Executive Assistant of the Week: Houston

Mary Alaniz, CAP-OM, CPS, OGAP
Executive Assistant to VP of Global Operations
Baker Hughes, a GE Company

Mary Alaniz is the Executive Assistant to the VP of Integration Global Operations in Baker Hughes a GE Company.

Mary’s background encompasses Upstream, Downstream and Midstream Oil & Gas C-level Executive support. She began her Oil & Gas career in 2005 and has since worked for companies such as Tejas Power Corporation, VetcoGray, ConocoPhillips, BP and GE Oil & Gas.

Throughout her career, Mary has seen the evolution of the Oil & Gas business transition with spinoffs, acquisitions, mergers and Newco startups. Her ability to adapt to change has been instrumental in her professional growth from receptionist to Senior Executive Assistant to a company Officer.

Mary has made a successful career in the administrative field and advocates the importance and value of Administrative Assistants in the workplace as well as the need for mentoring and continuing education to administrative employees.

She holds an Associates in Secretarial Science from Texas Southmost College and has earned both the CPS (Certified Professional Secretary and CAP-OM (Certified Administrative Professional- Organizational Management) accreditations and most recently the OGAPC (Oil & Gas Admins Professional Certification).

Mary and her husband, J.D., live in Katy, TX with their two sons. She is an avid soccer fanatic and enjoys volunteering at the local high school’s booster club for the National Honor Society and the Fine Arts Theater Company.

Mary will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Houston on October 25-26, 2018

1) Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum important for Executive Assistants?

I am one of the biggest fans of the Executive Leadership Support Forum! They are an educational outlet to the Senior Administrative Professionals of all industries, large or small businesses. Most importantly, the ELS Forum understands, advocates, and celebrates the Administrative Profession.

2) Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?

Executive Assistants must own their own career path and development! I always include a wish list of professional development opportunities in my annual review and discuss them in depth with my supervisor and depending on our budget, we select one or two that aligns to the business needs. This year, I had the privilege of attending and contributing in the ELSF in Houston and NYC. I also served as the Career Path & Mentoring Ambassador in the Oil & Gas Admins International group and in their annual conference presented a workshop on the “7Cs of Administrative Professionals”. It is great to attend conferences and networking, but I highly recommend taking an active role by leading/contributing/speaking at the conferences. One of the most cost-efficient form of professional development is knowledge sharing among peers. I host free quarterly EA Lunch & Learns with my network and we discuss relevant topics and share best practices.

3) Name one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum?

One topic I want to be sure to share tips on is using influence and tact to collaborate effectively! The ELS Forum brings together such talented contributors and speakers that I know I will learn from all their knowledge sharing and teachings. I can’t wait!

4) Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.

I’m proud of being two steps ahead of my supervisor and that my team and executive trust me and consider me a part of the team. On a more personal note, I take great pride in offering guidance to other administrative professionals. I believe I am a great mentor and fierce advocate of the administrative career.

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

I love this question! ???? The Administrative Career is very rewarding for stellar assistants.

I would give myself these bullets:

Never stop learning – Create a plan to obtain Professional Development & Certifications.
Embrace Change. Shift Happens!
Genuinely Network. Constantly nurture and expand your network internally and externally.
Listen More! Learn from your mistakes – don’t dwell on them.

6) How do you define success within your role as an Executive Assistant?

Success comes from knowing you make a difference. There are various aspects, competencies and skills involved in becoming a successful executive assistant, and it can, at times, be challenging and stressful. A successful Executive Assistant supports their Executive in a way that makes them more efficient, organized, and a better leader and should be the go-to person of the team or office and leads by example.