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Make the boss say "Wow!"
Read these interviews with four managers and find out what they value in an administrative professional.
Stephanie Bolick and Tina Lustre at Booz Allen Hamilton
The stigma of admins being at the bottom of the corporate food chain is non-existent at tech and engineering consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Marketing and communications principal Stephanie Bolick said she values collaboration, and her admin Tina Lustre is crucial to this process.
Lustre, who has been with the company for 14 years, commands respect with her networking skills and contributions to the department. Bolick says she encourages Lustre to get involved in professional development, such as IAAP.
This push for growth means a great environment for admins, "Because you really are intimately involved in all aspects of the work," says Bolick.
The key to their working relationship is mutual respect. Bolick said she encourages direction and guidance from Lustre. That means going beyond the weekly meeting and truly communicating with each other.
Lustre's great background, personality and work ethic is ideal for Bolick.
"You combine all that and you've really got a superstar,” she says.
Bill Balderaz and Carol Davis at Fathom Healthcare
Fathom Healthcare has an open-door policy for all staff, executives included. The only one who can keep a closed door, their "den mother" and admin Carol Davis.
"We say that Chuck Norris tells Carol jokes. That's how strong she is," said president Bill Balderaz.
More than half of the staff at Fathom are Millennials, so Davis' boomer status is respected. She became a part of the company's family dynamic early on when they needed someone highly organized to systematize the company.
She accomplished these needed processes with her 30 years of business experience, but she's come to be a much-needed resource beyond her office management duties.
Need a good babysitter or home inspector recommendation? Fathom employees look to Davis.
Her perspective is what sets her apart. "Nothing upsets her," Balderaz said. "She helps everyone puts things into perspective and she's good at communicating."
Dr. David Clayman and Judy Pazerski working in forensic and clinical psychology
Dr. David Clayman remembers exactly what Judy Pazerski wore to her interview a decade ago to become his admin—a blue suit and an IAAP pin.
He already knew IAAP was important to her. After all, she missed her first interview opportunity because of a club meeting.
Pazerski's dedication to being a better admin is one reason why Clayman loves working with her. She uses determination to manage his forensic and clinical psychology practice.
When Pazerski isn't vetting patients or prepping Clayman's court testimony for a murder case, she's organizing his Investigation Discovery TV appearances.
She operates his small firm with sensitivity and diplomacy in uncomfortable or even distasteful situations and treats the business as though it belongs to her. She cares about his wellbeing and even worries a bit when business is going well.
"I can't do what she does. God bless her that she's there," Clayman said.
Christopher Kimball working with Julie Hersey and Caroline Brady in financial planning
Christopher Kimball's administrative assistant Julie Hersey isn't simply a staffer at his financial planning company. She is the crux of his small business.
In fact, he has key person life insurance policies drafted for Hersey and himself, so that not only will his business be secure but so would the livelihood of Hersey and his other assistant Caroline Brady.
Kimball was taught success couldn’t be achieved without an assistant. And his staff members are a part of his family, and know precisely how to handle his business and clientele.
"(Hersey) is very polite. She's personable. She has a marvelous sense of humor. She totally gets the concept of small business." Kimball said.
Since the work environment is a family atmosphere, he also makes sure Hersey and Brady have schedules flexible enough so they can spend time with their families at home.
(Williesha Morris is both a virtual assistant and a freelance writer and enjoys helping other small business owners and freelancers find their writing voice. You can find her at MyFreelanceLife.com and on Twitter @willieshamorris.)