Emily Allen's Blog

Meet Antoinette Smith, CAP-OM—or Toni as she’s called. She’s the incoming president for 2014-15. Read about how IAAP has helped her career and her perspective on the changes ahead for the association. 

Q. Can you remember back to when you first got involved in IAAP? What drew you to not only that first meeting or encounter, but also what pushed you to take the step to become a member?
A. Members from IAAP held an information meeting about IAAP in my workplace. The certification program caught my attention. In addition, a coworker was a member and she used to leave chapter meeting notices and brochures on my desk from time-to-time. I decided to attend a meeting as a guest and was quite impressed with the education program and the professionalism demonstrated by the members. I had belonged to another business association, but this one was more aligned with my profession and career needs. 

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This month we have a conversation with Vice President Wendy Melby as part of our interview series with the executive team of the IAAP Board. If you missed the first two, there are past interviews with Secretary Kristi Rotvold and Treasurer Dortha Gray. Watch next month as we wrap-up the series with President-elect Toni Smith. 

Q. Can you remember back to when you first got involved in IAAP? What drew you to not only that first meeting or encounter, but also what pushed you to take the step to become a member? 
A. I was looking for a professional organization that supported the administrative field, one where I could network and make connections.  I truly wanted to make this a career for myself and I wanted to be taken seriously by my employer.

Q. Looking back on your career, expound on the difference that IAAP has made in your work. How has being a member of IAAP influenced your professional life? 
IAAP has definitely helped me with my career by providing me with the leadership capabilities, skillset and experience I needed as a leader.  Being on the board (local and division level) help me to gain public speaking skills, a network of other administrative professionals and help to gain experience in strategic planning, event planning and coordination. It has also given me credibility with my employers as a leader in my field. It has made me a true business partner with my executive and one that I know he depends on each day. 
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This is the second of a series of posts to introduce you to the IAAP Board of Directors’ leaders with interviews of the board treasurer, secretary, vice president and president-elect. Today, meet Board Secretary Kristi Rotvold, CAP-OM.

Q. When did you first become involved in IAAP? What drew you to not only that first meeting or encounter, but also what pushed you to take the step to become a member?

I got involved with IAAP originally when asked if I was interested in a study group for certification. I met with the study group for seven months every week and took the CPS test in May of 1999.  I had such a great time with the study group that I decided to check out the chapter, which I did and then joined in September of 1999.

Q. Looking back on your career, expound on the difference that IAAP has made in your work. How has being a member of IAAP influenced your professional life?

IAAP has had an enormous influence on my life. Before getting involved with IAAP, I had lost my confidence in my abilities and myself. The first step in finding myself again was taking the certification test and passing; this gave me the encouragement to explore further. I joined and immediately got involved, expanding my abilities in leadership and my confidence. This carried over to my work. It has been mentioned many times in my years at MeritCare (now Sanford) that they have seen a change and a growth in my abilities. They directly connect it to my involvement in IAAP. I’m not afraid to speak up in meetings at work now or question the things I should question. My involvement in IAAP also helped me in that it influenced my boss to encourage me to take part in education available at work and be a part of  crucial conversations. My bosses have always encouraged growing by learning new skills, leadership ability, technology, etc. and they saw that I got a lot of that from my involvement in IAAP.

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This is the first of a series to introduce you to the IAAP Board of Director’s leaders with interviews of the board treasurer, secretary, vice president and president-elect. Today, meet Dortha Gray, board treasurer.

What drew you to not only your first IAAP meeting or encounter, but also what pushed you to take the step to become a member?

A coworker and I started carpooling together. After a few days, she said she had a meeting after work the third Tuesday of each month. She said I could either drive in separately on that day or I could go to the meeting with her. The meeting was the monthly meeting of the National Secretaries Association (now IAAP). They had a networking time, dinner, an educational program, and then a short business meeting.  Everyone was welcoming and the business meeting was very professionally run. I was very impressed. I went to the meetings with my coworker each month and joined shortly thereafter.

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Voting Recap

Voting members:
Board: 12
Division: 34
Chapter delegates: 262
Chapter at large: 1
Members at large: 1
Total: 310

Proxies: 139
Total: 449

The Foundation of IAAP bylaws all passed with no changes to the proposed amendments.

 IAAP Bylaws (see all proposed amendments):

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    Jill was a great speaker with practical and useable things to say. Here's a recap: 

    Getting More Done in Less Time – It’s as Easy As Changing Your Mindset
    Jill Farmer, Sunday Keynote at EFAM 2013

    There area new ways to change your thinking to get more done in less time without being exhausted, depleted and overwhelmed. You can be a stellar employee and still go home and be cheerful in your non-work environment. You can experience more meaning and impact in this amazing life.

    When we think the thought there’s not enough time, we trigger a fight or flight response. It’s a gift to warn us when we’re in danger. It allows us to react without thinking, which is great when you’re in actual danger.

    However, research shows that many of us spend 80 percent of our time in fight or flight. We’re not in danger but we’re reacting without thinking. Anytime we think a thought that we don’t have enough, or that we’re under attack (think of work) the response is the same: fight or flight. We are in stress-mode all day. Which causes us to lose focus, problem solve and collaborate and be creating. All we do is problem solving. Those thoughts take us in the opposite direction from where we want to go.

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    Today started off with an explanation of what consensus is and what it is not. Practical consensus exists when: 

    All members of the group have been heard fully, frankly and respectfully

    All members of the group have been honest in their views and feelings

    All views have been considered without prejudice 

    All relevant information have been shared equally within the group

    The majority has made every possible effort to mitigate disadvantage to the minority

    Group members are willing to sacrifice their personal position for the sake of the whole group and those it is accountable to

    Members act as if the decisions are their own

    Now, the group is seeking consensus on IAAP's core purpose, core values, BHAG and vivid descriptions. Later this morning, the
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    The group took their vivid descriptions and pulled out the themes that will make up IAAP’s future goals. These are the overarching topics that came out of group discussion for draft goals.

    Public awareness/image; membership; finances; education/certification/professional development; organizational structure; focusing on technology/cutting edge in all aspects; leadership in profession and chapters/divisions; research germane to the profession; IAAP brand recognition

    Now, at the end of the day, they are writing positive, compelling statements on the above topics, which will turn into five, concise goal statements.

    The group is adjourning for the day. We’re back at it tomorrow with more planning. I’ll be here with more tweets, blogs and photos. Follow the Futures story at http://storify.com/iaap/iaap-futures

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    Following is one group's vivid description from this afternoon's breakout groups. 
    • IAAP is at the forefront of the admin development and is recognized leader that provides access to lifelong learning.

    • IAAP recruits and retains members who return added value to the workplace by accessing cutting edge technology international conferences, certification and innovation.

    • IAAP guides you through every facet of your career and provides opportunities for leadership through action.

    • Certification is recognized internationally as the benchmark for excellence in membership is a job requirement.

    • IAAP is the vibrant global network for content experts of advisors and mentors.

    • Because of these attributes IAAP is the cornerstone and premier choice of the professional that builds strategic worldwide workplace relationships.

    • All entities who employ administrative professionals will know who IAAP is.
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    Here’s a recap of what’s gone on so far today at Futures. We first went over the key findings of the all member survey and discussed what we found surprising about the answers. Within the survey date we looked at possible goal areas including the need for more education; our image, identity and public awareness; and growing the membership.

    Following that, participants looked at the current conditions, trends and assumptions about the future in the following areas: demographic, business/economic climate, science and technology, politics/social values, regulation/legislation. I recapped that in an earlier blog post.

    From there we moved on to discussing our core ideology. What about us doesn’t change in an environment of rapid and unpredictable change? Our core ideology consists of our core purpose and core values. After brainstorming and exchanging ideas, the group moved onto thinking big. What is IAAP’s big hairy audacious goal? We need to make it double but only with heroic effort and a lot of luck.

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    Right now, we're talking about our core purpose. Here are some of the suggestions that came out of the table brainstorming: 

    Core Purpose:
    To elevate and strengthen the administrative professional field

    To elevate the careers of office professionals

    To elevate the growth of the administrative profession

    Globally promote and develop the administrative profession

    To advance and enrich a culture of exceptional administrative professionals

    The one true resource for office professionals

    To turn jobs into careers

    To provide OP with opportunities to

    To advance professional growth and development

    To promote the success of office professionals

    Developing office rock stars

    To engage and empower administrative professionals

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    Here are a few of the ideas that came out of the table discussions the first half of the morning. Attendees looked at the current conditions, trends and assumptions about the future in the following areas:


    Business/economic climate

    Science and technology

    Politics/social values


    Demographics: We realize IAAP is mostly female and aging. We need to embrace social media into the future.

    Business/economic climate: There’s a lot of economic uncertainty. We have a current, aging workforce/membership and lack of volunteerism or volunteerism that looks different than in the past. In the future we’re moving to a more global workforce. There’s uncertainty of employment. A wildcard is the return of US troops in the workforce. How will that impact us?

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    It's late and tomorrow will be an early day. We held the opening reception tonight full of high energy and expectation for tomorrow. It's going to be a great two days full of brainstorming. There are a few pictures and a lot of tweets from the reception up on Storify. Follow along at http://storify.com/iaap/iaap-futures

    See you tomorrow!

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    Here at HQ we're gearing up for the Futures Conference next week. All of us are excited about the strategic planning conference. We want those of you who are not going to be as much a part of what's going on as possible. We're going to bring news and photos to you from the conference, so be watching.

    I'm going to be live tweeting #iaapfutures, and blogging here on our web community. Anyone going to Futures who wants to tweet, please let me know (we're looking for 12 people to tweet) and send your tweets to #iaapfutures.

    See you next week in Anaheim or on the Web with updates! 
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    Wow! I had no idea that IAAP had so many good writers lurking in the shadows. I had a slew of great applicants for the three EFAM blogger positions. It was hard choosing. I knew some of you, and many more I didn't (please grab me and introduce yourself at EFAM). Watch the homepage of the web community at the end of April, or first week in May for the debut of the EFAM bloggers: Dewoun Hayes, Kemetia Foley and Barrett Shaw. 

    I think our members will enjoy reading the blogs and we'll keep doing this year after year. So, plan now to attend EFAM 2012 and apply again.

    Keep writing!

    Publications/Communications Manager
    Managing Editor, OfficePro
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    Thanks to everyone who has indicated interest in becoming an official EFAM blogger this year. I've received some wonderful submissions and it's clear we at HQ have a hard choice ahead of us deciding on only three of you. We have a lot of talented writers in IAAP. I'm closing submissions on Monday, April 11 at the end of day (5 p.m. CT) and will contact the three members as soon as possible after that so they can start blogging about their pre-EFAM thoughts and processes.  At the latest by Friday, April 15.

    Again, if you missed it, look up my previous blog about EFAM blogging and send me your submission at eallen@iaap-hq.org.

    Emily Allen
    Managing Editor, OfficePro
    Manager, Publications/Communications
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    Breaking News! If you haven't gotten the e-blast yet, let me tell you why you're going to want to be an EFAM blogger this year. Our morning keynote is Clinton Kelly of TLC's What Not To Wear. In addition, we have amazing week planned for you. Read all about EFAM in the brochure.

    I’m looking for three people who plan to sign-up for full registration that can blog about EFAM 2011. You’re my blogger if you can write well, spice up your blog with pictures or a video clip and can commit to post at least three times a day onsite (I’m not talking a book every time).  Blog before you go at least once a week and one wrap-up blog after you get back home. 

    Haven’t registered yet or even gotten your passport? No problem. If you’re chosen you can blog about the process. We want to know about your EFAM experience from start to finish; from booking airfare to packing to returning home to your favorite dog.


    • Be an IAAP member
    • Are (or will be) signed up for full registration for EFAM
    • Arrive by Saturday morning, July 23, for a lunch meeting that day
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    We are working on a press release with OfficeTeam and need your help!

    What are your best tips for keeping your work desk organized and clean? Share your advice by completing a brief, anonymous survey. Some of the responses could be featured in an upcoming OfficeTeam press release!

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    Hi Readers,

    I'm very excited about a new column coming to OfficePro starting with the March/April issue. Meryl Runion is an author and speaker (she came to EFAM last year) and I have personally benefited from her PowerPhrases books in both my professional life and personal life.

    I remember last year someone was talking down to me, being a bit sarcastic and snarky and I thought to myself, "I can ignore this and swallow it or speak up and possibly change it." Speaking up isn't always my strong point. Because I'd just finished reading the first PowerPhrases book I had some tools so I said, "I took that as a sarcastic remark. Did you mean it that way?" She said "no," and her tone with me changed. Whether or not she was being sarcastic doesn't matter. What does matter is the nature of our discourse shifted and we were able to communicate more effectively.

    To have Meryl write a regular column for OfficePro, speaking directly to admins, is a great addition to the magazine. It's going to help empower readers. She'll teach you to: "say what you mean, mean what you say and get what you want."

    Another exciting development is that Meryl, with IAAP's own Susan Fenner, Ph.D, wrote a book on PowerPhrases for admins. It's coming out soon. Look for a review in
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    Recently, I went to a social gathering of a local organization to which I belong. I used to dread walking into a room full of people I didn't know. Now, I look at it as an opportunity to meet new friends and learn something I didn't know before.

    At this meeting I spent over an hour talking with a man who's a marketing genus and gleaned a lot of useful information for my job here at IAAP. After he left I migrated over to a table with several older women. Since I was working on the current issue of OfficePro, we got into a conversation about acting old at work--that's one of the articles in the November/December issue. Technically, it's how NOT to act old at work.

    Of the five women at the table, four were in their late 50s. The other gal, 44 (yes, I asked since it was relevant). All but one of the older women did not text, refused to join any social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn) and did not see any value in Twitter. The thing that struck me the most, however, was that they were unwilling to learn and didn't think it mattered if they did. That is going to hurt them in their job. Not so much that they don't want to be on Facebook, but that they've closed their mind to any of it because they don't see it's use. The fabric of our society has shifted from what it used to be 30 years ago. There's no going back.
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