Tell us about you and how you came to be in a Senior EA role in Government?
Hey, I’m Ashlee and I have worked for the Government for over 5 years. I was lucky enough to get my job through a recruitment agency and started as an APS4 project officer booking international travel. Due to the exposure of this role I became well known across the agency. An acting APS6 EA role came up and I was encouraged to apply due to my work ethic and the professional reputation I had built myself. Three years later I am still in this role as a permanent APS6 Senior Executive Assistant.
Leadership is often something EAs feel that they don’t get to demonstrate as much, can you share how you are required to demonstrate leadership in your role.
Leadership is also providing guidance and direction, which is what EAs do on a daily basis. I demonstrate leadership by leading by example, I take ownership of my work (good and bad) and I encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and take on more responsibility.
I was the coordinator of the ACCC EA/AA network, which provides support and guidance to EAs. Presenting at this network has helped with confidence and be able to speak up and share my information.
Being a leader is about providing unbiased advice and being friendly and supportive to everyone.
How does your Executive team rely on you?
My Executive team rely on me as I have been in the role for 3 years and I am a central hub for information. I provide timely, informative and strategic advice, I encourage bigger picture thinking on issues and I provide opportunities such as taking on a task outside the everyday EA work.
I keep the team connected by holding regular catch-ups and help build confidence by sharing the chair role and encouraging each person to speak and share information.
What autonomy do you have in your role?
As a senior EA, I am often required to make decisions on behalf of my executive. I use my knowledge and practical experience to be confident in making those decisions. This comes with time and trust.
A lot of people come to me for information or advice for a range of issues.
I am well known and have built myself a reputation so others value my input and knowledge.
What advice would you give to an EA seeking a promotion and what areas should they seek to strengthen?
My advice would be to have a strong work ethic and not be afraid to go above and beyond your everyday work. It may sometimes be hard or stressful but it will be recognised and will help grow your reputation.
Have initiative, think outside the box, and always ask questions. Resilience and being able to work with a variety of different personalities and working styles is a must. I encourage courses or do some research on areas you know that you can approve on.
How have you adapted to working remotely during COVID and has this opened up new opportunities for the way you interact with and support your executive team?
I surprisingly loved it. I would have never experienced working from home with a full set up until now. I am more productive with less interruptions and it has made our team interact more via video and chat.
What’s your go-to tip for staying on top of the work?
Being organised and pre-empting their needs. Get to know your executive’s working style so that you can be one step ahead of them.
Have a daily catch-up over the phone or in person, this helps with your relationship and being on top of things you might not know about.
I have a folder in my inbox for all outstanding approvals and items that need considering. I use this folder in our catch-up or I write my questions in the catch-up calendar invite (this is great if you aren’t a pen and paper person like me).
At the end of the day be yourself and have fun. I laugh and make jokes with my executives because remember, they are humans too!
More great tips!
If you are an APS4 or APS5 hoping to move to an APS6, look up the APS6 working standards. This will assist you in knowing what is expected. Research and do online courses. Self-growth will go a long way!