A New Year, and New Opportunities for Admin. Professionals

Polar Bear Swim 2014, 2013 badges copyright Shelagh DonnellyHave you had a good start to 2014? We rang in the new year as planned, taking a running dash into the waters of English Bay along with numerous other mad Canadians and visitors from around the globe.

While the water temperature was warmer than forecast, at 8 °C /46.4 °F, there was plenty of incentive to make an even quicker return to  sand, towels and dry clothes!

the back-to-calm waters of English Bay, from Kits Point

Vancouver’s West End, sans Polar Bear dippers

Back on not-so-dry land, we enjoyed the laughter, costumes and goodwill of not only fellow dippers, but also the hundreds of onlookers. Kudos to the folks at the English Bay Cactus Club Cafe, who provided smiles and steaming hot chocolate for bathers and observers alike in exchange for  donations to the local food bank.

Not long after, relatively dry and more than a little sandy as we made our way up from the beach, we turned for a last look back at the scene of this year’s Polar Bear Swim.

We were struck by the depth, diversity and goodwill of the crowd – not all of which you necessarily notice when you’re in the midst of things.


It occurs to me that this applies, too, to our careers as admin. professionals, regardless of the titles we hold in our respective workplaces. While the nature of some of our roles may be isolating at times, even a casual look at the work of the growing number of people involved in IYOTSA 2014, the International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant, leads to recognition that we are only a keystroke  away from counterparts near and far. IYOTSA represents a deep talent pool of people who may have diverse backgrounds, coming together in a spirit of goodwill dedicated to enhancing our professional reputation and to providing access to development and training. In other words, IYOTSA’s focus includes career satisfaction and professional development.

While we may have different first languages – or offer variations in accents and spelling (“realise” or “realize”?) of words in the same language! – we have more in common than one might suspect. IYOTSA 2014 is coming to us from South Africa, with a growing presence on Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn.

IYOTSA 2014 organisers – including, but certainly not limited to IYOTSA 2014 Task Team members Anel, Audetta and Charlotte, along with Lucy Brazier, the widely read publisher of UK-based Executive Secretary Magazine -are advocating on our behalf and building opportunities for connections around the planet. They’re creating opportunities for peers to review IYOTSA’s vision and Charter, to assess whether the vision resonates with individuals’ goals and career plans.

If, like many admin. professionals, you’ve not yet engaged much in social media on a personal level, you may find connecting with counterparts near and far through IYOTSA on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook  a good way to dip your toe in the water while also stepping outside your comfort zone.

One Comment on “A New Year, and New Opportunities for Admin. Professionals

  1. Pingback: Niagara Falls and the Polar Vortex | Exceptional EA

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