Sonia Petersen has over 15 year's experience as an Executive Assistant working with successful leaders within the construction industry. She is passionate about operations and driving efficiency and really enjoys the collaborative nature of the Executive Assistant role. Amongst her fellow EA’s she is known for her dedication to support and inspire others which she has done by informally mentoring and coaching other Executive Assistants. This is such a passion for her that she has recently began a side hustle business offering individual and group coaching around Wellbeing at Work. Sonia truly believes that if we focus on our wellbeing we will see improvements not just in our health but also in our ability to build relationships as well as increased productivity and even greater success.
For those of us that are working on being indispensable these outcomes are what we’re looking for. As I have shared with you, when your wellbeing and wellness is challenged everything else is affected and your ability to show up as indispensable is compromised...and we don’t want that!
As Sonia describes on her website
“My goal is to create a movement for Executive Assistants and Corporate Women to be respected and recognised, to be united and empowered in what we do as a profession”
Key Takeaways from our discussion:
Dowload a free copy of Sonia's eBook 'Unstick The Stuck' A Woman's Guide to Finding Career Clarity, Creating a Life You Love and Taking Care of Your Well-being' at soniapetersen.com.au
As Founder and Managing Director of leading boutique office support recruitment company EST10, Roxanne Calder brings a fresh approach to the table. Roxanne established EST10 in 2010 and from the launch of the company has sought to differentiate EST10 from other recruiters through the way they engage with employers and candidates with integrity and demonstrating through their actions passion and a commitment to finding the very best talent. In fact over 80% of EST10s business comes from referrals and repeat business.
I was keen to interview Roxanne because I admire the way EST10 puts their money where their mouth is in the way they support the EA profession through their marketing activities including an annual EA of the year award and their sponsorship of development opportunities for EAs such as the EA Leadership Forum. In addition, EST10 sponsors opportunities for EAs to network and share their experiences at round table events and other organised events.
The key takeaways from my discussion with Roxanne include:
I love the fact that Roxanne herself is a successful female entrepreneur and we need to hear more of these stories. EST10 is over six years old and Roxanne herself has had an amazing career, starting out with a Bachelor of Arts, honing her skills in the recruitment industry and creating value now not just through her companies recruitment activities but as a business owner, employing women and developing women in business. She is a very capable and talented businesswomen and I was delighted that she agreed to be interviewed.
Task Management is a fundamental job role of Executive Assistants. Developing and maintaining a well managed 'to-do' list where it is easy to identify the priority of tasks and the stakeholders involved in their execution is something an indispensable assistant needs to resolve.
In this solo episode Liz discusses the importance of task management, how a notebook and pen will continue to remain an EA's go-to tools and how tools such as Trello (based on the Japanese Kanban board approach) can be a great way to automate your task management to drive accountability, communication and collaboration with stakeholders and team members.
The recent announcement that Atlassian is acquiring Trello is discussed as are a number of alternative tools such as Wunderlist, Asana and Todoist.
Road Ramblings makes a comeback this week just in time for Christmas. Liz recounts how technical 'isssssews' have prevented her from doing her interview with Roxanne Calder from est10 which will be rescheduled for the new year. How this week has been all about being a taxi driver for an injured teenage daughter and also dealing with the technical troubleshooting meltdowns that are the curse of someone who is far too hard on herself! As always, adopting a learner mindset, this just provides the opportunity to become a more proficient podcaster and appreciate the wonderful support she receives from her family as she ventures down the podcast road.
A solo episode revisiting a metaphor that came up in Episode 17 with Kate Toon where Kate described herself as the sort of EA/PA who looked behind the margarine. What does this actually translate to and why is it important. Liz also gives a snapshot of the 2017 EAN Congress and notes how the theme of building a partnership with your executive is in sync with what Being Indispensable is all about (kudos to her!!!!). She also shares an article that may be informative for those executives who still need to get their head around the ways in which they can better leverage their assistant.
Pop over to the website for the show notes
Oh and no pressure but if you haven't subscribed and even better left a review the lead up to Christmas is a great time to do it:) Liz loves presents!!!
As Executive/Personal Assistants we are often in the unique position of being aware of 'problems' within our organisation. The mantra "don't bring me problems, bring me solutions" can be counter productive and discourage assistants from engaging in conversations that could be helpful with their business leader.
In this solo episode Liz discusses an article published in Fast Company and compares it with insight from Harvard Business Review that suggests that the 'don't bring me problems' mentality can be unhelpful and discourage conscientious employees to proactively communicate potential problems.
Bring problems to your business leaders attention doesn't automatically make you a whiner and Liz outlines one approach that can help you structure such a conversation.
Kate Toon is extraordinary. She is a copywriter, SEO lover, speaker, podcaster, TV presenter and trainer as well as being a mother, a wife and a small business owner.
In this interview Kate shares how she transitioned from a Personal Assistant to an award winning producer of advertising content in the print, television and online space.
This episode is essential listening for assistants that recognise that great writing is a central component of BEING INDISPENSABLE. If you want to be connected with someone that can help you improve your copywriting and SEO skills then Kate Toon is someone you should know.
Adopting different voices and adapting to the tone required for the audience of the content are critical skills. Hear about Kate's journey from the UK to Australia and what she offers now to assist people who want and need to deliver quality writing for business purposes. We discuss her business Hot Copy Podcast where she shares the secrets of successful copywriters in the show jointly hosted with Belinda Weaver. We also discuss her online course offerings through the Clever Copywriting School and the e-course she offers at The Secrets For SEO Success (which also has a podcast). Kate is a prolific producer of content and much of it is FREE via her blog posts and podcast episodes. Connect with Kate at https://www.facebook.com/kateToon and https://www.facebook.com/copywritingschool/ or https://www.facebook.com/groups/recipeforseosuccess/ or https://www.facebook.com/hotcopypodcast
Visit the ShowNotes for more information on how to work with Kate.
Rumination and reflections on the complex situation HRC's Executive Assistant must have been in trying to juggle the demands of HRC as well as other stakeholders in terms of her access to emails. This got Liz thinking about some of the things she has learnt managing her bosses inbox. How systems, processes and rules are your friend when it comes to inbox management and how business leaders aren't serving anyone by refusing to allow their EA or PA access to their email.
Liz shares how the podcast title Being Indispensable was chosen in complete ignorance of the fact that Seth Godin had explored the concept in his book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable” (which Liz is definitely going to be reading). Even if you subscribe to the view that being indispensable is unattainable, Liz argues that the qualities and behaviors that make someone irreplaceable still hold value and are of value to employers and customers. In the same way, it's become a great way of expressing her value proposition. Liz also explains the reason why there has been a notable absence of new episodes. Liz outlines the tough decisions that have been made in recent weeks and how difficult it has been to disappoint her business leader.
This week is all about making space to care for herself. As part of this Liz is doing some self-reflection and beginning the process of putting into place the technique of mindfulness that has been proven to develop the "mind muscle" used to create a calmer mind and a healthier body. In addition, Liz took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test to get some insight into her personality type as explained by this tool.
Two weeks into the job-share Liz reflects on her learnings so far....systems and processes, or the lack there-of can become glaringly obvious when you undertake a job-share. Liz also notes how important it is for the person who is embarking on the job-share arrangement (the fresh eyes so to speak) to come to the table with an open mind and willing to leave their judgement at the door! Well, in her case that's helpful because she's feeling a bit exposed in terms of explaining all the intricacies of her role, the clients, the stakeholders and the details she takes for granted.
Please remember to leave a review if you feel so inclined...all the helpful feedback is appreciated:)
Liz comes clean about how she hasn't allowed herself permission to not be okay post treatment for Breast Cancer. In pretending that life has gone on and it was no big deal she has not given her body and mind what it actually needs to heal. In this episode Liz opens up about how up until now she has been projecting the image of someone who has their shit together when in actual fact she's been slowly falling apart. Thankfully she also shares how she's taken control of the situation and is embarking on a jobshare and break from her role as an EA in order to start putting in place some better habits that will support her recovery from Breast Cancer and the chronic issues that treatment leaves you with.
A Minibee (Mini Being Indispensable) episode where Liz ruminates on what she's learned from reading about the four tendencies that Gretchen Rubin outlines in her bestselling book "Better Than Before": Upholders, Obligers, Rebels and Questioners.
By doing the online quiz Liz has established that she's a classic Obliger. What does this mean for her in terms of her relationship with her business leader and what can you learn by understanding your own tendency and that of your business leader. Come along for the ride and learn all about this fascinating topic.
In Part 2 of this interview with Jan Jones, author of "The CEO's Secret Weapon", Liz talks to Jan about the benefits of Exceptional Assistants sharing the traits and habits that allow them to develop outstanding relationships with the business leader they support. Jan shares her perspectives on why the EA is a service professional and how developing relationships with other EA's is vital.
Jan Jones is an author, a businesswoman and an exceptional assistant in her own right talks to Liz about her fantastic book "The CEO's Secret Weapon" and how she started her working life in Sydney, Australia as a 'Girl Friday' working for a small brokerage firm. Jan reflects on how the exacting standards of her first boss have stood her in great stead as she embarked on a career that has taken her around the world and brought her into the company of some of the world's best business leaders. A delight to interview and a delightful interview:)
In this episode, Liz opens up about the challenge of continuing to pursue her podcast journey when every fibre of her being is telling her to run away and hide. She shares how the inspirational writings of Elizabeth Gilbert and gutsy voice of Cynthia Heimel have helped to remind her that Being Indispensable is more than the vanity project she fears others may think it is. As Elizabeth Gilbert says “you will never be able to create anything interesting out of your life if you don’t believe that you’re entitled to at least try”.
In a week where Liz is struck down with Sinusitis and has to take a day off work, she reflects on 'guilt', a most unhelpful emotion and shares how she is working to challenge this negative thinking. The habit of over apologising is also explored with some references to the work of Gretchen Rubin and her podcast 'Happiness', Brene Brown's TED talk and books and Fred Kofman's Huffington Post blog article.
In the first interview for the Being Indispensable podcast, Liz interviews Sonja Firth, an Executive Assistant who epitomises the description 'capable'. Sonja has an eclectic set of skills and is highly regarded by her clients for her knowledge and effectiveness. In addition to being sought after to provide office support, Sonja is in demand as a LinkedIn trainer. Sonja works with businesses and individuals to optimise their presence on LinkedIn.
In this episode Liz gives an update on the results of her LinkedIn survey question and discusses Amy Cuddy and her research on Presence. How we can use power poses to program our mind to show up as more confident and have PRESENCE. Fascinating and inspiring research which shows that tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.
The first in what is planned to become a regular addition to the Being Indispensable podcast library - road ramblings. This episode focuses on the perils of asssuming when making flight bookings for your executive. Liz shares her epic fail when she inadvertently allowed her executive to be booked on a discount air fare.
Liz ruminates on the potential ramifications of Ernst & Young Australia reducing costs by rolling out Virtual Assistants to support Partners and Senior Managers. This is topical given the rise of the VA industry but has implications for the ability of assistants and their executives to work effectively. Does being 'virtual' affect an assistants ability to be proactive and how traditional Executive Assistants need to be clear on their value proposition in order to ensure that they are able to continue to deliver the service levels that will make them indispensable.
In this episode Liz outlines the role serendipity played in her decision to become an Executive Assistant. How a lunch with a friend led her to pursue a career transition to becoming an EA. She discusses the research she conducted into the role of the EA, the skills and capabilities required and the Michael Hyatt article that formed the basis for how she approaches her role.
Being an Executive Assistant can be isolated and lonely. The relationship with the business leader whilst personal and close requires the assistant to maintain distance from others in order to perform the role well. This makes it hard to share experiences and learnings. In this first episode, Liz outlines why Being Indispensable is the podcast for Executive and Personal Assistants to get the tips, techniques and professional insights that will help make them indispensable. Created by an Executive Assistant, for Executive Assistants to share ideas, experiences, workshop successes and epic fails.