Written by: Executive Assistant to the President & CEO, Kelli Anthony
When most senior-level executives look for an executive assistant (EA), they have a set of essential skills they want that individual to possess and an idea of day-to-day duties they want the individual to perform. The basics, such as computer and other office equipment operations, the ability to communicate both orally and in writing, and organizational skills are the minimum. Those basic skills are the framework of a secretary. Secretaries are a dime a dozen, but a top-notch EA must possess the competence and creativity to perform more than just rudimentary and routine clerical responsibilities. A top-notch EA is critical to ensuring the success of any senior-level executive. Most senior-level executives desire an EA but end up with a secretary.
The job of the EA extends far beyond definable skills and is entrenched in the subtle execution and knowledge of nuances that are absolutely essential to the successful operation of any organization. The EA is an extension of the senior-level executive they support and must be able to mirror their intentions, maintain their image and mask their ignorance. Because the position requires interaction with all levels of the company, an EA must also be poised, professional and personable with the ability to create and maintain relationships both internally and externally.
The partnership between the senior-level executive and the EA is likened to that of a well-executed military maneuver. With the CEO at the lead and the EA closely following, there is a requisite high level of trust and team work; each person playing their respective role while complementing the other.
A first-rate EA is both intuitive and informed, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to support and safeguard the interests and business of the senior-level executive.