Why Professional Development Is the Perfect Gift

This Administrative Professionals’ Day

With Administrative Professionals’ Day this week, it urges the question, what’s a gift that reflects the multi-faceted and difficult job of an executive assistant? How can executives truly show appreciation this week?

Executive assistants are the vital backbone of their organization. The EA role has shifted over recent years, and with that, so should the way executives show appreciation. As Lucy Brazier, Publisher for Executive Secretary Magazine says, “The days of Assistants typing, answering phones and doing gentle diary management are long gone. These days they are more likely to be found knee deep in project management, strategic research, reports & financial forecasts.” The role of the executive assistant has evolved to encompass more dynamic skills and managerial leadership. Are administrative professionals receiving the professional development support they deserve?

Executive assistants have broken into a middle-management dynamic role, where they are taking on more complex projects and serving more and more as a respected member of the leadership team. With this progression comes a need to expand and improve communication skills, technology short-cuts, leadership skills and productivity best practices. Harvard Business Review described a study conducted where over 1,200 young professionals across an international database were concluded to not be receiving the career development they desire. Monika Hamori and Burkak Koyuncu, human resource experts, explained in their Harvard Business Review:


“We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps. Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching—things they also value highly.”


Bonnie Low-Kramen, Founder of the Ultimate Assistant Training says in her blog Why training your Admin Staff Will Boost Your Profits and Improve Productivity, “In 2015, most of the nation’s 4.1 million admins are still self-taught regarding everything about their jobs. They have succeeded in their roles in spite of the lack of support and training. Traditionally, they have not been included in Continued Professional Development (CPD) budgets.”

We believe professional development for an executive assistant can provide four invaluable ROI components that are hard to get anywhere else.

New Approaches/Best Practices

Professional development will set you up with industry best practices and proven approaches provided by industry leaders, to help you combat common and current challenges EAs face. Professional development specific to the executive assistant role should help you build on effective communication strategies to enhance workplace relationships, develop leadership tactics, discover solutions for maintaining high levels of work ethics, elevate business etiquette skills, and expand the executive assistant skillset.

Technology Tips

Increased productivity and time-saving tools through hands-on technology training is a ground-shaking benefit of professional development. Learning new technology tips provides instant ROI, as it equips you with the tricks to get tasks done in a fraction of the time. Building on your technology software knowledge will help you free up time to tackle other components of your job.


We’ve found through the Executive Leadership Support Forums, that executive assistants find networking the most valued part of professional development. Connecting with other professionals with the same role allows for collaboration on best practice and proven approaches. Perhaps you have been approaching a similar project in a similar way, time and time again. Having the opportunity to hear how your peers overcome similar challenges will equip you with diverse approaches. Linking with peers within your industry will armor you with up-to-date industry tips, tricks and information. Not to mention, having a system to connect with regarding industry challenges provides ongoing support throughout your career.

Certification/Recertification Points

There’s nothing better to quantify your professional development investment than receiving certification points or recertification points. Many executive assistant professional development programs offer certification/recertification points. Receiving certification points is an easy start to bulking up your resume.

Professional development will provide ROI to you, your executive, and your company. Bonnie Low-Kramen says, “The most profoundly meaningful investment you can make in your staff, and in anyone for that matter, is to believe in them enough, trust them enough and support them to learn. Knowledge is power, and it is also a bottomless source of loyalty, commitment and profits.” Ask your executive to skip the flowers this year and give you a gift that will exemplify your value on the team.

The Executive Leadership Support Forum focuses on developing their attendees into the finest professionals available. Attendees grow through interactive discussions with fellow top level executive assistants and administrators. To learn more about supporting more than one executive, managing and motivating an admin team, or other high-level topics for those supporting the C-suite, attend an Executive Leadership Support Forum near you!

New York City October 29-30

Dallas October 23-24

Houston September 19

Phoenix October 29

The Executive Leadership Support team is endlessly thankful for all of the past, present, and future attendees.

Q1 Productions hosts the Executive Leadership Support Forum in cities throughout North America. For more information, and to see when the ELS Forum will be passing through your area, visit: elsforum.com/events