The Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence
Award Winning Example
Please describe how this Administrative Professional possesses a high level of proficiency in their role as an Administrative Professional. Please include what specific skills, certifications, education and/or training they have that supports their role.
Joan has served as my Executive Admin, in my position as both CEO and Chairman of the Board of XYZ COMPANY, a Fortune 500 Company. We are one of the preeminent sock manufacturing companies in the world, and are headquartered in Idaho. Our operations span 40 countries, with 20,000 employees, and Joan is frequently called upon to manage my activities around the world on a near 24 hour time zone. Joan also serves as the overall Board of Directors Exec Admin. I have held my positions for the past 4 years; Joan also served as the Exec Admin for the 2 previous CEO’s, over a total period of 12 years. In addition to her role for me, Joan serves as
the “Lead” admin for all of the admins serving my executive team of top 20 executives. In the past few years, the qualities that have shown most brightly for Joan are excellence, determination, thoroughness, and persistence. For example, over the past 2 years we have been on a process to change our capital structure; as such Joan has coordinatedwith numerous admins and served as a main point of contact for execs from private equity firms, bankers, legal advisors, etc. She served as the executive administrator of our 2016 company restructuring and operating model change project, which involved more than 100 people for 9 months and has resulted in a 50% improvement in sales and profitability. This year she oversaw our interaction with potential acquirers and managed the administrative due diligence for a process that resulted in a successful merger agreement being signed for us to merge with another company by the end of 2017, with a 74% premium offered to our shareholders! Joan did all of this while effortlessly managing our board of directors’ individual logistics and both regular and special transaction board activities (more than 60 events in the past 9 months), and leading our other administrative executive assistants through the entire capital structure change process. I might note that her particular strengths demonstrating integrity, empowerment, compassion, and generosity during a highly confidential and stressful time in our company’s history were inspiring and calming to all around her.
In terms of skills, certifications, education, and training, she has the following additional credentials:
University of Texas – Coursework Safety Certifications – CPR, First Aid, AED Certification, OSHA 40 hour advanced training, safety/ fire response training, emergency security/ active shooter certified (Joan is our key safety lead for our headquarters campus!) Notary Certification for 30 years
Please provide specific examples of how this Administrative Professional shares the same values as their organization.
XYZ COMPANY’s key stated values are: Respect, Collaboration, Entrepreneurship, Compassion, Positive Attitude. I could go on an on about how Joan embodies these values – here is an example of each:
1. Respect- Joannotonlyhasarespectfulpersonality,shedemonstratesthisvisiblythroughtheway thatshe interacts with others. For example, she shows respect for diversity, rank, and personal situation, and immediately puts my board and executive clients at ease, making them feel that they are the most important person in the world. Her anticipation of their needs and efforts to go the extra mile for their unique situations is noted often. However, she also shows respect, interest, and caring for the lowest level individual, such as the building caretaker with limited English skills.
2. Collaboration- thisvalueisheartandsoulforaprofessionalservicesbusiness,soyouwouldexpecttheC EO’s executive admin to be well versed in this. What makes Joan stand out in this area is her ability to collaborate with virtually any person with any level of experience in any part of the world. I have seen her work to bring out the best in the chairman of a Fortune 20 company and within 30 minutes collaborate with a field technician on a construction site. She has a natural ability to bring together a disparate group of people and help them achieve their best. She is inclusive by nature and goes the extra mile to get everyone’s input.
3. Entrepreneurship- Joan’s’getitdone’attitudeisoftentestedinsolvingproblemsonmybehalfaroundthe world. The innovation in her solutions is surprising to me – everything from solving logistics of getting 20 people from multiple locations to a remote industrial site in Europe with only 24 hours notice, to figuring out how to save 20% of my overhead budget with no noticeable impact on me!
4. Compassion- Joanhashadgreatmisfortuneinherlifeandhaslostseveralpeoplethatshelovedalongt he way. She also grew up without significant means and yet has reached the position of the Executive Admin in a Fortune 500 company. One of the key traits that got her here is humility and compassion, and I believe that her alignment of this core XYZ COMPANY value with her personal values is key to her very being. I don’t know a more caring individual that so tirelessly looks out for our people – in good times and bad. She is the first to assist others in our office in times of sickness, loss, or misfortune. She is also a strong community advocate the volunteers her own precious time to her church and seniors in her community.
This is probably the area that I lean on Joan most for inspiration. If Joan has a bad day, few people know it. She is always upbeat and hasn’t ever met a challenge she can’t handle. As I type this, I am looking at a saying taped to my computer screen that Joan put there when I was having a particularly .Stressful time worrying about the future of our company. It reads, “If God can handle eternity, I can surely handle today! So with that, all I need to do is to handle today”. Joan inspires me to be upbeat and lead with positive affirmation — every. single. day.
How has this Administrative Professional demonstrated a passionate commitment to their organization’s cause or purpose?
Our Organization’s Purpose is: Laying the Foundation for Human Progress by Turning Challenge into Opportunity. Our company and industry focuses on making the physical world better, to provide water, transportation, clean energy, efficient facilities and a clean environment to improve the lives of others. Before she became the Executive Admin to 3 CEO’s, Joan was the Executive Administrative Manager and the Director of Personnel Security at XYZ (Nuclear Cleanup Site in XYZ). I believe that this helped her to really develop her passion for making a difference in the world, and she is one of the few executive assistants that has “lived” our business and truly understands our mission and purpose. As such, almost every decision she makes or action she takes in her current role reflects the deep knowledge and understanding of our company’s mission, so finely honed through years of service on one of our toughest projects!
How has this Administrative Professional demonstrated a passion for legendary customer service, both internally and externally?
Joan’s passion for customer service has been demonstrated both within our organization (internal customers) and externally (external clients). Specific examples of
this are the two particularly complex projects (also involving a lot of people dynamics) identified previously: the strategic operating model change , and the capital restructuring process we undertook between 2016-2017. There wasn’t a challenge that arose that Joan didn’t handle, and her ability to serve her “internal customers” by anticipating coordination and communication needs and solving them before they became problems was extraordinary. For the 1-year capital structure change process that is concluding by the end of this year, Joan has effectively managed information access, logistics, and HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL people interactions and documentation in a process that involved more than 15 outside organizations and very complex, purpose driven interactions with several hundred XYZ COMPANY employees, as well as my 13- member board of directors. Joan’s persistence and attention to detail, while providing supportive service, were superb. Perhaps most inspiring has been Joan’s ability to take care of individual needs with no balls dropped or “Feathers ruffled” during this highly confidential time period. When the rest of us were exhausted, Joan continued to drive schedules and remain resolute in her passion for completing tasks on time. She maintained a very optimistic outlook and provided a calming influence to my board and executive team, and all of their administrative assistants, during a period of great personal stress to all of us. Her personal outreach to my directors and my executive staff (and all of their assistants) to keep them informed, and also to “check in” with them regularly to calm their concerns and gain feedback during the process, was significant. She essentially acted as my eyes and ears to advise me of issues, and to tell me what she was personally doing to serve our directors and employees’ interest – true internal customer service. From an external perspective, Joan represents us well with our external clients. She maintains networks with the executive assistants of our key clients that I have have relationships with, and I often ask her to check in with them to make sure that their executives feel that XYZ COMPANY is serving them well. Joan demonstrates confidence and compassion in working with new clients as well – probably because she worked on a client site for so long! She has accompanied me and other executives in meetings to talk with clients, and her mastery of what we do and how we deliver on our promises is always recognized by our clients. She has worked with several of our project delivery teams on big presentations to clients and offers excellent ideas on how to better serve them. She has also worked with the executive assistants to several of our local Area project teams to help them provide higher level service – at times even assisting our teams in selling more services to our clients!
How has this Administrative Professional served as an advocate for fellow employees?
In Joan’s role as the “lead admin” for the company, she regularly meets with the other executive administrative assistants to not only coordinate tasks but to also discuss quarterly business results, company initiatives, key industry trends, and other important topics. She has served as a mentor to the top 20 admins in understanding both the
business aspects of our company and also the financial and personnel issues. While this type of acumen is not
required of our administrative assistants in their day to day activities, it has proven invaluable in helping them learn about the “business of our business”, and become higher level performers that are better partners to our operating executives. Over the years Joan has also become certified in various safety aspects of our industry (engineering and construction), and is one of the safety leaders for the 1,500 person Area Headquarters Campus as well as a safety and ethics ambassador for the administrative assistants. Joan has also chaired our efforts in recent years to support her fellow employees in various charity and employee giving campaigns, and she has organized and managed our employees that are interested in giving back to their community for our STEM education and environmental sustainability volunteer cleanup projects in the Area Metro area.
Please list any additional information that you believe demonstrates why this Administrative Professional is deserving of The Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence.
In addition to her work activities, Joan applies her organization talents and passions to several volunteer activities (How she has time to do this, I do not know, as she has also been helping raise her now 18 year old granddaughter that now lives with her!). Joan has been a member for 5 years of the professional association called Executive Women International – Area Chapter. She has served as a Director of this organization for the last two years and Director elect for the upcoming term. In addition, she is the Director of Philanthropy for this volunteer professional and service group, and oversees the annual reading rally at an at risk elementary school in the greater Area area. She also oversees the Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Program (ASIST) that annually awards $12,000-$15,000 to women in the Area community who are in transitional situations and are in need of financial aid to further their education in their career pursuit.
Joan also serves as the Activities Leader of Seniors (55+) at XYZ Church and volunteers at the North Area Cares Food Bank weekly.