bel-banner-2016BEHIND EVERY LEADER - Palm Springs, CA
production by EAO : Executive Assistants Organization

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 BoysDon 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

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