportunity for growth that I am eternally grateful for. My theme during that time was “making a difference” and it is still the motto I subscribe to professionally and personally seven (7) years down the line. I am delighted about the fact that the profession has evolved so much since 2007. It is encouraging to note that working as an Office Professional is no longer considered to be a “position of last resort”. The profession requires dedication, long hours, formal education and a great deal of skill. The establishment of the Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (PAFSA) and the celebration of the International Year of the Secretary & Administrative Assistant (IYOTSA) are both commendable initiatives that enhance the professions’ gravitas, credibility and sense of community. I am proud of the fact that I still do what I love, which is careersuccess
to work as an Office Professional in an industry that I am passionate about. The National Lottery is in my blood and it has been the place where I have been fulfilling my professional hopes, dreams and ambitions for the last sixteen (16) years. You spend so much time at work and it is therefore imperative to find an environment that you enjoy and where your efforts are appreciated. That being said, one cannot simply sit back and rest on one’s laurels – it is all about constantly finding ways to reinvent yourself and to make yourself indispensable. Even though I have not changed careers or even companies following my year as PAOTY I am perfectly content with my life and the direction it has taken. My role as Executive Assistant has evolved over the years and I have had the courage and confidence to take on additional responsibilities and projects. I believe that I also found a work / home balance that best suits me and my family. I want to leave you with the following quote by Kim Garst: “If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know & start charging for it.”
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PA O T Y g o i n g d o w n t h e m e m o r y l a n e
PA of the Year 2009
Life happens while we make perfect plans
by Lynn Kruger 2009 seems like a lifetime ago but I will never forget how I felt that cool September evening when I had the honour of being awarded the title bearer of PA of the Year® 2009. Since then real ‘life’ happened while I made perfect plans. I left Concor Holdings in December 2010 not only because the company was moving to Bedfordview which made it too far to travel from Krugersdorp, but also because my husband’s promotion allowed me to ‘retire’ into a cushy half day job and more time with my family. I loved working for the Afrikaans cultural organisation for women called “Dameskring” (Ladies Circle) which enabled me to realise a great dream of mine. This Public Benefit Organisation empowers, inspires and motivates women across our country through leadership and mentorship. As CEO I was privileged to have the most amazing Administrative Officer! Elsa Greyling is almost 30 years my senior but she had more experience about running our National office than I had accumulated in 11 years in the corporate world. Her methods were old school but it worked! She managed me better than I ever managed any of my bosses but, because I was one of the proud title bearers of our profession, I was able to be a better boss. I understood her challenges and tried to never put her in the tough situations I found myself in at times as a PA. Sadly, due to two tragedies followed by a year of trauma and personal challenges, I was forced to return to a full day position to earn a better salary to provide for my family. I was blessed to find a position at Resolution Circle to start up their Training and Events division in January this year. If you have ever worked for a start-up company or started a new division or venture you will know what I mean when I say “never careersuccess
a dull moment”! I actually applied for the position of PA to the CEO but the Professor and his wife, Dr. Clarke, didn’t allow me to stagnate in a position where I wouldn’t be challenged to develop and grow so they offered me the opportunity to lounge or leap … I took a huge step of faith and accepted the challenge to head up a division that didn’t exist yet. The term ‘chief, cook and bottle washer’ comes to mind when I try to define any kind of job description in a two year old company that is already bursting at the seams. The job at hand is everybody’s job and we all find and do what needs to be done. Although stressful and high paced, the environment is one of learning, research and development. Resolution Circle is an initiative of the University of Johannesburg but is an independent, commercial company that operates through commercial partnerships and projects. We develop technology solutions and prepare workplace ready employees for industry through Work Integrated Learning and Fast Track workplace readiness programmes. This would explain why I love my job! I am doing exactly what I love and am continuously stretched to learn more, achieve more and invest more in the future of our young adults. I have the remarkable opportunity to share my knowledge and experience while learning something new every day. All I need now is a good PA but I’m not doing too badly as I have all the experience invested in me by PAFSA, the Academy and PAOTY. Help is only a ‘click’ away on Facebook, LinkedIn or an e-mail to anyone in our wonderful network. Actually … I have the best PA’s in the world!
PA of the Year 2010
FROM PA TO INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER AND LIFE COACH
by Debbie de Jager “You are nominated for…” When my eyes first glanced over the topic of the email in which I was nominated for 2010’s PA of the Year® Award, I almost deleted it immediately, thinking it was a notification that I won the UK Lotto again! Well, it wasn’t a scam and my life was about to change in ways that I never thought possible… One of the requirements for the title bearer was to do public speaking and from my first moments in front of an audience I felt energized and knew that my dream was turning into reality. Then in March 2011 the leadership author, John C. Maxwell started a new company, “The John Maxwell Team”, and after 15 years in corporate, with the blessing of my supportive husband, I resigned and decided to become a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Teacher and Speaker. What an honour to be trained by John Maxwell personally! I could not have foreseen that as someone who started out as a PA, I would end up training executives and their teams on the subject of leadership and personal growth! My very first paid event was at the meeting where I used to take minutes! Since then I’ve had more than 40000 people in my audiences. I’ve spoken at conferences, corporates and schools all over South Africa, England and Swaziland In January 2012 I became an international published author when I joined forces with 21 women from the USA and one from China to write the book called “The Unstoppable Woman’s Guide to Emotional Well-Being”. Becoming an author was never on my to-do-list, but I saw an opportunity and could not let it pass me by. Change happens in people’s lives when they open the door for opportunity. But there’s no time to prepare when opportunity knocks. You have to be ready. The problem is that opportunity often comes disguised as “more work” or requires you to step
out into unknown territory; unfortunately many people say goodbye to big opportunities because of laziness or fear. There is nothing special or different about me. What I have done, can be done by anyone who is ready to grow and work hard. Several PAs won the PAOTY award before me and several have won since. Thinking I’m special because I won an award will not make a difference in other people’s lives. People are happy with you at the time, but in a few months’ time they might not even remember your name. It’s only when we use our successes to help other people succeed that our lives become significant. I like to keep my successes in my heart and failures in my head. When success goes to my head, I might just think I’m better than others and that’s a lie! When failure goes to my heart, I’ll think I’m worse than others and I’m thankful to say that’s a lie too!
For me the keys to success are the following: • Always do more than what you get paid to do – you are investing in your own future. People give opportunities to those who do more than what they expect. • Work more on your own character and values than on anything else. If I become a better human being, my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and actions towards circumstances and people will be better and this will have a direct impact on my results in life. • Always choose a positive attitude. Our first reaction to bad happenings in life is always negative. No one is happy about losing money or the loss of a loved one. But we were made to get up and start again. A positive attitude is the main ingredient to a positive life producing positive results!
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PA O T Y g o i n g d o w n t h e m e m o r y l a n e
PA of the Year 2011
The lasting prize was the friendships gained by Anel Martin I was the title bearer in the South African PA of the Year® Award in 2011. The evening the title was awarded the real journey began… Fast forward three years… I am blessed enough to be invited to other countries to speak and train, most recently Malaysia, UK and Ghana, with Paris and London coming up soon. I am the current President of PAFSA and part of the task team working on the International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant 2014 (IYOTSA). I have written numerous articles for publications both at home and abroad and I am currently working on a book. The PA of the Year® title gave me a platform and a voice to engage with others, invites and opportunities which would never have come my way if it had not been for the Award. It also gave me confidence in myself to be recognised nationally and very publically for the rituals and disciplines I was practising in private, which lead up to that moment. The most significant part of the journey however is the deep and lasting friendships and professional relationships I have gained. As part of the Academy of Excellence I am blessed enough to have regular contact with some of the best and brightest minds in the profession today. They are a constant source of inspiration and motivation to me. I would be making a huge omission by not acknowledging them for their massive contribution to my life. People like Charlotte Massey-Hicks, Teri Wells, Michele Thwaits and Susan Engelbrecht and all the other good people of our tribe have been there every step of the way the last few years and without their support and faith in
me, many of my achievements would not have been possible. They are the real prize and most precious gain from the title. As part of the PAFSA committees over the last few years I have been intimately involved with the social media components. This too has created lasting and meaningful relationships which started in the virtual world and then eventually moved into the real world. The most rewarding project I have worked on to date has been the International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant 2014 which is being celebrated globally. Currently we have 30 countries involved and the goal is to raise the profile of the profession in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world. The profession has evolved a great deal in the last 30 years (since the first Year of the Secretary) and so have I since that beautiful evening in September 2011. My advice to all those, considering taking part in PA of the Year® is, to take the opportunity with both hands, put your fear aside. This title is a call to action, not only something that looks good on your CV. This is the very first step into a new chapter of your professional life; it will be what you make it! To all the title holders and finalists past and present I want to thank you for the contributions that you have made to the profession and I want to encourage you to keep building on your personal legacy and the legacy of the Academy of Excellence and the PA of the Year® title. Keep giving back and uplifting others and keep growing the brand!
PA of the Year 2012
An exciting and rewarding journey
by Teri Wells
September 2012 marked the beginning of one the most challenging, exciting and rewarding journeys that I have been on in a long time. Almost two years down the line it continues and in fact, is gaining momentum. Peppered with discovery and “first times” I was pushed out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions, being asked to write articles for publication and speak at conferences. As PA’s we flourish behind the scenes and are not trained to be in the spotlight. The encouragement and guidance of a phenomenal group of warm, talented and dynamic PA’s coupled with an authentic and robust passion for my profession provided the inspiration I needed and I continue to learn and grow on a daily basis.
implement and strive to inspire. They have encouraged me to be bolder and braver than I ever dreamed possible and for this I will be forever grateful. I thank you all most sincerely. With the imminent announcement of the 2014 PAOTY title bearer, my message to all the finalists is simply this … “This will expand your horizons and open doors for you but you have to be prepared to step through the door. We want you to join us so fasten your seatbelt, don your crash helmet and knee pads; you are in for the ride of your life”.
As the current Vice President of PAFSA and a member of the IYOTSA task team, I am continuously amazed by the vast collective knowledge and unbridled passion of the group. One of IYOTSA’s goals for 2014 was to promote our profession worldwide and with organisations in 30 countries (excluding organisations in South Africa) pledging their support, this goal has been met. We have continuous input from various international organisations in the form of learning material, promotional events for IYOTSA and caring and sharing … one cannot place a value on this. I have always advocated that it is not possible for a PA to know everything but that they must build a network that can provide them with anything they need. I consider myself extremely fortunate that the most important members of my network are also some of my dearest friends. Together we plot and plan,
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PA O T Y g o i n g d o w n t h e m e m o r y l a n e
PA of the Year 2013
I Had to step out of my comfort zone by Zimkitha mbane It is truly remarkable how quickly time passes! I remember the day I received my PA of the Year® title as if it were yesterday. And even though I am humbled by the long journey I have walked, in some ways the journey still feels short. I was so shocked when the announcement was made that one of my colleagues had to pinch me and then convince me that it was really my name that had been called. I could scarcely believe it – especially because of the calibre of the other finalists. After the event I was so eager to share the good news with my boss (who was overseas at the time) that I sent him a message. I also had to share the news with other managers I work with. I must admit that there was also a bit of nervousness because I was moving into unknown territory and didn’t know what would be expected of me. Winning the title, though, also gave me a sense of excitement. I felt motivated, more confident and encouraged to work harder. All these emotions together made me realise just how privileged I was and I felt honoured to be part of this remarkable organisation. The day after the event I received congratulatory phone calls and good wishes from my colleagues, as well as from friends and family. I even received a bunch of roses from the CSIR! At work, the news was shared first with my Department; my colleagues were ecstatic and so proud. After this, an article was posted on the Unisa website and it drew a good number of comments both from within the institution and from outside. I was even further honoured and humbled when I received e-mails from both the Vice Chancellor and Principal, Prof Mandla Makhanya, and from the Vice Principal, Prof Barney Erasmus, congratulating me on this accolade. Winning this award has given me invaluable opportunities and has given me the freedom to step out of my comfort zone and pursue them. I had never previously dreamt or even thought careersuccess
of becoming a motivational speaker. Indeed, I had never done any public speaking at all! Winning this title, though, played a vital role in increasing my confidence and encouraged me to believe in my own potential. I have discovered new things about myself, including the fact that my purpose is to encourage and empower young, upcoming individuals to pursue a career in this profession. I will be doing this through mentoring and coaching and am really excited about my plans to get an in-service training programme started at Unisa. Winning also led to an opportunity to travel to Gabon. Along with Michelle Thwaits (one of my amazing co-finalists for PA of the Year® and Tribe 2013) I was invited to participate in the 20th anniversary celebrations for Club Privilège Gabon and in the 4th International Symposium of the Secretariat and Assistants in celebration of IYOTSA 2014. The event was attended by people from Africa, Asia, America and Europe. A number of Gabonese Ministerial dignitaries attended the conference, as did Mr Paul Biyoghe, President of the Economic and Social Council of Gabon. As we celebrate IYOTSA this year, our vision is that we will change the world for Assistants everywhere and that this will lead to their being recognised for the work that they do. We are not looking for simply an inward exercise in self-congratulation. Rather, we want Assistants, their businesses, associations, trainers and the companies that support this sector to campaign for the recognition of this role as a profession in its own right. Some companies may still think of their assistants as doing menial and unimportant work. The International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant represents a great opportunity to spread the word that this is no longer the case – and to explain how the role has changed. We hope to make businesses understand that those companies
making proper use of the role see their Assistants as far more – that they see them in the role of strategic business partners rather than purely as support mechanisms. As for me, I plan to continue with my studies at Unisa and to carry on working with my colleagues to form an “office professionals” forum and to create an educational blog that will motivate and inspire secretaries throughout the university. As I hand over my title as PA of the Year®, I will be picking up my title as coach, mentor and friend. After all, if someone hadn’t taken the time and energy to mentor me, my exciting journey this year may well have been impossible. In this light I also want to stress how much I believe that IYOTSA provides us with a perfect opportunity to encourage and attract people to our amazing profession.
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All that’s left for me to say is: “Watch this space. There are great things ahead!”
MY JOURNEY AS SOUTH AFRICAN PA of the Year® When I started this journey I felt like a little child going through the simple, early stages of life. I started crawling, walking and seeking balance from those in front of me. Today, though, I’m proud to say that I can walk tall. Like a child, I have smiled, cried, laughed and called for help – but I have truly enjoyed every emotion I have been through. It has been a gratifying experience and, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t erase a moment. Thanks to this journey, I stand here as a fully-grown woman. I wish I could explain in words the emotions I went through during this journey. I cannot, though, because no words can express the feelings that come with finding your true purpose in life. Even so, I do realise that finding your life’s purpose is a different journey for every person. A year after the fact I remain humbled by the nomination and by the fact that I won the title. It is my fervent hope that this opportunity will continue and will be of ongoing benefit to our profession.
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Finally, I was never alone. I could, through God’s grace, feel the support of each and every one of you. Thank you.
We inter view
PA OF THE YEAR ® 2014 Let our footprint be inspiring CS: Lizzie, congratulations on being awarded the title South Africa’s PA of the Year® 2014! How do you feel about this achievement?
than you think you can” a quote by John Wooden. This has now become my personal motto.
LM: I feel deeply humbled, overjoyed and a bit nervous! All glory and honour to God Almighty. This huge achievement is a bit scary as it comes with challenging responsibilities and expectations too. However as is often quoted “If Your Dreams Don't Scare You, They're Not Big Enough!
LM: My Boss’ reaction was expressed before I received the title; it was when I informed him that I had reached the finals. He congratulated me then and said that according to him I was the winner already! On the day I was awarded the title, my colleague called to inform him and he continued where he had left off before, saying that I really deserved it; the rest I did not hear as I immediately broke down in tears. One thing I know is that he is really proud of me.
CS: How did you find the process from beginning to the last session which was on Secretaries Day? LM: The process requiring submissions for this award was not something I enjoyed; it was grueling and especially the last bit which was the interviews by the panel of judges. I must say the judges grilled me during the interview but I gave my best shot and I was happy with the session - it wasn’t easy but it was worth it. I also enjoyed my presentation topic which was: “You can always Do More
CS: How was your boss’ reaction to all of this?
CS: What was your company’s reaction? LM: The Group CEO, Sipho Maseko, led with his congratulatory message; “Phenomenal achievement! Well done and really thanks for flying the flag”. Congratulatory messages are still pouring in from colleagues from the entire company. Articles and interviews have been published in
23 Telkom's internal communications and social media platforms where individuals have been posting their heartening comments. A few comments that caught my eyes were: “Congratulations on your scooping the honour of PA of the Year® award!!! It is a well-deserved accolade for you as you are VERY good at what you do, but also humble and professional THROUGH AND THROUGH, You have made us proud. “You are a true inspiration and you still have a greater reward awaiting you one day God bless thee woman of valour”. “If Oscars were given for a job well done, I'd nominate you! Congrats for your fantastic achievement!!” “Congratulations I hope now that you will pave the way for us and you will become a mentor to others as we are in dire need”. “Well done Lizzie!!! I am extremely fortunate to be working with you. I look forward to you giving your presentation to all the ladies internally." “Lizzie, I have always observed you as a quiet, polite woman when you are at the NNOC...so well done; I think you deserve being honoured with this title." CS: How do you feel you can have an impact on your peers and aspirant PAs? LM: This is a journey; I am looking forward to reach out to my peers, offer a commitment to engage more with my fellow professionals; nurture them through mentoring and coaching when I am called upon to do so; show a “Never Quit” attitude and inspire them to reach their full potential: whether be it in forums or one-on-one as per the need arising because their success is my ultimate success. CS: As 2014 is the International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant do you feel this will weigh heavier on you? How do you feel about the IYOTSA initiative? LM: Indeed this will weigh heavier because I am not only looking within the South African boundaries. I look forward to living the theme ‘Powered by Excellence’ which aims to strengthen the ties of friendship with other peers and organisations globally, raise the standard, profile, and visibility of administrative roles in the workplace; together with my fellow finalists raising the value of relationships in the workplace globally. The modern PA has evolved into a success partner. CS: What would you like to say to all PAs of South Africa, whose ambassador you now are? LM: Let’s remain passionate and defend our powerful personal and professional brand of PA. Raising the bar is our “battle field” – we should be fully equipped with the correct armour, influencing a winning battalion, tackling every task with a strong, sound and sober insight. We need to make a “Difference” by always striving to do things right, first time round. We should be exploring our profession’s stronghold and pillars, building true success during this life time journey through our Profession’s home PAFSA. We pay tribute to our valued sponsors who make it possible for awards such as this to happen. Let our footprint be inspiring!
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PA o f t h e Ye a r ®
The coveted PA of the Year® title goes to Lizzie Mudzingwa of Telkom Lizzie Mudzingwa, PA to Jabu Mabuza – Chairman of the Board Telkom SA SOC Limited received the prestigious title of South Africa’s PA of the Year® 2014. After undergoing a 3rd round of judging, Lizzie’s victory was announced on Wednesday 3 September at the Secretaries Day Gala Lunch held at Emperors Convention Centre! Lizzie said that she was deeply humbled and thrilled to be the recipient of the 2014 PA of the Year® Title. “First of all, glory and honour to God Almighty for bringing me this far. I would like to acknowledge and convey my sincere gratitude to my colleague and nominator Irene Manyeza, my husband, my two children, family, friends and colleagues who walked this journey with me. To the PAOTY Tribe 2014 (who are the other five finalists) this is our battlefield, let’s create more awareness, reinforce and defend our Brand raising it higher and higher. The Struggle Continues and Victory is certain.” Asked about her job as a PA, she explained: “To be honest! It is complex yet interesting, with robust demands and expectations to be fulfilled. I am expected, and so are my peers, to tackle every task with a sound and sober insight; striving to do things right the first time; not only waiting for instruction but being way ahead in the execution of certain tasks (some very challenging). All this requires us to rely on our “pillars” which are a combination of sound skills and strong personal attributes; calling for a great deal of discipline, deep understanding of the business and its imperatives. “In my case, I find it important to live the values of my organisation, not because it’s a requirement but it is part of my personal ethos. I love and take pride in my job because it has also afforded me the opportunity to establish solid, long-lasting relationships with various stakeholders from Government, Large Corporates to Small Business and individuals, top to bottom, internal and external, requiring me to be on high alert and sensitive to cultural, gender and religious diversities. The best of all my stakeholders being Telkom’s Customers that I deal with when it comes to customer queries!!! Whenever possible, I do offer myself to help others and give advice wherever needed. Our office culture and Modus Operandi is “No Pending Folder” meaning it’s only IN and OUT. This operandi has contributed to my success personally and professionally. On hearing the news her boss said: “Well done Lizzie. The title is richly deserved... You are indeed the best and I'm so proud of you”. Organised by the Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (PAFSA) this careersuccess
Award has gained significant footprint in South Africa’s working landscape. The head of the Award’s committee, René Potgieter said: “This is the International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant and so we were quite excited to see who would rise to the top in our search for the PA of the Year®, and we were very impressed with the candidates that did. It is really amazing to see what today’s top calibre of PAs can do. On behalf of PAFSA I congratulate all those PAs nominated, and a very special congratulatory note to Lizzie. The PA of the Year® Award is honoured to have you as part of its prestigious family. May your example of courage and determination be an inspiration to younger PAs joining the profession.” The PA of the Year®, and the finalists, received prizes from various prizegivers and sponsors, with Peermont/Emperors Convention Centre and Brother (distributed by Kemtek) being the Platinum sponsors.
Secretaries Day Lunch 2014 Pictorial Review
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CareerSuccess interviews Darren Maule, who is making waves as a breakfast radio show host, comedian, entertainer and MC.
The road to success is paved with gravel stones We heard about Darren Maule – actor, comedian, East Coast radio show host and MC – from various sources and eventually were fortunate to track down his manager, Claire Clark, to get to invite him to be the MC for the 2014 Secretaries Day Gala lunch. In our various conversations with Claire we became fascinated with Darren’s life story and how his road to success saw him fight a herculean battle and rise to the top. CS: Darren, you’re on your way to becoming a legend, but how many people know that it’s been a long and very tough road where agile thinking, determination, flexibility and persistence were the tools of your survival kit! Your story is at times hair-raising but mostly inspiring for us all. Would you have the courage to share it with us, warts and all... DM: Wow! This is a tough one. This is like a book waiting to happen. How do you condense a book into a short story? I’m not even sure where to start, so let’s start at the beginning. I am the youngest of 5 boys, so from a very early age I was competing for attention and I suppose that is where a lot of my speaking ability and comedy skills were honed. From when I can remember I was fascinated and intrigued by the arts. I was always in the choir. Yes, I did love the rugby field, the cricket field and the athletics field but I really blossomed and immediately felt at home on a stage, or in any environment where I was speaking or performing or indeed being the centre of attention. CS: A duality lies and thrives within you... DM: Yes–I always think of Robin Williams as he had the ability to highlight the plight of the stand-up comedian. This resonated with me as, to a lesser degree, the whole clown on the outside and angry and hurting on the inside (a duality that comes with the mask of the comedian) is really quite accurate. Robin Williams explains that this is what we as performers have to do: We need to go to those deep dark places where most of us are too scared to go... careersuccess
CS: This is the case of going boldly where even angels fear to tread? DM: As a comedian if we are going to portray and communicate emotions we need to know them intimately. So we go there. We delve. Right into the dark recesses of humanity and then we live it. Then comes the extra challenge of how to communicate what we have learnt to you in a manner which is consumable, and THAT is where the comedy technique comes in. So, yes I do this, and I guess it is the responsibility of the entertainer and communicator that we do have to know literally and intimately - the entire gamut of human feeling and emotion and reality and then find an alternative way of communicating it. CS: In a Finweek magazine feature, you are described as follows: “Flaunting a salt-and-pepper hair akin to that of George Clooney, Darren Maule has changed his profile from that of a young rebel, proverbially raising his middle finger to industry standards, to a well-seasoned performer who understands the highs and lows of a career in the performing arts.” DM: I don’t particularly enjoy talking about myself – I much prefer talking about more interesting things! However being a young skinny bespectacled English-speaking boy (and not entirely athletic) being at the boarding school Potchefstroom High School for boys was hugely challenging. One of the coping mechanisms was certainly comedy when in any conflict situation with any of the young testosteronefilled teenagers. The opportunity to get onto a stage and completely escape presented itself to me at boarding school, and the ability to completely escape from the real world into a world of other people – in hindsight this was completely necessary for my sanity. CS: Schools can present environments that are life-shaping – in either a good or bad sense. For you, the experience
was one that toughened you up! DM: Another influence was the fact that one of my parents was an alcoholic and there were two things that came from that. The first was as a result of watching the abusiveness towards my mother and my brothers. I wanted to help them and ease their suffering. Comedy and playing around was a way of doing just that. I then extended that to other areas of my life….you know that saying: “You become the thing you hate” was never more true than with me. I would have to say that the most vilified, the most reprehensible figure in my life was the abusive alcoholic stepfather and in all fairness for a good portion of my life – I became a reprehensible, alcoholic, an irresponsible being, and when I realised I had become that which I hated most – I hated the truth even more! CS: And yet you got out of that. Look at you now Darren, a respected talent, a caring father, an empathetic human being … DM: Thank goodness – three years ago I had moment of clarity. I
had my epiphany and I made a concerted conscious effort to turn it all around and – I can tell people this now – every day and in fact every moment of every day is another opportunity to turn it all around. I did. And that (I s’pose) is one of the things that I am most proud of doing. In fact a question I get asked a lot is: "What are you most proud of ?” Yes, it could be the awards, the accolades, the achievements but in actual fact – this particular achievement is much bigger than any label or award or degree or badge that could be worn. The fact that I have been able to turn myself around because I wanted to – and become the person I am today - is probably my greatest achievement. CS: We know you are on your way to Copenhagen to represent South Africa, and we are sure that you will do the brand South Africa proud.
For more info contact Claire Clark on Cell: 083 595 7098 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Darren on Twitter @darrenmaule.
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CareerSuccess interviews the young musician and composer Alex Lightheart who composed the theme song for the International Year of The Secretary and Admin Assistant (IYOTSA). The world launch of the theme song took place on PAFSA’s Secretaries Day events held at Emperors Convention Centre.
A big bright star of possibility!
CS: Why were you so passionate about composing a song for IYOTSA? AL: I was passionate about the IYOTSA anthem mainly because my mother has been a PA for many years. She has been a huge driving force behind me through my years of musical exploration: so that made it quite personal for me. Also- I believe the world needs more positive reinforcement! CS: How did you go about preparing for IYOTSA’s international anthem? AL: Well, apart from my little pre-performance rituals: I sat listening to various artists to draw inspiration, worked on many trial-and-error tracks and generally got myself into the vibe the IYOTSA deserves. It was definitely a case of broadening my horizons! CS: You have a passion for music that is contagious! Did you find this passion along the way or were you born with it? AL: Why, thank you! I would have to say a bit of both. I careersuccess
only really found my talent when I was around fourteen or fifteen; after two years of drumming. I've always been very natural on stage and behind my instruments but with every performance my hunger and passion grew. It's a strange thing for me for people to be so amazed by how I perform. Anyone can do it if you love what you do! *points in your direction* CS: What is your favourite music? AL: I'd usually say I can't answer that. It's such a broad question! Right now I've been listening to a lot of Hard Rock/Alternative artists, but I'm also a sucker for Dance and Club (I love beat <3), soft Jazz, Pop, Lounge, anything that is wonderfully musical and, of course: my own! CS: How do you see your future in composing ditties, jingles and corporate anthems? AL: I see it as a big, bright star of possibility and prosperity! Forever changing and evolving.It has so many avenues and doors and I am going to walk down and open many! More info on Alex to compose an anthem or jingle tanyadeponte@ hotmail.com
29 When the whole world fully unites when the whole world smiles with you feel the roar of your heart beat. IYOTSA Rewind. Yea youâ€™ve come a long way. here you stand on this special day its all for you. Come out of the shade and Celebrate, the skies are blue celebrate, its all for you celebrate all of the things you do. Come on and Celebrate from here to the stars celebrate all that you are celebrate. the time has come. Celebrate. Thokozela, the skies are blue Thokozela, its all for you Thokozela all of the things you do. Come on and Thokozela from here to the stars Thokozela all that you are Thokozela. the time has come. Thokozela. (Repeat the first 6 verses) Final Chorus celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. celebrate. Vo l 2 7
PA o f S u m m i t
2014 Pictorial Review
On 3 September 2014, Secretaries Day, PAFSA held its annual PA Summit, at Emperors Convention Centre in Gauteng.
The Summit theme was 'Powered by Excellence' in honour of International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant (IYOTSA). Keynote speakers were Lucy Brazier, Corrie Fourie and Alex Granger. The six finalists of the PA of the Year® also made brief presentations. Two highlights of the day, were the launch of IYOTSA’s theme song by young musician Alex Lightheart, and the formation of the human logo spelling the word IYOTSA. Platinum sponsors were Emperors and Brother distributed by Kemtek.
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Who is the Executive Assistant? A person of unquestionable value to any executive! So says Melba Duncan
Message for all Executives
Here’s Why You Need to
READ this ARticle!
he Executive Assistant is a strategic colleague. The person who you call in the middle of the night when you have an idea or a task that you want executed first thing in the morning. The person who greets you the next morning (having arrived at the crack of dawn) reassuring you that the task has been handled; that the most effective course of action (that works with your calendar and relieves you of multiple conversations on the same topic) was to arrange a video-conference
so that you can communicate your idea to your global marketing team. This is the person who enables you to meet the challenges of the global business landscape. This is the person whose strategic decisions save your and others’ time. This person’s unquestionable value is in the ability to perform as your daily, minute-byminute problem-solver.
The purpose of the role: a profound sense of mission Talented Executive Assistants represent a strong
Executive Assistants do not allow an Executive’s vision to transcend their capabilities. This is the genius of the assisting role.
33 business function; they are among any company’s critical talent population. Why? They provide administrative stability, the discipline to do more things better, and the skills to manage the magnitude of systems with consistency, reliability and focus. Executive success is dependent upon these talented individuals, whose purpose is to focus on goal accomplishment, to meet the needs of the Executives and the companies they support. Executive Assistants’ strategic skill is to provide the basis for Executives to make the best-informed decisions possible. They conduct due diligence in order to assure that all relevant information is available to aid in the decision process, and with exactly the right level of detail. Preparation of such materials, and their thoroughness and balance, is the responsibility of experienced Executive Assistants. The Professional Executive Assistant is entrusted to make the Executive’s vision a reality. The most valued Executive Assistant is the person who aligns his/her strategy with the Executive’s and the organisation’s mission. Those who do this work well know that the key is in the orientation of the role. There must be personal chemistry between the Executive and the Assistant. Executive Assistants’ intellectual and technical capabilities are influences; yet, it is the “personality fit factor” that is the key to sustainable performance, both personally and organisationally. Each must like, respect and trust the other, and have the friendshipbased capacity to apply humor to challenging situations. Mutual respect, accountability, trust and adaptability must be absolute.
Why hire an Executive Assistant? The demand on the time and energy of Senior Executives has been escalating rapidly in a period of globalisation, economic disruption, financial distress and increasing competition from every source. Executives who know the value of, and can leverage, a great Executive Assistant can propel their company and their careers. The people in the ranks of top management have always had a list of things they cannot get done without help from a real, live human being: someone who with tact, intelligence and diplomacy is a tenacious inquisitor to get the facts, and who knows virtually everything of consequence about the company for which he or she works. Smart Executives realise that they need to replicate themselves, harness their worst tendencies and find someone to support them who has a fully committed sense of the business. This is the person who can take anxiety out of the Executive’s day, and support and manage the Executive’s business goals. There are at least three critical dimensions for the
Executive/Executive Assistant team to achieve an effective working relationship: • First is the Executive’s willingness to invest the time and effort to consider what aspects of his/her workload can be assumed or restructured into segments that can be managed by his/her Assistant. • Second, the Executive Assistant’s willingness to stretch beyond his/her comfort zone in order to assume new and more complex responsibilities and who can consistently produce results. • Third, Executive Assistants as managers are persistent, tough-minded, hardworking, intelligent and analytical. Most relevant, is the ability to understand the personal and business context of the Executive, within which he/she must manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the role, and who, by extensive experience, knows the difference between not letting things go unnoticed or unchecked. These distinctions cannot be overstated; they distinguish the conditions for the team’s success. Executives have the responsibility of keeping their Assistants informed by setting agreed-upon expectations, goals and timelines for implementation. Spending time to clarify your objectives, problems and pressures is the key to supporting your Assistant in making sound decisions and implementing flawless execution. Why? Because effective Executive Assistants do not allow an Executive’s vision to transcend their capabilities. This is the genius of the assisting role.
What should I look for when hiring a Professional Executive Assistant? 1. Performance skills: Experience (how the person has expanded in the role). Competencies (what are the areas in which this person excels?). Personal Attributes (does this person reflect confidence and a centered ego; someone who gets it done?) and Knowledge (does this person have the reliable skills?). Social/ Interpersonal Skills (does this person have the charisma to manage global relationships?) 2. Character: professional courage (the intention to do the right thing). Strategic Competence (knowing how to do the right thing). Imagination: Intellectual Integration (the ability to deliver and execute the right thing). The expert Professional Executive Assistant focuses on results and on maximising efficiency. The Assistant understands the importance of clarifying the employer’s objectives by putting himself/herself in those situations and applying good judgment. The goal is to weed through ambiguity, manage inherent unpredictability, zero in on the most important points, reach a decision and execute on behalf of the Executive. The key is to have the ability to connect unrelated questions or ideas to an unexpected event.
The secret of a great Executive Assistant The secret of a great Executive Assistant is the principle of attitude, the breadth of collaboration and relentless attention to detail. The Executive Assistant’s major contribution is in the ability to handle work that is fast– paced, requiring an extraordinary number of skills that are displayed in quick motion. Processing information, making evidenced-based decisions quickly, grouping tasks and making intuitive judgments on the fly are manifestations of intelligence and adaptability to change. Vo l 2 7
Additionally, smart Assistants pay attention to clues in the Executive’s behaviour and shifts in temperament, because timing and judgment are the foundation of a smooth working relationship. This helps Assistants not to take information passed on at face value, or to make assumptions in their decision making. Why? Because they know that priorities and concerns change, and that they have to be on top of these shifts all the time.
will of necessity drive creativity and innovation at the Executive Assistant level, as they begin to grant decision-making power and authority to those Assistants who: • View change as an opportunity • Provide a source of new ideas • Function interdependently
Professional Executive Assistants do not operate in a world of excuses. They have: • The emotional maturity to manage distracted behaviours
• Manage communication that is face-to-face, by phone or email
• The endurance capacity to sustain themselves in environments where they will encounter: uneven temperaments; rapid pace; limited signs of appreciation; conflicting instructions; behaviour that deters productivity; and, the demand for high levels of intelligence and superb response skills.
• Take on the elements of general management, and
Defining the Business Partnership Most Senior Executives now rely more than ever on their professional Executive Assistant, who fills the roles of “advance person”, and “right- and left-hand person”. This is the business partner whose job it is to provide strategic support, as the need arises, as technology resource, trouble-shooter, translator, help desk attendant, diplomat, human database, weather advisor, travel consultant, sales executive, amateur psychologist, spousal interface and ambassador to the inside and outside world. Often the Executive Assistant most resembles Executives themselves: by mastering the art of delegation and exercising fluid, decisive action. While the Executive Assistant’s role will continue to be defined in relation to the Executive’s responsibilities and the structure and culture of the organisation, in this new world economy, the work of the Executive Assistant is placed squarely in the middle of the work of the Executive. This is an opportunity for the Executive/ Executive Assistant Partnership to exceed past accomplishments and enter new territory by incorporating different constructs of the role of assisting.
A Vision for this role As Executives face the growing pressures of competitiveness, they
• Demonstrate that they know most about a task by creating well-designed systems • Are truly committed to their employer’s success. As with every profession, those who perform in this role will face an unprecedented level of difficulty in trying to keep up. Functional knowledge in global business, critical thinking, leadership and management are becoming basic requirements for the Executive Assistant position. Ongoing education becomes essential and necessary for Assistants to be able to continue to evolve strategically, and to provide expertise in solving problems by placing facts in context and delivering them with impact, which requires fast response time and flexibility. If the goal is to become more skillful in reducing superficial complexity to simplicity, to recognise how to get it right, and how to think the right way, how do you get there? You need a careerdevelopment strategy. Employers must invest in Executive Assistants by offering specialised, functional training and development the same way that they invest in all of the top-level talent in our high-performing organisations. It will not happen by chance. Any well-seasoned Executive will agree that inspiration and talent alone will only take you so far. This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication edited by Lucy Brazier. Visit the website www. executivesecretary.com.
Malta Your Boss' European Connection Could you live in a beautiful, safe environment, with a warm climate surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea in a politically stable country? Think MALTA! The people are friendly, industrious and English speaking, making it ideal for South Africans who want a bolt hold or gateway to Europe.
The islands are rich in history with a variety of renowned sights to visit! The sailing and swimming is magical! There are ferries and flights at very competitive rates that reach most major European destinations. Also excellent destination for conferencing.
Enjoy these benefits • Lucrative opportunities for property investment which (priced in Euros) is hedge against further Rand devaluation. • Choice of various residency schemes. • High Standards of education in both state and private schools, and a renowned university. • A n idyllic destination for living, retirement, or conferencing • An efficient, affordable public transport system including buses, taxis and ferries. • All types of shopping, great restaurants, theatres, cinemas. • Infrastructure that is constantly being improved; with state of the art medical care, and municipal services.
For the property investor There are a large variety of properties, to suit all budgets, from traditional homes of character to trendy flats, located all around the island. The quieter sister island of Gozo, reached by a 30 minute ferry ride, provides yet more possibilities. Competitively priced by European standards. Contact the BOTY Leadership Club for more information email: email@example.com Subject: Malta Agent is: Merle Whale
You can Be a
Public Speaker! You have been asked to make a presentation at a conference, and as much as you fancy yourself asa public speaker... you cower at the thought! You need not to, says Douglas Kruger.
f you believe that you are an expert in many areas of your job, or you can inspire your peers to excel at their jobs, you may want to position yourself as a public speaker at conferences held for your peers.
Why bother positioning yourself as an expert?
You think this is too daunting?
Consider this: A consultant may labour for weeks in the service of a large corporation, and will not earn the same remuneration as Richard Branson does, when he drops by the following week to deliver a half-hour speech. Branson hasnâ€™t worked any harder than the consultant - itâ€™s the equity of his name that allows him to command higher fees.
Think again. How do you become the Jeremy Clarkson of your world, the Nigella Lawson of your field, or the Oprah of your industry? I have identified at least 50 ways to position yourself as an expert, careersuccess
As Douglas explains, there are at least three reasons:
Experts earn exponentially more
37 Experts derive the satisfaction of teaching
famous. ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ is another clever title, recognised around the world.
As an expert, everyone looks to you for insights and secrets to success.
You need to craft a simple, recognisable structure for expressing your messages, and your title or concept could become globally known.
Experts mentors, guides, respected gurus earn tribes of following believers. This adds an immense degree of purpose and personal gratification to their working endeavours.
The market comes to the expert When you are the big name, the market starts coming to you. The media asks for your input. You are requested for the big industry events. You become the name that logically springs to mind whenever your industry is discussed. And that’s a good place to be! Here are my top 5 tips for you to apply directly to your brand as a top PA:
C reate a unique signature
Use this powerful communication principle the next time you deliver a speech, write an article or grant a media interview.
B e a constant producer
Be seen in all the right forums, giving ideas, providing value, positioning yourself as a thought-leader in your profession. The more you play the part of the guru, the more the people will start to follow. Writing thought-leadership articles for industry publications is an excellent idea. But don’t stop at one. Experts are constant producers.
Add a unique signature to your work to stand out by design. A little creativity will set you apart.
Over time, the collective weight of your contribution adds up.
Top industry experts understand that they need to create a visible splash beyond mere qualifications!
Take the example of the architect who began constructing small, artistic gardens on the roofs of the homes that he built, and became famous and created demand as a result.
Lead a cause
Top brands tell meaningful stories. They don’t just sell. They don’t merely advertise. Becoming the hero of a believing tribe means choosing a cause that you can champion, and electing yourself as its leader. Take the example of Dove, and their globally successful ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. What could you do to go beyond ‘selling soap,’ and become a meaningful voice leading a believing tribe?
Package your ideas with in a unique framework (title, concept or slogan)
Certainly, a good number of people around the world have heard the name ‘Kiyosaki.’ But a greater swathe of the total human population are familiar with ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad.’ This title or concept is Robert Kiyosaki’s way of expressing his ideas, and it has become globally
B e premium
Imagine two schools competing in a neighbourhood. One has spent a great deal of money positioning itself as something highend and special. It has a full Olympic-sized pool, media centres and more. The other doesn’t. It offers the bare minimum. Wealthier clients will naturally migrate toward the better option, which means more money available for the good school. The cheap option will quickly go into a death-spiral, having attracted poorer buyers. You have a choice: Be the premium option and you will attract the premium customers – and employers!. To find out where you currently rank in the scale between amateur and expert, take the free test at www.OwnYourIndustry.net. As a PA you need not think that you cannot become a public speaker – because you can if you so wish and do your homework. More info on Douglas in action or read more of his articles, visit www.douglaskruger. co.za. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter: @ douglaskruger.
Add a unique signature to your work & stand out by design. A little creativity will set you apart. Vo l 2 7
Wits and have Fun
Try these brain teasers… brainfun
Spot the difference
Puzzle 1 What living thing has only one foot? Puzzle 2 Can you find a five letter word, which, when typed in upper-case, reads the same upside down? Puzzle 3 How many times can you take 7 away from 49?
brainbasher What common word has 4 vowels, one after the other?
gotcha puzzle What relationship to you is your father's only brother's wife's only brother-in-law?
Puzzle 1 A Leg! • Puzzle 2 SWIMS• Puzzle 3 Once, after which you will be taking 7 from 42!• Brainbasher Queue • Gotcha Puzzle Your father
CareerSuccess Magazine - a magazine for PAs and Office Managers