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Silicon Valley EAs in the seat of power

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Executive assistants hold more sway than ever these days, particularly in Silicon Valley. Top assistants at major tech companies often have advanced degrees, many years of experience and earn a salary that matches their high qualifications. They’re shaking off the history of their titles, no longer viewed as mere secretaries, and instead are showing they are an integral part of the executive team.

“The base salary starts around $60,000 and goes up fast from there … to as much as $200,000, plus bonuses and equity,” writes OZY Senior Editor Sanjena Sathian.

Shana Larson is one of four EAs at Pinterest. She holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California and worked at Google before joining Pinterest. Her colleague Amy Neg­­relli, also an EA at Pinterest, formerly worked at an investment bank on the East Coast and then at a film production company. These ad­­vanced qualifications, combined with experience in Los Angeles, make them ideal for the tech world positions.

The executive assistants who move from southern to northern Cali­­fornia are usually “talented people who have a thicker skin,” says Alison Brown, who runs a recruiting firm focused on administrative support. After facing typical Los Angeles days that include walking the dog, getting lunch and dry cleaning, organizing a shoot and trying to pick up edits on a script—all at the same time—Silicon Valley is much easier.

— Adapted from “Executive assistant is the new power job,” Sanjena Sathian, USA Today.

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