Will April 24th be much like any other work day in your office, or is it a day when colleagues extend extra recognition to you and other assistants?
About the event
This weekend, I’m once again asking for your views on Administrative Professionals Day™. It’s officially celebrated on Wednesday the 24th this year but, in fact, the period from April 22nd to 26th is proclaimed Administrative Professionals Week™ (APW).
If you’re one of my readers from a country other than Canada, South Africa or the USA, you may wonder what the fuss is all about. IAAP, the International Association of Administrative Professionals, has sponsored Administrative Professionals Week (APW) since 1952. Yes, you read that correctly!
Then known as the National Secretaries Association, this professional body launched the celebration in part to attract people to the career. The event is typically not marked in countries other than Canada, South Africa or the USA. Historically, offices that have marked the event have done so with cards, flowers or celebration lunches.
A couple of firsts in Canada, via Rhonda Scharf
Friend and fellow trainer Rhonda Scharf is hosting the first annual Admins Rock Conference in Toronto on April 24th; I think there may still be some registration spots available.
This conference will also see presentation of the first annual Canadian Administrative Professional of the Year award.
The list of judges for the award is kept confidential, but I know there are five judges. Rhonda is one, and I know that another one also has curly hair!
Professional development (PD)
I view the potential for developmental opportunities as a worthwhile outcome of this tradition that IAAP began before most of us were born. IAAP is among a number of bodies and individuals who advocate recognition of Admin. Professionals Day and Week through provision of professional development.
I like the fact that IAAP members across borders are using the occasion to offer celebrations that are wrapped around educational seminars. The IAAP Chicago NW Branch, for instance, just hosted Emotional Intelligence for Administrative Professionals, presented by Ann Dahlke, CAP, OM, TA. On the west coast, IAAP’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) Branch will host the April 27th PNW IAAP 2019 APW Conference, with a pre-conference workshop on the 26th. These are just some examples, and there are many more.
Elsewhere: Recognition through awards
Assistants living in other continents are more likely to turn to awards and recognition programs to celebrate talent. In England, the Manchester PA Awards is an incredibly impressive example of peers recognising “support professionals who have exceeded expectations and exemplify hard work, dedication and passion within their roles”.
I’ve not yet attended one of the Manchester PA Awards events, which are held in early November and prefaced by a number of first rate events – the 2019 Awards launch took
I have, however, presented to an impressive group of these Mancunians, and respect the Manchester PA Network’s focus on professional growth. Take a look at their website, and you’ll see that these Brits have 14 award categories for individual and team excellence. They even have an award for business leaders, and an External PA Network award, to recognise one of the UK’s many other strong networks!
Again, these are examples of assistants helping elevate the career and one another. I know that, when I was recognised by Governance and President’s Office Professionals of Canada (GPOP) with its Distinguished Service Award, that was more meaningful than any chocolates or flowers, however tasty or fragrant!
What’s the focus (if any) in your office?
I’ve written in past years about my frustration with what I consider patronising messages and imagery contained in greeting cards targeting the event. Suffice to say that cards run the gamut from sincere to stupid. Take a minute to do an online search for national days marking careers in accounting, health care and so on. You’ll typically find a focus on professional development, and not imagery or advertising for chocolates, cards and flowers – however appealing they may be.
I for one respect the evolution away from the very well intended but sometimes patronising greeting card mentality to one that reflects the evolution of this career. That leads to the focus of this weekend’s poll:
What do you think of Admin. Professionals Day, and its evolution?
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below, and I’ll publish results in the week ahead.