Episode Eight:
Janice Parker, Remote Executive Assistant at Luno

Episode description

I’m thrilled to have Janice Parker join us for episode eight of The EA Campus Podcast. Janice is the Executive Assistant to the CEO and Founder of Luno. Janice has over 14 years of experience working in Australia and London, and she currently supports her Executive remotely from her home in Melbourne. Janice is incredibly passionate about the Assistant role and has a huge amount of knowledge which I’m so pleased she has shared with our listeners.

We discuss how she manages her day while working remotely, the development of her leadership skills and how she manages a team of Assistants. We talk about her day and why it is important to communicate what Assistants do daily. We discussed the importance of asking for what you want and building your confidence through networking and finding your voice.

Show notes

Transcript

Nicky Christmas 00:00
Do you want to know what it takes to work as a high performing executive assistant? You'll find out when you listen to the EA campus podcast. Join me Nicky Christmas, the founder of practically perfect PA, and the EA campus for a weekly interview with successful assistants, who all have first hand experience and lessons to share on what it takes to excel in the role of tune in, get inspired and learn how to create an assistant career where you are valued, motivated and ready to face every challenge head on whether you are an assistant just starting in your career, or prepared to move to the next level. Building a successful assistant career just got a little easier with the EA campus podcast. Welcome to Episode Eight of the EA campus podcast. I'm your host Nick Christmas and today we have the lovely Janice Parker with us. Janice is the executive assistant to the CEO and founder of Luna. Janice has over 14 years of experience working in Australia and London, and she currently supports her executive remotely from her home in Melbourne. Janice is incredibly passionate about the system role and has a vast amount of knowledge which I'm so pleased she has shared with our listeners. We discussed how she manages her day while working remotely the development of her leadership skills and how she manages a team of assistants. We talk about her day and why it's important to communicate what assistants do daily. We discussed the importance of asking for what you want and building your confidence through networking and finding your voice. Please do enjoy this episode of the EA campus podcast. Janice Hi, welcome.

01:43
Hi, thank you for having me.

Nicky Christmas 01:46
Oh, it's my pleasure. Where are you joining us from today

01:48
from Melbourne in Australia. So it's just after let me check my watch 430 In the afternoon, completely different timezone.

Nicky Christmas 01:55
It is very much morning here. So apologies if I sound a bit croaky, but I absolutely cannot wait to dive into your career. And I know that you have a tonne of tips for assistants. So why don't we start just let us know a little bit about your career to date.

02:09
Perfect. So my career to date. I'm actually just to give it an intro about myself. I'm a born and bred Melbournian I spent almost seven years living in London though I moved back during the pandemic at the end. I've been an executive assistant for about 14 years and before this, I actually started my career in events management and corporate hospitality. While I actually started my career as an Events Coordinator, I did fall into the PA role like many of us do, and I started doing personal assistant tasks while I was an Events Coordinator. And it was through this that I realised this actually was the right career path for me. I have mainly worked for tech companies, but I've also been in the sports industry and I also used to work for a powerhouse headhunter. I actually was headhunted into my first role in the C suite. And that also support each male Achmed at will remit their global money transfer company. And they're headquartered in London. And it was during this time that I learned how much I love working at the COC suite level. But also I love working for mission lead company, unfortunately, about 18 months in the role was made redundant due to Israel stepping back and a new CEO coming in. So I started looking at similar roles because it became very important to me to be in a similar environment. And luckily, my current role came up at Luna, which is a global cryptocurrency company. And they're also headquartered in London.

Nicky Christmas 03:25
So at the moment, you're based in Melbourne, and you work for a cryptocurrency company. Tell us a little bit more about that, and what the role looks like and how long you've been doing it now.

03:35
Yes, so in May, it was three years so what is it three years and and a few months. So I suppose our support Marcus monopole who's the CEO and one of the co founders started supporting him when I was in London, and then actually transitioned back and I've still support him completely remotely from Melbourne, I do try and see him every three months. I was back in London in March. So him just recently and I'll be back in London in September. We're not spending that day to day together. But it is nice that we still have some if there's two other parts my role. So along with supporting Marcus and his leadership team, I have three fantastic EAS who now reporting to me who support his executive team. And then a third part of my role is managing the company wide projects. Example, one of them is our annual summit, which hopefully we're going to host in Cape Town this year for the first time in three years. So it's very busy and my time is very split across different areas.

Nicky Christmas 04:25
We'll jump into that because I know for a lot of assistants, they are doing so much more now particularly after the pandemic they are getting involved in exactly you said their company wide projects that are keeping them very busy. So I definitely want to come into that. But I'd like to touch on a remote aspect if that's okay, because I think for a lot of assistants since the pandemic happened, there is that push now to either have more time remotely away from the office and keep that flexibility that they did have during the pandemic. So I just wonder if you can give us a little bit of an insight into how that is working for you.

04:58
Yeah, it's been a lot of trial and error. Over the last sort of 18 months, I won't say that it has been easy because it was just so different at Melbourne to London right now the timezone difference is I'm nine hours ahead here, and then other parts of the year, it's 11 hours. So it has been a little bit of adjustment. But I've been given a lot of flexibility to define what works for me, the way that I make it work, especially working on the side of the world to Marcus is that I do set hours where some days of the week I'll work like 1pm my time to like 10:11pm. So it's like I flipped my day, upside down. And that's all I have a lot of crossover with the UK, Europe and Africa. And then other days, I'd have a normal Australian workday, the big part about working remotely. And I think a lot of us would have found this when a lot of us went remote during the pandemic is communication is key. And it's something that I harp on all about. But Marcus and I we actually joke that we're probably a much more like well oiled unit now because we have to make sure that we communicate especially because half the his work day, I'm not online, I have to make sure he has all the information is in his calendar in his emails that if he has a candidate interview, that there's someone as a backup to help dial in or if something goes wrong with the candidate. And just I have to be really organised and much more proactive than I ever was in this role. Before we still have, I'd say still just as good a relationship as when I used to spend time with him in the office, because we do a lot of video calls and make sure we speak several times a week we have tactical and strategic one to ones, I guess it's gonna be different for every EA and their executive. But for me, it's so key that you are communicating regularly. And you are having those touch points with your executive.

Nicky Christmas 06:32
Yeah. And as you said, there, it's making sure that there's a two way thing as well that you're both able to make sure that you're in sync. So your executive is like fully aware that they need to keep you in the loop as much as you do them. And it sounds like you've got that down.

06:47
Yeah, it's it's challenging, but it's fun. And I still feel like I stay connected to Marcus and my EA team. And everyone else, our company is a global FinTech company. So we were very experienced working remotely, a lot of the time before the pandemic. But obviously, we had to adapt like many other companies. And now we do offer remote working as part of Carnivale. Our way of working we call it remote, but reachable. So it's just part of our everyday life now. And it's fantastic. They do give us the flexibility to choose how we work. And when we

Nicky Christmas 07:17
love that that's a great way of putting it that's really good. I might steal that. That's very good. So I was gonna ask you what your morning routine was like and what you do before you start the day. But it sounds like sometimes your morning routine is probably your afternoon routine if you're mixing up your hours. So let us know how you get in the mindset of when using work.

07:35
Yeah, of course. So for example, like today, a Monday, Mondays and Wednesdays when I have most of my calls with my colleagues overseas. So that's why my days that I've flipped around, for example, I'm not a morning person at all my husband is so he normally goes out exercises and bring home coffee for us, which is really nice. So I'll normally sit in bed. And while I have my coffee, I'll skim through my emails, Slack messages, I'll read the news. And then sometimes I'll go into a bar class or once a week, I do boxing, personal training, and I never was an evening exercises. So this is this is my evening in everyone else's morning means it's home, have lunch, get ready for the day. And then I do my hours. And I find that it's actually helped. In some ways. Obviously, sometimes our workload can be quite heavy. But in other ways, it's good for work life balance, because I have to be quite strict with my finishing hours or when I'm doing a normal day, it's like, I'll just keep working past 5pm 6pm 7pm. It's that's creeping into your night, your personal time. But when my work day correspond with the UK ends at 10:11pm, after quite strict with that. Otherwise, it starts creeping into the hours where I should be sleeping. So it makes me be much more organised. And I have to have a very structured day and make sure that I'm not procrastinating and getting all my tasks done. And obviously on other days when I work Australian hours is now set up do my work, I might go out in the evenings or cook dinner I sit at home on a sofa watching TV. So most times pretty normal. It

Nicky Christmas 08:59
sounds like you've got it organised, it must have taken you like you said quite a while to just get into that mindset where as you said, I love that you're very much thinking okay, this creeping into my sleep time, which is a real is a big deal rather than creeping at 567 o'clock. Yes. Yeah, as you said, it makes you more focused. Sure.

09:17
Actually, when I was moving home and telling my boss that I was moving, I actually put together a spreadsheet, a typical AE and I actually put all the different time zones between how much Australia would I cross over with our main offices around the world and I did daylight savings and non daylight savings and actually showed when my boss would be online. So then we could actually figure out this how much crossover we would have. So I'm sure other EAS out there would appreciate

Nicky Christmas 09:40
that level. Because I say isn't it it's not just you're not just working remotely, but you're just down the road. You are really the other side of the world. So yeah, being organised has to be so crucial. And the spreadsheets yes to spreadsheets. Yes. So in terms of the actual role itself, I know this is a really tough question. I always say this when I'm speaking to people on the podcast, I know an average days is there, there is no such thing. But just to give a sense of what a day looks like for you, what are the kinds of stuff that you're dealing with on a day to day basis?

10:13
Yes, I actually did post about this a little while ago on LinkedIn. And it actually came about from conversation that I have with Marcus. And this was when I was going through the process of hiring to the AE in my team. And he comments are going, Oh, I didn't actually realise that you were managing this process on top of everything else that you do for me. And I got me thinking that so much, we don't actually communicate what our days look like, because it's so varied. And there's so much going on. So I actually did post it on LinkedIn. But I will probably see repeated here for the benefit of everyone. So is there a typical day as an AE? I don't think so. And but on this particular day that I profiled, I was managing my never ending emails, as well as doing that for email management for markers, clearing out junk flag and things he needed to work on. What of emails I've pulled out of his inbox, and I time block into his calendar. So we actually knows that he needs to work on particular projects, things like I worry about, am I having enough to strategic time with my boss, making sure that we're not just talking about calendar management or travel, we're actually talking about longer term priorities in the business on this other day, I was actually holding hiring manager interviews. And then I was also doing reference calls, sending out practical assessments to the I was booking a trip for Marcus and travel is getting a little bit easier at the moment. So a lot of countries have dropped requirements. But at this time, it was you have to look at all the COVID tests and the forms, and are they vaccinated? And can I actually get into that country and it's not just as simple as booking a trip anymore, but I was trying to book my boss until the sold out flight, and I reached out to my EA network and managed to solve it. So that was fantastic. I was also reaching out to the EA network to find out if they could recommend any venues for an off site to wasn't having much luck. I've got my notes here. I'm trying to think what else I did on that day, I was doing credit card expenses. I was doing planning for an off site, it was just there was so much and this was all in a normal day. And every day looks very different to the other.

Nicky Christmas 12:06
It's so interesting. I saw that post that you put on LinkedIn. It's really interesting in the comments, wasn't it? There was so much yes, so many comments that people were like, Yep, absolutely. This is what my day looks like. Yeah, when you lay it out like that, I can't believe how much we actually get through in a day, it is crazy how much we're able to juggle it really he's busy. The overall picture of that is somebody that's really busy. So I wonder what the most challenging aspects of the day are for you. There's a

12:33
few things at the moment. So obviously, it's making sure Marcus as our CEO stays focused on his priorities, and he's being pulled in different directions. So sometimes I feel like I'm being pulled in different directions. But my main priority is keeping him focused. And as our founder is, he's just so passionate about our company, and he's getting involved in all different areas. And it's just making sure that I think most EAS would have this challenge with their executives, making sure they're focusing on the most high value priorities. And then another thing for me right now is being the best leader and possible, there is a lot of talk out there. And there's podcasts and articles about how executive assistants are leaders in their own right. And that's been what I've been thinking about, like, how can I be the best AE to Marcus as our company grows and scales and we sort of move into, you know, our next stage of evolution, it's also been the best leader to my EA team. I'm now a manager and want to make sure that I'm helping them develop into the best as they can be. So I guess leadership is to making sure that I'm embodying that for my CEO, his leadership team, the EA team, they've been by our values may not sound challenging to some people. But for me, I just trying to be the best person possible. I think that's kind of the most challenging aspect right

Nicky Christmas 13:41
now. From what from what I know about you, I would absolutely say that is the case. And it seems to me like it's definitely been a journey for you that confidence. And as you said, just really focusing on it. And really thinking about how you want to be an act in your careers seems like something that's been forefront of your mind. So I just wonder how you've gone about doing that? Because I can see it from the years that we've known each other.

14:05
Yeah, of course, I think a lot of us started when I moved to London, obviously, I was moving to the other side of the world, I was probably only maybe about four or five years into my EA careers or still kind of developing into being the senior EA level that I'm at now. And a big part of developing your confidence is where you really have to throw yourself into the deep end. So I had a network in Melbourne. And when I moved to London, I didn't know anybody. I mean, I didn't even have friends. So I you know, I really wanted to have the same ad network. So it was going to events that were trying to break my way into little, you know, cliques and just trying to chat to new people. I would sign up for webinars, they were sort of pretty rare back then. And they're very common now it was putting my hand up to contribute to blogs and articles. And obviously I was nervous and I was thinking why would anyone want to hear from me, but I thought maybe I do have a different perspective as an AE who's worked in a couple of different countries. And it was once I started making those connections I started speaking Get some events in once you do one thing, you build your confidence and it goes from there. And then I found it was really beneficial for me to actually impart that advice to other EAS. And it was probably about four or five years ago that I spoke at quite a few events, and shared my tips and tricks. And then I think it was also just proving to myself that I could do something different. So when I went for my first AAA to CEO role, I guess, sometimes you can doubt that maybe you're not experienced enough at that level. But I thought, I'm here now I'm going to prove myself. And then I found that I had the confidence to keep going, it's been a number of things, it's kind of building upon that foundation, and you add all the layers on top, that's from the networking and from the networking, I gained my confidence. And from gaining my confidence, I started applying roles. And I was like, oh, there might be a bit more senior. But let's give it a go. I think so many times with EAS and especially females, we see a role. And we're like, oh, I don't think I'm quite qualified for that I'm not gonna match the criteria. But I know there's so many people that will just apply for that role anyway, even if they only match half of criteria. So I sort of say to people go for it. What's the worst they can say, you know, I guess I've also been lucky to have a lot of experience EAS take me under their wing and share their advice. So the networking part is important to me.

Nicky Christmas 16:11
Yeah. And there's a really natural conclusion that you now manage staff as well, isn't it and that you have a team that you look after, I think when you go on that journey, as an executive assistant, you quite often lead to that point where you do want to manage other assistants and act in that kind of mentorship role as well. So it's amazing that you've got that opportunity now to impart your wisdom, it's really great that you've got that,

16:31
yeah, it's fantastic. I never set out to become a people manager, it wasn't something that I desired to do. It's a lot of times, it really is an individual contributor role. And it can be quite isolating. But the opportunity came up in my company. And I thought I've had some, like I was saying before, I had some fantastic EAS who have gotten me throughout my career that I've looked up to that have shared their advice and knowledge. And it's really important and quite exciting to me that I get to do that with other EAS and can kind of lift them up and build them into being the best possible leaders in their own right.

Nicky Christmas 17:03
So it was the most enjoyable aspect of your day,

17:06
it would have to be the variety that no two days are the same. And obviously, that could be you know, challenging at times. But I just like our everything's so interesting, and it keeps you on your toes. I also enjoy being in that inner circle and having visibility, what's happening across the company. And just being that right hand person to Marcus, it's fantastic that I can sit with the leadership team and see what projects are working on. And priorities. And obviously, it's very important to me to be able to do my role. But I also see it as such a privilege to work with some of the smartest people in our industry and in our company. And I know there's a famous saying that goes around and it's quoted by and hired is actually one of the quotes that often is that if you're the smartest person in the room, you're actually in the wrong room. So I just love the fact that I can learn from these brilliant people every day. Yeah, it's

Nicky Christmas 17:53
such a privilege. I used to love that about being an EA as well. I missed that a lot, actually. Yeah, I used to love that as well. You've been in AI for around about 14 years. Now, I think you said and there's probably a huge amount of highlights. But I wonder if there's one or two that you could share.

18:08
There's been some amazing things. But I think in 2017, that was a year where I really grew as an AE and I will speak in a couple of events. And I think I'll say before that really solidified the competence that I was building that people wanted to hear from me and share knowledge with them. And from there actually, by doing that networking, I was headhunted in my C suite role, which is the one that will remit. And that was a career highlight for me, because at that point, I didn't know if I was ready yet for the C suite level is quite a compliment when you do get headhunted into a role. And once I, I was successful in that role, I was like, No, I can do this. And it's from there that my career directory has gone up, but I've just kept moving up through the ranks and become a much more senior EA. And the second one, or sorry, that sort of second third one. That's probably the most important to me, it's probably a bit more personal, but it's a fact that I've been able to stay in a role I love in a company that I love working for a CEO that I greatly admire when I moved from London to Melbourne. Actually, when I told Marcus that I was moving back to Melbourne it was due to a work opportunity that my husband had his Australian as well. I honestly thought I was resigning even though we'd spent the past 10 months working completely remotely. I thought, no, there's no way I can work for him from Melbourne when He's based in London. And when I told him he instantly started smiling. And he was like, That's so exciting. No moving home. How can we make this work you moving back to Melbourne. And the fact that he had the belief that we could make it work and I didn't even have that belief, but he knew that we could be successful. So that was amazing that I didn't have to give up a role in a company that I love and it's been such a highlight that I just keep working with LuLaRoe as our company grows, and I hope it shows other EAS as well, that maybe it's not as extreme is being on the other side of the world but it's I think I've definitely proven that you can support a senior executive and you can be in a different country timezone. Obviously, you use the tools at your disposal And you communicate regularly? I think it definitely is achievable. And there's no reason why people have to be in the office five days a week anymore.

Nicky Christmas 20:07
Yeah, I think he's such such a testament to you as well. And the relationship that you'd obviously built up while you were in London still that he didn't want to let you go. I think that's that's, as I said, that's such a testament to you and the work that you were doing together that he was on, let's try and make this work and actually confidence that it would I think that's really impressive. Yeah,

20:26
that's fantastic. And I'm glad he had the belief in me that we've been able to make it work. And obviously now that the world has opened up in the last six months properly. It's fantastic that I can see him every three months and get together with him. And he's is leadership talking about and that helps for the kind of the time in between when I am working completely remotely.

Nicky Christmas 20:44
Yeah, it's nice as well, that you've got that touch point with London still as well, because you live there for such a long time. It's nice that you can go back and see meet up with friends and things like that as well. That must be nice.

20:54
Oh, it's fantastic. I'm looking forward to the trip in Yeah, it's just over a month. It'll be great to see some friends there. And just it's nice to go back to a city. But I know so well. It's not as kind of daunting as when you travel to new places. As soon as I landed when I was earlier this year, I knew straightaway where I was going on the tube, and I was fine navigating around London. And yeah, it is it is my second home. So yeah, it will be nice to be back.

Nicky Christmas 21:17
Oh, that's brilliant. So we're gonna turn a little bit to some of the advice that I know that you're, you're great. And you're able to give out to other assistants. So just if you have a piece of advice that you could give to assistants that may be new in the role, or just starting in the role that you think would be helpful.

21:32
Yes, I've actually mentioned this piece of advice so many times in my career, and actually did mention a little bit earlier on. But I always say what is the worst they can say the worst they can say is no. And that's give people the confidence to ask for things. So this came about like very early in my career, I was working with salespeople, and I was in a temp role. And I was hoping to speak to the managing director that I was working closely with my role to be made permanent. And I was speaking to some colleagues and I was so nervous. I'm like, there's no way they're ever going to make my role permanent. And salespeople have some of the most competent people I've ever worked with. And one of the sales guys has like, that's the worst you can say at least you asked and you maybe you try again. And I thought, why not? Let's give it a go, even though I was very nervous. And I asked and they said yes, my role was made permanent. And whenever now I've asked for a pay rise, or I've asked to get involved really cool project, whatever it is, when I've asked for things, obviously, you know, when it comes to getting rockin projects and pay rises, I've put a plan behind it and make sure I've gone with information and stats. But I've always gone in with the mindset. What's the worst they're gonna say is no. And it's the same for applying for roles. And there's been some amazing roles that I've gone for kind of before my last two companies. And I didn't get in I thought was the worst that can silence. No, I wasn't the right person for them. But the right companies out there for me. So that's probably the best piece of advice I can give to other EAS and it's one that are truly required.

Nicky Christmas 22:51
Yeah, I do as well is I suppose it's getting that balance? Isn't it between kind of being happy with hearing and no, isn't it? I think if you can disassociate yourself from it, as you said, it's if you're applying for a role, or you ask for a pay rise or something like that, if you can disassociate yourself from the know, then and it not knock your confidence, then really it opens up so much to you, because there have been more yeses coming your way than you probably ever thought they would be.

23:18
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And so many things have come about because I've had that mindset I could have just resigned when I moved back to Melbourne. And when I spoke to Marcus, I actually did go into that conversation not quite resigning, I actually went in prepped with the plan going on the off chance that he says yes. This is how we can make it work. He didn't say no, I've asked for pay rises and other kinds of promotions. And there's been times when they have said no. And I've made a plan to do something different.

Nicky Christmas 23:45
Yeah, it gives you options, doesn't it? When you hear that? No, it can be brought with maybe this isn't the right place for me. Maybe I can go and do something else. Maybe do some different things within the organisation to make that work. But yeah, exactly. As you said, yeah. If you don't ask then you don't get

23:59
that right. Yes. Yeah, that sounds that up. Taking a

Nicky Christmas 24:02
step back a second. I know you said you you did events, things and before you became an assistant, but I wonder if you've ever thought okay, if I wasn't an assistant, what is there a dream job that you would do? Yes,

24:14
I actually do think that right now, if I evolved out of the executive assistant profession, I would most likely move into project management, which is a big part of our roles. It's transferable skills. And you might do that in a later part of my career. I think it'd be fantastic to be managing a billion dollar global project. But for a dream job. I think if I hadn't been an EA, I probably would have stayed in events and Tourism Management. I still love organising events. I love travelling. I think it's built into my DNA. I've been travelling since I was 14. So I think it probably would be something in the travel industry, but there's actually a part of me deep down that I would actually I would love to work in the wine industry. I love wine. I love going to wineries and cellar doors and I think maybe would be nice. Maybe I'll retire. It's gonna be married. Time at job working in a cellar door and helping people wine tastings, maybe taking them on tours. That would probably mean leaving Melbourne and I do love living in the city.

Nicky Christmas 25:09
Yeah, it's such a, that's a great, that's a great treat. I just picked, particularly in Australia, and my goodness, you've got some amazing wineries.

25:18
We do. And I have visited a lot this year, there was a lot of travel we had to make up for, because we spent the better part of last winter. So yes, I've made up for lost time.

Nicky Christmas 25:30
Absolutely good for you. And so you should I know you had a really tough luck down there in Melbourne. So yes, as much wine as humanly possible for sure. So going back to your assistant career, is there something that has made you grateful about being an assistant, something that maybe is affected you in other parts of your life, or some of the skills that you think, okay, I wouldn't be good at this, if I wasn't an assistant, I'm

25:53
very grateful for, like I said, work. And we have some of the best people in the industry and in the business world, but also been given the opportunity to develop as a person, for example, right now, I'm part of the a coaching programme that we're running the leaders of our organisation, and then they've also put us through another programmer, we meet monthly, and we go through different leadership models and how we can apply that into our roles. So I'm very grateful that I have the ability to not only learn from other people, but that I can invest in myself, and that my company actually gives us that ability in us to keep investing, maybe it was a bit more selfish, I'm very grateful that I can combine my love of travel with my role, and that I'm in a role sometimes some EAS whenever travel and their roles, and I certainly have worked plenty of roles that have, I've not ever left the office. And I love the fact that I've been able to travel in this role and meet my colleagues from different countries, our company was actually founded just outside of Cape Town. So I've actually been out to Cape Town six or seven times. And that was amazing to go to a part of the world that I had never been. So I think I'm ungrateful that I can really combine in that regard, what is a passion for me in my personal life and integrated into my work life. And I think I'm also grateful that I can work with a brilliant CEO. And obviously, there's a lot of amazing executives out there. But I think sometimes it can be different when you're supporting a founder CEO. It's a different dynamic, just the visions that come from their minds and things that they implement. And just to see, like, how things take over, and his mind is I don't understand always how it works. But I love kind of having that front row seat to, to witness what he brings to life. And it's just fantastic to work with him.

Nicky Christmas 27:41
And what's it like working in the FinTech space, because I know obviously, this is a an industry that's exploded over the last kind of decade. And from everybody that I've spoke to who works in FinTech, it is fast paced, and it's yes, complex. So I wonder again, just any advice you can give for assistants that are looking to move into that industry

28:00
is very complex. And I my company, and actually the previous one I worked for both the previous one I work for was a regulated company and our current company, we self regulate before regulation is brought into different markets with a complex structure. And like you said, it is incredibly fast paced for companies that are scaling were onboarding lots of people and then assimilating them into the business. EAS, you have to be a cliche, saying you have to be organised and prepared. But there's no way that you can survive working for a company like mine, if you're not constantly on the ball, and you have to make sure whatever tools you're using, is it Google Calendar, Asana is at Trello. But you have to be completely on the ball. Yes, be very proactive with your communication, especially in this remote world, you can't just assume that your executive knows what's happening, you really have to communicate everything, make sure you have shared documents or regular touch points, because obviously, so much can go missing. It's just the flow of information, probably the most challenging, and I've had many people comment on that when they join an organisation like ours, there's just so much information flowing to and from and through and trying to keep track of that. What else can I advise EAS wanting to join, do research and actually make sure it's an industry that you do want to join? It's definitely not for everyone, and especially a company like as being in cryptocurrency, you really do have to have a passion for the industry, you don't necessarily need to know the technical details of how it works, but have a passion for kind of the bigger picture of what we're trying to achieve. Because it means that you're willing to ride out the lows while you're waiting for the highs for me, for example, when I joined I didn't have to think about cryptocurrency. But I truly believed in our mission and strategy and what we're trying to change in the financial services industry. And then that helps you kind of wake up each day and want to go to your role.

Nicky Christmas 29:42
Yeah, I think as well when you're working for a founder, it must it. I think it's really hard to work with the founder and not be interested in what they're doing and what they do on their own. Because it's their baby. And I think if you had somebody that close who was just doing the Overall, but not doing it in a way that is, is in depth and just really trying to understand it, I think that would be difficult.

30:06
Yeah, 100% and abuse company is my boss's blood, sweat, tears, money he's put into it. So I don't know if I could be effective in my role if I didn't believe in what he believes in. And just as a side note, I know when he speaks to our company, that our company updates when he's going over our mission and strategy. And I know what he's going to say, because I've seen all the prep work, but I'll walk away after seeing him present. And I'm just so inspired. I'm just like, wow, this is what we're trying to achieve. And I think if you're not on board with a journey, that it's going to be so much harder to do your role. And but I think it's important, like life is so short, why do you want to work somewhere where you don't believe in what you're doing? You don't want to wake up each day and go to work? Obviously, sometimes I think it'd be nice not to work at all. And just to live on a tropical island, we do have to pay the bills. So if you're going to be spending sort of 4050 hours a week somewhere, just make sure it's somebody who enjoy being

Nicky Christmas 30:58
Yeah, absolutely. And just to final their final points on that we've working with founders because I think it's so interesting, because I think what you said earlier is so right is different working with founders for EAS. And one of the things I've often found is that being a founder of a business myself, you originally started out doing everything you were HR, you were the you were everything. So sometimes it can be a little bit difficult delegating. So you've had had experience with that, and really, for any assistant who struggles with their executives trying to get over over every bit of detail. And wonder how you go about carving out your role amongst that.

31:36
Yes, it's changed me quite a bit, because I joined our company when we were 200. So still, you know, fairly large company, but we were still operating very much in that startup mindset. And we're sort of now nearing 1000 people. So we are maturing into what I like to say, an adolescent company. So I did, I was involved in a lot more in the early stage of joining luno, I was doing a lot of internal comms on behalf of Marcus, I was running a company updates and writing these fortnightly emails that he sends out to the company. But as a company has grown, we've brought in an internal comms team who are fantastic, but they now run those things I was doing. And it almost felt like at the time I was like, this is something that I've really grown and developed and, you know, made much more professional and I felt like I was losing part of my responsibility, I had to step back and go, this is for the greater good of the company, and but might by me delegating or handing over that part of my role, it actually opens me up to do a lot more. And now I actually couldn't think about doing that, because I wouldn't have time with the things that I built. And I think sometimes it is quite hard as an AE when we work on something to then delegate it, or to even hand it over to someone else to own. But I say to other EAS in that position that is going to allow you to get involved in other things, it might be that you, you hand off something like what I did, but it means that you can kind of move up to more that strategic level with your CEO, or maybe you run social events in the office, and then you hire an office manager, and then you hand it over to them. You might feel like you'll learn something, but then you can focus more on that core part of your role, which is to be that strategic business partner to your executive. So no,

Nicky Christmas 33:07
there are some boundaries that are put in place for assistance, some stereotypes that we're still trying to battle against. So I just wonder how you've gone about doing that, in your role. I've

33:16
never really had too many issues with that. And I don't know if it's just my natural kind of bit of a bulldozer personality, but I've never really seen myself as just as, as an assistant. Yes, sometimes most people feel like this, that you can feel like an impostor, you know, and definitely likely sort of doing this. But then it's everyone has doubt. And then you prepare and you move on. I don't know if I've ever really struggle with that. I'm just an assistant mentality. And I think I've just been lucky, I've always had amazing executives that I've worked with my first proper EA roles working for a big American tech company in Melbourne. And the directors I worked with, they truly believed in the EA role. And I tell them all about my networking. And they'd be like, Okay, how can we incorporate more of this into your role. And actually, a lot of when I was first developing as an AE was I came across practically perfect PA. And I think reading alone, I've never had that doubt. But I'm just an assistant and I have not necessarily demanded a seat at the table, whatever that saying is, but I've never kind of gone Oh, I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be working with my executive. And it's given me the confidence in sort of the later stages of my career that I'm here you're having an off site, you're having a strategy discussion, I'll say to my executive feel I shouldn't be in the room because of X Y, Zed, it's going to help me do my role and support you and take actions. And I've always had confidence in myself in that way.

Nicky Christmas 34:31
It's amazing that you said you haven't experienced it. But I think that's because of who you are as a person. And as you said, it's going into those rooms and thinking, as you said, not demanding a seat at the table but going in telling people why you're why you're there, which I think is brilliant advice, resistance because you don't have to go in and you sit yourself down and try to act like you're working as a director in the C suite. You're there because of your job and fulfilling the role that you do which is very different for anybody Yes. So I think that's very good.

35:02
Yeah, it's very true. And I think part of that is surrounding yourself with not necessarily like minded people when I started my career and really became a proper executive assistant, and dropped the events side of my career that was probably around 2009 2010. And we definitely don't have the wealth of knowledge that we do with all the blogs and articles and podcasts and networking events. A some amazing EA sharing their knowledge on LinkedIn like that. barely anyone news back then. So it was amazing for me to, number one have some amazing executives. I know not everyone has that. But also coming across your blog, Nicky, and realising that, yes, so this is a valid career path. And that's kind of when I decided I'm going to be here to build upon what you've said, maybe my advice to other EAS, is surround yourself with other EAS that perhaps have gone down a path that you would like to follow with their careers and find a mentor, you know, get across all the knowledge that we have in our industry now all the blogs and articles and podcasts and realise that you're not alone in your career and in the profession, and that you definitely do deserve a seat at the table,

Nicky Christmas 36:05
I want to touch on again, just going back to your day to day because you've mentioned it a few times around communication. I know I can't. And I can't end the podcast without talking to you about the kind of nitty gritty technology stuff because our listeners are always wanting to know about technology, that other assistance, you are halfway around the world. So I do wonder what technology you are using to make sure that you are able to communicate effectively with each other. I really

36:30
do utilise Gmail, and I guess the wider Google workspace workspace products are we're very Google at our company. And I love Gmail, when I first started using it, I was like Office is terrible compared to Outlook, I will never go back to Outlook ever again, if I can help. But we're also on Mac books I hated when I first started. I love using it now. But I think kind of the main technology that works for myself, my boss. And I think that's key. What works for us is using Gmail using the Google calendar using Google Docs, we can collaborate in real time, he and I have used so many different tools, we'll see something new come up or try it. As we mentioned earlier, our industry is very fast paced, and our company is very fast paced as well. And I find that we really need to minimise noise and distractions. And if we are using multiple tools, things can get lost. It's one more tab on your laptop to have it open. So what we actually keep it simple and use most of the products are already integrated into our normal day to day. That's not to say that what works for us is going to work for another AI and executives, you have to find the right tools that work for you and your executive. So it's probably no great advice. I'm going to give her about what tools we really love the integrated Google sort of suite of products.

Nicky Christmas 37:38
Yeah, I absolutely agree. You've got to use what works best for you. And if you can use technology that integrates into the main system that you're already using, then that's all the better for it for sure. I'm also a big fan of Google and I also did this way so that I can you recommend any events, books, publications or training programmes for assistants that you've used over the years that have helped you build those steps to where you are now?

38:04
Yeah, of course, I guess the first one is practically perfect PA. And like I said, I did discover this sort of I think when you launched it around 2011 2012 and blogs, I came across and religiously read every article and every email that came out. And once I moved to London attended your events that in person ones and then the virtual ones. So I have to say that we have pas been amazing to get me started my career. A few other ones. I love the founder and force multiplier blog. And I also have their books on American AAA, I think her name is Haley if I pronounce that correctly. And she works with a founder CEO, I think he has eight companies and she's got a fantastic blog. She was his AI and now she's Chief of Staff. But I watch a lot of what she writes about applies to both roles, which, you know, do work closely together. I do love Jeremy Barrows, his leader assistant, his blog, and then he's podcast. I think that's fans here in Australia, there's and I'm actually doing a 12 month leadership course with them. So that's fantastic. And it's been nice to rebuild my network here in Australia. And I've done a lot of that through them. I also think it's very important for EAS actually step outside a lot of what's shared in our industry and, and read what's happening in the business world what's happening with their executives. So for example, I regularly read TechCrunch has another one called Tech meme, The New York Times and first round review is a great one. And a lot of what they share is applicable to working in startups and founders. And I just also try and see what my boss's reading. He's always reading a different book or a news article. And I've definitely ordered some of the books that I've seen him reading. So I'm know kind of what we've learned. He's on. Yeah. So I hope that's helpful.

Nicky Christmas 39:41
Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. It's always a pleasure talking to you. And it's always wonderful to catch up and hear what you're doing because it's always so exciting. And as I said at the beginning you've got on this journey in your career and it's lovely to see where you're at now is it seems like you're in a really good space.

39:56
It's been lovely chatting, Nicky, hopefully it's not too long between conversations. No, I'm sure not take care. Cool. Thanks, Nicky,

Nicky Christmas 40:03
thank you so much for listening to the EA campus podcast, we would love for you to take a minute to subscribe to the EA campus podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts. If you could give us a review, we would so appreciate that as well. If you want to check out the show notes, you can do that by going over to the EA campus.com forward slash podcast forward slash episode eight Janus poker and take a look at everything that we discussed. You can also find all the links to the resources, articles and tech that we mentioned during the show. If you want to join the conversation inside the EA campus community, you will also find all of the information on the EA Campus website. The community continues to grow and we have an amazing group of assistants sharing their careers with us. We have ongoing events and training for our members and we would love to see more ambitious and career driven assistants join the campus. Thanks for your time and I hope you tune in again to the next episode of the EA campus podcast.

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