Executive Assistant of the Week: Atlanta

Lauri Clay
Executive Assistant to SVP, TBS-TNT Entertainment Research
Warner Media

Lauri Bell-Clay has spent 18 years supporting executives in both Upstate New York and Atlanta, Georgia. She got her career start working as a Human Resources Receptionist and as the assistant to the Director of Human Resources at Kaleida Health in Buffalo, New York.

In 2003, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia and continued managing the day-to-day tasks of busy executives at the world leader in news, CNN. Following CNN, she moved to the entertainment side of the business and supported the Senior Vice President of Creative Services for Cartoon Network. Currently, Lauri supports the Senior Vice President of Research for television networks, TBS-TNT.

In her spare time, when she is not running behind her three daughters, Lauri is networking with women trailblazers across Atlanta via the company she founded in 2015, SHERO Networking Events.

Lauri will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Atlanta on March 20-21, 2019

Is the executive assistant role a long-term profession for you?

Yes. I’ve made the role of executive assistant a long-term professional role for me as I’ve been doing this now for 18 years. I started when I was 12 year old. Early in my career I chose to make it a long-term role for several reasons. I truly enjoy working alongside the SVPs and above of the companies/departments in which I’ve worked in because it allows me the opportunity to do a lot of the things I love, i.e. event planning, working with the whole team at times, managing the boss’s schedule and weighing in with my ideas and opinions on subjects pertaining to my department. It makes me feel like I’m helping on a much higher level.

How do you describe your role when people ask what you do for a living?

When people ask me what it is that I do for a living, I start off with, “Well, I play the best supporting actress to the SVP of Research.” Of course, eyebrows raise and questions immediately follow, and I break it down to them this way:

I am the “Strategic Business Partner” to my manager. I help ensure that my manager has a fully functional calendar of meetings/events so as to maximize her day. I plan her travel and because she works bi-coastal, I’m very meticulous in making sure that her schedule is tight throughout the day/week. Do I drop the ball at times, absolutely! No one’s perfect.

What is your favorite part about being a strategic business partner to your executive?

My favorite part about being a Strategic Business Partner with my executive is the flexibility the position provides. I’m a mother of three daughters, and my manager is a mother to a son and two daughters. Having that understanding of work/life balance with my boss is very important to me. Also, my favorite part is the fact that I’m working alongside one of the leaders of the company. I get first-hand knowledge as to what’s coming down the pipeline, and I get to weigh in on some things being that I’ve gained the trust of my SVP.