Executive Assistant of the Week: San Diego

Alysha Coleman
Senior Executive Assistant to Corp VP, Chief Development Officer
Jack in the Box

Alysha Coleman is one of five children who was taught from a young age to work hard for what you want and never be afraid to ask. In her opinion, you should avoid making decisions based on fear, good is the nemesis of GREAT, and attitude is an active choice. She landed her first job as an assistant with what was then, Salomon Smith Barney, at just 19-years-old. Alysha has since gone on to work for companies such as State Farm Insurance Companies, and now, Jack in The Box Corporate. She has even taken a swim in the entrepreneurial pond with several small businesses of her own.

Her life experiences have taken her all over the world giving her a unique perspective on not only her career, but her personal life. Work/life balance is key in maintaining what she feels is a true partnership with her executive. Some individuals that she models herself after are Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Richard Branson. In her free time, she loves to play music, dance, and cook.

Alysha will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: San Diego on November 7-8, 2018.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum important for executive assistants?

The Executive Leadership Support Forum is an invaluable tool for many reasons. It presents a unique opportunity to connect with your peers from a myriad of environments, backgrounds, and career levels. In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to chat with each other with regularity about our professional experiences, perspectives, effective methods, and opinions. But the reality is, the position of an assistant is comprised of a variety of different roles. This often does not leave one with enough bandwidth to build a foundation where relationships with our fellow assistants can take root and grow. The time we spend at the ELS Forum is 100% ours, and the contacts that you leave with become your support system, not to mention friends.

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

My “one” tool is comprised of two tools that go hand-in-hand. The first is prioritization. This comes in many forms. The priority list I give myself, the priority list given to me by the individual(s) I report to, and the priority list of my organization. Having clarity on what is required, when, and for whom, has definitely been a priceless asset. Prioritization’s partner in success is communication. Communicating with my team is something I place a very high value on. With these two methods in place, you can avoid wasted time and misunderstandings, as well as any added frustration or stress that results from not having a clear picture of what the expectations are for a project, or projects.

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

This is a good one. I love questions that give you the opportunity to be introspective. I would tell my 19-year-old self to trust her instincts and skill-sets, while remaining in an ever-learning state of mind. I would also encourage her to have lots of interactions with those she would like to model herself after both professionally and personally. Lastly, I would tell her to never make decisions founded in fear, but rather, in knowledge and intention, all while embracing new opportunities and challenges. I would say, “Work hard, focus, and stay humble, but at the same time, never dull your shine just because someone doesn’t like diamonds.”