Executive Assistant of the Week: Orlando

Barbara Burkhalter
Executive Assistant to SVP, Revenue Management & Analytics
The Walt Disney Co.

Barbara has been in the administrative profession for over three decades. She started at the most magical place on earth while still in high school. Her work experience began as a dancer in the Electrical Light Parade down Main Street, U.S.A. She opened EPCOT Center as a Guest Relations tour guide and from there moved into the office and technical field. It’s been an amazing 36 years in the ever-changing, ever-exciting profession. She has had the opportunity of playing a vital role in the opening of night-time entertainment complexes, resorts, and theme parks – in Food and Beverage, Animal Science and Research, Corporate Responsibility and Finance entities within Disney. Leading by example and sharing her strengths and knowledge with a highly productive Administrative team helps to create an open and inviting office that doubles in supporting high-level executives and building a strong networking unit. She’s a country (John Deere) girl at heart and enjoys the great outdoors with her family.

Barbara will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Orlando on November 12-13, 2018.

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

Meeting fire drills head on and finding solutions to issues at hand. Learning something new with each experience.

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

Don’t be afraid of the ever-changing technology – Embrace It! Learn how it can help you become more productive and save time. Remember, I started my career when typewriters and carbon paper were the way! I always felt so guilty having to miss work while home with a sick child. I learned quickly that work went on just fine without me. Loved ones are much more precious and you will soon realize that the years go by in a blink.

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

We are the networking stars of the workforce! What better way to transport us out of sitting-at-the-desk all day to getting out and meeting new professionals, sharing our joys and struggles, along with receiving valuable resources and learnings. I look forward to the lasting impressions this forum is sure to offer.