Executive Assistant of the Week: Dallas

Patricia McDonald
Executive Assistant to VP of Communications & Public Affairs
Christus Health

Patricia McDonald found her calling in the 12th grade and her administrative professional career has spanned (and continues) over 30 years. From early beginnings as a front desk receptionist at TXU Energy (formerly TU Electric), she has held roles supporting senior-level executives (VP, SVP, COO, CEO), Board of Directors, Senior Pastors, and established small business owners. Currently, Patricia is the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at CHRISTUS Health. In her circles, Patricia is known as the one with a gift for having “grace under pressure” even in the midst of a fast-paced, high-energy work environment. Patricia has an entrepreneurial spirit, is a life-long learner, loves to read and listen to music. When she is not working in the office or her business, Patricia enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and creating paper crafts. Her mantra? Create a life you are passionate about.

Patricia will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Dallas on October 22-23, 2018.

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?

While I love the digital aspect of Evernote, I cannot live without my paper journal where I hand write my to-do list, things I need to remember for my executive, meetings to schedule, and detailed instructions on how to complete a complicated task. It is my EA Bible.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?

Ask a lot of questions – even the ones that sound dumb – because someone else wants to ask the same question. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Sure, there will be failures and heartbreaks and challenges along the way, but the journey is worth it. Trust yourself to know that everything will work out as it should. Absorb as much information and skills you can because chances are you will use it at some point in your career.

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?

Having a passion for what you do and creating a great partnership with my executive is one way I define success. In addition, I take pride in knowing the importance I bring to this amazing profession.

Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?

Outside of reading a lot of books on many different subjects, I am a member of the American Society of Administrative Professionals. My goal in September 2018 is to obtain the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE) Certification.