Go ahead. Be exceptional.

Exceptional EA has been here since 2013 for assistants around the globe

… and we’ve built some incredible communities along the way. The faces you see on this page are not stock images. Rather, they represent a sampling of some very impressive assistants I’ve interviewed – from 28 different countries – for my Real Careers series since 2015. These individuals are also representative of the people for whom I write: a global community of women and men at various stages in their careers, all focused on performing at a high level.

I’m Shelagh (pronounced “Sheila”) Donnelly. I live in Vancouver, Canada, and was a career assistant myself. As you’ll see here, my career goes back a long way; I walked the walk for three decades. While that is an IBM Selectric in the background, we did have colour photography when this snap was taken. This photo was taken for a corporate publication that was printed in black and white.

I launched this website while working in a demanding role supporting a board of directors, and was presenting to assistants in different countries long before I left the office environment in 2018. That’s when I began speaking, training and writing year-round, rather than using vacation time to travel and deliver keynotes and training presentations.

To say we’re living in interesting times is an understatement. While the assistant career has been continually evolving, we can expect the pace of change to continue to accelerate. It’s important, then, for both personal and career resilience for us to be receptive to change and also to one of those words we’re hearing on a routine basis, reskilling.

Would you like to discuss having me present for you?

Click here to send me an email or click here to connect through my convenient online contact form.

Resources to help you as the career and your aspirations evolve

You’ll find a range of resources here on your screen. Position your mouse above the “Articles” menu above, and you’ll see I’ve written numerous pieces to help you in different aspects of your career development. Some may prove particularly useful when you reach bumps in the career.

I’ve written articles for you on everything from working through this pandemic to change and resilience, communications, earning respect, interview prep, minutes, networking, organisational skills, public speaking, leading teams, technology, time management, and more. You’ll see additional (side drop) menus for each of these topics, and an additional one on that all-important business relationship with your principal, also known as your boss. As well, I’ve recorded some podcasts as well; they’re also in the “Articles” section.

Weekday inspirational quotes, travel inspiration and more for your personal time

That’s what you’ll find under the “Blog” menu. Yes, our travel options have been constrained since 2020, yet it’s good to soak up ideas and images while we look forward to exploring more of the world once again. I publish inspirational quotes on weekdays, along with photos from my own explorations. Dive in to the drop-down menus in the Blog area of this site when you’re ready for a breather from business!

Real Careers interviews and Weekend Polls

Spend some time exploring the content behind the Interviews tab, and read my Real Careers interviews for career insights and strategies from around this globe of ours. Watch, too, for my Weekend Polls, in which I offer my insights and updates from the business world as I ask readers to share your perspectives and experiences.

Learn in person

I appreciate it when readers recommend me to your HR or Learning and Development colleagues, and to your networks, professional associations and conference organisers. If you’d like to explore having me deliver onsite or conference training, please click here to send me an email or click here to connect through my convenient online contact form.

Webinars, live and on demand – accessible whatever your time zone

I believe that crises, unwanted though they may be, also bring opportunities for those who seek them. Think of the training and learning opportunities we’re now able to tap into by way of webinars and virtual events. I’ve been hosting webinars for some time now, and made the move to Zoom late last year. You’ll find my upcoming webinars under the Learn: Upcoming Webinars tab, and I’ll continue to update this as the year progresses.

You can also take a look at upcoming and past webinars on my Eventbrite page, which is where assistants from 15 countries headed last year to register for my webinars.  With people spread across so many time zones, some assistants register to attend the live training. Others register knowing that, if the live session unfolds during your evening or very early morning hours – or if your workload is particularly demanding the day of a live webinar – you can access the recording of our session on demand, for anywhere from 60 to 90 days. With exceptions such as my recent Holiday Webinar Bundle, all registrants also have access to the companion workbooks I develop for each webinar.

Would you like to plan some professional development?

Please click here to send me an email or

click here to connect through my convenient online contact form.

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