A gift and some thoughts from Shelagh on Admin Professionals Day 2021

How I feel about this annual tradition

It’s no secret. Those who’ve been following Exceptional EA since I launched this website in 2013 will know that I’ve long encouraged a shift away from well intended cards, flowers and lunches to mark Administrative Professionals Day (and Week!).

In fact, I’ve been writing for years now about my preference for instead focusing on recognition of assistants’ contributions to the success of their respective organisations, and to ongoing professional development.

From the vaults: my 2017 position on this week as a time for advocacy and professional development

Here’s what I wrote in my 2017 article on this tradition, titled, Weekend Poll: Is Admin. Professionals Day Relevant as this Career Evolves?

“Might all be better served by a shift from the very well intended but sometimes patronising greeting card mentality to one that reflects the evolution of this career into a profession? Are you pleased with flowers and greeting cards, or would you prefer to increasingly direct focus to advocacy and professional development?”

The tide is turning

I recognise that many may challenge my perspective, and don’t wish to detract from those who extend and receive gestures of genuine appreciation for assistants’ positive impacts on their organisations.

IAAP, the association that launched this annual event almost 70 years ago, has recently updated its statement on Administrative Professionals Day. Here’s an excerpt from the International Association of Administrative Professionals’ (IAAP’s) 2021 position on Admin Professionals Day:

“Skip the flowers and treats, this day was started by IAAP in 1952 to provide administrative professionals a collective voice … Admins should not expect to be recognized during this week and day, but instead should use this time to speak up and ask for the things they need to be successful—like commensurate pay and professional development opportunities.” 

As you may imagine, I’m pleased that IAAP and I are in synch on these points I’ve been raising for years.

Here’s to you

Whatever your work situation looks like right now, and wherever you work, I hope that all assistants receive meaningful recognition of the positive impacts you have on your organisation – not only today, but throughout the year. Whether or not you’re reading this in a country where Administrative Professionals’ Day is observed, you deserve credit for the professionalism you bring to the career.

I also recognise that these past 12 to 14 months have been particularly challenging for many. Whether you’ve been furloughed, laid off, seen your position (never you; it’s the position) made redundant, or found yourself supporting more colleagues than ever even as you adapted to new technology and new ways … this has likely been a time of both challenges and growth – and no, I’m not referring here to that other COVID-19!

About that gift I’m offering

Like almost everyone else, I’m conducting business differently than in the past. Yes, I miss seeing you in person at conferences and corporate/inhouse events. However, I’ve been delivering webinars on a weekly basis to assistants in countries around the globe, and loving it. This is in addition to the virtual conferences at which I’ve been presenting.

Since we’re all making our way through a remarkable time, I’m offering 90 complimentary seats (virtual, natch) for my Tuesday, May 11/21 presentation, One Year In: Career & Life Lessons to Carry Forward from the Pandemic.

You can head to my Eventbrite page to learn more about this webinar, and register.  When you click on the “Registration” link, you’ll see the option to “Enter promo code”.

When you enter the code you see just below, and if you’re among the first 90 people to register, that will secure you a 100% discount off the registration fee.

Your promo code:


See you online soon – and perhaps in person, before too much time passes! – and have a terrific day!

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