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 Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, the USA and Wales, and now make our way to to California to meet with Stacy Leitner.
Dual Alarms for A Night Owl
My mornings start earlier than I would like. I’m a night owl, so I tend to work late into the night. I typically set two alarms and wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. on any given work day. Each morning when I awake, I review text and email messages that came in while I was asleep. I take about an hour to get ready for work. I eat breakfast on the run, so I usually grab a piece of toast, banana, and string cheese from the kitchen and head out the door.
My commute to work each day is 18 miles (approximately 29 km) one way, which takes roughly 30-40 minutes. I drive each day, and my playlist includes Pink, Beyoncé, Madonna, and The Piano Guys. What song or two are we likely to find you singing along to when driving, or if no one’s listening? Girls Just Want to Have Fun! Manic Monday. Something from Madonna.
At the Office
Morning Routines: The first thing I do when I arrive into the office is greet one of my colleagues. We stagger our schedules to provide additional coverage in our office. I locate the City Manager/CEO and typically arrive to work before his first meeting of the day. When I get to my desk, I check voicemail and email. I pull out my To-Do list prepared the day/evening before, and get to work.
Primary Responsibilities: I partner with the City Manager/CEO for the City of Rancho Cordova and organise the City Manager’s calendar, coordinate frequent meetings and contacts with the Mayor and City Council, public, government officials, and representatives from other agencies. In addition, I collaborate with an incredible team of administrative professional support staff to assist in carrying out a variety of daily requests.
No two days are ever alike. I spend quite a bit of time answering and returning phone calls, reading and responding to email, assisting with requests to see or talk with the City Manager/CEO, and helping to ensure that the day-to-day flow of work in the City Manager’s Office keeps moving.
How long is your work day? I am typically in the office from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
What might be a typical lunch? Where do you eat? If I cooked, my answer might be leftovers from the previous night. I don’t cook. If I don’t bring a lunch from home, I like to support local Rancho Cordova businesses and grab a bite to eat.
Do you work from home in your “off” hours, or during your commute? Yes, I work from home in my “off” hours. Our office tends to be pretty busy, so I am typically monitoring and responding to email and text messages, and responding to phone calls when I’m not in the office.
Dealing with Challenges
What is the most challenging aspect of your day or career? The most challenging aspect of my day is knowing when to call it quits because the To-Do’s never end. The most challenging aspect of my career is keeping up with the advances in technology.
Know when to call it quits on a given day; the to-do list is ongoing
What do you most enjoy about your career? I see the critical role that administrative professionals can play in today’s workplace, and enjoy seeing the difference I am making in the lives of those whom I support and come into contact with each day.
On Saying “No”
I rarely say “no” to people. I liken my position to that of a concierge at a hotel. I don’t have to do everything; I just have to ensure everything gets done. People are my greatest resource in helping our office to be responsive to the demands of the day.
I was born in Chico, California, and currently reside in the Sacramento, California area. I enjoy city living. I like a faster pace and enjoy having a variety of shopping, community, and entertainment opportunities around me.
My time ouside the office is spent connecting with family and friends, reading, supporting professional associations, participating in church volunteer work, writing blog articles, traveling, and preparing for speaking engagements and trainings. I also enjoy soaking up the sun and love being near a pool.
How do you pamper or reward yourself after a tough day or week? I like to stay at home and recharge. When I feel like splurging a little, I like to get a pedicure and massage.
A dream holiday or travel adventure? My dream travel adventure is to the Greek Isles. I’ve been to Greece before, and would love to go back and travel the islands.
Education and Professional Development
Education: My educational journey has led me to acquire four college degrees – two associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. I have also furthered my professional development by acquiring certifications such as the CAP-OM and MOS.
Get a mentor or coach
Peer and Professional Associations: I belong to several peer/professional associations that support my administrative professional and education career choices. The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is the association that has been most influential in my life over the last couple of decades. Over the years, I have served in local and statewide leadership roles, obtained the CAP-OM certification designation, attended educational conferences throughout North America, and expanded my network by meeting and connecting with administrative professionals from around the globe.
Preferred form(s) of social media? I absolutely enjoy connecting and staying in touch with family, friends, business associates, and others through social media. I regularly use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Let’s connect!
Your dream app, or software, to help you in your career? I would really like an app that could give me more time in any given day to get more done.
Awards and Recognition
In 2012 I was recognised by OfficeTeam and received the prestigious Administrative Excellence Award. I have also been recognised by Heald College, the Cordova Community Council, and the California Business Education Association for my teaching contributions. I have worked with thousands of students and many professionals who want to grow their careers. My passion and focus towards professional development and self-improvement is driven by a motivation that everyone can have a satisfying career.
People are my greatest resource in helping our office be responsive
Style and Substance
What is your go-to outfit to ensure confidence on an important day in the workplace? My go-to outfit is my black Calvin Klein pencil skirt, a favourite blouse and jacket, Michael Kors watch, and Cole Haan shoes with Nike Air technology for comfort.
What one or two cosmetics would your purse or travel bag be empty without? Mascara and lip gloss.
Heels or flats? Heels, for both the office and my commute. Favourite brands of shoes, whether you wear them or they’re on your wish list? Cole Haan. I used to work 14-hour days for 16 years, and hands down these shoes are amazingly comfortable when on your feet all day long.
What might we find in your desk drawer? My desk drawer is filled with an assortment of office supplies, cash, gum, gift cards, birthday and thank you cards, stamps, and business cards.
Travel or travel planning advice? Use a travel agent for complicated travel. It’s well worth the minimal fee!
Inspirational reads? I’m a huge fan of the books that Suze Orman has authored. I absolutely believe in taking charge of your own personal finances by learning to manage and grow your financial resources.
Time management: plan ahead and keep a to-do list
Role models or mentors? Fortunately, I have had many career/professional role models and mentors throughout my life: my mother, Susan Leitner; my former City Manager, Ted Gaebler, whom I supported for 10 years; Ada Gerard, former Campus President of Heald College in Rancho Cordova, where I worked for 16 years; and Donna Anderson and Dorothy Garten, both business education instructors and colleagues. They all helped to support my career and professional development goals.
Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud. Over the last couple of years, while simultaneously working as an executive assistant, I have become an entrepreneur and launched two businesses – A Great Day’s Work and Admin to Admin.
Secondly, I dedicated 16 years to teaching college business, computer applications, and career development courses for three colleges, helping to increase the skills of today’s future and current administrative professional workforce. I’ve really enjoyed these opportunities, which help me to stretch myself and help others.
Do you have any career goals or accomplishments on your radar for the next five years? Absolutely! I would like to offer new resources for administrative professionals on my blog, A Great Day’s Work. Another goal of mine is to publish a book. Lastly, I expect to spend more time growing Admin to Admin, a business focused on training and professional development for the administrative professional.
What bit of insight would have been most helpful to you in the early stages of your career? I wish I would have thought bigger and been more of a risk taker.
I don’t have to do everything; I just have to ensure everything gets done
Your most effective time management strategy? I believe that planning and creating a To-Do list is my most effective time management strategy.
Think big, and take risks
Advice for a new mother working to the workplace? I would encourage mothers to embrace their role as a working professional by bringing their children to work when appropriate, to meet colleagues, share insights about their career, allow children to see what you do at work each day, and help children to understand your role in the workplace so they can be more supportive of your career.
Advice for new executives on how to best work with an assistant: I would recommend that the new executive spend quality time with the assistant in sharing information, asking questions, and getting to really know one another. The work partnership between the executive and assistant is so critical in today’s workplace.
For those interested in promotion: I would encourage the assistant to get a mentor/coach and to talk with her/his supervisor/manager periodically about career goals.
… and now, a note from Shelagh. Readers not familiar with some of the people and resources Stacy referenced may be interested in checking the following links. To explore a range of resources recommended by readers, click here for Exceptional EA’s Resources Page or click here to see all professional associations and networks recommended by peers.
- Admin to Admin – Stacy Leitner, Linda McFarland, Lisa Olsen
- A Great Day’s Work – Stacy Leitner
- International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)