Today EAs are rightfully seen as key players in any organisation, strategic thinkers who contribute so much more than simply answering phones and managing diaries.
Yet a good EA’s number one priority remains unchanged: the wellbeing and organisation of their leader. The challenge is to juggle that prime directive with everything else in our busy days. That increasingly includes planning and managing events—from regular staff meetings to knock-em-dead soirees that will have your colleagues raving.
Before you take on the responsibility of delivering an event, make sure you’ve thoroughly mastered your core EA responsibilities first. This will reassure your boss that you will not let the basics slip, and they won’t be left high and dry as you shift your focus.
Think of yourself as the CEO of your event—and apply everything you’ve observed working with your boss and executive team: identify how the event aligns with the organisation’s priorities, think about the best time and date to achieve maximum impact, and be strategic in choosing the right people and roles on your event team.
Communication is the key to successfully managing all these elements. Consider creating a shared document that everyone can access. Stakeholder management is key—in 2018 I oversaw Sydney Opera House’s first Mardi Gras float. It was imperative everyone from our funding sponsors, float builders and dancers, to our media and legal teams, designers and most importantly my CEO, were all engaged, aligned and on board, so to speak. Another tip is to record and share it, prolonging the event’s impact. Also, you can ditch what didn’t work, and add more glitter to what did!
A successful event is not only beneficial to your employer, it will raise your own profile and influence. It’s a real win-win proposition
Anthony Carthew, EA to Louise Herron, CEO of Sydney Opera House, and 2018 PA of the Year Australasia.