Executive Leadership Support Forum: Speaker Interview

Rhonda Hervey, CAP-OM
Executive Assistant & Office of the Assistant Superintendent

With over 30 years of experience as an administrative professional, I am still passionate about learning and improving my skills. This passion has given me opportunities to support high level executives such as a Chief of Staff, CEO and several Superintendents. I have been a member of IAAP since 2009 where I held leadership roles on the Board of Directors and served two years as President of the Oakland County Chapter. I currently maintain the Certified Administrative Professional certification with an endorsement in Organizational Management. My love of learning extends to my personal life – I’m an avid cook and love discovering new recipes (and secretly dream of becoming a contestant on Chopped).

Rhonda will be one of the distinguished contributors at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Detroit on April 18-19, 2018.

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

Most Executive Assistants I know have had very few opportunities for professional development. With the digital age we live in, there are always webinars and online resources, but there are not as many face-to-face training events. The ELS Forum provides a personal networking experience for EA’s to meet, learn and share ideas.

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

I spend considerable time reading about what’s current in our field, online, in books and industry-related publications. If there is a free webinar offered, I will watch it on my lunch hour. But, the most valuable to me was joining a professional organization (IAAP) where I got actively involved on committees and served in leadership roles. That’s where I learned about the value of networking and when I decided to study and sit for the CAP exam. I earned the Certified Administrative Professional certification and the Organizational Management Endorsement. It’s the best thing I have done for my career. It seemed to open doors for me when applying for new positions.

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

Google Drive – I was intimidated to use it at first because I had spent so many years saving and protecting my files into personal drives on my computer. After using it for some time now, I appreciate and recognize the value of being able to collaborate in real time, store files in the cloud and access files from any device. It is not only helpful at work, but I have found it useful at home as well.

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

Think of yourself as a partner with your executive, not “just an assistant.” Don’t be afraid to ask your company to invest in your professional development. You have to believe you are really worth the investment.

Are there any blogs, books, articles or online forums you recommend reading?

I loved reading The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. Every Executive Assistant can relate to checklists, but this book is more about organizing systems and establishing procedures to reduce errors and increase efficiency. The author is actually a surgeon who introduced checklists to improve surgical outcomes and explains how they can work in other industries. He is also a great storyteller.