Tuesday Talk: GWCCA salutes Administrative Professionals Day

Tuesday Talk rounds up the latest Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) news you might have missed and also points forward to upcoming events on our campus.

On March 13 – Friday the 13th no less – Sharde Glore and her fellow administrative assistants in the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) sales department packed up their gear, ready to begin working in what quickly became the new world order – the remote office.

Traditionally an in-the-office, work-from-your-desk kind of job, Glore had to secure a laptop computer, two monitors, keyboard, mouse and other equipment from the IT department before setting out on a work journey that at first seemed a temporary solution, but now has become the new norm.

“I have pretty much everything here, I took everything I needed home,” said Glore. “I haven’t even had the need to print anything yet.”

Adapting adeptly to teleworking, GWCCA’s administrative professionals like Glore haven’t missed a beat, keeping their teams’ calendars, projects, assignments, contracts, client correspondence, data, and research up-to-the-minute while also being involved in strategic planning and problem-solving – and serving impromptu requests.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 22) is Administration Professionals Day, a time ordinarily set aside to honor the key work of administrative support staff, but even more timely in 2020 as the Authority’s various admin pros have stepped up to keep the business humming along through the COVID-19 crisis.

The Authority has more than a dozen administrative professionals working across various levels and functional areas within the organization, from Human Resources to Public Safety to Guest Services.

They serve on the front lines, behind-the-scenes and in-between, their invaluable work often overlooked or taken for granted, while they try to fulfill the impossible task of being all things to all people at all times.

“I don’t think in any organization you can be successful without a strong admin team,” said Kim Allison, GWCCA’s Sr. Director of Convention Sales. “We kid ourselves if we think we can get things done without the valuable services that they provide. It is not only one day – we should celebrate every day what they do so that we can do what we do. We should celebrate them Wednesday and all day, every day.”

Administrative Professionals Day traces its roots back to National Secretaries’ Day, which was established in 1952 as part of National Secretaries Week, sponsored by the National Secretaries Association. The organization and observances went through some name changes, and the unofficial holiday has been known by its current moniker since the early 2000s.

The observance evolved as the term secretary fell out of favor, and the modern economy necessitates a gamut of job titles and expanding responsibilities and skills within the field.

Today’s administrative assistants are a far cry from the stereotypical coffee-fetching, note-taking secretaries of the 1950s.

Ronald Miranda, GWCCA’s Director of Human Resources.

“These are the folks that we rely on heavily,” said Ronald Miranda, GWCCA’s Director of Human Resources. “The level of emotional intelligence that is required of them now as opposed to how admins and secretaries were viewed in the past is such a shift in how their roles function and operate. They’re such a wealth of knowledge. Personally, I try to have a relationship with every administrative assistant in each and every department we have in the organization because they have all the information. They know stuff the leaders don’t know. They know the lay of the land, they’re very resourceful.”

Jennifer LeMaster, the Authority’s Chief Administrative Officer and one of four executives on the Authority’s executive committee, likes to think of members of the organization’s admin ranks as “thought partners” – a sounding board for ideas, individuals that bring different perspectives and insights into the organization that an executive might not have.

GWCCA Administrative Assistant Loticia Walker.

Loticia Walker, a GWCCA administrative assistant who supports both the administrative team and operations team, says it takes a steady hand to excel as an administrative professional. Of course, you need the technical skills, like knowing the ins-and-outs of the Microsoft Office suite and setting up video conferences, but the intangibles are just as important for success.

“Good communication, written and verbal is important,” she said. “You have to be able to work with different personalities. People have different management styles and personalities. It’s important to be able to help with whatever is needed.”

The Authority cannot achieve its brand service promise of consistently creating compelling guest experiences without the continuity, collaboration, and interdepartmental liaising the organization’s administrative provide internally.

“They are the most significant contributors to that internal cycle of service that enables the whole organization to work cooperatively,” said LeMaster. “Admin professionals are a part of the team, they’re not a support role. They are a contributor to the team’s success. Administration Professionals Day is not just about saying ‘thank you,’ or saying ‘hey, we appreciate what you’re doing.’ It’s about recognizing that they are contributors to the team no different than someone who sits in a director’s seat.”