Executive Assistant of the Week: Munich

Martina Kathrin Strauss
Executive Assistant
Russell Reynolds Associates

Martina is executive assistant to a managing director and Munich office head at Russell Reynolds Associates, a leading global executive search firm. She has been working as assistant for over seven years. Martina started her assistant’s career right after her studies in the luxury hospitality industry in Bahrain and Dubai and later, moved across to private equity in Germany and Sweden before joining Russell Reynolds Associates. Martina resides in Munich and in her free time enjoys working out, traveling, golfing, horseback riding, and spending quality time with her loved ones.

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

When starting in a new position, it takes a lot of work (and trust) to become your executive’s strategic business partner. Having achieved this aim speaks for itself. I very much enjoy adding substantial value to someone’s work-life by sorting all the matters s/he doesn’t have time to deal with. I also get to know a lot and gain great insights without having to carry or worry about the concomitant responsibilities (as these rest on my executive’s shoulders). Mine is a behind-the- scenes kind of job that keeps me on my toes every day to best support my executive.

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

Yes. I love my job and I truly believe that being an executive assistant is a highly rewarding career if you are willing to leave your comfort zone. In this role, you have the flexibility to work in any industry you want, and your role keeps on being reinvented. The job offers an ideal balance between sameness and unexpectedness. There is never a time when I am not busy. I get to meet a wide variety of people and gain deep insights into the ‘top level’ of a company. Moreover, I get the opportunity to work with incredibly brilliant people.

3) What is your favorite depiction of the EA role, accurate or not? (Mad Men, Veep, The Devil Wears Prada, Suits, etc.)

“By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me.’ – Miranda in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
This movie is one of my favorite depictions of the EA role. Clearly, whom we assist can make or break our jobs. With a great deal of humor, the film shows the tough sides of an executive assistant’s job but also the variation in the profession and the challenges of the role.