Jannie Oosterhoff shares her experience as a scholarship winner for the IAAP Summit
Networking has always been important to me. I am an active member of IMA, International Management Assistants, and was Chairman of IMA Netherlands for almost two years. I am also a member of a national network association for Executive Secretaries and Management Support Staff in the Netherlands (Nederlandse Vereniging van Directie – en managementondersteuners, NVD).
Over many years I’ve learned how important it is to encourage and empower my colleagues from all over the world. I pass on my knowledge and experiences in real life at networking events, and also on social media by sharing articles and publishing articles. It is important to me that people outside the profession know how essential networking is for an administrative professional.
I first met members of the IAAP, the International Association of Administrative Professionals, at Executive Secretary LIVE in Washington DC, in November 2017. I had heard about the organization a few years before and was glad to get to know some assistants who were part of the association. I stayed in touch with them, and in August 2018 I decided to become a member as well.
The IAAP Foundation Scholarship
Nora Onishi, then Chairman of the IAAP, attended the IMA conference in Frankfurt in October 2018 and encouraged me to apply for a scholarship through the IAAP Foundation. This scholarship would enable me to attend the IAAP Summit in 2019. I was curious about the IAAP Summit. How was it organized? What were the subjects? How many speakers would there be? But the most important question was: Can it be of added value for me? As a freelance senior executive assistant, I only want to attend events when I have the opportunity to learn new skills and when there is more than enough time to network. Sometimes your peers can give you much more valuable information than you may think.
These kinds of events for Administrative Professionals and Management Assistants are also very important for collaboration between associations like IAAP and IMA. More and more there are opportunities which encourage members and peers from all over the world to think global.
In February of this year I received the news that I had been selected as a recipient of the IAAP Summit 2019 scholarship. It was a great honor and it felt like recognition of my hard work and networking efforts.
Attending the four-day IAAP Summit was an amazing experience. There were 1250 participants from 39 different countries. I met attendees from Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa and Japan, to name but a few. As a Scholarship recipient you wear a special badge, so everyone knows who you are.
We had keynote sessions, deep dive sessions and the opportunity to attend more than 20 different presentations. And there were more than enough networking opportunities to meet old and new friends.
The IAAP Summit opens with a Parade of Nations. Attendees from the countries represented at the Summit are asked to carry their country’s flag. If you want to do this in traditional dress, it is even more fun! I had the honor of carrying the Dutch flag. I wanted to do something different and decided to wear a dress in the colors of the flag. Even at rehearsal, I had goosebumps. And when the official Parade of Nations took place with the audience in attendance, I was even more proud.
My attendance at the IAAP Summit 2019 was a rich and rewarding experience. It has encouraged me to keep developing. I felt recharged and reset in my personal and professional development. I now have many new ideas, which I can use for my continuing studies towards a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.