Join me for today’s Real Careers interview with Jodi Rowlands of Ohio, USA.
Jodi Rowlands is Administrative Supervisor and Executive Assistant to the President of Parkview Regional Medical Center & Affiliates. Here’s a look at her world.
I am usually up by 5:00 a.m., glancing at my emails for priority items, and mentally preparing for the day. I never leave home without my coffee or without telling my family (including my four dogs) that I love them.
I live in Ohio and work in Indiana. I drive about 40 minutes to work.
At the Office
Primary Responsibilities: I lead a team of three fantastic executive assistants and provide support to the President of Parkview Regional Medical Center & Affiliates. This includes extensive calendar management, board preparation and minute taking, travel arrangement, and being a trusted advisor and strategic-thinking partner.
While change may be uncomfortable, it is necessary
Morning Routines: Each day begins with a “Good morning” and “How are things?” with the team. I also have a quick touch base/review with the executive to keep my finger on the pulse of the business at hand and to ensure I’m up to date on any changes that are needed.
How long is your work day? Typically, a work day for me is about nine to 10 hours and that includes staying on top of priority or urgent items from home.
Given health risks associated with views that sitting is the new smoking, have you or your employer adopted any steps to support good health? My organization has a wonderful wellbeing program which encourages standing, steps and stretching at least once per hour. The organization is supportive of having stand desks, as well.
What might be a typical lunch? I usually try to take at least a half hour lunch which, at times, can be a working lunch.
Inside the career
What is the most challenging aspect of your day or career? Conflicting priorities. What do you most enjoy about your career? All of it – providing support to executive leadership, building relationships, and helping to elevate the role of administrative professionals
Determine whether you are looking for a job or a career
On Saying “No”
I rarely say “no” but, on the off chance that I do, it is done professionally and with an explanation. One of the best tips that I can offer is be helpful without overextending yourself.
How long have you been in this career? I have been in the administrative professional role for over 25 years. I have been an EA for the past seven years and a supervisor for six years.
What was your first role as an assistant? I began my career as a receptionist and continued to move forward into my current role of Administrative Supervisor and Executive Assistant to the President. How did you learn about the opportunity that led to your current role? It was my personal goal to attain an executive assistant position within our organization. I was an internal candidate.
How do you like to spend your time away from the office? I absolutely love spending time with my family, friends, and furbabies. How do you decompress or reward yourself after a tough day or week? Oh, there are so many ways, but one of my favorite is shoe shopping!
Your ideal holiday or travel adventure? My favorite travel adventure is beach time in Florida. My travel goal for the future will be to go to Hawaii!
I bring critical thinking skills and strategic vision to the role
Education and Professional Development
Education: I earned my Associate of Science (A.S.) in Business Administration at Indiana Tech University in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Peer and Professional Associations: I serve on the Administrative Professionals Conference (APC) Advisory Council, and am an IAAP member and Branch Director. How have these networks or associations helped you? My participation has helped me identify common challenges and also best practices.
How have these leadership roles impacted you? Fulfilling a leadership role has allowed me to grow professionally and broaden horizons – for not only myself, but also for many who are in the administrative professional role. What are the primary means of communication for these roles on the Advisory council and as a Branch Director? Emails and conference calls
Interviewing: Research the organization so that you can be ready to talk as if you are already a part of the team
Networking, inspiration and achievements
Let’s talk about the positive benefits your networking has had on your career, and/or for your employer. My networking has poitioned me well to work with my leader on developing enhanced educational offerings for team members.
Tell us about a career accomplishment or two of which you’re particularly proud. I am proud of being an executive assistant, and of having been selected as an APC Advisory Council member.
Be helpful without overextending yourself
Recruitment is often competency-based. Which of the competencies you bring to the role are most relevant to success in your current position? In addition to a polished, professional demeanor, I bring critical thinking skills and strategic vision to the role.
Inspirational reads? Mean Girl No More, by Peggy Vasquez
Role models or mentors? There have been many! I have taken advice and guidance from my direct leader, team members, executives, family members and friends to continue to grow and refine my career.
What steps do you take when you recognise that you need to move beyond your comfort zone? I take a breath and remind myself that while change may be uncomfortable, it is necessary.
What skill(s) development or enhancement have you targeted for the next year? I plan to continue developing and growing educational offerings for administrative professionals within our organization. Do you have any career goals or accomplishments on your radar for the next five years? It is my hope to attain certification as administrative professional trainer/speaker.
It is my hope to attain certification as administrative professional trainer/speaker
The Digital Age
What apps do you make use of in your professional life? LinkedIn
Do you have an employer-provided smartphone? I utilize my own smartphone. I am in a salaried position, so being available 24/7 isn’t uncommon. However, I am very fortunate to partner with an executive who is mindful of work/life balance.
Are the meetings you coordinate or attend primarily digital, or paper-based? We use a BoardEffect portal as well as SharePoint. We are primarily paperless for meetings.
You’re talking to a counterpart embarking on a job search. Briefly outline the approach you’d recommend. Review information about the employer – culture, mission and values. Evaluate yourself – your qualifications and your short- and long-term goals. I also recommend determining if you are looking for a “job” or a “career”. This needs to be weighed carefully for success.
Give us one or two of your best strategies for job interviews. Do your homework and research the organization so that you can be ready to talk as if you are already a part of the team!
Learn (your executive’s) body language and be able to read (it) from across the room
What bit of insight would have been most helpful to you in the early stages of your career? Not everyone wants to see you succeed.
Your most effective time management strategy? If you happen to have an office door, exercise the right to close it in order to meet deadlines. Continuously evaluate priorities as business needs are added.
Continuously evaluate priorities as business needs are added
Advice for a new parent returning to the workplace? Breathe and surround yourself with those in the workplace who know you best. They will help support you through this transition.
What are a couple of valuable early conversation topics you recommend an assistant initiate when beginning work with a new executive/principal? I would recommend initiating it with examples: “This is how I have your calendar set up; however, I’m happy to alter it based on your preferences.”
Discuss preferences for travel, restaurants, work hours and weekend interaction. Ask about food allergies. Be observant of your new executive – learn his or her body language and be able to read them from across the room.
I bring critical thinking skills and strategic vision to the role
Your thoughts on goal setting? Set your goals and let nothing deter you from your path!
For those interested in promotion: Be ready to put in the work to achieve the growth/promotion, and never give up.
… and now, a note from Shelagh. Readers not familiar with some of the people and resources Jodi mentioned may be interested in checking the following links.
- (APC) Advisory Council – Administrative Professionals Conference
- IAAP – International Association of Administrative Professionals
- Vasquez, Peggy – Mean Girl No More
To explore a range of resources that are relevant to your career, click here to explore what you can find under Exceptional EA’s Real Careers tab.
Interested in knowing more about some of the professional associations and networks specifically for assistants? Click here to see the list Shelagh’s developed based on your peers’ recommendations.
Exceptional EA showcases Real Careers, in which administrators from around the globe generously share the benefit of their experience. We’ve made virtual trips to 23 countries to date: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates , the United States of America and Wales.