As an assistant, you’re often looked to as an ambassador of culture, a deployer of new company initiatives, and a bridge between leadership and the rest of the company. Beyond organizing happy hours and ordering swag — assistants can help create cultures of authenticity and inclusivity. It starts with bringing your whole self to work. In doing so, you’re also creating space for your colleagues to feel comfortable in their own authenticity.
Keep reading to learn how to show up authentically and professionally, practical ways to start influencing company culture, and how to create a workplace where inclusivity, allyship, and safety are present.
How to create a culture of authenticity and inclusivity
In our recent Base Live panel, our panel of administrative culture builders shared their expertise and tips for how Executive Assistants can create inclusive workplaces:
- Jenna Miller – Chief of Staff at Betterworks
- Nick Ginsburg – EA at Monash University & Founder of the Admin Collective
Watch the full video below or keep reading for the highlights from the conversation!
3 ways assistants can influence company culture
Here are three of the top takeaways from our conversation with Nick and Jenna on creating cultures of authenticity and inclusivity. Have any to add? Join our Executive Assistant Community and connect with assistants across the globe who are navigating similar experiences.
Bring your authentic self to work 🪞
How can assistants be authentic at work when they also need to be professional? Nick shared how living authentically is critical because it has a huge positive impact on overall mental wellbeing. Not splitting into a “work self” and a “home self” has important benefits — reduced stress, higher resilience, less internal conflict, more energy, better sleep, and the ability to build better relationships. So being authentic at work is really something you can’t afford not to do.
The way to do this in a professional setting is to bring your whole self, while reading the room and knowing when to take your foot off the accelerator as you notice how others are showing up as well. Nick emphasized the key to this is to really know yourself, your strengths, and passions, and start bringing attention to those in your work environment.
Jenna shared how authenticity is something we learn and practice. Part of how we do this is acknowledging how we evolve over time — what was authentic to you five years ago may not be anymore, but that doesn’t make that past version of you any less you. She also shared about paying attention to authenticity around you, and how it inspires you to want to show up too.
Activate your skills and compassion 💖
Assistants are perfectly placed to be culture innovators — But what does that look like practically when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace? Jenna suggested, especially when it comes to creating affinity groups, to find others to join in these efforts with you so you’re not going it alone trying to create change. Beyond that, regardless of what identities you personally hold or what kind of familiarity you have with DEIB work, all of the skills you have as an assistant make you perfectly poised to organize a new initiative, so activate those strengths as well.
Nick pointed out that as assistants, a key part of the role is being able to navigate the organization, and Jenna added assistants have unique proximity to power. This places you perfectly to look at policies in place in your organization and ask questions about them, and lean into influencing change in these areas.
What about contributing to unifying culture across diverse ethnicities, ages, religious beliefs, stages in life, etc. within an organization? Nick encouraged us to bring compassion to these conversations, because they can often get derailed by fear of the unknown. Jenna also added adopting an abundance mindset during these conversations about celebrating and accepting everyone’s humanity, acknowledging that celebrating someone’s joy and belonging doesn’t take anything away from anyone else.
Ask questions and be curious 🤔
Beyond acknowledging Heritage Months, assistants can also contribute to a more inclusive culture in the day-to-day. Jenna reflects on how to do this without being or acting as a “DEIB authority” by asking questions which might help others arrive at the conclusion you’re driving at. This also opens things up to other viewpoints, which helps facilitate more learning for everyone.
Our panelists also discuss our natural proclivity as humans to sort ourselves into like-minded groups. They share how an attitude of curiosity and a willingness to be life-long learners is really key to expanding beyond that and into understanding one another’s experiences better.
When it comes to silos and how that could extend into workplace cliques, Nick also challenges us to turn a question to ourselves, “Do I feel a need to be a part of this group?” He shares that the more you work on your self-awareness and authenticity, you’ll be more clear on your worth in the company and in life. This means the influence and opinions of others will affect you less.
How Executive Assistants can collaborate on and organize culture initiatives
If you’re an EA looking to collaborate with others in your organization on creating a more inclusive workplace, the Base platform was built just for you. Our all-in-one workspace for Executive Assistants gives you one go-to place to organize, communicate, and take action. Get a demo of Base and see what we’re all about.