3 Ways to Be a Powerhouse Executive Assistant

Great drive, positive energy, and solid influence – these are just some of the hallmarks of a Powerhouse Executive Assistant. If you want to add these qualities (and more!) to your EA repertoire, keep reading.

What makes a top-notch EA?

In our recent Base Live panel, three EA thought leaders discussed what it takes to be a top-performing assistant:

  • Lynn Walder – Executive Operations Scaling Consultant and founder of Executive Management Partners
  • Kristine Valenzuela – 20+ year Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff, currently at Atlassian
  • Natalie Lee – Sr. Executive Assistant to the Chief Administrative & Legal Officer at Atlassian and Leadership Operations Manager

Watch the full video below or keep reading for the highlights of what makes a powerhouse EA!

Top 3 ways to be a powerhouse assistant

Here are the three biggest takeaways from our panel discussion. Got any to add? Join our Executive Assistant Community and share with assistants across the globe who are learning from one another and making a difference in the lives of the companies and leaders they support.

Confidence in your expertise 🤝

A key piece of being a high-performing EA is confidence! Lynn reminds us not to shy away from our expertise and to know the value we can deliver to our leaders and the business. The term “assistant” doesn’t quite capture the depth of support EAs can offer — but that shouldn’t hold you back. Assistants are experts in leadership operations. So have the confidence to own that space!

But how do you gain that confidence? Natalie recommends getting really clear on the impact you can have. For some companies, that might look like fiercely protecting your leader’s time. For others, it may be a really thoughtful and comprehensive travel plan for the team. Knowing where to focus is key! Lean into your strengths as a thought partner and be aware of how you can implement those strengths to drive the quickest results.

Expert communication 🎙

An integral part of being a powerhouse assistant is being a highly skilled communicator. Lynn shares that assistants need to be really good at communicating not only our value, but also using our voices to champion the people we support. Leaders are often relied on to solve problems. As EAs, it’s our role to communicate what’s working, but also to have the hard conversations when things aren’t going well.

The panel discusses the quote, “speak up — even if your voice shakes” to share how important it is for assistants to use their voice courageously. When you are working with leaders who have a lot of experience and credibility, it can be hard to feel like our opinion or perspective matters, but it does! Speaking up shows you care deeply about the success of your leader and the company.

Value to the business 🌟

Typically, EAs are hired in a 1:1 capacity supporting a C-Suite level leader. However, this is beginning to shift. Where assistants used to quantify their value in saving time for executives, there is a strong need for EAs to quantify their impact on businesses as a whole beyond the leader(s) they support.

The panel recommends we start to look at business administration as its own function that brings value to the company. So what can you do to support this? Lynn says that it first starts with a mindset shift. The more EAs can frame their work as adding value to the business rather than just the leader, the more culture will start to shift; seeing the ROI of assistants as more than just time savers, but as strategic business partners whose effects are felt across the organization.

A powerful tool for powerhouse EAs

If you’re an EA looking to save time and focus your energy on more high-level work, we’ve got just the thing. The Base platform is made exclusively for top-performing EAs who need one go-to place to organize, communicate, and take action. Sound interesting? Get a demo of Base and see what we’re all about.

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.