This conference bills itself as a very exclusive experience for the elite executive assistant; the top one percent of personal, celebrity, and executive assistant who support high-powered executives and personalities. Rather than hosting a collection of training sessions, this conference is a series of presentations by assistants in high profile roles.
The first night was a cocktail party that was supposed to be complimentary drinks and delicious appetizers – we paid for our drinks ($12 for a bad white) and a selection of four nibbles under a heat lamp. Very disappointing start to the conference. The hotel was nice (The Renaissance at Indian Wells) but we were bused to the conference venue in Palm Desert at a golf course - a common practice for this event. The catering was provided by the clubhouse and the food was fine albeit nothing spectacular. The evening “gala” was a disappointment – dinner was a deconstructed pot roast, no entertainment, and a limited number of people attended. (Victoria did not attend). The 'real' highlight of the conference for me was eating at In-and-Out Burger with a fellow attendee!
Having attended previous BEL events, the best part is the networking opportunity with a diverse variety of executive assistants to connect with. Here are some of the key points to share – nothing that a solid EA doesn’t already know but never hurts to brush up and stay savvy!
Terri Guess, supports the owner of the San Francisco Giants. Terri’s take on supporting a personality:
- Supporting at the top can be very isolating, so you should network outside of your office
- Even supporting a celebrity, you need to remember they are just people and it’s a job
- You have to be more discreet regarding your celebrity’s schedule – never disclose anything to anyone
- Trust on personal and company-related issues is imperative
- You need a sense of urgency yet possess a calm demeanor
“Let’s Hear it for the Boys” Don Turner, Phoenix Normand, Ricky Hutchins – all male assistants
- Celebrity assisting isn’t glamorous at all
- Celebs like the limelight, it furthers their brand. Their assistants can’t be in the limelight
- Press is imperative
- You can’t be on social media as anything you post reflects on your principal
- No dating apps
- No sending photos of your celeb, data can be extracted from them and people can find out where they are, where they live, etc.
- No tagging or “checking in” when you’re with them
- Getting hacked is a concern at all times
- 24/7 coverage is necessary – typically two cell phones are the norm
- Boundaries need to be established on both sides
- Use emotional intelligence when dealing with challenging people, adapt to their personality and work style.
Danielle Hill – Sr. EA to the CEO of e.l.f. Cosmetics – “Breaking out of the EA Paradigm”
- Be involved in all aspects of the company
- Support the Company initiatives
- Be the right-hand partner of the leader
- Push the limits of the role and be curious, be passionate, get involved
- Merge strengths and interest to grow in your role
- Build your connections in the areas you’re not strong in, fill in the gaps
- Master the core of the job, you build trust with the leader and are able to go to the next level with them
- Her role is to bring critical issues up that need to be resolved by the leadership team, not to just take notes
- Her super power: ability to communicate the company growth strategy
- Feeling worthy of your seat at the table can be your biggest obstacle to success.
Kathi Henriksen | EA | let's #chat! on Support Savvy Chat