In 2011, shortly after I started the magazine, I was sent an article by another new kid on the block.
Bonnie Low Kramen had published her best-selling book Be the Ultimate Assistant back in 2008, having gone searching for training and found there was none. She was launching a training course of the same name, together with Microsoft tech guru Vickie Sokol Evans.
The article was excellent, the conversation that followed was even better, and it wasn’t long before I had put her in touch with Hays in London (which was her first international speaking event) and invited both her and Vickie to come and speak at the first Executive Secretary LIVE.
The rest, of course, is history. BTUA now runs successfully across the world. Bonnie and Vickie speak all over the planet, and both are huge advocates of training for assistants and why it should be the new normal.
So, it was exciting to be approached by Forbes a couple of months ago to contribute to a piece that focused on assistant training and featured Bonnie with supplementary information not only from me but also visionary leader, Melba Duncan and controversial industry disrupter, Al-Husein Madhany.
Karsten Strauss, the author, attended Bonnie’s training in New York and ‘got it’ immediately. He could see what we were trying to achieve and why we are so passionate about the mission that we are on. It was a brave decision on his part to take it on as a topic. Training and career progression for assistants is still a relatively ground-breaking concept.
The finished article is such a breakthrough for the profession. But what was particularly exciting was that the Forbes editors decided to run it as their lead article. Yes, of course there could have been more of the ‘why you need training’ piece but it feels like we are getting there. When a magazine like Forbes, one of the top business magazines on the planet, focuses its lead article on the business of training assistants, it says we are finally being recognised as business people; for the professionals that we are and for what we do.
There has definitely been a shift in attitude. Here at Executive Secretary, we are working with many of the Fortune 100 companies this year – and they contacted us! We are talking with them about how they train their assistants and how they can put career progression in place for them. Not only that, but we are introducing them to each other so that they can talk and share best practice.
I have repeatedly said, both in print and on stage when interviewed, that when I started the magazine, I wanted to start a conversation. That conversation has been in full swing amongst assistants for several years now, but it seems the world of business is waking up and is beginning to want to join in.
Congratulations Bonnie for driving this article. It’s a game-changer.
Now let’s go use it as a springboard.