EA Spotlight: Sue Ann Curley

Sue Ann Curley

Base’s Spotlight Series highlights top performing Executive Assistants around the country! This week, we’re thrilled to get to know Office and Facilities Manager, Sue Ann Curley. Based in Menlo Park, California, Sue Ann has been an Executive Assistant for the past 25 years. Check out our Q&A with Sue Ann below!

Tell us about yourself! 

I’ve been an EA for 25 years in the world of venture capital and have been at my current company, TCV, for 13.5 of those years.  I have a BS in Business Administration and am currently attending UC Berkeley for PMI certification and hopefully a Master’s Degree. In my personal life, I’m kept busy by three children and two grandchildren!

Tell us about the executive (or executive team) you support. 

Currently, I am the Office Manager,  but I also support the co-founder of my company. 

What does your typical work day look like?

Typically I start my day at home around 7:00am by reading through emails. I get into the office by 8:00 or 8:30am and usually make it back home by 6:00 or 6:30pm.  My day consists of supporting my boss with travel, meetings, calls and personal needs. Since I am the Office Manager, a large portion of my day is spent overseeing office operations, processes, and daily routines. This includes setting up catered lunches Monday through Thursday for roughly 55 people.  I have two assistants who help me with everything from reception to stocking. As you can imagine, my success is reliant on my ability to be flexible and manage a multitude of projects and tasks at the same time! 

What about your job excites you?

I love problem solving.  If something doesn’t go as expected,  I like to find solutions to prevent that kind of situation from being repeated. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is the fact that whenever I get started on a project, it’s inevitable that I’ll be interrupted with something else that needs my immediate attention. I then have to remember to go back to whatever project I started out with! In my role, being organized is very important!

How often do you have check-ins with your executive?

I check in with my executive daily.  He’s all over the map between business boards, philanthropic meetings and personal events. Communication is key.

What is your “must have” item on your desk? 

A day planner.  I still like to write in a day planner!

What is your favorite app or tool?

I use Smartsheet for office management. 

What is one thing you do for your executive that he couldn’t live without? 

I own his calendar.  He puts NOTHING on his own calendar.  I’m the gatekeeper so everything goes through me.  I love it. I’m the one who knows his schedule, so it’s easier for me to set meetings on his behalf.

How do you empower your executive to do their best work? 

After working together for over 13 years, he knows that he can rely on me. If he emails me something he needs help with, he trusts that I will do it right away.  He doesn’t have to worry about turnaround.  

How do you see yourself as a strategic business partner to your executive?

I’m the boss! Haha! Seriously, he comes to me for everything and trusts that I have his best interests at heart. I am careful to not overbook him to ensure that he has enough time to focus on his goals both personally and professionally. 

EAs are excellent at taking care of their executive and the office. What do you do to take care of yourself? 

I like to garden.  It’s my passion and such a great way to decompress!

What is one piece of advice you have for new EAs? 

Communicate.  Don’t assume your executive knows you will do something.  You have to gain that level of trust. Whenever I get an email, I always answer with “Got it”, “Will do”, “Done”, etc.  By acknowledging your executive’s ask, she or he can move on to the next task at hand without worry. 

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About the Author

Crystal Esquivel

Crystal Esquivel

Crystal has served as an Executive Assistant to a variety of leaders, including CEOs, Chairmen, Executive Directors, and Founders. She has managed weeklong food events in multiple cities, authored two books about food in her hometown of Austin, Texas, and contracted to support chefs, photographers, and cocktail experts. Crystal is Chief of Staff of Base and is focused on building a strong and supportive EA community packed with resources and relevant content. She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband Justin and their little black cat.