Shelagh’s Presentations

London, March 2018: Shelagh with some of IMA’s (International Management Assistants’) leaders and members from Belgium, England, Norway and The Netherlands during a break before her presentation at Executive Secretary LIVE 

Event planners: Here’s a sampling of Shelagh’s presentations and workshops, 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.

KEYNOTES, MOTIVATIONAL PRESENTATIONS

Before she began interviewing and sharing Real Careers insights from high performing assistants around the globe on her website, Shelagh built an impressive EA career of her own.

What you may not know is that she’s walked away from more than one otherwise fantastic opportunity on the basis of either “fit” or the priority she attached to spending time with her young family.

Not all careers follow steadily upward trajectories and, in her thirties, Shelagh rebooted hers. She went from supporting those at the top of the org chart and working as a corporate editor and trainer in her twenties to re-entering the administrative career more than a few rungs down the corporate ladder. Not long after, she found herself leading a team of staff in conflict. She ultimately worked her way back up to roles in which she was accountable to CEOs and a board of directors.

Join Shelagh for a frank and inspirational discussion of the challenges, opportunities and even some personalities she’s encountered along the way – and lessons learned. You’ll learn about the mantra she adopted when dealing with difficult people, the significance of fit, and the merits of building your career around your personal life rather than the other way around.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • How to lead: influencing without authority
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Assessing career opportunities: there's more than compensation to consider
Have you ever wondered why great things seem to simply fall into place for some people, while your contributions and efforts sometimes seem to go unnoticed when it comes to opportunities and promotions? The reality is that opportunities rarely simply fall into a person’s lap, even if you’re good at what you do. This goes to the adage that’s attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, back in the first century AD: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Assistants often excel at advocating for others and taking care of their principals’ (bosses’) needs, but may not be quite so comfortable when it comes to advocating for themselves. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, you can create your own luck by learning how to prepare for opportunities.

Perhaps you'd like more recognition or greater satisfaction in the role you currently hold. You may have your eye on preparing for future opportunities. Either way, you are responsible for your own career satisfaction and success. It’s not up to anyone else. If you want to ensure you’re taking charge of your career, this session is for you.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Self-promotion is a learned skill, and it's not only for extroverts
  • How to get the recognition you deserve through increased visibility
  • Strategies to distinguish yourself and create your own luck
  • You have a goal? Think like an executive; use metrics to support your business case
Brand is simply another word for reputation; it reflects the image and perceptions people have of you. However you refer to it, your brand or reputation shapes your career and so you need to pay attention. You also need to be authentic.

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.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Understand how your brand impacts your career prospects
  • Assess the current state of your brand
  • Learn how image, attitude, credibility and social media impact your brand
  • Identify how to nurture and own both your brand and your career
COMMUNICATIONS and CONNECTIONS

No mind or job should be stagnant, and so you'll ideally expose yourself to new people and ideas throughout your career. Networks, conferences and professional associations are great ways to connect with your peers.

In this session, we’ll start with a look at internal and sectoral networks. If your organization doesn’t yet have one, you can pick up strategies on how to make the business case, launch and nurture your own. Shelagh has launched two internal networks, one in 2006 and another in 2012, and both are still going strong.

Shelagh also helped professionalize a national network of counterparts who have similar careers in the same sector but work with different employers – often thousands of kilometers/miles apart from one another. We’ll take a look at the evolution of this professional association, and how it’s used technology to support members personally and professionally.

We’ll also explore pushing the boundaries beyond what you might consider a typical network. The beauty of technology is that we can establish and nurture digital networks across the globe. This presents opportunities to expose yourself to different cultures, practices and people, all of which enhance your CQ/Cultural Intelligence. You may also be surprised by the scope of professional development to be gained through e-networks, and how helpful they can be when planning international travel for your executive or yourself.

A common thread that will ideally run through all your networking is a desire to give at least as much as you get when it comes to networking.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:

  • How to make the business case for an internal network, and then launch it
  • The benefits of formalizing networks with sector or other peers across the city, region or country
  • Exploring International networks of assistants on social media
  • Making the most of your networks - give at least as much as you take
The best assistants are recognized as extensions of their executives. They’re well informed and acquit themselves with confidence. Despite this, even C-level assistants sometimes hesitate or experience discomfort when asked to speak in front of a group.

Whether it's a planned presentation or a request to provide a project or event update during a meeting, each such occasion represents an opportunity to enhance your reputation and your capacity to influence decision making. Shelagh studied speech arts and was winning public speaking competitions at the age of 13, and shares the strategies that supported her success in interview situations and as an EA.

Focused preparation goes a long way, and this session will position you to tackle speaking opportunities with greater skill and confidence. You'll come away with Shelagh's step-by-step process to prepare for presentation success.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Step-by-step tips on preparing and polishing a presentation
  • Flipping your perspective to sharpen your presentation skills
  • Proactive strategies to ease unwanted nerves
  • Principles you can also apply to speaking confidently at meetings and interviews
If you’ve shunned social media or stayed on its sidelines, you’re in good company. What you may not realize is just how relevant some channels can be to your brand and your career.

Social media can be the contemporary networking equivalent of a golf club membership, as you can make mutually beneficial connections. LinkedIn can serve as your online CV – complete with endorsements and recommendations. If you choose, social media can also serve as a vehicle for professional development.

Join Shelagh for an interactive look at local, national and international networks that can become valued resources. You’ll learn how to tap in to social media as a networking mechanism and which resources can be relevant for your professional development. If you’ve contemplated social media but have reservations about how to get going, we’ll cover how to establish accounts. By the end of this session, you’ll be able to make better informed decisions about whether any of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have a place in your career.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Learn how social media can influence your career prospects
  • Explore social media in the context of professional development
  • Reassess whether or not some channels have a place in your professional life
  • Learn the core steps of setting up LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts
The best assistants are recognized as extensions of their executives. They’re well informed and acquit themselves with confidence. Despite this, even C-level assistants sometimes hesitate or experience discomfort when asked to speak in front of a group.

Whether it's a planned presentation or a request to provide a project or event update during a meeting, each such occasion represents an opportunity to enhance your reputation and your capacity to influence decision making. Shelagh studied speech arts and was winning public speaking competitions at the age of 13, and shares the strategies that supported her success in interview situations and as an EA.

Focused preparation goes a long way, and this session will position you to tackle speaking opportunities with greater skill and confidence. You'll come away with Shelagh's step-by-step process to prepare for presentation success.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Step-by-step tips on preparing and polishing a presentation
  • Flipping your perspective to sharpen your presentation skills
  • Proactive strategies to ease unwanted nerves
  • Principles you can also apply to speaking confidently at meetings and interviews
This interactive session will challenge you to assess the impact your writing skills have on your career prospects. Whether you’re comfortable in your current role or want to enhance prospects for promotion, you’ll benefit by considering what your business writing says about your credibility, currency and professionalism.

Join Shelagh to enhance your ability to write for multiple audiences and demographics, with concise content that’s underpinned by good grammar, proper punctuation and organizational knowledge. Even the best assistants will benefit from revisiting how to structure business communications with clarity and logic. We’ll also focus on your choice of words, and how your writing can either convey or toss away power and influence.

Through this session, you’ll reassess your writing skills from the perspectives of executives and other colleagues as well as clients and recruiters. In the process, you’ll gain insights on how to ensure your written communications yield positive reputational impacts for you and for your employer.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Writing with your audiences in mind
  • Be concise: write so that people will read your work
  • How to structure your communications with clarity and logic
  • How to ensure your grammar and language enhance, not diminish, your reputation
TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

... in the office and at home! Your workplace is digital. With cybercrime attacks continuing to increase in both frequency and sophistication, there are three types of organizations: those that have been hacked, those that have been hacked but don’t yet know it, and those that have yet to be hacked.

Executives and boards are paying attention because cybersecurity is critical to an organization’s ability to deliver on its strategic plan. Astute assistants will also want to pay attention, particularly since EAs are among those specifically targeted by cyber criminals.

Join Shelagh for a breakdown of cybersecurity terminology, a look at how breaches occur, and the potential ramifications for your employer. We’ll wrap up with a review of practical, proactive measures you can take to mitigate risks in the office and at home.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Get the latest updates on cybersecurity risks
  • There's more to cyber crime than phishing: learn a bit of the language
  • Consider whether your practices are inadvertently creating risks
  • Understand how you can mitigate risks at home in the office
Artificial Intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality. Advanced robotics, blockchain and drones. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Just kidding when it comes to these last three. The others, however, are more than abstract concepts; they’re the new facts of life and part of the Great Disruption. They also represent some aspects of IR4.0, aka the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

It's not that long ago that pundits were questioning whether the internet would have much impact on the retail and media sectors. We now know the answer, and there are projections that we may soon look back in the same way on today's questions about blockchain technology.

As with all revolutions, this one is impacting both personal and business lives. Alexa, Cora and Siri aren’t simply names any more; they’re among the AI products bearing human monikers. Since AI is projected to increase gross domestic product (GDP) around the globe, astute business leaders are assessing both risks and opportunities associated with digital breakthroughs and disruption.

Astute assistants are doing the same, rather than resting on their EQ laurels. Join Shelagh for a discussion of the administrative career in light of these tech advances, and how to build and maintain resilience in these times of change.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:

  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of IR4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Blockchain technology
  • Consider the ramifications for your career 5 and 10 years out; where will you add value?
  • Identify resources to help you adapt
  • Identify how to establish or maintain boundaries between your personal and business lives
  • Consider how inter-generational mentorships can benefit everyone; explore potential for tapping into (or being!) a Millennial digital mentor
SKILLS FOR SUCCESS

You may not chair the meetings you record, but you can certainly take the lead when it comes to organizational systems that will benefit you and your colleagues.

A good agenda can impact meeting success, and that includes effective use of participants' time. We’ll focus on agenda design as well as the use of consent agendas and report templates.

Since securing colleagues’ agenda deliverables in a timely manner can sometimes be a challenge, we'll also look at communicating with work plans and calendars to ensure that colleagues know what’s expected of them and when. These tools also help you increase your efficiencies, as they eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to agenda planning and recurring meeting items.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Understand how consent agendas work and help make the best use of meeting time
  • Tips for agenda templates that help people better prepare for meetings
  • Encourage efficiencies through the use of briefs/report templates
  • Why a work plan/forward calendar is a win:win for you and your colleagues
  • Tips for developing your own work plan/forward calendar
Less is more. This concept, coined by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, also applies to the art of recording minutes.

While recording standards have evolved, one thing hasn't changed: many assistants are uncomfortable with the task, or uncertain about getting minutes right. You want to document information that's relevant for institutional purposes, and meeting participants want concise, accurate records. This means you need to distinguish between what should and shouldn't be recorded.

Shelagh can help you elevate the quality of your minutes as well as your confidence when it comes to this important aspect of the job. Anticipate discussion of purpose, accessibility, context and organizational needs. We’ll also look at the recorder's neutrality, how best to record resolutions, and the art of attribution.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Enhance your confidence when it comes to recording meetings
  • Ensure that your recording practices have evolved and meet organizational needs
  • Tips to assess your minutes for neutrality
  • Understand what should and shouldn't be recorded
If you’ve ever found yourself playing catch up in the office or struggling to get out the door at a reasonable hour, this interactive session will help you work smart and not just hard. You're no doubt highly committed, but are you proactively managing your time and priorities?

Sometimes it's an issue of workload. Perhaps you support multiple committees, supervise challenging colleagues, or find yourself approaching burnout. When you have a lot on your plate, it can be easy to slip into a reactive mode.

Be prepared to assess the difference between being busy and being productive, and to consider organizational strategies that support efficiencies. Shelagh will also discuss how use of an annual calendar and work plan can increase your capacity to be proactive, and also have a positive impact for your colleagues.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Assess whether you’re making the best use of your time in the office
  • Learn how to recognize a career plateau that hinders productivity
  • Identify practical steps to help shift from a reactive to proactive mode
  • Tips on organizational practices to increase efficiencies
The best assistants are recognized as extensions of their executives. They’re well informed and acquit themselves with confidence. Despite this, even C-level assistants sometimes hesitate or experience discomfort when asked to speak in front of a group.

Whether it's a planned presentation or a request to provide a project or event update during a meeting, each such occasion represents an opportunity to enhance your reputation and your capacity to influence decision making. Shelagh studied speech arts and was winning public speaking competitions at the age of 13, and shares the strategies that supported her success in interview situations and as an EA.

Focused preparation goes a long way, and this session will position you to tackle speaking opportunities with greater skill and confidence. You'll come away with Shelagh's step-by-step process to prepare for presentation success.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Step-by-step tips on preparing and polishing a presentation
  • Flipping your perspective to sharpen your presentation skills
  • Proactive strategies to ease unwanted nerves
  • Principles you can also apply to speaking confidently at meetings and interviews
This interactive session will challenge you to assess the impact your writing skills have on your career prospects. Whether you’re comfortable in your current role or want to enhance prospects for promotion, you’ll benefit by considering what your business writing says about your credibility, currency and professionalism.

Join Shelagh to enhance your ability to write for multiple audiences and demographics, with concise content that’s underpinned by good grammar, proper punctuation and organizational knowledge. Even the best assistants will benefit from revisiting how to structure business communications with clarity and logic. We’ll also focus on your choice of words, and how your writing can either convey or toss away power and influence.

Through this session, you’ll reassess your writing skills from the perspectives of executives and other colleagues as well as clients and recruiters. In the process, you’ll gain insights on how to ensure your written communications yield positive reputational impacts for you and for your employer.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Writing with your audiences in mind
  • Be concise: write so that people will read your work
  • How to structure your communications with clarity and logic
  • How to ensure your grammar and language enhance, not diminish, your reputation
Have you ever wondered why great things seem to simply fall into place for some people, while your contributions and efforts sometimes seem to go unnoticed when it comes to opportunities and promotions? The reality is that opportunities rarely simply fall into a person’s lap, even if you’re good at what you do. This goes to the adage that’s attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, back in the first century AD: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Assistants often excel at advocating for others and taking care of their principals’ (bosses’) needs, but may not be quite so comfortable when it comes to advocating for themselves. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, you can create your own luck by learning how to prepare for opportunities.

Perhaps you'd like more recognition or greater satisfaction in the role you currently hold. You may have your eye on preparing for future opportunities. Either way, you are responsible for your own career satisfaction and success. It’s not up to anyone else. If you want to ensure you’re taking charge of your career, this session is for you.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:
  • Self-promotion is a learned skill, and it's not only for extroverts
  • How to get the recognition you deserve through increased visibility
  • Strategies to distinguish yourself and create your own luck
  • You have a goal? Think like an executive; use metrics to support your business case
GOVERNANCE: SUPPORTING A BOARD

Have you ever thought about applying your EA skills to a role in which you support a board of directors? Or perhaps you and your executive produce deliverables that wind up in front of a board, and you’d like to better understand the world of governance­­.

The governance career is a great option for experienced professionals who like a challenge. Your work must be accurate and efficient, and you need to be organized, flexible and proactive. A board needs a strategic thinker, and the challenges you face require you to be both diplomatic and solution-focused. If you like growth, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to work with and learn from a number of high achievers.

While some boards require that their staff have paralegal education and experience, others provide opportunities for high performing EAs. Shelagh will share her insights, earned over the course of more than a decade of responsibility for a board and its committees, on this stimulating career path.

YOUR TAKEAWAYS:

  • Working effectively with high achievers
  • Confidence via credibility: intro to governance
  • Inside the role
  • Systems for board management
  • Skillful board and relationship management
The days of welcoming a new director with a handshake, a parking pass and a manual are hopefully long gone. Just as governance and the expectations of directors continue to evolve, so too should onboarding practices.

The care you invest in the design and delivery of your onboarding program can make a new director feel welcome and generate dividends in terms of directors’ capacity to hit the ground running. Directors benefit just as much from a good sense of board and organizational culture as they do from gaining clarity on budgets, committees, strategic planning and sectoral challenges and opportunities.

Your onboarding program needs to accommodate both experienced and novice directors and, depending on the organization, appointed and elected directors. This session will include discussion of management’s role in the process, a focus on cybersecurity practices as an element of onboarding, pacing the process and shared responsibilities associated with board mentorship.

TAKEAWAYS:
  • How to structure your onboarding processes so that new directors understand the organizational culture and can be effective contributors
  • Key elements of an effective onboarding program
  • Steps for incorporating a board mentorship program
  • How to pace your onboarding so you don’t overload a new board member
  • Adding value to your contributions to the board

Click here if you’d like to see what people have to say about the training Shelagh delivers.

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

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