- Executive assistant
An executive assistant differs slightly from
administrative assistantin the connotation of supporting an officer of a company, either public or private, who carries the authority to make crucial decisions affecting the direction of said organization, and is therefore a sought-after resource in decision-making and policy setting. The executive assistant performs the usual roles of managing correspondence, preparing research, and communication while also acting as the "gatekeeper," understanding in varying degree the requirements of the executive, and with an ability through this understanding to decide which scheduled events or meetings are most appropriate for allocation of the executive's time.
An executive assistant may from time to time act as proxy for the executive, representing him/her in meetings or communications.
An executive assistant differs from an administrative assistant or secretary also in that he or she is expected to possess a higher degree of business acumen, as well as the capacity to influence others on behalf of the executive. A certain amount of project management is commonly required of an executive assistant, as well as the ability to accept the delegation of less consequential executive tasks.
Executive assistants and administrative assistants work together as a team. The role of the administrative assistant varies widely between and even within organizations. In most cases, the executive assistant delegates work to the administrative assistant based on competence, experience, knowledge of the context, confidentiality, priority, urgency and availability. Some administrative assistants tend to focus on mundane tasks planning travel, meetings and expediting routine emails. Others act as project leaders or office managers and undertake complex tasks. Both positions can be a dead end or a stepping stone to a gratifying management career. Think of [http://www.executive.org/seminars/From_Admin_Assistant_to_CEO.asp hard-working secretaries and administrative assistants who ultimately became Presidents and Chief Executive Officers] of leading companies such as Carly Fiorina (Lucent, Hewlett-Packard), Colleen Barrett] (Southwest Airlines) and Robin Eisenbrei (Morrison Metalweld).
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