Recently, executive assistant Angie Knode won the Adminologist of the Year award presented by Office Dynamics. And it wasn’t by accident.
Knode works with a team of 15 executive assistants who set out to win awards every year.
“One of the goals of our executive assistants’ team is to increase the recognition for our administrative staff,” says Knode’s co-worker Peggy Vasquez, who supports the laboratory director at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.
“These are often the unsung heroes, yet business would come to a grinding halt without administrative professionals,” she says.
So the team of executive assistants formed a subcommittee to seek out national awards and nominate deserving admins from their team, when they find a match. In the four years they’ve been nominating co-workers, the subcommittee has successfully won four national awards for team members and had five finalists named.
“We look at what’s available, the criteria and which of our high-performing assistants most closely identifies with the award,” says Vasquez. “We want to tell the nation that we have some of the best administrators out there.”
Not only does the subcommittee’s work give the team high visibility within their organization, it also serves as a recruitment tool. It isn’t uncommon, says Vasquez, for other admins to want to meet them or ask whether the team has any job openings.
All it takes is a small group of admins who want to gain visibility for their work. Once started, the work is easy to sustain, says Vasquez.
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Executive assistant Jane Carlson, who heads the subcommittee, says that elevating the profession is the ultimate goal. “I chose this career out of high school. I knew it was a profession I wanted to be involved in,” Carlson says. “I look around at the people I work with and think, how can I help acknowledge them?”
Knode, meanwhile, didn’t receive any cash prizes for her award. She did receive something even better: She was acknowledged by her peers for taking on challenging, long-term projects outside her realm and handling the tasks in “an exemplary manner,” says Carlson. She has the respect of managers with the highest standards and has built a “terrific network both inside and outside the lab. If we need to know something, she knows someone,” she adds.
“She’s one of those quiet ones, you know? And I felt like I wanted to put her in a position to be really recognized with this award,” says Carlson.
Do you know an “unsung hero” in your office? Show that you appreciate his or her stellar work by going out of your way to say thank you. Ways to say thanks:
- Send a small gift card for coffee or lunch.
- E-mail a letter of praise to his boss, explaining his above-and-beyond contributions.
- Mail a handwritten note. Because handwritten missives are so rare these days, they make an extraordinary impact.
- Leave a candy bar with a note on his desk.
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