This month we interviewed the brilliant Alanna Ormonde, a top EA and right hand woman to the Chief Executive of The Marketing Society, an influential and global network of senior marketers, where she has been for the past five years.
- What made you decide to become an EA?
I really wanted to step up from being a PA to an EA as I felt ready for the challenge and the new journey. It’s a job that I didn’t know I wanted until I fell into it but I loved it from the start and have never looked back.
- What is your typical day as an EA?
There’s no typical day, every day is different and a million miles per hour and I like it like that. For me it’s always important to be open to new challenges and be ready to take on whatever comes my way.
- How has your role developed since you started your career?
The pace has turned up three-fold and I am much more integrated into the business in terms of being part of the exec, leadership and Board groups. I started as front of house in my first role in London 9 years ago when at that time I had no idea what I wanted to do and eventually ended up (after a couple of PA roles) where I am now as I was at a point where that was the natural progression for me.
- What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become an EA, and what are the skills needed?
My advice would be don’t go in to it unless you know you want to be a career EA. I don’t think you can ever be truly great in the role (or any role) unless you love what you do and this is something Gemma (our Chief Exec) is always saying too. And always expect the unexpected and be ready for it. Question how can I make their (your boss) life/any given situation easier for them.
- What are the challenges in your role?
Time. Absolutely trying to get everything done in the day with a very long and ever increasing to do list! Also Gemma’s diary is no mean feat – she definitely needs more days in the year to meet every person on the waiting list 😉
- What is the thing you love most about being an EA?
The complete unpredictability/never having a dull moment. Meeting different and incredible people all the time. Being able to make stuff happen.
- To what do you attribute your success?
I think pushing myself to be the best I can be at what I do and always trying to go above and beyond. If you have that mentality you can’t really go wrong. And in terms of my current role, I would say honesty and regular communication. An EA’s relationship with the person they support is the absolute key. Like any relationship, communication is the number one attribute to success. We (Gemma and I) know when either of us are having a good or bad day, what each others’ triggers are and how to work through them. We know each other so well we pretty much start each other’s sentences let alone finish them!
If you are looking for an Executive Assistant role or looking to hire do get in touch!