Episode Seven:
Rosy Garner, Executive Assistant at Etsy

Episode description

Rosy and I recorded the podcast just a few months before she decided to leave Etsy to travel and spend time with her family, but we are really grateful to be able to share the conversation with you today. 

During the conversation, we discussed how she started her career as an Assistnat, having previously worked in the theatre. We discussed how she worked with her Executive and managed their time effectively. We talked about how important it is to have a strong network of Assistants within an organisation and their power when working together. We talked about technology and Rosy’s love of Google Calendar! And how much she enjoys managing new Assistants and seeing her team grow in confidence.

Show notes


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 seven of the EA campus podcast. I'm your host Nicky Christmas and today we have Rosie Garner, former AAA to the CMO of Etsy in New York. Rosie and I recorded the podcast just a few months before she decided to leave Etsy to travel and spend time with her family. But we are really grateful to be able to share the conversation with you today. During the conversation we discussed how she started her career as an assistant having previously worked in the theatre. We talked about how she worked with her executive and manage their time effectively, we discussed how important it is to have a strong network of assistants within an organisation and the power they have when working together. We talked about technology and Rosie's love of Google Calendar, and how much she enjoys managing new assistants and seeing her team grow in confidence. Enjoy my conversation with Rosie Garner. Rosie welcome. Thank you so much for joining us.

Rosy Garner 01:51
Hi, Nicky, thank you so much for having me today. I'm really honoured to be here

Nicky Christmas 01:55
you have such an interesting career and the I know the role that you're in at the moment is a busy one. So I know we've got a lot to cover. But before we do, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career to date. Hi. So

Rosy Garner 02:08
I actually started my career in theatre. That's where my education is. That's what my degree is in. I worked in theatre as a stage manager, I did a lot of Off Broadway Broadway shows I live in New York City. But after a few years of that I was really craving something steadier, a steady or schedule steady your paycheck. So I started looking around for office jobs and accidentally ended up as an assistant to an assistant at a startup. So I was the second assistant to the president at a startup company. And I it just it clicked really quickly that a lot of the skills that I had had when I was a stage manager in terms of scheduling and working around a lot of people keeping things on track. So soon, pretty soon after that first assistant was promoted to a different role. She moved over to the marketing side, and I became the first assistant to the president of this company. And I stayed with her through two companies, she moved on to a different startup after that I moved with her. And then I loved working with her. But she announced her retirement, it was time for me to find another job. And then that's when I applied for this role at Etsy. And I have been here for about six years now.

Nicky Christmas 03:18
Wow. That's It's amazing when you have the opportunity to move companies with an executive because I know that happens quite frequently. It's quite common for assistants. But what was the conversation you had with your executive? Because I guess you're leaving one kind of stable job. And there's a little bit of uncertainty there for the assistants. So was that an easy move for you?

Rosy Garner 03:39
It was a little there was definitely a period of uncertainty because she sat me down and told me that she would be leaving, the first company we're at was a company called MakerBot. And I didn't have a lot of details at the time. Like she wasn't ready to share with me exactly what that meant. But she knew it was time to move on. And she just said, Don't worry, I'm going to take you with me wherever I land, I want you to come with me. So there was a period of time in between jobs. I actually ended up taking another theatre show for about six weeks in between. I stage managed another show. And then she called me up and said, Hey, I've got a new job. When do you want to come join me?

Nicky Christmas 04:16
That's so cool. It's great that she had that confidence in you because that must have made you have more confidence in yourself as well that an executive particularly in a startup as well want some continuity with their assistant.

Rosy Garner 04:27
It really made me feel great because she was wonderful. I knew she would have an easy time finding her next role and the right role and I had so much confidence that it whatever it was, it would be a great place. And honestly, I didn't even ask any questions. She just named this company. I was like, Oh, I've heard of them. Great. Let's go I didn't interview I didn't meet anyone. I maybe I showed up but I just walked in cold and started working for a new company

Nicky Christmas 04:54
that's free. But just as a city. That's one of the other aspects of being a great assistant is you can just to hit the ground running, it's kind of one of the skills that we need to have it see, because you've been there for six years. So tell us about the role that you have and what you've done over those six years.

Rosy Garner 05:09
Yeah, I've had a few different roles at sea. When I first started here, I was brought in to assist their newly hired Chief Operating Officer at the time. So I came in and worked with her, she as her assistant, she was here, she took on a huge org huge new role at Etsy. And she was here for I gonna get I think about two and a half years, and I worked with her for that time. And then then as executives do, she eventually moved on to another company, the company evolved and changed, it wasn't the right place for her anymore. But this time, like I knew Etsy was the place for me, instead of feeling attached to the executive, I felt attached to the company. And I did, I had that conversation with her. And she understood and it made sense. However, there was no EA role opened at the time. So my executive is leaving here, I am an EA, but there's no other executive who needed an assistant. So I moved into a project management role on the marketing team for a while, kind of threw in, I didn't really know what I was doing. But I learned it. There are a lot of similar aspects in terms of planning, but it is very different role working as a project manager versus working as an executive assistant. I did that for about six months here at Etsy, I learned so much I learned so much about how the marketing team works, how TV commercials are made, how our organisation functions, I also learned that I didn't really like being a project manager. So eventually, we did hire a chief marketing officer, we like changed the structure of the company grew out the marketing org and hired a Chief Marketing Officer. And they asked me if I would like to work with him. So he and I did a couple of interviews together after he was hired. But I interviewed for the role of his assistant at at sea. And I've been doing that for three years now. So what's it like

Nicky Christmas 06:55
being in the organisation longer than the executive has? Because that's quite an interesting dynamic. Were you? Was there a mentorship aspect to the start of the role where you were telling him how the business works?

Rosy Garner 07:08
It was definitely helpful to have so much historical content. One of the great things about Etsy is it has such a unique culture and that it's so kind, so respectful. How do I say this, everyone always has good intent, and you know it. And you know, that like, anytime there's like stress or an issue, it's coming from a place of caring so much about doing the right thing for our sellers and our customers. And so it was teaching this new chief executive Look, I know, people may seem a little crazy around here, but it's because they care so much, because their hearts are so full of love for every extra Etsy seller out there. And they just want to do right by them.

Nicky Christmas 07:48
That's lovely. An assistant role is, is often about protecting the culture. And sometimes the executives are so busy, that's not necessarily where they can focus all of their time. So if an assistant has that skill, and has the knowledge as well, then that's an area they can be really supportive in as well as just continuing that culture, and making sure it permeates down from the executive.

Rosy Garner 08:09
That's true. And as a chief marketing officer, he has such a specific skill set that he's so good at. He's so good at the performance marketing, and the growth, marketing and the analytics and the data and like, it's, I can't, I have no idea what that means, like he can, you might as well be speaking Greek when he talks about that side of it. But it is good to know that I can be there to really help when it comes to the cultural part and the team management part and like help support them in the ways that aren't as much his areas of expertise.

Nicky Christmas 08:39
So we're gonna dive into much more about your career. And I know you've got an absolute tonne of tips and knowledge that you can share with our listeners today. But I do want to get a sense of what your life is like outside of work as well. You mentioned that you're in New York, I wonder, tell me a little bit about what your morning routine looks like. So what do you do in the start of the day to get yourself prepared for getting into the office? First off,

Rosy Garner 08:59
we currently only come into the office one day a week, which is lovely. And then the rest of the week, we work from home. So every morning, I get up and I walk my dog and then I come home, I make coffee, I take 20 to 30 minutes to read the news catch up on what's going in the larger macro environment. And then I just want him through that I start going through catching up on Slack and email and jumping into the workday. And if it's the day that I'm going into the office, so I also have to shower and get dressed.

Nicky Christmas 09:27
Which you don't have to do from home which is lovely. So was this always the case? Was it always a remote role or resist since the pandemic

Rosy Garner 09:36
definitely since the pandemic I before the pandemic I came in five days a week, and then for almost two years, we were fully remote. I didn't come into the office at all. So coming in once a week is it's a good balance. I still love working from home but it is nice to see everyone and we'd have really great snacks here at the office and it's a beautiful office so I'm happy to come in sometimes.

Nicky Christmas 09:57
And it's summer hits there's air conditioning, which is always nice. So so is this. So you decided that this is how it's going to work now for you guys? Is it a hybrid model that they're going to stick to? Or is it still in flux? Is it still settling down? Or is it is this It now has that been decided.

Rosy Garner 10:16
So there are, we have three work modes at SC, there's a fully in office mode, there are some people who choose to come in five days a week, most people are in the hybrid mode where they come into an office and one or two days a week. But we also have a whole lot of employees who are fully remote. This has allowed us to hire talent that would be hard to find otherwise. And it's actually worked out really well because we learned how to do it over the pandemic when we had. So it's really been a smooth, easy transition transition to have so many of our team members fully remote.

Nicky Christmas 10:48
It's great to hear of a company that gets it that isn't trying to get everybody back to how it was in the past, or was rushed to quickly to move everybody into A into an office kind of off site remote position and roles and things like that. It's not it's nice to hear of a company that's got it sounds like they've got a good balance.

Rosy Garner 11:04
Yeah, and you have different types of work, require different situations, right, or some types of work that's better done in person. But there's a lot of work that I can do better when I'm home alone without any distractions,

Nicky Christmas 11:15
and how have you found it working from home and interacting with your executive have specifically got thrown into it over the pandemic, you're able to smooth it out over a period of time. But how have you found that working together and staying in sync?

Rosy Garner 11:30
Yeah, the biggest challenge at the beginning of the pandemic was figuring out, I suddenly had a lot more time because I wasn't running around like getting lunch, getting coffee checking to make sure he was in the right meeting going from floor to floor. Like I simply had a lot more time. So I was able to take on a lot more in my role, which was great. But figuring that out was a hard transition because we didn't know how long it would last. We didn't know what would happen next. We didn't know we were still discovering, okay, if an assistant has all this extra time, like what is how, what are the best ways for you to contribute? And we learned it's different team by team

Nicky Christmas 12:05
talking about challenges. What do you find now that things have settled down and work has continued are the most challenging aspects of your day.

Rosy Garner 12:15
I think my biggest challenges now are actually the same as they were before the pandemic, it doesn't really hasn't made a difference. If you're in person over more or remote, the hardest things are managing the priorities that I know are top like coming from the executive coming from that high level view that we have as assistants and balancing that with the work that you do with everyone else on the team who has a completely different set of priorities based on the goals of their own teams that they want to further forward. If you have a different view of things, and you want to please everyone you want everyone to feel heard and like they're getting the time they need. But each person isn't necessarily privy to what's going on at the top. So my job is to prioritise my executives time and my own time, according to those top level priorities. And you can't always explain it to everyone else who's trying to get that person's time.

Nicky Christmas 13:08
Yeah, it's you want to be transparent. And it's finding the balance when there's confidential things going on. And also, that's not necessarily again, just the best use of your time having to explain it. Yeah, I get that it is I think it's a challenge for so many assistants, as we always say, what's urgent to somebody else isn't always necessarily urgent to you and your executive and having to communicate that takes a huge amount of time. And it's not always received. Well,

Rosy Garner 13:33
of course, like my executive, he wants to meet with everyone like he wants to take care of everyone. But there are just only so many hours in the day. It's

Nicky Christmas 13:41
funny, I was talking to an assistant about this the other day, because our executives are so passionate about what they do. They want to say yes to everything, because it's so excited about everything, but it's heavy with working with their schedule as well. It's where does this all fit in? How are we going to say yes to everything? And what kind of either gets moved? Or? Yes, it's a constant challenge. Sure. So moving on to something a bit more positive, what are the most enjoyable aspects of your day,

Rosy Garner 14:07
that two things on different levels, I love that I get this high level view of everything that's going on in the organisation in the company, it just makes me feel really empowered. And it feels like I know exactly how to work with the rest of the teams, because like I'm so privy to what's going on because I get to see all the priorities and like also how we got to those priorities and how the decisions were made. And I just love getting that kind of information. The other best part of my day is that we have such an amazing team of assistants here at et Cie. And I am so glad that I get to work with these wonderful people. Anytime I interact with any of our other assistants like I'm just happy because they're so great. They're such pros, and they're just wonderful people

Nicky Christmas 14:51
are definitely helped. How has the network been established of the assistance et Cie? Do you guys meet at all on a regular basis or how do you make sure that you keep that networked together so that you are supporting each other. Yeah,

Rosy Garner 15:02
we meet weekly, we usually have an agenda of are there like calendar questions we need to come up with? Is there going to be some new initiative happening that's going to change the priorities? Is there some policy change that we need to communicate to our executives. And sometimes we also just chat with each other, you can vent a little sometimes you got some things you need to talk to someone about, and the only people who really understand or your fellow assistants, we also have that. We also have a team Slack channel where I think all of us probably say something every day where we just ask questions, it can be a question about the company, a question about what's going on another team or just I need a restaurant recommendation, or like, how does anyone know how to do this particular thing in this probe? Is anyone else having trouble with this update from Google Calendar? So I talked to them every day?

Nicky Christmas 15:50
Yeah. And do you find that helps? Just every aspect of the role? Absolutely. So you've been an AI for a while, what's been the career highlight for you,

Rosy Garner 16:00
one of my biggest highlights is a few years ago, this was a little bit pre pandemic, I had the opportunity to travel with Etsy with our chief executive officer who I was supporting at the time and go to our cellar captain's summit in Poland, this was an event where we got a lot of our star sellers and seller captains, a lot of the like community leaders in our Etsy seller community together, brought them in, put them up and spent several days in workshops. And it was, first off, I love travelling with an executive because travelling and arranging travel is just one of my favourite parts of the role and getting to spend time with members of our company who I didn't interact with that much before, and with our sellers, and see what they're doing, what kind of knowledge they're craving, and support the event in that way. That was one of the highlights of my career.

Nicky Christmas 16:51
That sounds amazing. It is always brilliant when you get taken on those kinds of trips, isn't it and you can just see, you kind of see how your work affects like your customers and your clients and things like that. It's it's, I think it just is so motivating. It's really great when that stuff happens, you must have found it disappointing, then not being able to organise a huge amount of travel. Yeah, it's funny, isn't it? It was such a huge part of the role for assistants and for it to all just like similar to what you said about not having to chase your executive around different flows during the pandemic, it's like it frees up frees up so much time when your executive is not travelling,

Rosy Garner 17:29
exactly. Like I suddenly found myself with more time because no travel, no running around the office. So I really had to think like, how do I fill this up. So in the beginning, I was just helping out other teams like I sat in, like, I spent 50% of my time with our merchandising team for a couple of months, just because I had the time and they needed an extra set of hands. And so I was happy to do that. Then eventually, as we realised this was going to be more long term, I just took on some additional work in the role, we have a chief of staff and I just took on a lot of her work in terms of organising certain meetings, or running certain meetings, handling agendas for part of our operating rhythm, I took on a lot of our professional development work with managing that budget and helping people navigate the system of how to work with et Cie on their own professional development. And it's been really great. We also started a programme at Etsy recently, where we brought on assistants for our VPS now. And so now I manage two assistants who support all of our VPs in the marketing department.

Nicky Christmas 18:31
That's brilliant. That's just so been proactive, isn't it because it would have been very easy for you to have gone, I haven't got a huge amount of work to do, I'll just have a break because it wasn't like you weren't busy pre pandemic. So it's amazing that you were just able to she said just get stuck into helping other parts of the team. And then now that's worked really well and flourish and into the management role. So where do you think that will take you now in terms of your career development? Because it seems like you really do have such a great oversight of the business? Have you given much thought about where do you want to take your career

Rosy Garner 19:01
part of what I learned in the last few years, like I said, I took on that project management role for a while it didn't really make me happy. I really like working as an assistant and I think I want to stay in this role. And my goal is just to find ways to grow this and honestly, I don't know if it means staying here and like working with the same executive. I don't see myself going anywhere, as he has been such a wonderful place to work. But finding out slowly. What more do I want to take on? How else can I be supportive? How does it mean supporting the team? Does it mean managing a team of other assistants for a lot of people, career growth as an assistant can mean going from a supporting a VP to supporting a C level to supporting a CEO. It can also mean going from a smaller company to a larger company. There are I think there are so many different ways to grow your career as an executive assistant that people don't realise especially if you've been at one company for a long time. But as you start to grow and change you'll see that The opportunities are there. But you have to look for them. Like you have to really fight for them. Because it's easy for an executive to get complacent in a situation that's working. They're busy with so many things. If something's working, then they may not necessarily try to change it or improve it. So it's really up to us as assistants to figure out where we can grow, how we can change our roles. And with that also grow our compensation and our titles and our scope. I think,

Nicky Christmas 20:29
particularly when you as you've done take on managing other assistants or managing other members of staff, then you really need to be pushing on salary and renumeration in that aspect, because it becomes so much more I'd love to go touch on how you are managing the assistants because there are a lot of assistants out there now who are managing other assistants. So we'll come back to that. But I wanted to pick up on the fact that you are growing the role. And I just want to because again, I know some assistants can be worried about this. And I get the sense it isn't the culture where you are. But I wonder if you had any pushback on moving outside of what might be considered a stereotypical system roll into developing other areas that you're concentrating on. I just wonder if there was any pushback or any negative feedback that you've got around doing more outside of what might be considered the standard role a while

Rosy Garner 21:18
ago, it was just it was hard to explain, it was hard to get like our HR team to understand what it was we were looking for. But because we have such a great team of assistants who do so much, I think that over time, they saw how much we were naturally growing the roles simply because of all the work that was happening seemingly by magic. And then you've then once the assistant stepped up as a group together and explained like these things don't happen by magic, like we're doing all of this work to keep things running smoothly. And we think we deserve to be recognised for that. So once that started happening, really because we worked together as a team, that's when the opportunity started to grow. There's absolutely

Nicky Christmas 21:59
power in numbers isn't there? And I think that's it if you have this phrase in the States, but in the UK, you there's a phrase that the proof is in the pudding. Yes. Yeah. And he's exactly the works been done. But as you said, it's not by magic were really proficient at what we do. So think exactly that. I think when assistants are proactive, and the work is getting done and the organisation can see the benefits, then it naturally follows that you have that power to then be able to have those conversations about renumeration, and just have been recognised for the work that you did and move on to the other point that you made there about managing to assistants. How have you found that? Is that something that you found challenging or enjoyable? How have you found managing staff,

Rosy Garner 22:42
I found it to be a great challenge. The first challenge is hiring for going through the interview process and finding the right people. Luckily, we've worked with an agency that specialises in hiring admin roles. But I have gotten so much joy from working with early career assistants, folks who are newer to this type of role. And being there to see them grow and to answer questions and to spend time remembering like, oh, yeah, I had to learn this once and being able to pass it on in ways that like, when I first started my career, I depended on other assistants to teach me all this. So it's been really lovely working with them. And really lovely seeing how the rest of our team is benefiting from having this additional help. I just

Nicky Christmas 23:24
wonder if you have any thoughts on the job title because I've got kind of idea of what it's like there in the States is similar in the UK and other parts of the world as well. There is still that conversation around the job title and how it affects what you do. And I want to bring in that second level of assistance. If that's then a conversation that you've probably had to have across the organisation where who gets what title what how does that affect their the salary and etc. So I just wonder what your thoughts are on the job title.

Rosy Garner 23:50
We've had so many conversations, there's no standard system, at least in the US like there's kind of some norms, but not really. So like at Etsy a few years ago, it was the Wild West in terms of everyone. All of the assistants were at a different level. Some of us were called executive assistants. Some of us were called administrative assistants. Some of us were just called like EA, like the whole title was just EA, but that was it. And we've over the last few years we got it a little bit more standardised where like each C level, has a dedicated assistant and they're called an executive assistant. And then, when we started bringing on assistants for VPS, we landed on the title department assistant because essentially they're each supporting the whole department. They're supporting multiple VP along with their departments. Is it the perfect titling system? Probably not do have we talked a lot about trying to figure out something better. Yes. Have we come up with something that are not yet I think it's

Nicky Christmas 24:51
a conversation that is happening across the industry. The Wild West is a very good description for it because I think that standard I think that's the first time I've heard John An AI with nothing around it. But yeah, it's hard without that kind of standardised system in place. So I know the powers that be are working on it for sure. I'll wait for the conclusion on that one.

Rosy Garner 25:13
We're gonna turn we're gonna turn to you and Nicky and your fantastic organisation to help us with that one

Nicky Christmas 25:17
to be there is work being done, so I'm not gonna claim credit for it, but I'm certainly supportive of it. So yes, it absolutely is. Because I think we all could do with a little bit of advice on who gets named what and how it relates to salary, for sure. So go back to your life outside of work, once the laptop shut down, and you've got the time for yourself, what do you enjoy doing in the evenings? And does the laptop shut down?

Rosy Garner 25:41
It does, but the phone doesn't the laptop shuts down or around five or six, but the phone kind of is always there. But luckily, we're pretty good here about keeping work during work time. It's really just time zones that cause things to happen in crazy hours. Because we have team members in California, New York, the UK, Europe, India, we're generally Yes, the laptop closes down. The phone stays on just in case. But yeah, for myself, once I mostly get to that point, I walk my dog again, I take her to the park. I on the weekends, I like to go camping, I like to get outdoors as much as I can. In the summer. I like to go to the beach in the winter. I like to hide from the weather because I hate the winter. But yeah, I just I like to see friends. I like to cook a lot. I like to cook with friends. And I just tried to spend my evenings on my own, enjoying my space, enjoying my dog and trying to get outside.

Nicky Christmas 26:38
And then you're in New York City, you actually close to your office.

Rosy Garner 26:43
I am Yeah, I'm pretty close to the office. But fortunately, I do have a car so I can get out on the weekends.

Nicky Christmas 26:48
That's always an added benefit, isn't it when you live in a city that you can just escape it as in when you need to? It's Yes, that's something I very much agree with. I know you have a theatre background. So I wonder if this will form part of your answer. But I wonder what you would do if you weren't an assistant

Rosy Garner 27:02
probably be working in theatre as a stage manager. Fortunately, I have I've been able to keep up a little bit by working as a sub on shows not so much since the pandemic but i There were a lot of times where I would go work on a show in the evenings. Or I'd have to talk to my executive and be like, Okay, this week, I have to leave at 530 on the dot every day because I'm like subbing out a play maybe an Off Broadway show or a Broadway show, and you need to go you'd spend a couple shows training and then do it. So someone, can you go on vacation or have the option to take sick days, which are you can in theatre, you can't just take a day off unless someone is prepared to cover your track. So I would get to still do it that way, which is great. So

Nicky Christmas 27:41
what's the one thing that you think makes you grateful about being an assistant,

Rosy Garner 27:46
I'm really grateful to work with the most talented people in an organisation, I'm so grateful to be able to work with an executive to go to go from having a theatre degree, to working with an executive directly at a large public company, is something I'm so grateful for, it gives me a point of view in the world, I never would have had otherwise, a huge amount of knowledge I never would have had otherwise. And then I also I just want to take a moment to say how grateful I am for my assistance team. Like I just can I take a moment to thank the other assistants here at et Cie, especially and our CEOs assistant for being there for all of us all the time. Like our team is so great and has fought so hard for career growth for everyone on the team. So I just, I have to thank all of them for being amazing.

Nicky Christmas 28:40
Shout out to and for sure. I know, when you're the executive assistant to the CEO, it there's so much responsibility there. And it's always fantastic when you hear from other assistants that work in those organisation praising the EA to the CEO, because it is a leadership position. And it's always great when you hear someone really fight for the other assistants in the organisation. Can you give us a bit of insight into the kind of changes that you've seen in your career as an assistant that have made the role different and given you more opportunities to grow? Yeah, I think

Rosy Garner 29:14
the pandemic and having so much work done virtually has given us a huge area to grow because suddenly your assistant wasn't the coffee setter or the person who walked you to your next meeting your assistant was someone who you interacted with on a screen and you no longer needed any of that. So your assistant had to grow. That was when suddenly it was like suddenly we were taking on planning aspects working in HR managing more of the high level communications that went out to the organisation. So I think the pandemic has been a huge growth opportunity and an evolution in the role. But even before that, just with the way technology has advanced, we're not sitting on the phone on hold making reservations. It's just having the technology such as was like the calendar aspects, doing everything through email doing so much work on Slack that's given us more time to grow and take on more.

Nicky Christmas 30:07
I couldn't agree more. And as I said it also, it frees up your time, which is just then allows you to work on more interesting projects. What's the one thing that I guess you're having these conversations a lot at the moment with the team that you manage, but what's the one thing that you teach to new assistants that are coming into the role,

Rosy Garner 30:23
I teach them that while you want to please everyone, you have to accept that you're never going to make everyone happy on any one day. Like, you're always going to have to prioritise one thing over another, there's always someone who's going to be happier about a decision you made than someone else. And that's just something you have to accept in the role. That's how it is we do our best. There are some times when you get to make everyone happy, especially if it involves food, there are going to be times where like, you just have to disappoint someone. And it doesn't mean that you're doing your job wrong, it means that you're doing your job, right,

Nicky Christmas 30:54
it's really hard to explain that to a new assistant. It's something they have to find peace with. Because it's about managing expectations, isn't it and everybody's expectations are so different. I just wonder in your executive must be so busy. And so in demand, I just wonder how you go about managing expectations over their time. One thing we do

Rosy Garner 31:15
is if anyone wants to meet with with Ryan, my executive, they have to have an agenda for the meeting, I'll never put just a random one to one. Or if it's just to catch up with anyone other than a fellow executive, we don't put that on the calendar. If someone wants to meet with them, they need to have a reason and an agenda that they can write out. It can it just needs to be a couple bullet points. But there has to be a specific topic for the meeting. The other thing is we almost never put repetitive meetings on his calendar unless someone can make a really strong business case for it.

Nicky Christmas 31:43
That's really interesting. So do you. So is that things like one to ones and things like that? Was it something slightly

Rosy Garner 31:48
different? No, something like like a one on one with anyone who reports to him or with someone who's like managing an initiative that he's in charge of. That's the business case for those would be repetitive one to ones that we definitely put on. But like sometimes I know what other companies I've worked out someone will just be like, I want to skip level. Can we do it monthly, and they'll be like, like we I'm happy to schedule one and send me an agenda. And if you want to do it again, send me the agenda. And we'll schedule it again. But we don't normally just put them on for the sake of having a chance to catch up or having a mentorship opportunity. Those are important in those are great, but you need to I need to know what's important enough to you that you're going to reach out to me with an agenda each

Nicky Christmas 32:28
time data makes complete sense. Thank you for sharing that. What is the one piece of technology or tool or website or anything like that, that you couldn't do your job without Google Calendar? Yeah, straightforward answer.

Rosy Garner 32:41
That's the answer. I live and die by Google Calendar. I like to say my work and my life.

Nicky Christmas 32:46
Really does everything go in there you like completely prioritise. In terms of time, everything you do, has to be in the calendar. Yeah,

Rosy Garner 32:54
I'm so old fashioned. I use paper for to do lists for like my day to day, this is just what I have to do today. I'll just write it down. And then anything with the farther a deadline, it goes and Google Calendar. And like you can set up really sophisticated reminders in Google Calendar, you can make things repeat, you can hold time for yourself to work on a project and Google calendar I use it for everything

Nicky Christmas 33:13
is good. Yeah, I love that. It's like super, super advanced as well. I love it as well. I'm a big Google fan. So I completely agree. And again, any recommendations around books or publications or websites that you found useful, and they've helped you move your career forward, but

Rosy Garner 33:27
it's really hard to find good media for assistance. So thank you for what you're doing, Nick. The one book I recommend that all assistants read is How to Win Friends and Influence People. Classic, always good worth reading it every year. And just the kinder and more helpful you can be with people, the easier your job is going to be.

Nicky Christmas 33:48
If there's one thing you knew about the role as an assistant before you started your career, what would be what would you go back and tell yourself,

Rosy Garner 33:55
I'd probably go back and tell myself when I started this role coming from theatre, I was tech savvy, like I knew all the basics, but I would probably go back and tell myself to get more tech savvy early on, I'd be like, just throw yourself in, take some lessons in Excel, take lessons from every programme, you can think of learn them all and just get really good at that right away rather than learning in my first couple of years.

Nicky Christmas 34:16
And it's only gonna get more intense. I think as the next few years go on, I think assistants who aren't up to speed with technology are going to struggle, and it's not just being up to speed on it. It's also just being open to learning new technology and being being open to using new tools. I think it's going to be so important.

Rosy Garner 34:35
Yeah. And like now I feel like I'm really good at that. But if I looked at myself, seven or eight years ago, I would be unrecognisable like me eight years ago would have looked at me and been like who is this computer genius. And now I'm like, No, there's just It's fine. It's just how we interact. It's fine. And that's all the

Nicky Christmas 34:51
questions I have for you. Rosie, thank you so much for your time today. There's so many wonderful tip bits and bits of knowledge there that I know assistants listening will find really useful. So thank you so much for sharing your time with us.

Rosy Garner 35:02
Thank you so much, Nicky, I had a great time talking to you today.

Nicky Christmas 35:05
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 podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. If you could give us a review, we would so appreciate that too. If you want to check out the show notes. You can do that by going over to the AI campus.com forward slash podcast forward slash Episode Seven Rosie Garner and take a look at everything we discussed. You can also find all of the links to the resources, articles and tech we mentioned during the show. If you want to join the conversation inside the AI 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. Thank you for your time and I hope you tune in again to the next episode of the EA campus podcast.

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