EA Showcase | Philippa Swayn

Our goal is to raise the profile of EAs with a view to build awareness of the Executive Assistant role by sharing the diversity that the role entails, continue to share tips and tricks, encourage each other and talk about the journey in which we all take.

Please share, share and share in support of your peers! 

If you know an EA or would like to contribute and share a little about yourself, please get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.

Your CEA Team xx

Philippa Swayn

Philippa Swayn Capital EA Showcase Canberra
Philippa Swayn

This month’s EA showcase is of the delightful Philippa Swayn, Supreme Court Chambers Manager and Executive Assistant to Chief Justice Murrell.

1. Name your current role?

Executive Assistant to Chief Justice Murrell and ACT Supreme Court Chambers Manager. 

2. Do you remember the first day you became an EA?

It was September 2011, I had not long turned 25 and I was starting my very first Public Service job with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (as it was then called). I was impressed that I had landed a job in the APS but also nervous to work in such a large organisation. 

Throughout my first week everything felt above my head. The building was huge and I feared I’d never learn all the acronyms! But time changed that. The outgoing EA (who had stayed in the department and went to another role) was a great support to me and continued to be until she left. My fellow EAs provided me with a wealth of knowledge and support while my Assistant Secretary was incredibly kind and encouraging.  

3. What would you consider to be the most rewarding part of your position as an EA?

For me it’s been the people I work with and those I get to meet along the way. Each person has taught me something new – whether it’s been a skill to help me do my job better, an alternative way of thinking, or they’ve highlighted something about me which I hadn’t noticed before. This has been really powerful because it has shifted my confidence from being “they don’t know who I am” to “I can do this”.

When I work in a team of people who are focused and passionate about what they do I am inspired to push myself further. I feel privileged to work so closely with the judiciary and alongside a fantastic group of young lawyers who I’m always learning from. 

4. What was a role that you have owned or an experience you have had, that helped shaped your success in your current position?

Honestly it was my previous role that really paved the way for my success in this current position. I was an Executive Assistant to another Supreme Court Judge who I still strongly admire. I was working away in his chambers when the Chief Justice approached me and asked if I’d like to work in her chambers for a short trial period. That 3 month trial turned into 15 months of extended contracts before I got the opportunity to apply for it permanently. I was awarded a promotion in May of this year and was beyond delighted. 

It goes to show that while you might be sitting there doing your work (potentially doubting your ability), someone else could be looking on and be impressed by what you’re doing – so always do your best. 

5. What are three items you can’t work without?

  • Post-it notes
  • Outlook calendar
  • A boss who is my role model (okay not an item, but very important!)

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