3 Assistants Explain What It Takes to Be a “Chief” Executive Assistant

You don’t need a business degree or a C-suite title to successfully support an executive — but having a genuine investment in them, their needs, and their goals can definitely set you up for success! We recently hosted a panel with three assistants who shared what it takes to put yourself in your leader’s shoes in order to best support and represent them. 

Britt Zarembski is the Executive Assistant Senior Manager at Indeed, where she leads the executive support team of over 15 admins who support over 80 leaders across the organization.

John Shaw is currently the Executive Business Administrator to the Board of Directors at Microsoft. He was previously the Senior Executive Assistant to the EVP of Marketing at WarnerMedia and the Senior Executive Assistant to the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Tiara Hines is the Executive Assistant to the CFO at Olo. She also owns her own business, Three-Fifths Collective, that provides growth-minded tools and solutions to the modern Chief Executive Assistant. 

Watch the full replay below, or keep reading for their top tips on what it takes to be a “Chief” EA. 

Have a growth mindset 🌱

Having an executive-first mindset is not about being powerful or intimidating. For John, it’s about being curious. He shares that having a growth mindset — or just being open and accepting of new things — is the most valuable component to understanding the thought process of the executive(s) you support. 

By knowing where you want to be in your career, being open to learning new things, and pushing yourself to seek our new opportunities, you put yourself in the best position to think and lead like an executive.

Understand how your leader thinks 🧠

For Britt, the best way to put yourself in your leader’s shoes is to get into their head and understand how their mind works. She recommends we do this by being proactive and taking any opportunity to learn how your executive thinks. That could mean sitting in on meetings with your executive to understand how they lead and communicate. It could also mean asking questions to understand how they came to certain decisions or why they do things in a certain way. 

By exposing yourself to your executive’s world and taking in what they’re taking in, you can better understand how they want to be represented. This gives you a first-hand look into how their mind works and allows you to step into that proxy role more easily. 

Know your worth ⭐️

A big part of being a “Chief” EA is having the confidence in yourself as an assistant. While working with high-powered leaders can be intimidating, Tiara reminds us to know what we bring to the role and to the room. Remember that we were hired for a reason, and we have valuable experience and knowledge to bring to the table. 

Executives have assistants because they need support. By having the confidence to step up and show them how you can help, you make your support even stronger and more valuable. And you show your executive that you’re worthy of their trust. 

The most high-powered assistants have support, too. 

At Base, we’re all about helping strategic assistants do their best work. Our platform was built solely for assistants’ daily workflow so you can utilize your time more efficiently and support your leader more effectively. Base is a single place for you to create executive briefings, field emails, track projects, manage calendars, and more.

Get a demo of Base to see what you can do with the right tools to support you.

Written by Bryn Smith

Bryn is the Senior Manager of Brand and Product Marketing at Base, where she is on a mission to build a world-class EA community by connecting them with top-notch thought leaders, invaluable resources, and cutting-edge insights.