How to Support a High-Profile Leader: Tips from Ann Hiatt, Peggy Grande, and Donata Boston

While the mechanics of the role may look similar, supporting a high-profile executive comes with a lot of extra pressure and complexity. We recently hosted a panel with three high-performing assistants to discuss what it’s really like to support the world’s biggest business leaders, presidents, and entertainers.

Peggy Grande is the former Executive Assistant to US President Ronald Reagan, speaker, and bestselling author of her book, The President Will See You Now.

Donata Boston is the former Family Assistant to Madonna and currently runs her own business consulting and career coaching company.

Ann Hiatt is the former Executive Business Partner to Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. She is currently a leadership consultant for her business, Ann Hiatt Consulting, and is a bestselling author of Bet On Yourself.

Watch the full replay below, or keep reading for the highlights from our conversation!

Understand the gravity of your role 🚀

As an assistant to a high-profile leader, it’s important to remember that everything you do and say comes with a lot of weight. As the former EA to a US President, Peggy shares how important it was for her to be an extension of his brand and legacy. As the leader’s representative, you are expected to live up to the expectations of them more so than yourself. The impact they have on the world is in your hands to help maintain and continue. On top of that, you need to have a strong level of care for their privacy, their life, and the role you play within it. 

Know your value 👑

As EAs, we are great at becoming whatever our environment needs from us. However, this often leads us to forget what we bring to the table. As the former Family Assistant to Madonna, Donata reminds us to be very clear and confident in our value. When you connect yourself to the mission of the company and leader, you can come to your role with your heart rather than just seeing your job as a way to survive. This allows you to step into your role from an authentic place and feel confident in the change you can make. 

Put yourself in the driver’s seat 🏎

When supporting a high-profile leader, it’s easy to get lost in their life and impact. But Ann, former EBP to Jeff Bezos, encourages us to claim control over our life and career. Her advice is to go into every role knowing what you want to gain in exchange for your hard effort. Then, you can seek out opportunities to help you get there — even if they fall outside of your job description. In addition, make sure you are working for a leader you really like and hope to emulate. That way, you can pick up traits and leadership qualities that you want to carry on yourself for the rest of your career

Ready to take your executive calendar management to the next level?

Here at Base, we’re all about helping strategic assistants do their best work. Our app 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.