Exceptional EA is pleased to showcase Real Careers, in which administrators from around the globe generously share a bit of their lives and the benefit of their experience. We’ve made virtual trips to Canada, South Africa, the UK and US, and now make our way to the Netherlands for a visit with Marelva Rodrigues.
A Familiar Morning Decision, No Matter the Country
I wake up by 6:30 a.m. Get in the shower by 7:00 a.m. and when I come out of the shower I usually stand too long in front of my closet trying to decide what I’m going to wear that day. Then I have a quick cornflakes breakfast and leave to go to work. I rely on public transport, and this takes me about 20 minutes to travel. What musicians/composers are on your playlist for your commute? Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Rita Ora.
At the Office
Morning Routines: Checking e-mails, accepting/declining invitations, scheduling meetings, booking meeting rooms, ordering lunch.
Primary Responsibilities: Complex agenda management, booking flights, making hotel reservations, taking minutes in meetings, coordinating day-to-day tasks at the office. There is no such thing as a typical day, haha.
What might be a typical lunch? I usually have soup and two slices of whole wheat bread for lunch.
Do you work from home in your “off” hours, or during your commute? I hardly do.
Dealing with Challenges
What is the most challenging aspect of your day or career? Getting things done from my To-do-list that day.
Find the right balance between home and work
What do you most enjoy about your career? I enjoy being the support system. Having my managers rely on me and trust me with their whole lives. And getting appreciated for what I do for them.
On Saying “No”
I say no to people all the time. Especially when they expect me to schedule in a meeting for them with one of my managers. I schedule in meetings only when one of my manager asks me to. Otherwise it is no.
How do you like to spend your time outside the office? I like to go out for dinner & drinks with friends; I enjoy going to a music concert or festival. How do you reward yourself after a tough day or week? By going to the sauna
What song or two are we likely to find you singing along to when driving, or if no one’s listening? Any song by Bruno Mars or Alicia Keys.
A dream holiday or travel adventure? A Caribbean island at an all-inclusive resort
Education and Professional Development
Education: After working as an Assistant for some years, I realized that it would open more doors for me if I would go back to school to obtain a diploma for Secretarial studies.
Education opens career doors
Peer and Professional Associations: At my previous employer I belonged to a Diversity & Inclusion Network in which I was one of the board members.
Awards and Recognition
- Most popular colleague award
Technology: Reality and Wish List
Preferred form(s) of social media? I use LinkedIn. I am not a fan of social media.
Style and Substance
What are your go-to wardrobe pieces to ensure confidence on an important day in the workplace? My black semi-leathered blazer with a casual dark blue jeans, some semi-high heels and some nice accessories
What one or two cosmetics would your purse or travel bag be empty without? Lip gloss, hand crème
Heels or flats? I prefer flats. Favourite brands of shoes, whether you wear them or they’re on your wish list? Supra’s
Preferred scent: Flowerbomb by Victor & Rolf
What might we find in your desk drawer? My toothbrush & tooth paste (I brush my teeth after my lunch break).
Role models or mentors? My two ex-colleagues-who-turned-friends. They both are my role models because they have had much more experience being an Assistant than I’ve had and they always guided me, coached me and advised me, both professionally and personally.
What bit of insight would have been most helpful to you in the early stages of your career? Take this profession seriously! That does not mean you can’t laugh or have fun at your job, but be aware that your actions can cause action, because indirectly you are the driving force behind your manager.
Be aware that your consequences have actions
What advice might you offer a new mother returning to the workplace? Take time to find the right balance between home and work. Only you know what the right balance is for you. Don’t rush it. Once you find that balance: Happy mom, happy kids, happy husband and, of course, happy boss.
Identify career goals, assess possibilities – and grab them with both hands
Your most effective time management strategy? Getting things done before the time I set for myself.
Advice for new executives on how to best work with an assistant: Build a trust. When the trust, understanding and mutual respect are there, it makes the job so much easier.
For those interested in promotion: Go for it! Reach for your goals, reach for the stars! Figure out first where you want your career to go and see if the possibilities are there. If so, grab them with both hands. I will always support people wanting to get more out of their careers.
For a list of resources recommended by our readers, click here.