Conference and event keynotes, tailored to your needs

Donnelly-Shelagh-2018-Copyright-Shelagh-DonnellyEvent planners: Here’s a sampling of Shelagh’s keynote presentations, any of which she’ll happy customize for your conference or onsite training needs.

For details on any presentation, just click on the “+” sign alongside the topic title. To collapse a presentation abstract, just click “-“.


You give a lot to your career, but are you investing your energies in the right direction? Many assistants are known for a tendency toward perfectionism. Of course you want to be known for the quality of your work, but you may more effectively meet everyone’s needs if you approach this from a basis of nurturing your own resilience.

Join this recovering perfectionist for a look at prioritising resilience as a means to both high performance and career satisfaction!

  • Why the question for perfection?
  • How nurturing your resilience helps drive high performance
  • The impact of networks on your resilience.
Assistants often excel at advocating for others and taking care of their colleagues’ needs, but may not be quite so comfortable when it comes to advocating or negotiating on their own behalf. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert (reflecting qualities of both introversion and extroversion), you can impact your career satisfaction, performance and progress by thinking like an executive.

Honing these skills can benefit both you and your employer, as you can achieve greater clarity of communications and reduce misunderstandings and frustrations.

If you’re ready to enhance your ability to speak up for yourself and refine your negotiating skills, join Shelagh in this session. Plan to explore why and how self-promotion needn’t be an unwelcome concept. We’ll also look at visibility and recognition, and how to achieve these for all the right reasons.

  • Self-promotion: how to make it work, rather than backfire
  • How to enhance your visibility and recognition of the value you bring to the organisation
  • How to negotiate like an executive
Our business and personal lives are increasingly digital, and we often rely on technology without blinking an eye. If you tackle work projects from home or respond to emails outside office hours, you may find yourself using personal hardware for business purposes. Nor is it uncommon for people to rely on their employers’ networks when using their personal smartphones.

With this blurring of boundaries, it’s important to be aware of the potential implications of a cyber breach – for you, and for your employer. We’ll take a look at those breach implications, and the latest tactics cyber criminals employ. This is important, because EAs working with senior executives and boards are attractive targets. We’ll wrap up by looking at practical, proactive measures you can take to mitigate those risks in the office and in your personal life.

Join Shelagh in this session, and you'll see why she's been been called the assistants' cybersecurity whisperer.

  • Breach implications
  • Recognising risk
  • Mitigating risk - best practices
Debate has followed a prominent business publication's article about the “vanishing” executive assistant, and we continue to witness the accelerated rise of artificial intelligence (AI). In the midst of all this, one thing is for certain: assistants of all job titles need to be able to adapt to and manage change.

While change is something assistants routinely handle, it’s increasingly unfolding on different levels. Technology, demographics and other factors are driving changes that can be developmental, disruptive or transformational in nature. Join Shelagh for a look at how to adapt and not only cope, but thrive in times of change.


  • Learn about developmental, disruptive and transformational change
  • Explore how to nurture your resilience through self-care
  • How to build confidence and convey value through self-management
  • Brand is simply another word for reputation; it reflects the image and perceptions people have of you. However you refer to it, you've likely established an image or brand that impacts your career prospects. .

    We regularly turn to mirrors to check how we physically present ourselves to the world, but how often do we assess and nurture our brands? The way you dress and look are a couple of elements, but there’s more to it. You also have the ability to enhance your influence or reduce your brand through the way you speak – to your peers, and to power.

    Your brand impacts not only your career prospects; it also influences others’ perceptions of your principal (boss) and employer.

    • Learn how image, attitude, credibility and social media impact your career prospects
    • Assess the current state of your brand
    • Identify how to nurture and own both your brand and your career
    Is life-work balance a myth in your experience, or something that’s achieved in spurts? Assistants make careers out of supporting other peoples’ successes, sometimes to their own detriment. They often work extended hours in the office, at home, or sometimes during their commutes.

    If you routinely check email, texts and other business communications even when you're on vacation or under the weather, you may be doing yourself a disservice with your digital habits.

    Does that same commitment to being "on" also lead you to overextend yourself on the job even though your principal (boss) doesn't expect or even know about all those extra hours you put in? Do those long hours translate to peak performance, or to a tired, stressed-out assistant?

    While there are certainly roles that couldn’t be accomplished without inordinate hours, sometimes assistants place unreasonable expectations on their own shoulders. That can impact an individual’s resilience, which in turn impacts job performance. Whether or not you consider life-work balance a realistic goal, you can increase your resilience with a mindful approach. When resilience is nurtured, that’s good for you and good for business. With increased resilience, you're likely to perform better and while at least tipping the scales toward a better sense of balance.

    So what are some of the challenges in establishing and maintaining boundaries between business and personal lives? In this session, we’ll look at the quest for perfectionism as well as the office equivalent of FOMO, known as a fear of missing out. Shelagh will also challenge participants to identify boundaries between personal and business lives, and how to establish and maintain them.

    • Identify whether you’re sometimes over-invested in your work, and why
    • Be prepared to play “What if …”, to identify what would happen if you took steps to achieve a better balance between your personal and work lives
    • Identify boundaries you would like to establish, and how to articulate them

    To have Shelagh contact you for a discussion of your needs, click here

    Click here if you’d like to see what assistants, conference organizers and clients have to say about the training Shelagh delivers.

    Shall we talk? To discuss your plans and needs, drop an email to or click here to send an online request.

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